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"Mothers, stop moaning!" Guardian article directed partly at MNers

(224 Posts)
MrsJamin Sat 31-Mar-12 13:05:36


What do we think? Is she justified?

Personally, I can see her perspective, and utterly empathise, but I still think that we have the right to discuss our parenthood problems on MN, even if she doesn't believe that mothers ever have the right to have problems or discuss them. She is expecting wrath from us, so let's surprise her shall we?

belgo Sat 31-Mar-12 13:12:08

Yes I do think she is right about some things, in particular about the sex of the baby.

Of course we still have the right to discuss parenting problems. We don't blame the parenting problems on the children, we blame them on the circumstances, which we are trying to improve.

Hassled Sat 31-Mar-12 13:13:01

The poor woman. And she's right, on the whole, isn't she - the trials and tribulations of parenting are a tiny drop in the ocean compared to her sadness and despair.

What she's not doing, though, is taking into account human nature. Just because the parents on MN don't have it as tough as her, it doesn't mean we won't or can't moan when things are tough. Things are shit for her - but probably out there somewhere is a woman for whom things are considerably more shit; you can always play top trumps with sadness. It doesn't mean people lower down the sadness table aren't allowed to complain sometimes.

RitaMorgan Sat 31-Mar-12 13:13:50

If she was so keen to have a baby why wait til she was in her forties to think about it?

Sounds like she has this ideal of motherhood in her head and can't bear anything less - that it can be hard, mothers get depressed, that she could have become a single mother or adopted.

Oakmaiden Sat 31-Mar-12 13:15:04

That is sad.

It doesn't make the difficulties of parenthood any less, but I can understand how she would give her soul to be able to experience those difficulties. She would probably complain about them too, when she got there. Because sharing the ups and downs of our lives makes it that bit easier to get through. Being a parent IS hard - it is a different sort of hard to not being able to be a parent, but it still is hard sometimes.

goingtoofast Sat 31-Mar-12 13:17:18

Someone else willa lways be worse off than you but doesn't mean that you shouldn't express your feelings.

At the age of forty there probably are ways of her still becoming a mother, I hope she does find happiness one day.

debka Sat 31-Mar-12 13:18:16

What a sad article. That poor woman sad

Meglet Sat 31-Mar-12 13:18:24


My sister is a bit like that. She's in her mid 30's and the chances of kids aren't looking great. She ripped into me last year when I was moaning about the dc's.

But, I was more idealistic before I had kids too.

granule Sat 31-Mar-12 13:18:56

She sounds entirely reasonable, it's a very well-written and moving piece.

Why was she expecting a MN bashing? confused

MagsAloof Sat 31-Mar-12 13:18:59

I really feel for anyone who cannot, for whatever reason, have children of their own. however - and I may get flamed for saying this - I think that is an incredibly self indulgent article. Yes, I have kids. I am lucky. One of my children is autistic. It can be very hard.

I expect my friends and the people who know me to be sensitive to the implications of our situation - I don't expect the whole world to walk around on tiptoes.

funchum8am Sat 31-Mar-12 13:21:24

Why doesn't she consider adoption? It would answer a lot of her wishes, such as leaving a human legacy behind her. I do sympathise though having had problems with miscarriage (am now 15 weeks with DC1, so FX) and it does hurt when people moan about their kids/pregnancy aches and pains, but you have to live with what life throws at you. We would happily have adopted and in fact may well still do so after this; we are lucky to live in a country that lets single women have that option.

belgo Sat 31-Mar-12 13:21:43

At the age of 46, I don't know how easy it would be for her to adopt. I hope she finds peace, for her own sake.

I remember talking to an elderly lady who told me that she didn't have children because her husband had been too selfish and had refused. She sounded so sad and bitter. I was only about 22, but at that point having children became my priority in life.

MrsJamin Sat 31-Mar-12 13:22:40

Hassled, I would have thought she'd wait until 40 because she was looking for the right man to be the father. I know of some women like this and it is a catch 22 situation. I utterly empathise with her bewilderment over mothers' disappointment over gender though, that must be awful to hear when you haven't any possibility of having your own child.

On another note, I do think some mothers are very insensitive, for example on facebook when they write something either really smug (e.g. on mothers day) or complain about their children as if they are unwanted (in the heat of the moment, of course). I always try to remember that I have some friends who cannot have children and consider what they might think of what I write, if it's about the children.

belgo Sat 31-Mar-12 13:24:03

You're right MrsJamin, it's always important to be considerate. Facebook is a dreadful place for complaining and for boasting, often in the same post.

Oakmaiden Sat 31-Mar-12 13:27:18

Mags - yes, I think you are right. We all assume we are going to have well-behaved, attractive and intelligent children - or at least few people really think beforehand how very hard things might be if our children turn out to be "different".

My friend has a child who will never be able to walk, or talk or feed himself, who at 7 years old has no receptive language (so doesn't understand anything that is said to him) and who screams. Constantly. And yet I don't think I have ever heard her complain.

I don't really know what my point is here. Except you don't realise what parenthood is like til you get there - and that for many people it is not as rosy as the "picture perfect" family we thought we would have.

jasminerice Sat 31-Mar-12 13:27:32

I wonder how she managed to never meet the right person. Were her standards too high? Did she find fault with every man she met thinking he was not quite good enough and moving onto the next one until one day she's 40+.

I have a friend just like this. And she now regrets rejecting some of the perfectly decent men she could have married in her thirties. She rejected them for ridiculous reasons eg being a bit too short for her liking etc.

QOD Sat 31-Mar-12 13:28:25

Wow she is one bitter and unhappy lady. How sad she is

I have a DD thru surrogacy, I have had some of the feelings she mentioned (before DD was offered, planned, conceived and born) - and it was a horrible time in my life. I saw a psychiatrist who advised me that I wasn't depressed or mentally ill, just sad. I truly hope,she can move on one day.

My oldest friend is 43 and about to have her last go at IVF, I'm gad she has friends like me though who do understand a bit and will help rebuild her if it fails.

Jeeze, makes me look at my stroppy Kevina and want to hug her although the prickly princess would chin me if I tried to get near her

mumofjust1 Sat 31-Mar-12 13:28:43

She has some fantastic points. Poor woman sad

edam Sat 31-Mar-12 13:30:09

yes, it's sad she left it too late to have a baby but that doesn't invalidate any of the problems parents suffer. Otherwise we'd tell her to shut the fuck up because other people are working 100 hour weeks in sweatshops for a few pennies, or because other people are dying of cancer, or because people are being tortured and killed in Syria.

jasminerice Sat 31-Mar-12 13:31:51

Also, as a non parent, I think she mistakes mothers' moaning for not appreciating what we have. I moan with best of them but that doesn't mean I don't love my children or appreciate how lucky I am to have a beautiful family of my own. It's something one can only understand once you actually become a parent.

Pagwatch Sat 31-Mar-12 13:32:38

I understand what she is trying to say but she doesn't see that context is everything.
Yes, you get really stupid people who fret about stuff and find problems in life where there are none, we all kniw those .

But her perspective is that were she able to have children she would never complain, never feel stress, be happy with her lot. She only knows that because she understands the idea that it may never happen.
Most people assume they will have a happy healthy child. And we adapt our complaints within that context iyswim.
I know that 'happy healthy' isn't a given so I get mystified by oarents complaining that their child is so bright it is challenging to deal with, or that the activities schedule is just so busy. And part of me thinks 'my child will never speak properly or understand enough to function alone - how dare you complain when you have so much'
But then I complain that my DS2 doesn't sleep, or eats too much' and I realise that bereaved parents will read that and think 'why are you complaining, you have your child to hug and hold'

She is nit recognizing that most of us have lives that are shades of happy, content, sad, frustrated. We bend to the degree to which we experience each of those. It's just human nature.

She would be no different. It is only her experience that has changed her perspective. She is blaming women for not knowing what she does. But honestly, people can't do that. It doesn't make them bad. But nor does it make her wrong. I try to be grateful for what I have. We should just try to do that more

PeelingmyselfofftheCeiling Sat 31-Mar-12 13:44:38

Never leave mn pag, you speak a lot of truth.

TheOneWithTheHair Sat 31-Mar-12 13:46:08

Well said Pagwatch.

I do feel sad for her but this is going to eat away at her and turn her into an unpleasant person and could ruin her life. She needs to concentrate on something positive now. It's so sad that in effect she thinks her life is worth less/nothing because she hasn't had children.

SardineQueen Sat 31-Mar-12 13:51:54

I don't think the answer to her problems is to tell everyone else to stop talking about theirs.

I found her comments about depression terribly flippant.

I agree with her about people who are disappointed over the sex of a baby - but if someone feels that way then they feel that way and it's not anyone else's place to say whether she is allowed to feel that way or not.

Rezolution Sat 31-Mar-12 13:53:06

If she really wants a baby she can have one, but not with her own eggs. That's all.

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