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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:12 pm 
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I am still here, reading and learning; and appreciate greatly the insight that you all are giving to me. What a gift.

lateentry -- My takeaway from your post is something I have heard from others - that mothers (perhaps fathers also, but my focus is on the female experience) mothers do what they do and then they expect their "just rewards." To become grandmas, to have some of what they've doled out given back to them in some way. In what way will make them happy? Must it be in the form of a grandchild? Might it be in the form of a returning of that love mothers give out? They expect to be loved back by their brood...but what "proves" that love? What can be offered up as "proof"? I'm getting a little philosophical here so indulge me for a moment. As I mother myself, I "expected" that after investing years of religious training in my kids that they would all grow up to believe in God. One of them doesn't. Does that mean he's not returning my "investment of time" that I put into him? I cannot look at it that way. Same thing with motherhood/parenthood. If I "expected" each of my 3 kids to procreate to make ME happy, I'd be a shit of a mom. I made my choices, let them make theirs, I'll be dead & gone and they'll still be living with their choices. All I can do is educate them. When it comes to motherhood in particular, it is a charged "hot topic" and is so deeply rooted in women's rights, and it is so hard to eradicate the prejudices (assumptions/stereotypes...call it what you will).
Which takes me back to my original reason for my research: how do we bring about a paradigm shift so that parents everywhere - especially mothers who bear the bulk of the load in most cases -- begin to look at their daughters as individuals who deserve to be treated as individuals (versus the gender stereotyping that is so rampant)? How do we get people to stop pushing females and filling their heads with all these assumptions for what a happy life looks like?
I take your point well (about what brings meaning to our lives), and when I originally posted these 2 questions, I was still learning and I would have used the word "happy" rather than "meaningful." My reason for asking the question at all is my endeavor to shed light on the reality of CF women's lives who are happy in every sense of the word. "The masses" don't know what your lives look like. I've talked with many CF women so now I know, and I want to share what I know. I totally agree with you and Anon Academic that how we live our lives will obviously touch someone else at some point in some way; but our goal is ultimately to live the life we choose free of judgment, lives that are authentic to ourselves. My biggest goal is social justice for women; social justice with an overlay of peace for all. I am just one person, but I can spread the word. I believe that all movements start small.

Your quote: "Because my worst intrusive pressures came from those closest to me"
This brings the point home to me again and again...the change starts at home. What we hear from those closest to us is so important.

To Anon Academic - your quote: "....Pyotr Kropotkin's book on Mutual Aid...our evolution is premised on mutual aid and our ability and predisposition to understand a common human condition and aid / assist our fellow humans." Without further debate, I just wanted to say that this is what I feel I am doing. There is a "common human condition" and it's called gender bias, judgment upon women for their lives, and confusion/pain/sometimes anger that comes out of it. I have been endeavoring to understand this "common human condition" called CF and shed light on both sides of the motherhood demarcation line. There are too many demarcation lines on too many issues. My goal is to rally women around supporting each other. A laudable goal; others have tried. The topic of motherhood as a choice "keeps vanishing" in the words of Stephanie Mills.

Okay, this got long. Thank you all again.

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Prejudices are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education. They grow there firm as weeds among stones -- Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 9:55 am 
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Quote:
1 - Did you grow up hearing assumptions about your life as a female? E.g. people in your life just assuming that you would become a mother someday.
2 - There are so many ways to bring meaning to a person's life - whether female or male. As a childfree woman, what are a couple of examples of moments in your life where you felt fulfilled, proud, intense joy, feeling like you'd touched someone's life?


1. Definitely. From every possible angle:

    My mother ("Someday, when you have your little girl, you'll XXXXXXX . . . "; "When you're a parent, you'll be able to make the rules"; etc.)
    Television (Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, I Love Lucy, the Brady Bunch, etc.)
    School/Church (went to Catholic school through 8th grade)
    Friends -- I can't remember being any age where the topics of discussion weren't boys, weddings/dresses/bridesmaids, being a mom, etc.

It was always an assumption, and I bought it, just like everyone else around me. My life seem mapped out: I would be in school until I was 22, at which point I would get married and have kids, and my husband would work, and I'd never have to and that seemed great to me. In fact, I OFTEN thought about how lucky I was to be a girl, because that meant I'd never have to work! I was afraid of the idea of working -- being "out there," having to earn a living for myself. I didn't feel capable of doing that. So I never planned on having to do it. Not even when I was in college. I got a degree, but by that time, I was married to my first husband (which I thought was uber-smart planning on my part -- I was safely transitioning from being taken care of by my parents to being taken care of by my husband without having any terrifying "out there alone" time in between). I actually graduated from college so that, in case my husband died, I'd have a degree to "fall back on."

My plan kind of unraveled when my husband turned out not to be a sole-provider-type guy. I found myself having to work after graduating, first at a part-time job at his office, which I thought was a temporary situation, so no big deal. Then he broke it to me that, in order for us to move out of the hick college town we were stuck in, I'd have to be working full-time. I took a retail assistant manager position to get us into a decent-sized city, and hated every freaking second of it. But I was completely clueless -- had no idea what to do or where to go to figure that out.

Luckily, I became very depressed, and once I figured out that's what was happening, I left him. That definitely helped. And by that time, I had a low-paying job that was at least in the realm of "professional," and which started me on the path to having an actual career.

So then I was in the position of having to figure out how in the name of God was I going to support myself on $7 an hour. The rest of the story is probably something for another book. But I went into all this to show just how much all that lifelong input crippled me in terms of my own self esteem, and what a huge impact it had on my life. I'm now in my 40s, and still dealing with the consequences.

2. Again, being depressed, I don't have much "intense joy." I do have little moments of pure joy, and they come from experiencing things. Being with my puppy (he's my baby), and looking into his eyes and seeing what a pure, sweet soul he is brings me joy. I feel happiest when I do something for my husband (my second husband and I have been together for over 20 years; he doesn't support both of us, and I do have to work -- it still causes me great anxiety, and has been a source of conflict between us at times), or when I do something for an animal, or an animal charity. I've progressed in my career and have, at times, been proud of particular accomplishments, but I am still very conflicted about it, and resentful that I live in a world that promised me I'd never have to work, and then took it back. I hate working so, so much. I feel lucky that I wound up discovering I have a marketable skill, but hate that I'm required to structure my life around everyone else's needs, desires and plans rather than my own. I feel like I have no control; no say in what my life consists of.

_________________
"This is why I hate people."
(Lisa Kudrow in The Opposite of Sex)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Dear JC,
Thank u for sharing your heartfelt story. I am just a little older than you. I also am re-married, but I had kids with my 1st husband. I was a SAHM who had the rug pulled out from under me (promises promises) and I had to pull thru for others who were depending on me. I agree with you that the world had promised me something (so I thought) and then it was taken away. Depression and anxiety can be chemical imbalance, but we also recognize how much culture and those around us have to do with it. My hope is that by sharing the realities of the CF that more people will stop assuming what they want, what makes CF happy. You listed a lot of shows that I watched while growing up, shows that centered around kids. So yes, we got it from all angles, didn't we? Over the past few years, as my teenage daughter has neared the age where I knew I needed to give it to her straight (the realities), I have been noticing all the messages that bombard her. I watch TV in a different way now, shows, movies, commercials. So many perpetuate the gender biases, it's so aggravating. So how does one STOP the media from framing women in this way? (that all women desire kids, that they are unhappy without them, etc). I'm taking my own steps, and it would be ever-so-nice if enough parents got on board with the idea that women are individuals and they need to be treated as such. Give them the realities, stop sugar coating the realities ---(yes! motherhood is damn hard!) I, for one, am not one to sit on the sidelines and keep quiet. I may end up getting criticized by the masses but I just don't care. I know too much to stay quiet. I only hope that something I do or say makes a difference. If I can open the minds of 100 people from something I say or write, great. One thousand would be better. 20K even better. I dream big. It's who I am. And I want my daughter to dream big too. And other young women just like her.

JC, please know that you are not alone in feeling that life promises stuff and then doesn't deliver. I think this sentiment can be applied to other areas (opportunities for education, job, safety of one's neighborhood,etc). I am really glad that you found love the 2nd time around. I, too, am remarried, 20+ years.

Peace.

_________________
Prejudices are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education. They grow there firm as weeds among stones -- Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:38 pm 
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1 - Did you grow up hearing assumptions about your life as a female? E.g. people in your life just assuming that you would become a mother someday.

Not from my family. My father has no sons, so my half-sister and I are his "sons". He raised me no different than he would a boy - education and a career were paramount. His first wife was killed in a car accident when my half-sister was very young, so I guess he was under no illusion that either of us could rely on a husband to support us because people die regardless of their responsibilities in life. My mother trains and boards horses for a living and has always been a very self-sufficient woman. She went to law school but her horse business is profitable so she's stuck with what she loves - horses.

From the rest of world I was always treated pretty genderlessly. First off I'm tall - between 5'10" and 5'11" - and not model-thin. I've always been into sports - horseback riding, swimming (for a short time) and tennis. I look more like a lighter weight version of Serena Williams than I do a frail model. So my experience has been that I wasn't treated like a normal girl by most of society when I was young. People just didn't ever say anything that presumed I'd get married and have kids. I got more comments about how I should play basketball.

_________________
"Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself." - George Carlin

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."- Victor J. Stenger


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:30 pm 
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supportwomenschoices wrote:
I only hope that something I do or say makes a difference. If I can open the minds of 100 people from something I say or write, great. One thousand would be better. 20K even better. I dream big. It's who I am. And I want my daughter to dream big too. And other young women just like her.


Thank you for the kind words. It is nice to know I'm not alone. I've told other people this, and they look at me like I'm from another planet!

I do think you'll make a difference. This is an important topic, and I'm definitely relieved to know someone has the passion to tackle a project like this.

One happy story: My best friend has two grown kids, and she and her husband did a standing-ovation-worthy job raising them. They are my godson and goddaughter, and I'm just impressed to pieces with the way they grew up, and the young adults they have become. I know my goddaughter is never going to settle for what life throws at her; if she doesn't like it, she'll kick it in the balls and move on!

_________________
"This is why I hate people."
(Lisa Kudrow in The Opposite of Sex)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:37 am 
supportwomenschoices wrote:
1 - Did you grow up hearing assumptions about your life as a female? E.g. people in your life just assuming that you would become a mother someday.
2 - There are so many ways to bring meaning to a person's life - whether female or male. As a childfree woman, what are a couple of examples of moments in your life where you felt fulfilled, proud, intense joy, feeling like you'd touched someone's life?



1.

If you speak in terms of marry a man, be a good housewife and reproduce? No. I had an childfree homosexual family member who was single for long time and enjoyed it. Nobody fussed about it. So, I allready grew up with the idea that for both men and women, marrying someone (of the opposite sex) and having babies is optional, not an obligation. I studied to make a carreer. My parents certainly did not expect me to clean up after a spouse all day. I always was clear in stating that I don't like kids. My parents weren't shocked. Maybe they expected I would change one day but they never nagged about it.

2.

My Fellow Humans:
When I was really able to make a difference for someone who was very troubled.
When I really made someones day with (often) little things.

Nature: when succesfully nursing wounded animals back to health.


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