Monday, March 02, 2009

More Answers to Reader Questions

"Any fast foods that you will eat?"

As a matter of fact, yes. I am extremely fond of Chick-fil-A on the east coast and In-N-Out burger on the west coast. Both companies, I feel, have a lot of integrity and high quality food. Plus, the food tastes really, really good.

"And as far as questions go, I would like to hear about the monkey. That is, if you haven't blogged about that already and I'm just too new to the game to have read that post. :)"

Oh that damned monkey. At one point we actually ended up with three monkeys. Right now, like literally, right now, I am working on a serious piece about the monkey and when it came into our lives. I considered posting parts of it on here, however, its tone is very different from a blog post and the more I write of this piece the darker it gets. I am also extremely uncomfortable with the possibility of my mother reading it. Normally she reads everything I write and enjoys it, but I feel that the monkey story may have a little too much analysis of her personal issues at the time and that she may not be ok with reading my take on the situation. I could be wrong. It's a hard thing for me to write about though because you think a monkey story should be lighthearted and funny, but the more I write the more I see the monkey as an almost tragic situation. The monkey story just wants to be sad. Maybe if you guys beg me enough I'll post an excerpt from it.

"Where in the world do you want to go most?"

This changes a lot. It used to be Paris, but Bella and I went. Over the weekend I talked to some relatives a lot about Italy and then I wanted to go there. I think if I had unlimited money and time that right now the first place I would go would be Japan. I'd like to go now and stay until the cherry blossoms come out. I want to tour Japanese gardens. I love them. We have a Japanese garden here that I love visiting. I was actually thinking of going this week and taking some pictures for you. I also like the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco. One of my favorite blogs is "Blue Lotus" because she lives in Japan and takes gorgeous pictures, many of which involve food.

"Wide Lawns: What do you think is the most valuable gift your upbringing has given you?"

My mother and I answer this differently. She'd tell you that my upbringing has made me versatile and easily adaptable. I think it's often the opposite. In many ways my upbringing has made me rigid, neurotic and resistant to change.

There are two gifts my upbringing has given me. One of them is an almost limitless supply of things to write about. The other is that I got to see firsthand what abusing drugs and alcohol can do to you. For me this wasn't theoretical knowledge. It was too real. Because of the things I saw I developed an unholy fear of addiction that has caused me to never drink more than one drink at a time, to never try a cigarette and to avoid drugs. I have the addiction gene on both sides. I know that if I did let myself go that I could lose control and destroy my whole life like so many of my relatives.

"What injustice in the world would you like most to correct?"

This is the hardest question to answer. I thought about this for a long time and I want to correct whatever has hurt the most people for the longest time. There are so many injustices though. If I said one thing, I'd leave out something else.

The causes I support and do the most work for have to do with children, education and nutrition. I want single teenagers and single women of any age who are ill equipped to adequately raise a child to stop purposefully getting pregnant thinking that a baby will love them unconditionally, that a baby will fill their voids or that a baby will get a man to love them. I want men to stop impregnating and taking advantage of these women and girls and to stop abandoning their children once they do get these women pregnant. I want people to stop using their children as the currency in their own dysfunctional romantic relationships. It makes me sick and I think it's probably the largest social problem facing our country right now. We're creating millions of children whose lives will be filled with chaos, abandonment, potential abuse and a lot of instability at best and it breaks my heart.

I'd like to take all of those children and give them to some nice gay couples to adopt.

Because the way we've treated gay people makes me sick too. I want gay people to be able to get married and to freely adopt children. I want gay couples to have the same rights as other couples, especially when it comes to adoption. Trust me, there were many times in my life that I would have loved to have had two mommies or daddies as long as they were stable, kind and loved me. Gay people don't take reproduction for granted. For gay people, having a child is always planned and expected. The child is always wanted and never accidental or a cavalier decision. I don't understand the kind of thinking that leads people to believe that an uneducated sixteen year old who had a one night stand could possibly be a better parent than two grown men in a committed relationship. That is injustice.

You know what else is an injustice? That rich people have access to the best quality, most nutritious and freshest foods while poor people have to do their grocery shopping at 7-11 because grocery stores won't build in bad areas. I understand why, but that doesn't make it ok. It enrages me that the most impoverished people are often the most overweight and that the foods they eat, because that's all that's available, are the foods that will cause them the most health problems.

Another injustice is our education system. It sucks. A lot of teachers suck too. Many administrators suck. Parents really suck. Most of the kids that do so poorly in school, fail to thrive in an educational environment because their lives are filled with so much anxiety and chaos that school is the least of their priorities. See my first point above. What really sucks is that the best, most experienced teachers get the privilege of teaching in the fancy, rich areas, while the worst teachers or just the newest and least experienced teachers get the hardest jobs in the toughest, urban schools where the students are poor, malnourished and come from violent and unstable homes. It creates a horrible, vicious cycle. It makes me mad.

I could go on indefinitely about injustice, so I had better go on to another question.

"Do you want to have kids? All your posts previous to the recent health related one made it seem like you didn't want kids ever."

Hmm. Are you one of my relatives in disguise? Just kidding. I've been getting this question from the family a lot. I'm very conflicted about having kids. Sometimes I want children and then I read Mommy Blogs.

In theory I'd like to have kids because there are many things about kids that I love and enjoy and I have qualities that would make me a good mother.

Then I think of how so much can go wrong with kids these days and how I could avoid all of it by not having one. While there are things that would make me a good mother, I have other traits that would make me a terrible mother. I'm critical, perfectionistic and a raging germ freak. I fear that I may not be able to handle a sick child. With my phobia of vomit what would I do if my kid threw up?

All I hear are people talking about how difficult raising children is. Why would I want to put myself through that?

Then I see beautiful little babies and they're so cute and so funny and I think, how could I deny myself that joy?

Then I read Mommy blogs. Mommy Blogs have been the single best source of birth control I've ever found. Mommy Blogs make child rearing sound like a living hell. I read some of the posts and all I can think of is how glad I am that I haven't bred. Between the constant diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders, fights with lactation fanatics, digging shit out of the butts of constipated toddlers with a table spoon, IKEA tantrums, bizarre picky eating habits, swallowing disorders, ADHD, nasty other mothers, near constant stomach viruses and sinus infections, sleepless nights and cracked nipples - why the fuck would I ever want to put myself through that? So once every six months a kid who wants a cookie will lisp that he or she loves me? You know what, the cat loves me. I don't need to create another human being to feel needed and important because it depends on me for its very survival. My ego is fine without that.

My biggest fear though, the one that trumps the stomach bugs, the snot noses, crying jags at three in the morning and all of it, is autism. I am petrified of having a child with autism. I've known a lot of families with autistic kids on varying ends of the spectrum. I've worked with autistic kids and you know what - I have to be honest and politically incorrect here and admit that I don't feel I could handle it. I don't think I could provide an autistic child with what he or she needed. I know there are so many parents who say their lives have been blessed with their autistic children, and maybe they have and maybe I can't know because I haven't been in their position, but I just don't think I'm that strong or that noble. Maybe I could rise to the occasion but I don't want to find out that I couldn't.

Autism is a subject that really interests me. I want to know what's causing so much of it and why. I feel like something is going on. They say it isn't the vaccines, but then, what is it? Why are so many children autistic? And not just autistic but special needs in general? Again, look at the Mommy Blogs. Most (or at least many) of the Mommy Bloggers have special needs kids. Some probably began writing their blogs after learning that their kids were special. Blogging was their way of venting and reaching out to a larger community for help. I get that. I don't condemn it. But I've also noticed a large number of Mommy Bloggers who started their blogs before or when they were pregnant and had no clue they were about to give birth to a kid with issues of some kind. So what's up with that? It has to be, logically, that there's just a damned high rate of special needs kids being born all of a sudden and that the odds are not in my favor.

But then I see cute little babies and think of how great it would be to have children and how wonderful it would be if they were healthy and then I just feel so conflicted. So that's my answer. I'm scared to have children.

39 comments:

Amy said...

I don't think it's necessarily that there are many more special needs kids than there used to be. I think it is probably a combination of increased ability to categorize and diagnose, as well as a tendency for parents of special needs kids to reach out to the online community for support.

Your point of view about mommy blogs is interesting. I've never seen it that way because most of the ones I read, while they are somewhat honest and complaining at times, have a genuine feel that the writer is happy with his or her family. Of course there are bad times, but don't we have trying times with other loved ones, too? Spouses, parents, siblings, friends? And we still feel those relationships are valued and indispensable.

This is why I love the blogging community though -- exposure and insight to so many different people and ideas and viewpoints!

LegalMist said...

Come read my posts about kids -- it might provide a counterbalance to the mommy blogs by folks with special needs kids. I sometimes write about my relatively normal kids, who drive me nuts while providing great blog fodder with their smart-alec remarks.

I think a lot of bloggers do use their blogs to vent, and to raise awareness of issues, and to attempt to turn difficult situations into something humorous, or enlightening, or inspiring. Most of us don't sit down to write:

"Had another normal day. Got a good night's sleep last night. Dropped the kids at school, went to work, picked up the kids, helped them with their homework, went for a bike ride, had dinner, kids took their baths without any arguing, we read bedtime stories, kids went to sleep with no problems, I hung out with hubby, and now I'm going to bed."

If we did, no one would read our blogs -- can you say "BORING"?

Kids can be tough and tiring and time-consuming, especially if you sign them up for swim class, piano lessons, gymnastics, Italian class, and baseball, as I tend to do (not all at once of course!!), but they also can be loads of fun. If you love kids and think you want to have one, don't let the mommy blogs scare you away.

There are no guarantees, whether you have a kid or adopt one, and certainly some older kids who are available for adoption have some emotional issues -- but you could "screen" for common and relatively easily identifiable disorders such as autism by adopting an older child.

But it's certainly not my place or intention to pressure you, and I certainly am not judging you. If you don't want kids, that is completely your decision to make.

Just don't let the mommy blogs scare you away. People write about the difficult, the emotional, the scary, and the awful things in life, as well as the wonderful and exciting things. No one writes about the vast majority of what life with kids is: mundane, everyday routine with an "I love you" and an enthusiastic hug every single night (sometimes three or four times a day) and a "You're the best mom ever" thrown in every week or so for good measure (Ok, I admit my kids aren't teens yet, so maybe that won't hold for much longer, but the fact is, it's how it is now and I never write about that!).

But maybe I'll try it on my blog, just for fun. Then I can quit writing my blog posts in your comment section! =)

Anonymous said...

If you are ambivalent, don't do it. I have a 3-month-old boy. He's apparently quite reasonable as far as babies go (no colic, no apparent problems) - but it's still a ridiculous amount of effort. However, I will note that the grosser aspects of baby care aren't nearly as bad as I thought they would be. You are so worried that everything is working normally at the beginning that you welcome every crap. By the time you get over the initial health concerns, you are just inured to bodily functions.

- lowwall

Anonymous said...

I think one reason why there are so many kids with autism now is that a generation ago they would've been categorized as "mentally retarded." Now that we know that people with autism have different needs and abilities than people with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities, there's a bigger reason to diagnose early.

Take Asperger's syndrome, for example. Usually found in individuals with normal or even high IQ (some people theorize that Bill Gates has it, due to some of his mannerisms), it used to often be misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD, but the medications that are usually used to treat ADD/ADHD just make Asperger's syndrome worse.

Another theory for the rise in cases is that people with borderline autism are meeting, getting married, and reproducing more thanks to the rise of the computer industry, and the combination of genes is resulting in more severe cases (California has a soaring autism rate overall, but the rate is especially high in Silicon Valley).

onthegomom said...

I loved your point of view on gay marriage and adoption. I agree with you but you put it so much better than I ever could. I love your blog!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, WL. I especially liked your commentary on mommy blogs and not having children. I would like to hear the monkey story, even though I don't usually like animal-related blog posts.

PS - my word verification is "spill", which is something children do a lot, haha.

That Girl said...

I was a special needs child. At least, I would have been categorized as one if the term existed back then. I was born with a tracheal-esophageal fistula, which is basically a fancy term for your throat not being connected to your stomach. It required a few surgeries, TONS of doctors offices and routine tests, a feeding tube until I was 3, and a whole host of other issues only my mother (and maybe my dad but he wasn't so involved with that aspect) could tell you about because I was too young to remember.

But for as rough of a childhood as I had sometimes I grew up to be a pretty normal adult. Sure I still have to see a gastroenterologist a few times a year and I'll have to take reflux medication for the rest of my life, but I turned out fine. It was just the first few years that were really rough.

Having kids of my own does scare me too though, especially the disorders thing. I know my mom was strong enough to deal with mine but if my kid had anything besides what I do (only cos I'm so familliar with it) I don't know if I could handle it. Honestly, mentally handicapped people creep me out. I know that sounds horrible, but it is true. I don't know if I'd be able to handle it if my kid had some terrible disorder either.

As far as birth defects being more common lately I don't know if that's true. There are support groups for just about everything nowadays and survival rates are higher than they used to be for a lot of diseases. It's just a lot more openly talked about than it used to be.

JTN said...

I relate to your comments about seeing first hand what drugs and alcohol do to you. I usually get a bunch of snickers every time it comes up in class and I mention I don't and have never used drugs. It's not from a moralistic point of view, but I grew up with a pothead uncle and a hardcore alcoholic uncle. I saw how their addictions destroyed their lives and how much they hurt the ones around them.
There's nothing like watching your grandma cry when you're about 10 because her other sons can't hold down a job because they either show up loaded or baked and they had to bail out/dry out/throw them out one more time because they either stole stuff for drugs, are under court order to clean up and get caught on a drug test (again), or show up loaded at family gatherings and pick fights.

Those side shows were better for convincing me than any Nancy Reagan very special "Different Strokes" episode.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your comments about kids. I tend to over-analyze and was extremely anxious about having a special needs child, esp. given my age (35). While we were still trying to "decide", I got pregnant even while on birth control. For me that was actually a blessing because it took away my agonizing - the baby was coming, so I had to get ready.

I worried through the prenatal appts and had a healthy, normal baby boy about 6 months ago. I worried about autism until he started smiling and making eye contact - which he did a bit late (the ranges are very wide, but he didn't start till about 3 months).

Coincidentally at 3 months, he got over his "witching hour" screaming jags each day, and got a lot more interesting and fun. I had been told that it started getting better at 3 months, and for us, it was true.

Now at 6 months, I can say it gets better each month. Are there shitty moments? Absolutely - both literally and figuratively! But he's the absolute light of my life and I can't imagine life without him now.

It's brought my husband and I closer as well - I think because we both work, we definitely have a partnership model where we are both hands-on and fully capable. that's really important and I can see how the dynamic could be harder if one person stays home. We both work from home 1x/wk and are always sympathetic to one another whether we're the one who worked all day or was home all day.

Good luck as you decide, and though I don't know you personally, and you weren't asking for a vote...I have to cast one for having a baby. ;)

Milesly Rose said...

My mom is an elementary school teacher. She chose to move from a very affluent suburban school to the inner city, because she felt she could make more of a difference there.

She's an amazing teacher, too.

whirling-woman said...

Ah man! Forget cherry blossoms for now! The plum blossoms are in full bloom now here in the Tokai / Kansai region and they are gorgeous! Is it possible to post pictures to your comment section?

Imagine walking around a shrine garden filled with hundreds of weeping plum blossom trees and wherever you walk you breath in the scent.

Heaven.

Add a taiyaki treat (a fish shaped pancake filled with custard or redbean flavoured jam) and I practically collapse!

Prime cherry blossom season varies from region to region of course. Here in prefectures Osaka fu, Kyoto fu, Shiga, Gifu, Nara, Mie and Aichi you can expect the cherry blossoms to be last week of March to the first week of April. Southern Mie and Wakayama are ahead by about a week.

The weather stations all include flower sections in their forecast and all of Japan eagerly watches the cherry blossom front blow up from Okinawa and Kyuushuu.

There are all kinds of websites that are dedicated to monitoring the best cherry blossom viewing places, which trees are at their peak when and what times of days have the best light. (Japan is serious photographer country) The fliers in the train stations are all advertising special tour pacakges taking you to the best viewing places. They are quite reasonably priced to, about 50 bucks Canadian for a day trip and back through Kyoto for example.

Sakura Time is wild in Japan! And I have a futon with your name on it if you ever want to come down it lovely Ise in Mie prefecture!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered foster care? It would give you an opportunity to try your hand at childcare, while simultaneously providing a much-needed safe haven for a child who needs it very much. You would be able to dictate all sorts of variables: age, special needs, gender - so you could test the waters of childrearing under a controlled environment that you could be comfortable with. And you would be paid for your time and effort. In most cases, the goal of foster care is for the children to be placed in the home of a relative, so you would have to emotionally prepare yourself to let the child go at that time - but on the other hand, if you tried being a mother for a few months and hated it, you would not be dooming the child in your care to a lifetime with someone who hates them (as so many 'new mothers' I know).

kerry said...

I agree that our current rash of special needs kids is partly because we can diagnose them better now than we could in the past. I also think part of it is the current "culture of victimhood"- it's hip to have a special-needs kid. On the one hand, it's good to talk about it, where in the past ya just kind of didn't (my brother had a speech impediment and was "delayed speech"), but on the other hand, it's frequently a plea for sympathy and attention when if you just went on with life, the kid would be normal. Munchausen's without the actual damage to the child.

I am *so* with you on gay rights and gay adoption. I see how many kids are in the foster system, or up for adoption, and gay couples (or single people) are not given the opportunity to adopt and it's ridiculous. One of my coworkers looked into adoption, but the requirements are intimidating, to say the least. People pass judgement on your ability to raise a child, yet they judge it by external things like church attendance, which in my opinion is not a good marker for parent-worthiness. Like you say, a 16-year old hooking up with "some guy" is considered a fit parent in some circles, yet capable adults aren't.

Whirling-Woman: that sounds fascinating about the blossom season! That must be beautiful.

Luna Sea said...

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Kids suck, and if you are even a little ambivalent, don't do it. I am 35 and had a tubal ligation 3 weeks ago, no kids. And have never been happier in my life. No more worries. No bullshit. No moomy blogs, no diapers. And a vacation of MY choosing every year.

If you really want a sproglet, adopt one that needs to get the hell out of dodge, AKA get away from abusive asshole parents. Like the ones I had, maybe. It might have saved me a lot of hell, if I could have gotten away. I'm just sayin...

Modern Philodoxos said...

my mom works in special ed. she is a school psychologist, which doesn't mean she's a counselor, it means she tests for handicaps and behavioral or learning problems. one of the most disturbing things she would say is that so many parents WANT their kids to be diagnosed "special ed." they will argue if they're told their kids are normal. they want them labled and drugged. they want to have the responsibility for their (often minor) behavioral or learning problems put on a third party, rather than their shitty parenting (or the fact that they're JUST KIDS). so. "special needs" children are EXTREMELY over diagnosed and we are creating a culture of fucked up children who believe they are substandard or incapable when really no one wants to take responsibility for their growth or education. it's very wrong.

Jai Cassimere said...

I don't think a lot of people know how to be parents anymore.

I go visit my high school teachers sometimes (I'm a senior in college now) and I am amazed at how kids act in the level classes. Even good teachers have just...given up. They can't be bothered and they simply don't have the energy to teach AND be a referee. The kids are like animals....I have to wonder, who is neglecting to teach them manners and respect?

I'd have gotten the shit kicked out of me (by my mother!) If I had jumped around in class and said fresh things to the teachers. I didn't live in fear, believe me, but I certainly knew better. It makes me ill to think of educated people sneered at and mocked by ignorant, entitled 17-year-olds who've been told all their lives what wonderful little human beings they are and never gotten a harsh word.

If anyone else reads Violent Acres, read her stuff about kids. Very instructional.

ty-ping said...

Like Amy said
I don't think there's more special needs kids either, it's just that the kid who used to just be "Stupid" is now ADHD or Autistic. The one's that would usually never see the light of day or leave th house are now being sent to school with everyone else and being shoved into the rest of society to contribute as best they can.
And simply because out health care is better so these kids whom would usually die in infancy or childbirth or miscarry are now being brought to term and adulthood when before they probably wouldn't have made it so far.

And don't worry, I'm with you on the no-kids-plz-thanks thing. I figure if I really want one, then I'll probably adopt or become a foster parent for kids over 5 or 6 years old since once a kid is over 3 often they become "Unadoptable" and those are the kids that need loving families the most.

Sarah said...

Thank you, thank you -- for speaking my same thoughts about having children. I want to hear more about the monkey... :D

Pat said...

Gee.

I've been thinking about your comments.

Our son was born when we were pretty young, 24 and 27. While we didn't have a lot of discussion about having kids, we both agreed that we did. Ah Youth. On July 15th, 1975, at 10PM, I said "I could get pregnant now" and I did.
Still an incredible recollection for me.

He has provided some of the richest experiences in my life and in many ways has enhanced my life and our marriage. Was it all great? NO! What is? Was it worth the effort? YES! Would I do it again if I had my life to live over? You bet!

And now that he is married, I absolutely love my DIL. It's fun to watch him in a relationship and see him be a man.

Please remember that MOST children are born fine and healthy, without deformity and with reasonable intelligence.

But, when my son was 7, after I had had a serious illness, I decided to have a tubal ligation. The chances of a brain injured child were great and I am not one who could handle that.

Don't read Mommy blogs. I've read a few and since I am so past that time in my life, it has no interest for me.

People who say kids suck should look in the mirror. Many child free people I know have become self centered and self serving adults.

We certainly agree on how one's upbringing can influence one's life. I say it helped me be a girl scout: "BE PREPARED!" I learned how to tap dance, tip toe and walk on egg shells.

AND, btw, I really made myself sound crazy in my last post. Nah, just somewhat neurotic like the rest of you! :)

Hey! My question for you is: Why don't you have a blog website that earns you some dough like so many other popular bloggers do?

Anonymous said...

I used to feel the exact SAME way you did about kids. Then I birthed a baby girl. And came home from the hospital feeling like I had been physically hit by a truck and emotionally overwhelmed and wondering why the heck I ever wanted to do something like this and how was I ever going to survive?
Six years later I can honestly say that it has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I'm so proud of my girl who is learning to read books and get along with other people. It's been hard. And inconvenient. And expensive. But I don't want to go back to the ego centered materialistic person I was 6 years ago. And I wouldn't trade the hard ride of motherhood for anything in the world!

the Bag Lady said...

There are enough people in the world already. If you are the least bit hesitant about having a child, don't have one.

I totally agree with several of your commenters, and especially Kerry, regarding the "culture of victimhood" that our society has created. It seems to be all part and parcel of the attitude pervading the younger generations now - lay the blame on someone (or something)else.

This post obviously touched a nerve with a lot of people. I could rant on and on... perhaps I need to post something on my own blog, instead of hijacking your comment section. Unfortunately, I don't have your gift for communication and would probably come across all bitchy and judgmental. Guess I'd better stick with posting about silly stuff instead....

Marcie said...

I am ambivalent about having kids too. I feel guilty about the expectations from my parents and in-laws, luckily, our siblings are having kids so it takes the pressure away from us. I just grew up with the fantasy of getting married and having kids. It's what everyone does, pretty much everyone! But now that I'm married, I'm not sure I want the kids part. My aunt and uncle, and brother and sis-in-law, all talk about how hard it is, how you'll never get to talk to each other unless the kids are asleep. They never tell me the good part of having kids. Everyone tells me I'll change my mind, but I'm not so sure. I'm not sure I'll be the kind of woman who will ever be desperate to have a child. I see people who are who can't have children and it's killing them.

Oh, and I went to Italy 5 years ago and it was the best trip of my life. Definitely go there!

Anonymous said...

As a mother myself, I'm going to be really honest with you. Most mothers won't tell you the truth - but I'm going to...

Being a mother - a GOOD mother - is the hardest, most demanding, soul-sucking thing you'll ever do. It takes every ounce of physical, emotional and spiritual energy you have. From the moment that child is born to the moment they leave your home as a young adult and beyond, your life is not your own. You will worry CONSTANTLY. I think that's the worst part of it - the worry. Every pain, every hurt, every disappointment that your child feels, you will feel for them TEN TIMES WORSE. You think runny noses and poopy diapers are hard? Just wait until some kid at school is mean to them, or their hearts get broken, or they don't make the cheerleading squad, or they can't find a job. It's pure agony for a mother. Just wait until they are in college and constantly need money - money that you just don't have! Illness and injuries are the icing on the cake - they just crank up the volume on the already difficult, demanding and stressful job of being a mother.

Nobody told me these things when I was young and first married and just dying to have babies. Nobody told me. So, I'm telling you. If you want to be a good mother, and especially if you're overcompensating for your own rough childhood, it's really really hard and you will be changed forever. You will never be the person you are now.
~Lauren

FreshHell said...

Re: kids. To have them or not is your choice. And it's smart to be worried. I worry more about the "breeders" - people who just have them and don't think ahead and aren't equipped to raise them. Or celebrities who have them because its fashionable to have babies.

I wouldn't worry about things over which you have no control. Like autism. I don't know what causes it but it didn't stop me from immunizing my two healthy, normal, wonderful crazy girls.

I also have a vomit phobia and I do fear stomach viruses (I can't believe I even typed the "v" word!) but you do get kinda used to it. They don't last long.

Don't read the mommy blogs (though you're welcome to read mine!). There are so many that talk about things like autism because it's an outlet for those mothers. They can find others grappling with the same issue. But that also makes it seem like a bigger problem than it is. Autism is getting a lot of press lately. Which I'm not against, I'm just saying. Awareness tends to make a problem seem larger than it may actually be. And it doesn't mean your child will get it/have it.

And, I had kids because I'd always wanted them. I had two uneventful pregnancies, two natural births, breastfed without problems. But, kids are nerve wracking at times, cost money, and the whole childcare issue makes me want to burst into flames at times. My oldest is considered gifted and attends a great public school. My second will attend in the fall. Life is generally good. The kids eat real food, watch very little tv, are happy and active and creative and I can't ask for much more than that. They make me laugh everyday.

It's a choice that should never be taken lightly.

PS - I also completely agree with you on gays and adoption. I have a close lesbian friend who adopted a girl from China. Her partner also adopted one but they cannot be the legal guardians of the other's child. Which really sucks.

kate2.0 said...

I love your honesty about the kid/no-kid decision. I feel the same way - really scared to do it, but not yet totally convinced that I DON'T want to do it. I'm just-married and 33. We don't have to make the decision today, but I don't have all the time in the world, either. And like you, I really don't feel my husband and I are emotionally capable of parenting a special-needs child and the thought of it is terrifying to me. Life is overwhelming enough. There are amazing parents out there who care for their special-needs kids with such grace and compassion. I have to be honest with myself - I'm just not like them and don't think I ever could be. So, the contemplation continues....

Anonymous said...

Don't base your decision to have, or not have kids on what you read on the internet or see on TV; Both are filled with hype. Normal parents and normal kids usually don't make the nightly news, and the majority of parents of relatively happy families are not blogging about it. They are too busy raising and enjoying their children.

If you're worried about your odds of having healthy happy kids, talk to your doctor, and better yet, see a genetic counselor. They will most likely put your mind at ease. The statistics for "problem" children are not rising, merely the exposure they are getting is rising exponentially.

Architect Critic said...

Um, something a little more light-hearted now. In-N-Out is awesome. When my wife and I were looking for a new town to live in after finally graduating from college (5 degrees between the two of us), one of the requirements was there had to be an In-N-Out nearby.

The Language Prodigy said...

I'm scared to have children for exactly the same reasons. I don't know if I can handle them being sick or challenged in life. Obviously, no child is perfect, but I'm talking about concrete disabilities. I'm too selfish and too neurotic for that (funny because I work with these types of kids)...and I can save myself all the heartache and trouble by just NOT having one, so why not?

That said, I hate to base my choices on what happened to others and I hate to keep myself from experiencing things out of fear. Sometimes you have to take the risk if you really want something. Just put fear aside and rely on pure faith that everything's going to turn out okay, and that even if it doesn't, things will still be okay.

I'm still not having children any time soon, though. I enjoy my selfish, carefree lifestyle a bit too much.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is a combination of increased likelihood of diagnosis and even more -- completely hardass rigid and unimaginative curricula in the schools. My gifted kid is BORED to tears and while he has some attentional issues - the bigger issue is that there is nothing interesting to DO there.

Worksheets? Recopying? Color numbers? (check, check, check)

Thinking? Reasoning? Creativity? (leave it at the door, please)

xtine said...

Regarding children: I just KNOW, that given the mental health problems on both family trees, the hell I raised as a kid, and how much fun I make of other people, I'm going to have a "special needs" kid. And I don't know how well I'll cope.

I said so to a friend who used to work with clients who had autism.

She said: "Lots of parents say their kid has blessed their lives, and they never thought they could deal with it. Bullshit...I caught [client]'s mom because her 13yo daughter can't wipe her ass or take care of her own menstrual needs. It's not worth it"

...I still plan to have at least one kid. The fiance wants 9...he has five pregnancies to get it done, though.

booda baby said...

Not entirely sure why, but this is one of my favorite posts of yours. That probably doesn't even deserve to be a comment, but ... it does qualify, what with it being a comment and all, so ...

there you go. I give this 100 gold stars.

Anonymous said...

As hard as it may be, i would love to hear about the monkey story

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

If it scares you so bad, just don't. There is nothing wrong with that. It is hard, but it is totally worth it.

Missicat said...

LOVE Chik-fil-a! mmmmm....chicken sandwiches...

Have to agree on the mommyblogger thing - definitely is a great form of bc! Raising kids does sound very toughing and time consuming, and I know without a shadow of a doubt I could not endure the lack of sleep or privacy.

JoeinVegas said...

Don't listen to them - if you don't want kids then don't have any. Your choice.
But I think the beginning of the post does present you an opportunity - how to write a funny version of the monkey story.
And if you come to Vegas, we have the busiest In-N-Out in the country, but there are better burger places, I'll be glad to give you a tour. If you have Red Robins around their try them, not bad. And the fries are better.

Green said...

Maybe adopting a kid who is old enough to puke into a garbage pail who has already been determined to not have autism is the way to go for you.

I want to have a kid for all the selfish reasons, including to see if I could raise a kid to come out better than my parents raised me to come out. So obviously I should relinquish my uterus.

My politically incorrect confession is that I feel the way you do about not being able to raise an autistic kid, about mentally retarded kids. I could never do it.

Next time you're in SF, try Bistro Burger. They're not crazy Christians and their food is very high quality while still being fast food.

Lucky said...

Had to response to Pat: "Many child free people I know have become self centered and self serving adults."

...who should therefore NOT HAVE KIDS. Having a kid does not magically make a person giving / kind / loving / etc. Similarly, NOT having a kid does not magically turn a giving / kind / etc. person into a jerk.


Also, I'd like to hear a bit about the monkey.

Anonymous said...

There are so many wonderful and thoughtful comments here about having or not having children. I'd like to comment as well:

First of all, it is a personal choice that is yours and yours alone. I agree with many posters that if you at all ambivelant, don't do it. Having complete responsibilty for the rest of your life for someone else's life is not a decision to be lightly made. To those moms who have made a good choice for themselves, I say your children are very lucky. Not all children can say the same about their parents.

Pat seems to have problems about people who have chosen not to have children. I wonder what she bases her judgement on? I wonder if she is capable of understanding that there are many selfish, self-centered parents out there who are responsible for all the lost, screwed-up children in our culture? I wonder if she is aware that f*cked-up parenting is actually responsible for our culture being so morally, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt? Since the majority of Americans choose to parent, I am surprised that she fails to grasp the obvious: bad parenting is responsible for the decline of our civilization. But perhaps her brain was pushed out when she was bearing down on her afterbirth? Hmmmmm, I wonder. I wonder why women who chose to have kids always insist that everyone should--no--MUST have them as well. I wonder if they will force their own children into doing what the kids don't want to do, or is that just something these women do to other women, but wouldn't want it done to their kids?

But since we are cultural stereotyping here, allow me to retort:

Expecting others to breed because you have is "self-centered and self-serving". The most selfish people I know are breeders. Because all I know are breeders. Breeders vastly out-number without- children -by- choice adults. They are smug, judgemental, small-minded, selfish, and can't think outside the box. They have no respect for others and think their kids are Jesus. They want everyone to pay for their choice to breed and are the most martyred, self-made victims in our culture.

So I say to Pat and all the other obsessed Mommy-breeders out there, "May whatever you expect/demand of others and how you judge others come back to your children a million fold"

PS: Another reader mentioned "Violent Acres". Excellent blog.

Laurie said...

Wow. So much of this entry could have been written by me - if I were a writer and before I became a mom at the ancient age of 38. I wish I had some wisdom to impart to you, especially about becoming a mother - but I don't. I was terrified throughout my pregnancy for all the reasons you cite, and that was not enjoyable. I continued to be terrified through the first year of motherhood. Again, not recommended. But that was about 14 years ago, the internet could have been a big help to me and it would be to you if you needed it to be in a similar situation.

I just found your blob via "Bye Bye Pie" and I want to thank June for introducing me to another "must read daily" blog. Now I will never get anything done . . .!

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