Monday, January 22, 2007

Day Eight and Other Stuff

So, the diet is going along fine. I don't find myself having crazy cravings, or being too bitchy late in the day. I am not consumed with having pizza and french fries. I would just like to see some results on the scale this week.

As for the exercising part--I haven't worked out since THURSDAY. I usually take the weekends off, even though I was maybe going to do a class last Saturday that didn't happen, and yoga didn't happen today because Tukey wasn't feeling well. He's fine though.

Anyway, today's WW list:
Popcorn - 1 point
2 lemon WW snack cakes - 2 points
Lean Cuisine Fettucini Alfredo - 6 points
White mocha nonfat latte - 2 points
WW chocolate chip muffin - 3 points
2 hot dogs with buns - 4 points
chips - 2 points
2 Peppermint patties - 2 points

Total intake today: 22 points.

And, a big, huge, way-to-go congrats to MY SISTER, who secretly started WW and lost a WHOPPING 4.6 pounds her first week! S, I am soooo proud of you! 143

Now, another topic that has been making me wonder today. A very nice reader of MM had made a comment regarding not having children, so she and I began corresponding a little and she does not have the urge to have children. She is married, and her husband also feels this way. This totally intrigues me, I always want to know the WHYs of the choice of not having a family. She brought up an interesting point. How come if someone says, "I don't like chicken liver," no one asks, "Why don't you like chicken liver? How could you not like chicken liver? How could you not want to bring a cute, adorable chicken liver into the world someday?" (OK, that last comment was a joke, and my reader pal said she is NOT comparing children to livers.)

Pretty much most of you or all of you know I adore author Emily Giffin, who wrote Baby Proof, which tackles this very subject when the couple marries, knowing they do not want to have kids, and then, one of them changes their mind during the marriage. I read the book, trying to understand. I should probably read it again.

When I was a sophomore in college, I wrote a paper for a class called, The Baby Blahs, in which I proclaimed that I was never going to have children. I was adamant, determined, for-sure certain that I didn't want to be a mother, ever. I was never maternal, never oogled the babies, begged to hold it longer than necessary, didn't rush to change a diaper. I was just not into it. Of course, I think that all changed once I fell in love and got married, but even then, Hubby was ready far sooner than I was.

Why is it the norm to automatically question people who don't want children, to think of them as selfish, to think of them as wrong? Is it because we who have children know how much they add to our lives, how much a tiny finger grip the day they are born can light up the insides of their parents' hearts? Do we know for certain that if that person who didn't want a child HAD a child, they would automatically say, "Oh my God, why did I think I didn't want this in my life?"

Yes, not choosing to have children does alleviate a huge amount of heartache, of pain, worry, sadness, but so far in the nine years I've been a parent, and God-willing for the next however many years I am blessed to parent my children, the good has greatly outweighed the bad. To me, personally, there is no bad. There are hard times, sleepless nights, sore bodies, sick children, whiny brats, demanding demands, and if I only counted how many times I've been asked to get something or do something or say something or something something. Yes, it's tiring. Yes, I love alone time. But I don't love my alone time that much to make it a permanent in my life.

I'm not judging others who do not want children, I am just trying to speculate and understand. I guess with the chicken liver, you don't have to want it or eat it. But with having a child, it seems that that's what our bodies are made to do, so to me, it just seems like the natural step in progression. I am probably talking in circles and not making much sense, but as I said, this is such an intriguing topic to me.

I'd really like to hear what you all think. Are you a mother? Are you a father? A woman desperate for a child? A man who never wants to have a family? A woman who had an abortion but regretted it? A woman who gave a child up for adoption? A woman who wishes she had never gotten pregnant. A woman who never wants to have a baby? A man who wants more kids but whose wife does not? There are all types of people out there, and each one of you has something to say. I'd like to know what you think.

Please, enlighten me!

And again, to M, thank you for making me think about this very unique topic!

23 comments:

1 plus twins said...

glad to hear your diet is going well. i am still not there yet and with it being so damn cold don't see it happening any time soon. not sure about the baby thing that is all i have ever wanted in life was to be a mom.

Gina said...

long time no chat...

good job on the diet thingy, you'll have a blast in Cabo AND look great !

on the parenting thing... I never wanted to have kids either, but the minute, no second I met my husband I had this overwhelming desire to have children with him. Of course 5 years later and numerous fertility treatments I finally got to be a mom through adoption... and you know what? I love each and every second of it, the being peed on, pooped on, thrown up on, food on my clothes, snot on my clothes, temper tantrums the whole ball of wax, it is the most wonderful thing in the whole world, and my heart expands tenfold every morning when Aidan wakes up and I go into his room and he throws his arms around my neck and in his whispery sleepy voice says 'momma'.

oh and I am dieting too... lol. I mean it's January who didn't make the resolution :)

gina
www.veggiehater.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Good topic: I want to adopt and everyone always asks me why. That is so strange. I can have kids but there are too many kids out there that need parents. So I will adopt one day. One day! But I get so tired of people asking my why I want to adopt instead of having my own. Is something wrong because I'd rather give another child a home instead of having my own? People, it's time to accept adoption. And, to add to that, I won't adopt until I'm 40 because I want to live my life first. That some years away. So why, then, do people always ask me why I am not having children now. What weird questions. I get so tired of them. Do I ask, why did you have a kid at 20, 25, 30, 35, and why did you have your own kid rather than adopt? How would they feel if I asked that?

M said...

Hey Manic,

Just read your thoughts and here are my comments (to other readers, I am the same "M" mentioned in this post). Sorry it is so long--I probably should have just turned it into a post on my own blog, but
since it's a direct response to your post, I thought it would be better off here. Thanks for writing this and it was nice exchanging ideas with you about this!

1) I don't think those who don't choose to have children have chosen to not have a "family." Maybe it seems like just semantics, but to me, I do have a family. It consists of me and my husband and our dog (if we had no dog, it would still be a family). And then of course I have extended family, as most others do.

Family is not a term exclusive to those who have children, and to those of us who don't, it can feel offensive being written off as having no family, when in fact we may have very happy families (I know I do).

2) Yes, our bodies are meant to procreate, but in modern times, we do not let our bodies do everything that is "natural." We halt disease and vaccinate, and take meds, and do a lot of things to unnaturally expand our life expectancies and engage in all sorts of other behavior that messes with nature. We practice birth control (most of us) and that alone is an example of not allowing one's body to take the "natural" course.

The point is we do a lot of things that aren't natural, and don't do a lot things that are. Our lives are very far from natural if you ask me.

For example, following the logic in your statement, you should have as many children as you are able to have physically, because that is what your body is designed to do. But most people choose to stop at one or two or three kids. But that isn't something people usually question, or refer to as being unnatural or going against our biology.

My point is, in modern society, we use our intellect also and don't act on all of our biological drives (thank God), so why should this one thing be any different. In my opinion, that is part of being human, that you choose which urges you act upon, instead of simply following biological instincts as other animals do.

3) Also, every society has those who do not have children (even animals herds often have some adults with kids and some without). So, it is not necessarily out of the ordinary.

4) My point with the liver analogy was simply to say that there is no real way to explain the absence of want. You might want ice cream but never want broccoli. You might want to ski but you just know you never in your life want to scuba dive. You don't want to simply because you do not feel the desire for it.

Do those who scuba dive and love it "know for certain that if that person who didn't want [to scuba dive, did try it, that] they would automatically say, "Oh my God, why did I think I didn't want [to scuba dive]?"

No, you don't. Most likely, they'd say "I knew I didn't want to do this, and I was right, I hated it." Hopefully, the other person would get it and not wonder how someone could not like scuba diving since it had brought so much joy to their own life. Hopefully, they'd understand that different people like and are meant for different things.

I think assuming that someone else's experience will be just like yours, or assuming that because you love something, someone else will too if they only try it is self centered (I'm not saying you do that, but many people do). Respecting others' means, in my opinion, understanding diversity in all its forms, and getting that just because something felt a certain way for you, in no way means that it would feel that same way for another person (especially if the other person is telling you it wouldn't).

5) I could turn it around and say those who have kids, if they hadn't had them would maybe realize how much better their life would be as childfree adults, like my life is. But I don't say or think that because I know that just because something is right for me, and it is right, that doesn't mean it is for someone else.

6) For me, it has nothing to do with alone time, with poopy diapers, the needs of kids, or anything else. It has to do with, first and foremost, not wanting kids. If I wanted them, none of those things would matter. People give up some things to have what they want.

I think reducing it to saying people don't have kids because they want more time for themselves, or don't want the heartache, or don't want the demands on them, etc. is not accurate at all--though that might be true for some individuals, I can't speak for them. (Not that I'm saying that's what you were saying.) I know in my case, it has nothing to do with it.

Like I said, I just don't want it in my life and my life is as rich and full and rewarding and happy and everything else as someone who has kids. Follow your heart and you will be happy. That seems to be what we've both done and both are happy.

I just hope other people are able to look at a variety of choices in life and see them all as valid and legitimate, rather than seeing only their own choices that way and thinking all would be happier if they only lived life just like them.

I doubt anyone has even read this, it's just so damn long. Sorry!!! Thanks for the discussion. It's been fun!

M

p.s. (I'll probably write more about this in the near future on my blog and write about different aspects of the issue than what I've written here.)

M said...

I just had to add I 100% agree with anonymous about the adoption issue. If we had kids, we would adopt, no doubt about it. There are so many kids who need parents and homes, I can't imagine feeling right about bringing in a new child to the world, when there are so many kids (in our own country and beyond) who are suffering and need love.

Adopting is having "your own" child, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Good topic. Okay, so when I was in high school, I was immature and naive. Partly because of abandonment issues and partly because of a controlling father. I was so needy...I practically clung to my boyfriend and when he left me PG at 17, we were barely beginning our senior year (he moved to CA with his mom), I was devastated and in denial about being PG. My religious father took me directly for an A with no discussion, no counseling, although there a lot of yelling. We lived in a small town and he was a prominent member of the community. He told people we went to visit colleges. After drifting through the last year of HS, I left ASAP for college just wanting to get away from him. Had no idea how much that big A would affect me and my future relationships. I wanted LOVE because I felt worthless. I went to a Christian school for redemption, but hated it. So, I drifted back to my grandparent's hometown and went to a jr. college where I flunked out. I spent all my time with my college BF--we started living togegther. I got PG (partly on purpose because we were engaged and he didn't want to set a date). We had the baby (my oldest son), but the marriage didn't work. He cheated and left me. I got married 2 years later to some new jerk and it didn't work after barely 6 months together. I was a single mom for all of my 20's (10 years). I finished college, with 2 divorces before I was 30, but no other children. I had counseling and figured out my problems. Yes, sometimes I resented my son because I thought he held me back from what I wanted in life. Fast forward to 9/11. An important relationship had ended (because the guy couldn't deal with my son) and I was adrift. Making tons of money, but not with anyone special. I was like what am I doing???? I want more kids!!! Now, I am married to my best friend...a wonderful man, and we have our 3 boys (2 together). We had a miscarriage in between our 2. I wonder, was that a girl? LONG STORY SHORT: Because I was SUCH an idiot in my teens and twenties, I never had time to consider what my life could have been like if I didn't do it the hard way and have my son at 21. While I love being a wife and mom and can't imagine it any other way...there is that nagging feeling that I missed SOMETHING. Deep down, I must know that this is what I am meant to be doing....but what if an apartment in Paris was my destiny? Still wonder what my 20+ year old child would be like today IF... Was it a girl?

Manic Mom said...

Wow, you guys, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

It is amazing me.

M, once again you made some great points, really great points. When I was typing the original post, I had written something about your husband and your dog being your family, but then I deleted it, thinking you might have thought I was being less sympathetic to 'other' families, you know?

I love the analogy of the scuba diving. That is sooo true.

I have a beautiful nephew who was adopted who I love, love, love, can't get enough of the little guy. I think adoption is a harder decision sometimes than to just go ahead and do it yourself.

And to Anon 10:40, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for sharing your story. I am overwhelmed and in awe of what you've been through and hope that you are happy.

And, thanks to you all who have posted and not judged the other commenters. One thing I cannot stand is when I go to a blog and there's a big cat fight on who's right and who's wrong.

So, thank you for keeping it nice over here! And thank you for taking the time to share your stories, and your thoughts!

DebbieS said...

MM, great work on your diet! I thought of you tonight when I sank my fangs into a yummy WW 2pt ice cream cone...I'd never tried any of their "treats" before! 17 month-old Sephie came running when she saw it (remembered it from last night perhaps?) and BEGGED to share.

This is an awesome topic and I wish I had time to write on it at length. But I will say that in life, you do have to do what's in your heart, and 1) that's not always something one learns right away, and 2) it doesn't always coincide with a good time to decide about child-bearing/rearing. In other words, wanting kids vs. not wanting them is very emotionally charge of a subject in part, I believe, because it involves day-to-day decisions about stuff like birth control, financial situation, familial support, etc. And then there's an age limit, with some wiggle room depending on how padded that checking acct. is. There's just so many variables...a 19 year-old girl with no degree could be thrilled to start her family because she has loving, enthusiastic relatives around her to help her out and cheer her on. A 35 year-old professional making a good salary might be unsure about "rocking the boat" trying to get pregnant, because the whole life she's based her happiness on might be something that has to be abandoned to care for a baby. You want to do what your heart says, but it can say different things at different stages of your life, and sometimes you do have to pick.

And the grass is always greener. I am an "older" first-time mom (I turned 34 right after my daughter was born), and had little contact with babies before giving birth. I always knew I wanted children, but in a vague, ambiguous way, and I think I'd have been OK not having them. It was more like I knew I'd have one (and I knew from childhood she'd be a daughter, don't ask me how!), not that I was dying to have one. Now I'd love to shout my joy of motherhood from the rooftops. On the other hand, one of my best friends never wanted kids. She and her husband have pets and are fine with that. I made sure to be very clear on the fact that I would still love her even if she didn't want to hang out with an infant. I completely understood that it isn't for everyone! The funny thing is, the two of them ended up totally bonded, and she says if she knew that she'd have one like mine, she'd have had kids after all. I'm thrilled, of course, but I would have been just fine if auntie-hood hadn't been her bag. People have all kinds of gifts to offer, and not all of them can have children enter that picture. I just consider myself fortunate and leave it at that.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Big congrats on sticking to your diet. Sometimes you won't see results on the scale right away, but stick to it, I'm sure it's working and one day you be shocked at a sudden drop and that will motivate you all the more.

Oh, and by the way, I answered your question about what was in or not in my purse on the fly girl blog.

Great post here. In my case, I always knew I wanted children. I didn't have any until I was married for five years, and now I have four. But I completely agree, children are not for everyone. And there's nothing wrong with that. Parenting is the hardest job out there, as far as I'm concerned. So if it's not something you really want in your life, then you're not doing anyone any good by having one just because others think you should. I applaud those who stick to their guns and do what's right for them. And adoption is something I always wanted. Hmmmm, maybe someday.

Gina said...

nope you read it right it is 100 (well 96 now)... guess I hide it well :)

g.

Barbie Jo said...

wow. this was a great post. And the comments make you stop and think about how everyone's lives are different.

I grew up an only child, divorced parents and I never saw my dad. all through school I had tons of friends and by graduation I was career oriented 110%. Kids would be fine, maybe someday, but I wasn't out to get married and have a family (like so many small town girls tend to think is their option). So if anyone would have told me back then that I'd be the happy mom of 3, I'd have never believed you!

sometimes I get overwhelmed I think because I never had siblings and totally don't understand why they have to instigate with each other until they are kicking and screaming and someone gets hurt. It amazes me. After 11 years, I STILL don't get it.

And for as much as I want to pull my hair out.... I love being a mom. Out of everything I've ever done in my life, this is the one thing I'm really good at.

My best friend married a man who already had 2 grown girls and he came right out and said he didn't want more children. she'd always wanted a family growing up, so it was a big sacrifice to her - but she did it and they are VERY happy with their decision.

You do have to follow your heart. Only you know what's best for you at any given time. sometimes the time is now, and other times it's not.

Amie Stuart said...

Anon don't have too many regrets...everything you've been through has helped shape you into who you are today. *g* I think it's all cumulative. No, we have no idea what would have happend if we'd made other choices in our lives, if we hadn't had abandonment issues (raising hand here), if we had been more responsible, if maybe we'd been a bit more rebellious and even more selfish. As much as I regret having the ex from hell, having children has made me a better person.

That's not to say I woulnd't have grown up to be the person I am but what we go through shapes our lives. It's kind of like writing, there is no wrong way to tell a story, there are just different ways to tell a story. So I regret him, but not them and it's HARD being a single parent (going on ten years this year--I want diamond earrings *g*), but I wouldn't trade my kids for a trip to Italy *g*.

I dont think there is any right or wrong or better or worse--a good friend of mine told me once, "Normal is a setting on a dryer." Just because some folks think it's normal to have children (and thus abnormal to NOT have children or choose to adopt when you can "have your own"), doesn't mean it is. If there's one thing I've learned it's that you have to walk your own path and damn the naysayers! =)

Just my 2.75 cents

TTQ said...

I always said when I was little I was going to have kids, then in my teens and 20's I said no kids. I hit my 30's and I wanted kids again. I get married, we both wanted to have kids and now I CAN'T have kids. Techinically there are ways I could have kids (though it's not going to be from having sex), but chances of me staying alive are slim and all my Dr's and family members are against trying. Sooo..we SPOIL everybody elses kids, and it fills the void and the intense craving that pops up every now and again. If the situation came up where a child needed a home say for example a friend's child or one of our neices got pregnant but wanted to give it up for adoption, we would love to be able to help. But we are okay WITHOUT a real human baby, we have our pets, who love us unconditionally. Oh and we musn't forget our newest addition..our Roomba.

Lo said...

This is my first time posting, MM. I love your blog. I relate to a lot of what you say and love that you can profess your own love for xanax and booze, and that's not a bad thing sister. We need to get together :)

On the kid thing, as a kid myself I thought I would have tens of thousands of children when I grew up. I also thought I would eat at McDonald's every day.

My husband and I met at 21 and married at 28. We partied our asses off for much of that time and beyond. It was my idea to have a baby, and honestly through the whole ttc process and the pgcy itself I felt like we weren't doing it because we wanted to, we were doing it because we thought it was what we were supposed to do.

Our son was born when I was 34 (he's 2 1/2 now) and yes because of him my whole outlook has changed towards children, I know all you mommies can relate to this. I no longer get annoyed if there's a screaming kid sitting next to us at a restaurant. I feel sympathy for the parents.

He will likely be our last. I feel bad but I just don't want to do it all over again, start from scratch...does that sound horrible? Another worry is that the more children we have the more I will turn into my mother. Short-tempered, resentful...at least this is what I'm afraid of. I know already my parenting style has been the polar opposite of my mother's so at least I'm aware of it. I can do better, etc. Financially we would be screwed, maybe that's a bad excuse, but we just want to be able to give him all we can.

Now I'm faced with people who constantly question why we are only stopping at one. Don't we know he needs a sibling? I'm tired of hearing people say "oh yes you will" when I say we're not. The most insensitive thing said was "what will you do if something happens, you know, like he dies?" WTF?? I don't know, but I don't want to have another child "just in case".

I probably didn't answer any real questions here. Just blathering. I'm amazed if you're still reading.

Anonymous said...

I feel about my pets the way most people feel about their children. My arms ache when I don't have a dog to fill them.
The biggest thing though is that I would be a horrendous parent. I'm awfully selfish. Why on earth would I curse a child by being born to me? That would be unfair to the child. The thought of having children makes me feel so empty inside, I shudder to think of it. I guess it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. It's like that fear you have at 18 that you'll get pregnant except I never grew out of it (I'm 28 now, married, well educated and settled). I've always felt that just because I can have children certainly doesn't mean I should.
For those reasons and many more I have chosen to remain childless. However, I can't wait for nieces and nephews to spoil. I get to be a "grandparent" without ever having to be a parent, what could be better than that??? I hope this gives you another perspective on the childless by choice issue.

Eileen said...

Great post- nice comments M.

We don't have kids. I used to resent when people would tell me that they feel sorry for me, or that I'll regret this later or chide me for being selfish. We're nice people- we just don't have children. I don't presume to know how it would change my life if I had children, but I also feel people who have kids don't know how it would change their lives if they didn't. Do I miss out on some things- I suspect so. Do I think people with kids miss out on some things- sure.

Life is a balance. The trick is enjoy what you are doing. Whatever that is.

Andie said...

I totally agree with M and the anonymous from 10:30. These are EXACTLY my thoughts. I'm not a mom to a human, however, I have a dog. My dog is my son. and i'm happy with that. and if I decide to take the route of eventually having an actual child, I'll probably be adopting for the same reasons as anonymous. I just would much rather save a life somewhere else and give it a better life than to bring my own child into the world (which would prove to be an incredibly difficult task for me given the state of my girly bits.

I think if a couple opts to not have children because they have other plans for their life, it's anything BUT selfish, in fact, I consider it incredibly responsible.

Manic Mom said...

Thank you everyone!

For being honest and nice and open with these comments.

There has been no judging here, and just openness and a really nice discussion and I really appreciate you all opening up and sharing your thoughts.

It's been enlightening!

Thank you! There are so many blogs that open up the comments and they are full of mean and spiteful things, and it was really nice to discuss our thoughts on this topic without anyone being cruel or rude or mean to anyone else.

First class you guys are! Really!

Anonymous said...

I think that having children is the most selfish thing that anyone can do. It is saying to the world that "spreading my all-important genes is more important than alleviating hunger, global warming, overpopulation, etc." I also think that people who are parents see themselves as some type of super being, who deserve the highest of accolades. I do not agree. It doesn't take a brain to conceive - just a viable sperm and egg. It takes great intelligence not to.

Manic Mom said...

Anon 12:43, but we people who are breeding are doing those who are NOT breeding a major service--because if we didn't have kids, then there'd be no one going hungry, and there'd be no overpopulation for you to concern yourself with, so see, you need our "all-important genes" so you'll have something to do!

So actually, by me having children, I am being very selfless! : )

(I hope you know I'm trying to be humorous, and I do appreciate your thoughts. Sometimes I would like to just get inside of the heads of those with different views and try to understand. Thanks for sharing)

Anonymous said...

I'm weighing in a bit late on this post, but I am a 34 year old women happily in love and living with my 28 year old BF of 1 year. I know he's THE one, but he's probably not going to be ready for another two or three years (financially, professionally, etc. w/out getting into the details) and I will wait.

My biggest fear in life is that I will never be blessed with a baby. I have wanted to be a mother ever since I can remember. I think "Well, since 40 isn't the same 40 as my during my mother's era, I can have a baby well into my 40's." But then I read about women who cannot become pregnant and I start to panic. But life will play out the way it's meant to. I just hope it involves at least one baby for me :)

Kate said...

Manic, you and your friends are the best! I've totally enjoyed reading this.

I've been wrestling with the no baby thing for a while. I do think about all the things that can go wrong. I think about both DH's and my parents who struggled with mental health issues and were outwardly angry, belittling, not to mention verbal (at times) about wishing they hadn't had kids and/or being resentful of each other like it was this horrible burden. I worry about passing that on. I worry about realizing that I made the wrong decision once the baby is there. And I know a certain amount about how much work it is and how everything is great until there's the all-night crying for months and pooping and barfing simultaneously. Oh, and there's no guarantee they'll like or love you. Ever.

I also work with teenagers and that colors my perspective to a certain extent. On one hand, I see all the crap that can go wrong and the most rotten kids do not always have the worst parents. On the other hand, I would lie down in traffic for my kids. When they ask me if I have kids I sometimes answer yes, 150. And there are moments when I get a glimpse of what I think you parents are talking about. Those moments that keep you going through all the crap.

I do worry about it damaging my marriage, although I am realizing that although my mom may have said that we (their kids) were the only reason they ever fought and it was obvious that they were miserable almost the entire time I was a kid. Now I know better about the first part, but it still haunts me. And I suppose that if DH said he was ready, I would throw that bc out the window tonight. And if that didn't work, we'd sign up for adoption. Although I could probably find a baby pretty easily since I teach 17 year olds with kids. Plural. And not babies. Which leads me to wonder, how could I be any worse than them?

Kate said...

Oh, and I do think about all the "selfish" reasons people choose to procreate. When I met my husband I got a clue as to why people would go to such lengths to have "their own" baby. It made it harder for me to judge. I wish I had been more understanding in the first place. Ah well.

And as for bringing another person into this world, is that really the most selfish or irresponible thing that a person can do? How about adding a person who is loved? And how is what I do as a teacher so unselfish if it's selfish if I do it for my own child? Seriously, these are the kind of illogical arguments that rattle around my head.