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Unfairness to childless women

(489 Posts)
zeezeek Mon 31-Mar-14 20:09:29

It does seem that on here at the moment, as well as in society in general, we seem to be completely unsympathetic towards and misunderstanding towards people who do not (for whatever reason) have children.

I spent most of my adult life without children - after having cancer treatment I assumed I was infertile, so it was a damn miracle when I got pregnant once, let alone twice.

I have lost count of the number of times that I was told that I did not understand because I did not have children; how I had to make allowances for parents because they needed to be with their children; how it was less important for me to see my teacher parents during school holidays than it was for a parent to spend time with their child.....you name the cliché, I heard it.

When my children were born I did not find the meaning of life. At the age of nearly 45 I still wonder if there is one.

Having children didn't suddenly make me appreciate things more - surviving a life threatening illness had already done that.

My dogs are still the centre of my (and my DDs) universe - although my DDs are there as well, even if my dogs are better behaved.

More than anything, I am not more worthy, more important than I was before I had children and I don't see why the world should revolve around me (or my children) just because I happened to have sex with my husband at the right time and get myself knocked up.

Rant over.

heisenberg999 Mon 31-Mar-14 20:11:44

Most companies do who gets in first gets the leave regardless of children or home commitments in rhus day and age.

Lagos Mon 31-Mar-14 20:12:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 31-Mar-14 20:15:05

This is not my experience.

I do think people can be twits over feeling entitled - but those are whiny people who'd whine whether they were childless or had twenty.

NurseyWursey Mon 31-Mar-14 20:16:18

You've posted this 3 times OP, might want to ask Mumsnet HQ to delete the other two

Noddyandbigears Mon 31-Mar-14 20:18:59

Haha you go girl. You are probably going to get killed on here but do you know what - good on you for saying how you feel. Many women on here feel more important since having kids, also goes for when people get married they feel superior to the singletons.

matildasquared Mon 31-Mar-14 20:22:20

I don't have kids and I honestly have never got any negative reactions, from anyone.

Maybe it's because I seem happy about it. I was one of eight children so I have no rose-tinted illusions about bringing up a family. Sometimes I feel a bit like, "Aw, I could have been a good mother," but then on the other hand I've tried to make the most of my freedom too and I've enjoyed that.

matildasquared Mon 31-Mar-14 20:22:21

I don't have kids and I honestly have never got any negative reactions, from anyone.

Maybe it's because I seem happy about it. I was one of eight children so I have no rose-tinted illusions about bringing up a family. Sometimes I feel a bit like, "Aw, I could have been a good mother," but then on the other hand I've tried to make the most of my freedom too and I've enjoyed that.

Slackgardener Mon 31-Mar-14 20:22:22

I don't get what is unfair to woman without kids?

HowContraryMary Mon 31-Mar-14 20:24:02

I neither care one way nor the other how you or anyone else feels about much in this world.

I have hmm @ people who tell me they know how I feel because they have a dead dog of 16 odd years that they replace with a new puppy 3 weeks later. So they know what it feels like to have children.

No one knows what anyone else feels like about anything.

MrsCt2B Mon 31-Mar-14 20:24:45

I don't feel any more important, or that i know the meaning of life....
But i am guilty of saying that people without kids don't understand... But mainly for petty things like eating early, or naptime etc etc smile But generally, people without kids don't know the hell my afternoon will be if the kids (2 & 3) dont nap, or if they want me to drag them to lunch at 2pm instead of 12!
I definitely don't feel more entitled... crazy, sleep deprived and sometime whiny - yes, but entitled? No!

heisenberg999 Mon 31-Mar-14 20:25:23

I do agree in the sense that I used to have to do interviews and we used to get some women answering the q about skills and experience saying Ive got lots of skills from looking after my baybees for years, and I would think please dont say that you sound like a loser.

BillyBanter Mon 31-Mar-14 20:26:53

For those people who have not had a life-threatening illness then having children may have had those effects.

Other than that parents are people and their ideas about their place in the world will vary as much as anyone else's.

I are childless woman.

Dukketeater Mon 31-Mar-14 20:27:10

I'm confused by the posters on here that don't have kids....

matildasquared Mon 31-Mar-14 20:27:40

Yeah, but it's true, I don't understand what it's like to have children! Why shouldn't someone say that? It's not like they're insulting me.

matildasquared Mon 31-Mar-14 20:29:31

Dukketeater, what's confusing you? I use condoms and birth control pills.

But seriously, I know it's call mumsnet but the "mum" bit is notional, isn't it? All kinds of freaks post here.

treaclesoda Mon 31-Mar-14 20:30:48

I can't say I've noticed anything like this in real life, although I see it discussed a lot on mumnset.

In my real life most people are fairly indifferent as to whether I, or anyone else, have children at all. And I'm quite indifferent to their circumstances too.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 31-Mar-14 20:31:15

You're easily confused, duk.

Think about it for a moment.

I think HowCont has it right. It's not people who're childless who get a bad response, it's people who insist on telling others 'I know how you feel' when that person is obviously hurting and not comforted by it.

WillieWaggledagger Mon 31-Mar-14 20:31:48

I'm lucky that colleagues are understanding of the fact that my dp is a teacher so despite not having children (school age or otherwise) I have to take holiday during school hold because otherwise I can't spend it with him

zeezeek Mon 31-Mar-14 20:33:51

NurseyWursey - I have done so. My computer doesn't like New York I have decided!!

For those people you have ever used that awful, insulting and very hurtful phrase "you don't understand until you have children" can I just point out that:

"you don't understand what it is like to be told you can't have children"
"You don't understand what it is like to realise that after you, there is nothing of you to continue in this world"
"you don't understand what it is like to get older knowing that there is no-one to spend Christmas/holidays/weekends with"
"you don't understand what it is like to worry that you are going to die alone"

Now, of course, there's a good chance that the last 2 are relevant even if you do have children - but if you don't have children, then it is a given, not an option.

MamaPain Mon 31-Mar-14 20:34:17

I agree, I've always been very vocal about the fact that I had children like the billions of other people on the planet and it wasn't anything special, it was about as meaningful as when my cat had kittens or a bird lays an egg. Of course I love them, but I'm sure I could have (although wouldn't necessarily wanted to now I have them) lived a fulfilling life without them.

I despise, this I HAVE A BABY attitude, where you get people banging on like they are the first ever to do so and that it limits all their activity.

The thing is I think for lots of women, and probably men, there is a heavy focus on the desire for children, but because of circumstances, they have to wait. Lots of the media imagery teaches us how it shall all be so speshul. I think this amps it all up and puts an insane amount of pressure on the entire event to be this life altering moment where it's all amazing. That makes me think people are told so often how wonderful it is, they just automatically take on that information like its a fact and so the cycle continues.

CatsRule Mon 31-Mar-14 20:35:03

I was once told that I had to do more extra work as I was the only childless person...a m/c and years later I have one ds...and no I now don't have to work less because I have a child. This was said to me in recent years by one very ignorant woman!

My dsis and dbil can't have children, I can't imagine the hurt they would have felt if that sort of ignorant comment was made to either of them.

You are not more/less worthy because of your child/childless status imo that is.

matildasquared Mon 31-Mar-14 20:35:59

Yes, that's true LRD. I'm a fool for my animals (and I think they do give me an outlet for some mothery feelings) but I never ever call them my "babies" or "children." Nor are they part of my family. That creeps me out. When people compare losing a pet to losing a family member--I just can't bear that.

WillieWaggledagger Mon 31-Mar-14 20:36:55

I do think it can depend on life stage. I'm in my late twenties and lots of people my age don't have children yet. I do suspect though that in 10-15 years or so if I still don't have children some people will start wondering to themselves why not - choice, fertility problems etc - and make assumptions based on something that isn't any of their business. Not everyone of course

neontetra Mon 31-Mar-14 20:38:58

Totally agree OP - it fucks me the hell off when colleagues with dc make comments to child-free colleagues about them "not understanding" x, y or z because they don't have children. Child-free or not, no one can fully understand another's experience, but luckily some of us have the gift of empathy.
My cousin had an awful time when, as a teacher, she was trying to get personal leave to take her very sick and elderly parents to medical appointments etc, yet her colleagues with dc were freely allowed childcare days to do similar. In fact, she felt forced to take early retirement at 50 for this reason ( and was, in my eyes and those of many of her students I know, a loss to the teaching profession). She has also faced hateful comments from her vicar, and others, about "not understanding" stuff due to her child-free status. As I said, fucks me right off!

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