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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:22 pm 
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I almost didn't post due to having the same observation that Jordan wrote about, but this is a topic that has been on my mind lately. I've never felt like aelle where I can't imagine my life being unfulfilled if I don't have children, so I think that I'm okay with not having kids. However, societal crepe and people saying how it'll change my life weighs on me from time to time, and I wonder if I'm just fooling myself by saying I don't want them.
I'm not even in a relationship situation where I'm thinking about it, so I suppose my mind could change given the right circumstances, but I'm sick of sometimes feeling like I'm making a mistake with my life by not settling down and having children.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:27 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
I think it's really, really telling that in a thread where the OP is specifically asking women without children for opinions, a high percentage of the people responding have children, and in some cases, are almost arguing with the OP. I feel like if that many childless women chimed in in a thread where a mother specifically asked other mothers for opinions, it would likely be considered disrespectful.

That is not to say that the mothers in this thread aren't entitled to their opinions, or that they don't have good, useful, thoughtful, wise things to say (they do, and I <3 them). It's just interesting that everyone apparently feels so comfortable commenting on this topic, even when the conversation was started by someone seeking the opinions of a specific class of peers.

Also, in before people point out that childless people do comment on mothers' issues all the time. I know, but that's not what's happening in this thread.
All of this makes perfect sense; lepelaar's analogy to the vegan pet peeves thread illustrates the point nicely. I'd just like to say that when I have weighed in here, it was in the interest of critical debate qua critical debate: I wanted to push back against what I saw as an inversion of the pressure people who don't want children feel from people who insist that they should, will, etc. Which is merely to point out what seems fairly obvious: that judging other people as "selfish," "irresponsible," or whatever for having children is objectionable in precisely the same way as saying those things about child-free people. I have always believed that it's A. terrible manners and B. unbelievably presumptuous to comment on other people's reproductive choices (and this is by no means limited to women; I know several childless men who've had vasectomies and dealt with the whole "but aren't you afraid you'll regret it later?" thing). I simply wanted to make the point that if the decisions of child-free people are their own and no one else's business, the same rule should apply to the choices that are made by others.

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Last edited by Desdemona on Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:27 pm 
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I'm not implying that I would have children to keep someone around. I just wanted to hear what others have experienced when in a relationship with someone who doesn't see eye to eye on the topic of children. I think this is a topic that contains all shades of grey and I just wanted to hear what your experiences have been.

I think every couple and their dynamic is completely different and there is no "right" answer, everyone just does what they can to navigate these situations the best they can so no one winds up too hurt. I just wanted to post this to see what others have experienced/the choices they have made because I'm curious how this choice has affected your romantic relationships as I'm sure it might affect mine in the far future.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:28 pm 
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I've been thinking more about this since posting the last time. I guess for me, there is the very real issue that i do not want to be a MOTHER in the sense society expects me to be. I am not against having children per se, i don't know how I would feel about that. But I feel like becoming a MOTHER would take away so many things from me that i value, such as personal freedom. The Erica Jong article I posted touches the subject in a really good way, I think.
I could imagine having a child if I could afford a nanny who could help out outside of daycare hours. And if boarding school was an actual option where my child could grow and become its own person with its own experiences, instead of a horrifying place that costs several hundred thousands a year. And if I was with someone who got up at night and fed the baby. If it was possible to find a balance between being a parent and being an individual, I might consider it. But as I see it now, it's not an option, and having a child the way I could imagine would quite probably make everyone around me judge me for being a bad parent. And it also makes me think that if having a child only would be possible for me if society was different, if MOTHERHOOD wasn't an all-consuming thing, then no, I don't want children.

I feel like the expectations towards women in MOTHERHOOD is in complete contrast to the feminist project. And I just don't think it's that important to have a child. I enjoy hanging out with children, and I live with a 7 year old about 50% of the time because her father is my roommate, and I have a strong bond with her that will probably continue for the rest of my life. But she is not a limitation as having my own child would be, she is just a really short friend who can't cook for herself yet. And I would not enjoy her company as much if I had to follow her to school every morning at 7.15.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:29 pm 
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One thing I'm not particularly proud of, is that I am sometimes jealous of the attention that people (especially women) who have kids receive. Especially in my family- my cousin has two kids and my mom and aunt are always talking about her and the kids. Sometimes I feel slighted because they don't seem very interested in me or my life. Now that I type that out, it sounds extremely petty! haha

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:32 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
I think it's really, really telling that in a thread where the OP is specifically asking women without children for opinions, a high percentage of the people responding have children, and in some cases, are almost arguing with the OP. I feel like if that many childless women chimed in in a thread where a mother specifically asked other mothers for opinions, it would likely be considered disrespectful.

That is not to say that the mothers in this thread aren't entitled to their opinions, or that they don't have good, useful, thoughtful, wise things to say (they do, and I <3 them). It's just interesting that everyone apparently feels so comfortable commenting on this topic, even when the conversation was started by someone seeking the opinions of a specific class of peers.

Also, in before people point out that childless people do comment on mothers' issues all the time. I know, but that's not what's happening in this thread.
All of this makes perfect sense; lepelaar's analogy to the vegan pet peeves thread illustrates the point nicely. I'd just like to say that when I have weighed in here, it was in the interest of critical debate qua critical debate: I wanted to push back against what I saw as an inversion of the pressure people who don't want children feel from people who insist that they should, will, etc. Which is merely to point out what seems fairly obvious: that judging other people as "selfish," "irresponsible," or whatever for having children is objectionable in precisely the same way as saying those things about child-free people. I have always believed that it's A. terrible manners and B. unbelievably presumptuous to comment on other people's reproductive choices (and this is by no means limited to women; I know several childless men who've had vasectomies and dealt with the whole "but aren't you afraid you'll regret it later?" thing). I simply wanted to make the point that if the decision of child-free people are their own and no one else's business, the same rule should apply to the choices that are made by others.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:35 pm 
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smoothie wrote:
If it was possible to find a balance between being a parent and being an individual, I might consider it. But as I see it now, it's not an option, and having a child the way I could imagine would quite probably make everyone around me judge me for being a bad parent. And it also makes me think that if having a child only would be possible for me if society was different, if MOTHERHOOD wasn't an all-consuming thing, then no, I don't want children.


I agree with this too, though I've never really thought about it so specifically before now. I suppose that is what I meant when i posted earlier as well. I think I had always assumed that if I did become a parent, I would do things the way I wanted to and the way I thought best, but now I think I would be afraid that that would just not be possible in our current society.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:39 pm 
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Just a thought: I don't think EVERYONE who's saying "Why don't you have a kid? You should have a kid!" is doing it because they believe there is some sort of female obligation to do so. Like with my parents (both my mom and dad), I think when they ask it's out of genuine curiosity, because both of them knew they wanted to get married and have kids before they'd even met. And my older sister was that way too and now has a lovely family. So when I say that I'm not really very interested in having children they don't understand how someone could feel that way because they've never felt that way themselves, y'know? I know that's how they feel because I've discussed this topic with both of them, sigh.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:40 pm 
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Quarantined wrote:
One thing I'm not particularly proud of, is that I am sometimes jealous of the attention that people (especially women) who have kids receive. Especially in my family- my cousin has two kids and my mom and aunt are always talking about her and the kids. Sometimes I feel slighted because they don't seem very interested in me or my life. Now that I type that out, it sounds extremely petty! haha


It's not petty, I think that's true for a lot of families. No one wants to hear about our animals or hobbies or whatever. So it's either ask about work (or if you're moving, about that), and that's about it. That's actually One Reason I Am Terrified To Have Kids, I don't want people constantly up my butt asking me questions. I like being ignored!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:42 pm 
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smoothie wrote:
If it was possible to find a balance between being a parent and being an individual, I might consider it. But as I see it now, it's not an option, and having a child the way I could imagine would quite probably make everyone around me judge me for being a bad parent. And it also makes me think that if having a child only would be possible for me if society was different, if MOTHERHOOD wasn't an all-consuming thing, then no, I don't want children.


This really speaks to why I am, at this point, mostly opposed to the idea of children in my life. I have witnessed several times in the last few years, the complete loss of self of many of my most individual, unique friends, once they entered MOTHERHOOD. They become their child's biggest, most obsessive fan, and lose all semblance of the friend that I knew. I want to be friends with them, not their children, and I've been finding myself moving further away from people who can't make the distinction between themselves and their parental role.
I never, ever want that for myself, and that idea scares the shiitake out of me. I like being me, and it seems like being a MOTHER is some all-consuming thing, and I'm not prepared to lose that much of myself to that role.

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Last edited by paprikapapaya on Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:42 pm 
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Limone wrote:
So when I say that I'm not really very interested in having children they don't understand how someone could feel that way because they've never felt that way themselves, y'know?
Yeah, like aelle said on the last page, she feels children will be fulfilling and such. I've never felt that way. (Which is a pretty good indicator to me that I don't need to have children any time soon!)


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:44 pm 
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Limone wrote:
Just a thought: I don't think EVERYONE who's saying "Why don't you have a kid? You should have a kid!" is doing it because they believe there is some sort of female obligation to do so. Like with my parents (both my mom and dad), I think when they ask it's out of genuine curiosity, because both of them knew they wanted to get married and have kids before they'd even met. And my older sister was that way too and now has a lovely family. So when I say that I'm not really very interested in having children they don't understand how someone could feel that way because they've never felt that way themselves, y'know? I know that's how they feel because I've discussed this topic with both of them, sigh.


You haven't met my mother then... My mother told me, after I got married, that if I wasn't going to have kids that I shouldn't have gotten married because it is the ONLY reason to get married.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:45 pm 
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smoothie wrote:
I guess for me, there is the very real issue that i do not want to be a MOTHER in the sense society expects me to be.

This expresses excellently the situation a close relative of mine is in. She was so keen to have children, and eventually had two children by IVF in her early 40s. She loves her children. She just has no joy at all in being a mother. She certainly doesn't get the gooey gush about being fulfilled by motherhood, and whilst she'd never give her children up, if she could go back and choose again, she'd stay childless.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:54 pm 
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Quarantined wrote:
smoothie wrote:
If it was possible to find a balance between being a parent and being an individual, I might consider it. But as I see it now, it's not an option, and having a child the way I could imagine would quite probably make everyone around me judge me for being a bad parent. And it also makes me think that if having a child only would be possible for me if society was different, if MOTHERHOOD wasn't an all-consuming thing, then no, I don't want children.


I agree with this too, though I've never really thought about it so specifically before now. I suppose that is what I meant when i posted earlier as well. I think I had always assumed that if I did become a parent, I would do things the way I wanted to and the way I thought best, but now I think I would be afraid that that would just not be possible in our current society.


I really liked j-dub's post about changing the nature of how we see children from being a status symbol to being their own people and participants in a relationship with us.

I don't think anyone who doesn't want children should have them, but I also think that it is important to say that motherhood is different for different people and it doesn't have to be all consuming. Even attachment parenting (from the Jong article you reference), which is so not the norm, has as a tenet that you do what is right for your family, and that means it has to work for all the members in it. It sucks when you feel like society tells you there is only one way to be a mom and that way obliterates all other pieces of your identity, takes all your time, destroys all your desires and wants. As Vantine says, you can have an identity and in fact many pieces of your identity which are separate from being a mother.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Whoa, this thread. To add to what Jordan & others said - I read it all in one go and found the majority of people responding actually aren't parents (of the 40+ individuals who responded, 30+ said they don't want kids), but the few mothers that were in here did sometimes take up a lot more thread space, by posting multiple times or writing long posts or whatever, and in the most recent pages. So that's probably what gave the impression. Do what you will with that.

Personally: I could care less about having kids and wouldn't mind if I never had any. But my fiance has always wanted a family so it is what it is; I'm not terrified of the idea so I've signed on to having kids at some future date. That said, I wouldn't jump into it until we're both really, really ready - like someone else said earlier, I'd rather regret not having them then regret having them.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:59 pm 
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paprikapapaya wrote:
smoothie wrote:
If it was possible to find a balance between being a parent and being an individual, I might consider it. But as I see it now, it's not an option, and having a child the way I could imagine would quite probably make everyone around me judge me for being a bad parent. And it also makes me think that if having a child only would be possible for me if society was different, if MOTHERHOOD wasn't an all-consuming thing, then no, I don't want children.


This really speaks to why I am, at this point, mostly opposed to the idea of children in my life. I have witnessed several times in the last few years, the complete loss of self of many of my most individual, unique friends, once they entered MOTHERHOOD. They become their child's biggest, most obsessive fan, and lose all semblance of the friend that I knew. I want to be friends with them, not their children, and I've been finding myself moving further away from people who can't make the distinction between themselves and their parental role.
I never, ever want that for myself, and that idea scares the shiitake out of me. I like being me, and it seems like being a MOTHER is some all-consuming thing, and I'm not prepared to lose that much of myself to that role.


I think this might actually be the root of some of my reasons against having a child. I don't want to undergo a personality change. I like being me too.

I have one friend who wants to have kids (probably in 5 years) and whenever she talks about it, I get this rock in my gut because I feel like I'm going to lose her. I'm afraid that not only will she not have time to do things with me, but she'll become someone else - we won't be able to relate to each other anymore.

My neighbor had a baby and besides hearing it cry all the time, it really irks me that she basically stays inside all day, every day with the baby. Her husband comes and goes, does whatever. He took a week off or so when it was first born, but now he works every day and still plays with his band, while she doesn't get to do things like that. It's their choice and none of my business, but it makes me think. What if I had a kid and that happened to me? I refuse to let it.

We always hear that "motherhood changes everything." Does it really? Does it have to? I don't mean to shiitake on the fact that it is a big, important change for a lot of people, but I guess I don't completely buy it.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:04 pm 
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Quarantined wrote:
One thing I'm not particularly proud of, is that I am sometimes jealous of the attention that people (especially women) who have kids receive. Especially in my family- my cousin has two kids and my mom and aunt are always talking about her and the kids. Sometimes I feel slighted because they don't seem very interested in me or my life. Now that I type that out, it sounds extremely petty! haha


i don't think this is petty. I have a pretty rich life with a strong yoga practice and a nice relationship and teaching yoga and 4 pets... but somehow I feel like it can be hard to find people to talk about those things with in a meaningful way. Having and raising children is obviously one of the biggest deals ever in the lives of people who chose to do so - and so their experiences in parenting give them a way to talk and connect with other parents about meaningful ideas, big questions, and life-affirming joys. As a non-parent, I look for other ways to connect with people and build relationships... but I'm not saying it's always easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:11 pm 
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bathsheba wrote:

I have one friend who wants to have kids (probably in 5 years) and whenever she talks about it, I get this rock in my gut because I feel like I'm going to lose her. I'm afraid that not only will she not have time to do things with me, but she'll become someone else - we won't be able to relate to each other anymore.


That happened to me. I felt like a totally paranoid crasshole, and then it came true! I didn't even get a chance though, it was just like they only were interested in doing things with other families and mothers, I didn't even get invited over to watch tv anymore. Being dropped like a hot potato really sucks.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:12 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
I like being ignored!

Me too.

But I remember my single mother sister had a kid and she felt left out when she was with other mothers because with their hubs their situations were different and so they went off on their own conversations that related to their husband AND child/ren and sis felt snubbed. I just remember coming home from the event and her telling me how that bothered her.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:16 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
I like being ignored!

Me too.

But I remember my single mother sister had a kid and she felt left out when she was with other mothers because with their hubs their situations were different and so they went off on their own conversations that related to their husband AND child/ren and sis felt snubbed. I just remember coming home from the event and her telling me how that bothered her.

I can totally imagine that happening. Only one of my close friends has had a baby, and she was single, got pregnant by accident and did the whole pregnancy and birth by herself. Since she didn't have a partner she relied on friends a lot more which was nice since I felt like I really got to be a part of the whole experience. But on the other side of the coin, I can imagine that it would be isolating from other women who do have partners since the dynamic is totally different (I imagine).

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:17 pm 
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mrsbadmouth wrote:
bathsheba wrote:

I have one friend who wants to have kids (probably in 5 years) and whenever she talks about it, I get this rock in my gut because I feel like I'm going to lose her. I'm afraid that not only will she not have time to do things with me, but she'll become someone else - we won't be able to relate to each other anymore.


That happened to me. I felt like a totally paranoid crasshole, and then it came true! I didn't even get a chance though, it was just like they only were interested in doing things with other families and mothers, I didn't even get invited over to watch tv anymore. Being dropped like a hot potato really sucks.


Yup. Worst fears right there. I don't make close friends super easily, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose it if/when it happens. I'm going to put my cats in a baby bjorn and be like, "LOOK WE CAN STILL HANG OUT LOOK WE'RE HAVING A PLAYDATE."


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:23 pm 
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bathsheba wrote:
We always hear that "motherhood changes everything." Does it really? Does it have to? I don't mean to shiitake on the fact that it is a big, important change for a lot of people, but I guess I don't completely buy it.

I guess I've always taken that to mean that in a very real sense when the baby starts screaming, you're supposed to look after it and feed it and stuff. And it'll need changes and feedings and waterings all the time and then when they get mobile you have to watch them so they don't hurt themselves meanwhile trying to teach them what danger means and so on. And right from wrong. And this goes on for years. I mean, after being by myself a while, I think that would be a pretty big change in my life to be that responsible for another creature, to be charged with civilizing another human being. I have a seventy-year-old colleague with nearly fifty-year-old children and she told me given a choice, she wouldn't repeat motherhood because, as she put it, even when they're grown, she's never free of worrying about them even though they've been married, divorced, have their own children. For her, worrying about them as her children never ends.

But I think people also means in this highly emotional sense where you get this charged or heightened sixth sense that the childless will supposedly never possess which is what I really don't buy because, as others have pointed out, we all find richness and meaning in our lives in our own ways, childless or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:29 pm 
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bathsheba wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
bathsheba wrote:

I have one friend who wants to have kids (probably in 5 years) and whenever she talks about it, I get this rock in my gut because I feel like I'm going to lose her. I'm afraid that not only will she not have time to do things with me, but she'll become someone else - we won't be able to relate to each other anymore.


That happened to me. I felt like a totally paranoid crasshole, and then it came true! I didn't even get a chance though, it was just like they only were interested in doing things with other families and mothers, I didn't even get invited over to watch tv anymore. Being dropped like a hot potato really sucks.


Yup. Worst fears right there. I don't make close friends super easily, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose it if/when it happens. I'm going to put my cats in a baby bjorn and be like, "LOOK WE CAN STILL HANG OUT LOOK WE'RE HAVING A PLAYDATE."


Ok, this made me laugh really hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:38 pm 
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Semen Strong
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Veganism changed my identity more than having a baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:43 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Veganism changed my identity more than having a baby.



The OP: "I'm looking to communicate with women who have chosen not to have kids."

This is like the bachelorette meals thread, when people write in and talk about what they make with their partners.

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