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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:47 pm 
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littlebird wrote:
i think it's also really dependent on your perspective as to whether parents can be considered a "majority" or not. i mean, yeah, people have kids, because otherwise the human race would die out. but i think it's problematic to put all parents in one category, as though we were some kind of cohesive body.

i would bet that people with children are actually a minority on this forum, for example.


It's not about the statistics, it's about ingrained cultural ideals. Jessica Valenti writes in "Why Have Kids":

"American culture can't accept the reality of a woman who does not want to be a mother. It goes against everything we've been taught to think about women and how desperately they want babies. If we're to believe the media and pop culture, women -- even teen girls -- are forever desperate for a baby. It's our greatest desire."

Some people here agree with this, and are talking about the complexities of making choices to live outside of that cultural expectation. Whether the statistics back this up or not, a lot of people feel in the minority and constantly criticized about their choices, and that's why they are talking about it here.

Sigh.

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Last edited by molasses jane on Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:48 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
Kelly wrote:
As a parent, I don't agree with a lot of what's said in this thread and it doesn't matter because I don't have to agree! I make my choices for myself and I hope everyone else does too. I hope this thread can survive because the playground has been really helpful to me and I think it's just as important for non parents to have a place to discuss their choices and feelings.


Thanks, Kelly. This makes a lot of sense. I read the Playground sometimes, but I don't jump in to offer alternatives or my perspective, because that space is specifically set up to discuss issues around parenthood/raising children, and that is a very important thing to have as part of this community. So if this one thread is for people to discuss the choice not to have kids, and/or what it feels like not to have kids, why are so many people with kids finding offense? I appreciate Kelly's post, above. Obviously every one should feel free to read this and any other thread, and to comment on it. But why would parents come here to defend parenting? No one is going to the Playground defending not having kids. Of course some of the things said here aren't true from a parent perspective, but they are very real to the people sharing their experiences here who do not have kids. What a lot of people here are trying to express is how it feels to live in a world where parenthood is the norm, and where to not have children feels like making an against the grain choice that is constantly criticized. I feel like people should be able to vent about that, express that, and of course we should all strive to do so with care. People will fumble along the way, but it's an important conversation.


This is perfect. This thread is so valuable because those of us without children can say what we really think. In real life we often can't be honest about our feelings without being treated like the Grinch who hates babies and America - or being patronized because clearly we Just Don't Know. It is frustrating and people need to vent. I agree that people shouldn't be deliberately rude or hateful but if we are censoring ourselves too much in the thread then it goes back to being just like everyday living - back to hiding what we really think. I hope childfree folks can continue to honestly express their feelings here. It's one thread!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Can this thread go somewhere else? I'm not sure where, but I think it being on the front catchall page is part of the problem. The Playground is its own room; people w/o kids don't necessarily visit it. Any ideas this conversation might be better off in another space? It's own subforum on the Parlor perhaps?

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:52 pm 
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stellamarie wrote:
I agree that people shouldn't be deliberately rude or hateful but if we are censoring ourselves too much in the thread then it goes back to being just like everyday living - back to hiding what we really think.


Agreed.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:01 pm 
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The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect. The parents have an entire subforum of their own. If people can't bear seeing one thread about people who don't have or want children.... that's really an indication of why this thread is needed. I'm not being very eloquent, but I think you know what I mean.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:05 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect. The parents have an entire subforum of their own. If people can't bear seeing one thread about people who don't have or want children.... that's really an indication of why this thread is needed. I'm not being very eloquent, but I think you know what I mean.


This is a good point. And I'm the only one who has discussed it. I'm just wondering if it would be easier for the people who want to have the conversation to do so somewhere else where it might draw less focus. But your point is entirely spot on.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:07 pm 
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I think the important thing to keep in mind is that if we, as voluntarily childfree women, desire and expect society to treat our choices and decisions with the gravity and respect they deserve, we need in turn to recognize others' rights to reproductive autonomy as well, whether they exercise it by popping out twenty kids or by taking out their uterus, bronzing it, and mounting it above their fireplace.

It can definitely feel lonely out there, and because our choices go against the societal norm, we do face undue scrutiny and unfair judgment. And we are definitely entitled to the frustration, anger, and hurt that that sort of treatment engenders. This thread is primarily a judgment-free place to talk about our decisions and the ensuing consequences.

That said, I think it's counterproductive to express that frustration by insulting those whose lives take different paths from ours. We shouldn't have to affirm our beliefs and decisions by criticizing or undermining those of others, especially if nobody is being harmed either way. Making it about "parents versus childfree" only serves to further entrench the judgment and the sense of "otherness" that makes us feel alienated to begin with.

I welcome parents to read this thread and I want them to feel welcomed. If a parent reads something that is personally insulting rather than just one aspect of someone else's personal experience, they should feel comfortable enough to speak up.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:15 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect. The parents have an entire subforum of their own. If people can't bear seeing one thread about people who don't have or want children.... that's really an indication of why this thread is needed. I'm not being very eloquent, but I think you know what I mean.


Yes. The whole reason that this thread is front and center is because it is so active. Childfree people want to express themselves. If we didnt need to talk about childfree issues openly the thread would already have hidden itself on page 10.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:09 pm 
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warning, possible unpopular viewpoint coming...

Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
I think the important thing to keep in mind is that if we, as voluntarily childfree women, desire and expect society to treat our choices and decisions with the gravity and respect they deserve, we need in turn to recognize others' rights to reproductive autonomy as well, whether they exercise it by popping out twenty kids or by taking out their uterus, bronzing it, and mounting it above their fireplace.


I may be lonely on this point, but I think people who choose to have large families are up for fair criticism. 1-2 kids per family is zero growth population, good going. More than that is making overpopulation worse and affecting every being on this planet. I'm sure there are more elegant ways to state it, but this whole "everyone's choice is valid" kinda bugs me. Obviously I won't be directly criticizing parents who already have large families, but I would like society to be able to encourage and educate folks to have fewer children, whether that is 2, 1 or zero. I don't think I need to get into all the reasons overpopulation is bad for planet dwellers. I would like to see voluntary child free people celebrated a bit more too, so that we can get those numbers down and account for areas with lagging education and opportunities.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Dave the Cat wrote:
Are any of you part of an organized childfree group? Someone I met once is starting one and we have our first meeting (a potluck) in a couple weeks. As far as I know, the purpose of the group is just to meet new friends who don't have kids.

I saw a CF couples meetup in our area but I've been hesitant to join. So many cf groups just want to talk about how great it is to be cf and how kids are sooooo annoying (this has been my experience online, I've never been part of a group IRL). That's way too much negativity and is not what I'm looking for. This one group in my area seems to be young professionals and they go out at night a lot, go drinking, go to parties, etc and that's not our crowd either. I'd be interested to hear anyone's experiences here who's joined a meetup because I can definitely see the value. For now I find I have more in common at vegan meetups, which include parents and non-parents.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:51 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect.


If you want to be respected, be respectful.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:57 pm 
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There are threads in the Playground for "complaining" and "venting" (their words) about kids and partners and life with kids. I wish I could vent, about how, for example, I find it annoying to schedule all my dinners with friends with kids at 5:15, or about how my work is only interested in helping parents, and not other work/life choice issues, and not have that seen as an offense/act of disrespect to parents here. I don't see it as different than complaining about boyfriends, partners, omnis, anything else. That does not mean that I don't respect people's choice to have children. That does not mean that I don't like or respect parents. It is like any other thread here where people are sharing, strategizing, and venting about particular situations. On the flip side, there are threads in the Playground about how wonderful children are, which I totally appreciate. I'd like to talk about some of the great things I see as advantages to not having kids, like independence, last minute travel, etc.... That doesn't mean that parents aren't independent and don't travel at the last minute, that simply means that there are things about my life at this moment as it is that I really like. There are also threads in Playground strategizing about all kinds of things, and discussing some of the quirks and tribulations and joys of being a parent. I'd like that here too, and have really enjoyed some of the conversation so far.

It feels like what I am hearing is that if we talk about how great it is not to have children, then we see some people with kids come in here and tell us we are wrong, offending, and disrespectful. And if we talk about how hard it is to be childfree in a society where parenthood is the norm, then we are also wrong, offending, and disrespectful.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
I think the important thing to keep in mind is that if we, as voluntarily childfree women, desire and expect society to treat our choices and decisions with the gravity and respect they deserve, we need in turn to recognize others' rights to reproductive autonomy as well, whether they exercise it by popping out twenty kids or by taking out their uterus, bronzing it, and mounting it above their fireplace.

It can definitely feel lonely out there, and because our choices go against the societal norm, we do face undue scrutiny and unfair judgment. And we are definitely entitled to the frustration, anger, and hurt that that sort of treatment engenders. This thread is primarily a judgment-free place to talk about our decisions and the ensuing consequences.

That said, I think it's counterproductive to express that frustration by insulting those whose lives take different paths from ours. We shouldn't have to affirm our beliefs and decisions by criticizing or undermining those of others, especially if nobody is being harmed either way. Making it about "parents versus childfree" only serves to further entrench the judgment and the sense of "otherness" that makes us feel alienated to begin with.

I welcome parents to read this thread and I want them to feel welcomed. If a parent reads something that is personally insulting rather than just one aspect of someone else's personal experience, they should feel comfortable enough to speak up.

Very well said.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:03 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect.


If you want to be respected, be respectful.

Who is erynne936 disrespecting here?

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:03 pm 
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JillW wrote:
warning, possible unpopular viewpoint coming...

I may be lonely on this point, but I think people who choose to have large families are up for fair criticism. 1-2 kids per family is zero growth population, good going. More than that is making overpopulation worse and affecting every being on this planet. I'm sure there are more elegant ways to state it, but this whole "everyone's choice is valid" kinda bugs me. Obviously I won't be directly criticizing parents who already have large families, but I would like society to be able to encourage and educate folks to have fewer children, whether that is 2, 1 or zero. I don't think I need to get into all the reasons overpopulation is bad for planet dwellers. I would like to see voluntary child free people celebrated a bit more too, so that we can get those numbers down and account for areas with lagging education and opportunities.


I can see your point, I just don't know if it's productive. I mean, we all do things that are bad for the planet. I don't have kids and I use my extra income to travel (on planes) which is terrible for the planet. I bet my husband and I as citizens of the us consume and cause much more waste than a family of 8 in a third world country. One of my biggest pet peeves is when bike people get all high and mighty about their carbon footprint wrt people who drive cars. And as a vegan, getting judgey about the global impact of eating plants vs animals has never converted someone to a vegan, in my experience.

I would like to see child free folks more valued in the community as well but i dont know if I deserve special recognition since my desire to not have kids has nothing to do with overpopulation issues. I agree it's important to curb population growth but 1st world countries are already experiencing negative or stable pop growths. That means then that we are preaching to third world countries about what policies they should be following and that seems wrong since I have no idea what it's like to be a woman there. You know?

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:05 pm 
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I find it interesting that many people who get really screamy about how buying instead of adopting "KIIIILLS A SHELTER DOG" do not also believe that having a biological child instead of adopting is condemning a child to foster care. I mean, I think both of those ideas are false and extreme, but it seems inconsistent to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:10 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:

It feels like what I am hearing is that if we talk about how great it is not to have children, then we see some people with kids come in here and tell us we are wrong, offending, and disrespectful. And if we talk about how hard it is to be childfree in a society where parenthood is the norm, then we are also wrong, offending, and disrespectful.


I think we're talking in circles here. From what I can tell there was one or two posts a page or two ago that even I as a CF person could see were somewhat disrespectful towards parents/families with small children. I do think it's important to have a space to vent about things to do with us (ie, ugh, my mother whenever it comes up that I'm not planning on having children) but it's also important to remember that communication can be sucky via text (well, and inperson too-my therapist once told me that it's a wonder the human population hasn't killed itself off yet.) so we should probably try to remember as a group to word things in a way that isn't disrespectful.

As another observation, having read this entire thread as it's grown, I feel like everyone is being hyper attentive towards offense and quick to take offense. Perhaps if something someone says could be construed as rude/etc, take a breath walk away and come back? Or ask for clarification rather than straight out calling them out? (because it doesn't exactly seem to be helping this thread have a constructive conversation, not because I think they (whoever) don't necessarily need to be called on it)


/just my two cents.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:13 pm 
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JillW wrote:
Obviously I won't be directly criticizing parents who already have large families, but I would like society to be able to encourage and educate folks to have fewer children, whether that is 2, 1 or zero. I don't think I need to get into all the reasons overpopulation is bad for planet dwellers. I would like to see voluntary child free people celebrated a bit more too, so that we can get those numbers down and account for areas with lagging education and opportunities.


Considering there usually isn't much flack given to someone who picks on the Duggars (isn't much...not none), I hope we are allowed to have that conversation. Because it IS a problem. Just like there is a population balance for things like paying for retirement and how constant increase in birthrate is somewhat needed for our current economic situation, while it can at some point collapse into an ecological puddle.

I might have wanted to have a kid, I'm kinda curious about the physical process, but I have a hard time justifying it to myself. Maybe I'll foster or adopt, if I'm in the right situation, and maybe not. I have no idea. I partner with women, so its not like it will happen accidentally. My gf is sort of interested in parenting, and I sort of am, but the pull isn't super big for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:49 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
I would like to see child free folks more valued in the community as well but i dont know if I deserve special recognition since my desire to not have kids has nothing to do with overpopulation issues. I agree it's important to curb population growth but 1st world countries are already experiencing negative or stable pop growths. That means then that we are preaching to third world countries about what policies they should be following and that seems wrong since I have no idea what it's like to be a woman there. You know?


This is a really important point when it comes to talking about population control. Which populations? I think there are factors like access to education that have a big impact on birth rates.

I've only noticed a few posts that I thought were rubbing up against the general rules of posting here. I fail to see why this topic should not be discussed or why it should be hidden away. Motherhood-as-the-ultimate-job a woman will ever have has huge implications for women in society.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:05 pm 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
Could we lay off the popping out of vaginas talk? It's judgmental and misogynistic.


Does that mean I shouldn't tell you guys that when my friends get pregnant I tell them their baby is like the monsters in Alien growing inside them, except their baby will burst through the skin screaming "COLLEGE FUND!!!!"

Because then... you know... I wont.

ETA: I only say this to my friends who really get my sense of humour.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:17 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
solipsistnation wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect.


If you want to be respected, be respectful.

Who is erynne936 disrespecting here?


That was aimed at the people earlier in the thread who were saying things like the "smart enough not to have children" comment that was called out earlier. I tried to err on the side of saying less, since usually I over-write and what I'm trying to say gets lost. erynne936 wasn't the first person to say "We just want to be respected," but the one that stood out and was easy to clip out and quote.

There's a difference between being annoyed at having to schedule things around friends with kids (which is, I agree, annoying) and disparaging an entire group of people. Parents are often thoughtless while trying to get out of the house and talk to people who are around the same age, yeah-- that annoyed me back in the day when friends who started having kids also started demanding that people who work full-time and live an hour away plan social events around them. It was pretty selfish of them, especially since they didn't really put much (or any) effort into suggesting alternatives that they'd be more able to take part in. We ended up saying, "Okay, some of this is stuff kids can do and some isn't. If you can get a sitter, you're welcome to come. If not, well, don't complain that we want to go to a bar at 7:30 and stay until long after bedtime and that you'll miss the fun times. Sorry."

So yeah, I'm totally for venting about thoughtless parents. Just not for venting about _all_ parents, if you see what I mean there.

But it seems like most of the people who have stumbled into this thread who do have kids or aren't militantly childfree have been supportive-- we're not your annoying grandmother who keeps asking about grandkids, and we're not your dorky co-workers who insist on hauling kids along to after-work events or whatever. Hell, any halfway thoughtful parent has had their share of times when they've looked back wistfully on times when they could pack up and head out for the weekend and not have to tell anyone where they were going, or when they could work on big projects all over the living room floor, or whatever.

And yes, parents do ALL KINDS OF THINGS that are annoying as hell. I'm sure I do too. I try not to, but probably it happens. I would LOVE to have people who could sort of respectfully point out stuff parents do that annoys them. Anything like that helps.

What I really wouldn't love is to have a thread where people call my wife stupid for wanting to have children, or where people tell me that I'm a bad person for impregnating her. I have already been informed of this by a particular ex of mine.

Anyway, that got long. It would be nice if, while reading this, you assumed that I'm not pissed off or trying to annoy people, or even "mansplaining" or whatever. I'm relating my own personal experiences, trying to establish some common ground (because we do actually share common ground), and asking that people try to be nice on here even when they're annoyed, because chances are the people on the PPK aren't who you're actually annoyed at. Also, please don't think there are some kind of subtle barbs hidden in here, because I'm not that subtle.

In conclusion, here is a song:



(And Invictus-- while being a parent is indeed hard work, I wouldn't dare to compare having kids to deploying into a war zone-- _especially_ to somebody about to head overseas and tool around Afghanistan in an MRAP. "Rude" is only the tip of the revilement iceberg there and anyone who does this deserves to be told that they're dumb and should stop. And I'd rather be woken up at night by a kid who has had a pee accident every night for a year than wake up to the sound of mortar rounds detonating once.)

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:19 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:27 pm 
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Wears Durian Helmet
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solipsistnation wrote:

What I really wouldn't love is to have a thread where people call my wife stupid for wanting to have children, or where people tell me that I'm a bad person for impregnating her. I have already been informed of this by a particular ex of mine.



Well, maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone here is calling your wife stupid or saying you're a bad person. I know that having kids is super personal and comments on the topic can be easy to feel personally stung by. But sometimes when I rant and complain I make generalizations. That's what frustration does at times. I'm not saying it's great, but I don't think anybody here is meaning to personally attack anyone else on the board.

Eta: Why would your ex say that to you?! That's not nice to say the least.


Last edited by bathsheba on Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:30 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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I think several inroads towards a peaceful, productive conversation have already been attempted in the past page or two. Why don't we all sit back and just let that happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Chip Strong
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solipsistnation wrote:
erynne936 wrote:
The fact the idea of burying this thread deeper into the forum is even being discussed is quite a thing. Move the childfree people to where they won't be seen and bother so many people? Hey, we exist, and we just want respect.


If you want to be respected, be respectful.


Um? Is this being directed at me?
sorry, nevermind, i see you replied above.


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