Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005

Chez Miscarriage is a blog I read sometimes - it's a woman who is keeping an online diary about her miscarriages and attempts to get pregnant. This latest post of hers is fascinating to me, and points out a anti-female perspective in an area we might not think about.

"Women who choose to live childfree are selfish. After all, children are the future! How dare women prioritize their own desires over the needs of society? And by "society," I of course mean me. After all, who will pay for future public road repairs if women aren't coerced into raising children they don't want? Should I be forced to drive over potholes simply because some hyper-actualized tart wants to spend her weekends reading and relaxing and fornicating? I don't think so - and neither will you, if you know what's good for you."

It goes on from there. I encourage people to give it a read - it's an interesting perspective.

Kris Weberg | February 2, 2005
I'm of two minds about this post.

First and foremost, I think it does what it's supposed to, refuting the impossible pressure put on a woman from without regarding any decision regarding childbirth and child-raising. On that point, she's bang-on. (I suspect a particularly stupid column by David Brooks helped prompt this blogger's post, by the way.)

So as a biting, perceptive, rhetorical response, it's quite good. But -- you knew this was coming -- if you take it literally, it seems to make any judgement about children utterly contingent, which I can't entirely agree with. I think there's a moral basis for the decision that's built on the responsibility you have towards the child if you opt for adoption or some form of childbirth, and in the case of surrogate motherhood, your responsibility to the other woman.

I doubt the post's author is really ignoring those issues, but then, I take everything too literally, even grand polemics. It's my job!

Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
I agree, Kris. It's a little biting - I think a lot of that comes from this poor woman's experience - I've read her blog for awhile, and the abuse she's experienced from other people about her own personal struggle to be pregnant and have a child is insane. I'm sure at this point she feels like no matter what she says or does, it's considered wrong. So her larger point is an interesting one - but it's heavily spiced with personal experience.

Scott Hardie | February 2, 2005
My first thoughts upon reading that quote were "this has to be sarcasm" and "why are men excused from her accusation?" But reading the blog entry in its entirety quashed both of those ideas.

Kris Weberg | February 2, 2005
Well, Scott, when a columnist like David Brooks can write in the New York Times, that:

"For example, it might make more sense [for a woman] to go to college, make a greater effort to marry early and have children. Then, if she, rather than her spouse, wants to stay home, she could raise children from age 25 to 35. Then at 35 (now that she knows herself better) she could select a flexible graduate program specifically designed for parents. Then she could work in one uninterrupted stint from, say, 40 to 70."

And close by arguing that declining birth rates are the cause of the Social Security "crisis," yeah, there's a problem. And I don't think it's Chez Miscarriage's problem.

(I would link to the column, but it's already in "archive" at the NYT page, menaing that you'd have to pay a few bucks to read it. And David Brooks is never worth paying to read.)

Amy Austin | February 2, 2005
I'd like to know just how many hands she has...

Kris Weberg | February 2, 2005
More than most people, but fewer than she'd need to slap David Brooks enough times to make the world right again.

Lori Lancaster | February 2, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
Wow, Lori. An embittered psychopath!?!? That's exactly the kind of cruel abuse she's talking about - people saying, "Just deal with it." Having children might not have been your greatest objective in life, but it's what this woman wants more than anything. Why should she just deal with it? Why should she have to hear people criticizing every single choice regarding children she thinks about making? It's really no body's business what she does regarding her own procreation.

I see this time and time again in my life - people are so often eager to reach in about pregnancy, childbirth, childrearing. I'm sure as a parent you've received unwanted advice, etc. Why is it anyone's business? That's the point I believe she's trying to make. She's also saying that it's easy for other people to criticize when they can have kids - they have no idea what it's like to want them and not be able to just have them.

I think she's just looking for a little understanding. I am hoping that by sharing this blog we can think about what it means when we say things like, "Can't you just adopt?" (one I've been guilty of) and the like.

Amy Austin | February 2, 2005
Actually, I was thinking the same thing as Lori... from "octopus" on down.

Is it sad? Yes... but she should just go ahead and do whatever it is she's going to do about it and not worry about what the rest of the world thinks. I find it hard to believe that anyone would have anything bad to say about someone adopting when they can't make their own baby, but I suppose there are idiots out there who will cast a judgment about anything and/or everything... this is just a fact of life that *she* needs to accept and get on with her business.

Perhaps it is "no body's business what she does regarding her own procreation," but Lori's right -- she has made it that way by putting these posts out there! It should be quite obvious to her, both as a woman with an imperfect uterus and one who wants to bring a child into it, that it's not a perfect world out there!

Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
Right, but she's not just coming from her own experience, but the experience of many, many women she's met doing this blog and from going through her infertility experiences...

If she didn't have a blog then, you'd consider it her own business? Part of the reason she has the blog is to let people know about this problem, which I think is great.

Sigh, nevermind. I personally don't understand her reasons for doing what she's doing, but I certainly don't think she's unjustified in thinking that it's wrong when all her choices are denigraded.

Lori Lancaster | February 2, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
I think this thread I've started really exemplifies the quickness to judge people who are infertile and go to great lengths to get prengant! Although I feel that the world is quick to judge everything these days. At any rate, I'd encourage people to read a bit more of her blog - I find this woman intelligent, funny, and quite insightful about life and love and a quest for what you desire most in this world. Perhaps I've a quite different perspective because I've read it for at least a year.

Give infertility a chance, and this woman and all women like her a fair shake. I've realized how brutal people (including myself) have been to people like her, and I hope that others can at least examine their attitudes towards infertile women.

Lori Lancaster | February 2, 2005
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Denise Sawicki | February 2, 2005
Whoa hey, I took Anna's remark to mean something more along the lines of "bearing your own children may not have been your greatest objective in life", meaning, perhaps if you had been unable to bear your own children you would have been happy enough to adopt, but this woman really wants to bear her own children... Obviously I can't speak for Anna but that's just how I read it, which shows it is easy to read text-only comments in different ways. Let's not make Scott come in here again and threaten to shut the place down :(

Lori Lancaster | February 2, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
Lori, I in no way said nor implied your children weren't important to you.

Thank you Denise, you got it exactly right.

Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
Perhaps I would have been happy enough to adopt (after several years) if I were unable to have kids, but I would have exhausted any and all means before that. Screw whatever anyone said about it.

This, by the way, is exactly what Chez Miscarriage is doing. She is registering her anger at everyone saying something about it.

Denise Sawicki | February 2, 2005
Good for you Lori... as they say, being a mother is the most important job in the world. It's one I might never do because I might never feel myself to be a mature enough person to be qualified :P You sound like you're a good and dedicated mother, though.

Anyway, yes, the article linked had a rather incendiary way of getting its point across... So much so that the point almost got lost... In the end, I guess the point was that men don't get picked on for their child rearing choices, whereas women do... I can't really comment on whether this is the case or not because it's not something I've given a whole lot of thought to yet!

P.S. My rather flippant statement on the importance of motherhood is not meant to denigrate people without children, fathers (including stay-at-home fathers), mothers who work outside the home, or anybody else, for that matter, though I acknowledge that it very easily could be taken as such. I guess I stated in more detail my views on this kind of thing in another thread not too long ago.

Scott Horowitz | February 2, 2005
Lori, don't leave. We have to have one token anime fan on the board. It could take months of searching to find another.

Jackie Mason | February 2, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
It IS a pickle, Jackie. If you want your career, you can get labeled as this single woman who won't settle down, or someone who doesn't want kids. If you do it too soon, then you can be branded a "homemaker" whose only purpose is having kids, with no aspirations of your own. Women are expected to balance both, and oftentimes, one is not acceptable! Why must we be all things to all people? I think that's all she was trying to point out, especially in regards to her own personal bugaboos about fertility choices.

I again champion both her as a person and her blog as an eye-opener.

Jackie Mason | February 2, 2005
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Anna Gregoline | February 2, 2005
Jackie, I TOTALLY understand! I want to get married soon, but I don't want kids right away, but then again, it's like, how long to wait? And I want to be financially stable when that happens, so I have to keep a good work history going, but I want to travel cross country and around the world, and that takes money and time, both of which kids don't afford you, and it's a tough thing!

Whoa, with the run-on sentences, there.

Kris Weberg | February 3, 2005
Uhm, I'm sort of guessing that the post is ironic, guys. She's laying out the arguments against women no matter what choice they make regarding having, not having, adopting, not adopting, surrogate mothering, or anything with children.

But carry on yellign at oen another for perceived slights, because that's so much more pleasant for all concerned.

DISCLAIMER: Kris Weberg is a hypocrite on this and many issues. But then, a man who murders and condemns murder is a hypocrite too; yet murder is still wrong.

Scott Hardie | February 3, 2005
About the perceived insult: Lori, you are clearly a loving and devoted mother. I don't think anyone here could, let alone would, say that you don't love your children. I suppose that Denise and Anna already explained the meaning of the sentence, but when I read it, the first half seemed to be setting aside your love for your kids (and thus implicitly acknowledging it) as not relevant to the point she was trying to make. In other words, instead of reading it as "just because your kids aren't important to you, here's my point", I read it as "whether or not your kids are important to you, here's my point." She knows how much you love your children; we all do, but that was simply not connected to what it was she was saying, and she needed to separate it. Anyway, that's just the way that it happened to read to me, and I do sympathize with your frustration. My own points seem to wind up distorted all the time around here, to the point where I no longer even need to respond because the replies are so far away from my point that I'd only wind up repeating myself if I spoke further.

Maybe we'd be better at discussing things if, before responding in detail to someone else's point, we repeated it in terms of "if I understand you correctly, this is what you're saying." That might help us see when someone else has twisted our words, because they didn't understand them. I don't think anyone here is intentionally distorting other people's points; the Internet as a medium is highly prone to misinterpretation. :-(

Anyway, as to the intended topic of discussion, I sense that I have nothing to contribute that you cannot already guess from my gender. I can count on one hand the number of times someone has seriously suggested that I have children. I get unwanted advice all the time, usually of the "you should lose weight" variety (well yeah, I couldn't have figured that one out), but I am usually successful in dismissing it with a mumbled "uh-huh" that ends the conversation by signaling my refusal to participate in it. I don't know whether that's practical for the woman behind this blog, but it seems to me that if certain people persist in giving her advice, she should tell them directly to stop, instead of complaining about it online. Everybody knows the Internet is best for complaining about stupid things like Shrek on a box of taco shells.

Kris Weberg | February 3, 2005
Wait a minute....

They put Shrek on a fucking box of tacos?

DISCLAIMER: Thjis post is not suitable for small children.

SUBDISCLAIMER:Probably should have put that at the top.

SUBSUBDISCLAIMER:No more disclaimer jokes from me. It's a dead genre.

Anna Gregoline | February 3, 2005
I think, Scott, that the fact her blog is ONLY about infertility and miscarriages means that there's going to be a fair amount of complaining on it!

Honestly, I meant no harm above and was quite taken aback with Lori's response. I saw her "She just had to insult and say that my children were not important to me." almost as if she was waiting for me to say something wrong. I guess I'm going to feel that way because of all the stuff lately, but honestly, I was shocked at her response - why would I say anyone's children weren't important to them? Lori must think I'm this evil person or something. I thank Denise again for thinking about what I said and gleaning my true meaning, which I really put forth as best I could.

I think if everyone agrees that no one here is intending malice (not anyone, anymore, right guys?) there wouldn't be these squabbles.

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