Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: World’s most insensitive comment October 26, 2011

During my random Internet rambles I came across a community called Widows Too Young, an amazing group of women who have lost spouses. (Can I just say at this point that I love how we women come together to support one another. We rock.) However one of the forums deals with women who are childfree, and I think this one wins the prize for “most insensitive comment ever.”

SusieBear posted that for years she and her husband dealt with prying questions and insensitive remarks about their decision to be childfree. Now that her husband is gone, people are actually commenting to her about what a comfort children would have been to her, and suggesting that she must now be regretting her decision to not have kids.

Really, people? Is there any chance you could engage your brains before opening your mouths? Can you please explain what it is about these statements you think is actually going to be helpful?!!

 

I’ve complained plenty here about the things people sometimes say to “help,” but I think that this really takes the cake. My heart goes out to SusieBear, and I’m glad she’s found a supportive community that gets it.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, and while it’s hard to top Susie’s whine, feel free to have a grumble and get your gripes out.

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9 Responses to “Whiny Wednesday: World’s most insensitive comment”

  1. stacerella Says:

    I’m not sure if I told you this before or not, but my father died 2 wks before I was born. I also have five brothers and a sister. My mother raised seven little balls of “comfort” on her own from that day on. I can tell you, we were hell on her. We have deep seated pain and resentment over many things she’s no able to help us with and our pain has pushed her away.

    It’s not always going to happen the way it does in books, tv shows and the movies. I really wish other women would STFU. They don’t know. No one does. No one could have predicted how our lives turned out the day my father died at the ripe age of 30. No one! And anyone who states otherwise is a delusional liar. An insensitive delusional liar who is only thinking from their own tiny world perspective.

  2. CiCi Says:

    Oh right, because having children so that they can comfort you in case your spouse should happen to pass on before you, is EXACTLY the right reason to have children! That’s not selfish at all. Ugh, people amaze me with their “helpful” comments.

    SusieBear should be allowed to smack those women in the back of their heads to bring them back to reality!

  3. mccxxiii Says:

    Unrelated to the post, but my own Wednesday Whine …

    Two baby announcements in the past 6 days. One of them from the person who is — or *was* until last Thursday — my #1 friend-source for emotional support.

    Life sucks.

  4. mina Says:

    My wednesday whine:
    AAAArgh it happened again!!!
    I went to a conference on Youth Work (that’s my job) and the very first speaker started his very first sentence (after saying hello) with “My 8 year old daughter just said….”.
    Come on!! You’re a university professor of Sociology. I want to hear something scientific that’s new to me, and which will support our doing youth work on a PROFESSIONAL basis. I paid a high participation fee for this. And not to hear something about your family!!! This kind of thing always makes me feel like “what am I doing here – am I a professional with a right to join in the discussion – or should i just go home because it seems i can’t really contribute (social sciences masters degree and everything, just doesn’t seem to count…)??”
    Well the second speaker didn’t hold back any scientific facts and showed us statistics after statistics about todays society. Youth unemployment rates, divorce rates and…. “twenty percent of all women remain childless”. I wonder where the men in this are. Do we have too many women in society like there are too many men in China or India? (slightly, but it doesn’t make a big difference in western countries). Do all the men father children with only a small percentage of women, wherefore the rest of us “remain childless”?? I don’t think so. I think the problem is exactly this kind of perspective: That its only up to us women, and always our fault, that fewer babies our born in western society. Nobody ever questions men’s willingness, or physical capability, to father children.
    It just makes me so angry to hear this BS all the time.

  5. Iris D Says:

    My husband is 14 years older and had a tendency of being melodramatic about dying in his 50s. Between stress over graduate school, student loans, cash, my oldest childless friends giving birth in their late 30s and early 40s, a lot of prying questions over when or why I had not produced a child, and his “casual talk of an early death”, I think I had some sort of midlife crisis and developed severe anxiety. Throw into this mix, my aunt’s and others’ comments about who would be there for me when their generation was gone, and the death of my very dear and very close aunt in late 2009. The idea of not having children, which had not really preoccupied all that much, suddenly came into center stage. Our thoughts are such a challenge. They really whipped me into a frenzy. When I talk to the two friends who had their daughters later in life, they’ve shared with me their deep anxiety over their children. One of them has secondary infertility and really wants to give her child a sibling. They seem to worry quite a bit over what will happen to their child if something should happen to them or to their husband. I used to scuba dive with my brother, when his son was born, my sister-in-law asked him to stop, and became very afraid of airplane travel (they didn’t travel together my plane for over a decade). One of my friends currently has to live apart from her husband, and she is stressed because her daughter is so sad over the separation from daddy. So, I guess there is usually more than one way of looking at it.

    I do wish this woman’s in laws, and others, who were also grieving over the loss of her husband, would fill their hearts with love for her and find comfort in one another.

    • stacerella Says:

      iris, interestingly, after my father was buried, his whole family (minus his mother) disappeared from our lives in the blink of an eye. The night I was born 10 days later, my mother called my uncle to drive her to the hospital but only because she knew he was on his way to work at the bakery at that time anyway. That was the last she saw of them until I was ten when they called out of guilt… er, I mean the blue to invite us to a family bbq at their home. I can only imagine how weird that must have been for my mother. They were very nice to us, but over my 42 years, I can count on two hands the number of times I have been in their presence (most of them at funerals for their side of my family oddly enough because my mother still had great memories with those that passed on from her time married to my father and wanted us all to say our goodbyes and to have some time with my mother’s dad while we were all gathered in the funeral homes around caskets).

      Anyway…

      • Iris D Says:

        Stace, I have a dear, older friend who lost her husband when she was in her 40s. Her children were then in college I believe. Her husband had been an only child, but because his parents had opposed their marriage because of religious issues (protestant/catholic) they never spent time with their grandchildren. I believe that after his death, his parents met their grandchildren. But, what an absolute waste. I have an uncle (one of my mother’s seven siblings) who became distanced from our family, apparently also distanced from his only son, and from his only grandchild, word has it that this was all through his and his wife’s own doing. What is family supposed to be for? My sister in law’s grandfather died in his 20s, leaving her grandmother a widow in her twenties with two young daughters. They were poor and had to be taken in by her aunts, who apparently were not very loving people. She (my SIL’s grandmother) was the sweetest woman. She never remarried. My SIL’s mother is a good woman, but her character is somewhat tough/rough, and I’m sure all she went through as a child had to have affected her very much.

        I’m terribly sorry that your family and your mother did not get the support they needed when your father passed away. I grew up with my two grandmothers, and very close to my aunts. So extended family is really important to me.

  6. Mali Says:

    This makes me grateful for all I have. I’m not whining this Wednesday (Thursday).

  7. Kate B Says:

    When my husband and I first started dating, he did not want to have children.. His reasoning was, that as a member of the FDNY, he saw many of his friends’ children left fatherless after 9/11. So – it works both ways.


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