Annoying: Some Married Women Including Some Infertile Ones
As I was saying in a previous post, I do try to be sensitive to other people’s problems, but my patience gets tried at times.
I get quickly irritated by married women who are very vocal and extremely emotional about wanting to be mothers, and yet they cannot get pregnant.
These married women should, in my opinion, feel grateful that they are at least married, but they complain and weep bitterly on other people’s blogs, forums, and on TV shows that they cannot get pregnant.
I never hear infertile, married women express the sentiment that “I feel glad that I at least I have a husband.”
Meanwhile, I’m in my late 30s, have always wanted to get married, but cannot seem to meet anyone. (I was in a serious relationship that lasted for several years, but I’ve never been married.)
Never mind having kids, I can’t even land “Mr. Right,” so I’m not overcome with boat loads of sympathy for some married woman’s infertility. I try, I really do, but very little sympathy gets stirred in my heart.
I mentioned these points in a forum, where a married woman, who is roughly the same age as me, was extremely agitated and carrying on that she was infertile.
I did not reply to that woman directly, but I did leave a post in that discussion thread pointing out that at least married, infertile women have husbands, while some of us, who are the same age, want to get married but are not, and have never been married.
I was blunt in my post, but I was polite, and I kept it short and did not go into details about my situation and life.
Later, I checked that thread to see that another woman (let’s call her “Heather”) left a reply not only to me, but also to the infertile, married woman, and her replies to both of us were inappropriate, condescending, and insensitive.
From the way this Heather person talked, I take it that she herself was married, or was at one time.
This brings me to another point:
I am annoyed to no end by condescending married women who see remarks by single women like me who express a desire to be married, and lecture us that “men and marriage aren’t all that great,” and who believe they are enlightening us with all sorts of tales of marital woes and abusive husbands.
I already get that marriage isn’t a cake walk or a picnic for all females. I certainly don’t need a married woman to inform me of this.
What was even more annoying is that Heather made a lot of unfounded conclusions about me.
Despite the fact my post was very short, and I didn’t give a lot of information about myself, she made all sorts of assumptions about me and my life.
For one thing, she appeared to assume that I’ve never been in a serious relationship before (and I have been).
At no point in my brief post did I say or even imply that I expected that having a man would totally fulfill me, that all marriages are happy at all times, or that I was looking to a husband as a savior figure, etc., but she assumed all that was true about me.
I logged back in to set her straight.
Heather also gave me unsolicited, condescending advice, such as instead of being concerned over my singleness, that I should try to find contentment with serving those less fortunate than myself.
I had to correct her on that too:
I have in fact volunteered at shelters for abused women and the homeless, and doing so did not lift my spirits, it did not make me feel fulfilled, nor did it damper my desire for a spouse.
Heather left the married, infertile woman in the thread similar condescending, unsolicited advice as she did to me, such as “use your maternal instincts for volunteering at an orphanage.”
While I can feel annoyed at times that many married, infertile woman act ungrateful over having a spouse (i.e. they excessively focus on being childless, and they do this in front of never-married women such as myself), I would not dream of giving infertile women patronizing advice about dealing with their emotional pain by ‘working at an orphanage,’ ‘getting a job as a grade school teacher,’ etc.
That sort of advice is unrealistic, anyway.
A woman in her late 30s who is infertile and who wants very badly to have a baby of her own, one that she carried in her own womb, would not feel that working with other people’s kids at a school or orphanage would fill the void she’s experiencing.
“Christians” like this “Heather” do far more harm than good.
I really wish that married women who can’t have babies would reconsider posting their infertility stories on other people’s blogs, in light of the fact that some of their older (or same-age) sisters in Christ have never been married and would like to be.
I try to feel for these infertile women, I really do, but to read someone who has a husband lamenting that they can’t have a kid just rubs some of us who’ve never been married the wrong way.
—July 9, 2010. I found this today:
Why Parents Hate Parenting
Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so.
This finding is surprisingly consistent, showing up across a range of disciplines.
Perhaps the most oft-cited datum comes from a 2004 study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize–winning behavioral economist, who surveyed 909 working Texas women and found that child care ranked sixteenth in pleasurability out of nineteen activities.
(Among the endeavors they preferred: preparing food, watching TV, exercising, talking on the phone, napping, shopping, housework.) This result also shows up regularly in relationship research, with children invariably reducing marital satisfaction.
The economist Andrew Oswald, who’s compared tens of thousands of Britons with children to those without, is at least inclined to view his data in a more positive light: “The broad message is not that children make you less happy; it’s just that children don’t make you more happy.”
That is, he tells me, unless you have more than one. “Then the studies show a more negative impact.”
As a rule, most studies show that mothers are less happy than fathers, that single parents are less happy still, that babies and toddlers are the hardest, and that each successive child produces diminishing returns. But some of the studies are grimmer than others.
Robin Simon, a sociologist at Wake Forest University, says parents are more depressed than nonparents no matter what their circumstances—whether they’re single or married, whether they have one child or four.
….Before urbanization, children were viewed as economic assets to their parents. If you had a farm, they toiled alongside you to maintain its upkeep; if you had a family business, the kids helped mind the store. But all of this dramatically changed with the moral and technological revolutions of modernity.
As we gained in prosperity, childhood came increasingly to be viewed as a protected, privileged time, and once college degrees became essential to getting ahead, children became not only a great expense but subjects to be sculpted, stimulated, instructed, groomed. (The Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer describes this transformation of a child’s value in five ruthless words: “Economically worthless but emotionally priceless.”)
Kids, in short, went from being our staffs to being our bosses.
….A few generations ago, people weren’t stopping to contemplate whether having a child would make them happy. Having children was simply what you did. And we are lucky, today, to have choices about these matters. But the abundance of choices—whether to have kids, when, how many—may be one of the reasons parents are less happy.
That was at least partly the conclusion of psychologists W. Keith Campbell and Jean Twenge, who, in 2003, did a meta-analysis of 97 children-and-marital-satisfaction studies stretching back to the seventies.
Not only did they find that couples’ overall marital satisfaction went down if they had kids; they found that every successive generation was more put out by having them than the last—our current one most of all.
Even more surprisingly, they found that parents’ dissatisfaction only grew the more money they had, even though they had the purchasing power to buy more child care. “And my hypothesis about why this is, in both cases, is the same,” says Twenge.
“They become parents later in life. There’s a loss of freedom, a loss of autonomy. It’s totally different from going from your parents’ house to immediately having a baby. Now you know what you’re giving up.” (Or, as a fellow psychologist told Gilbert when he finally got around to having a child: “They’re a huge source of joy, but they turn every other source of joy to sh*t.”)
It wouldn’t be a particularly bold inference to say that the longer we put off having kids, the greater our expectations. “There’s all this buildup—as soon as I get this done, I’m going to have a baby, and it’s going to be a great reward!” says Ada Calhoun, the author of Instinctive Parenting and founding editor-in-chief of Babble, the online parenting site. “And then you’re like, ‘Wait, this is my reward? This nineteen-year grind?’ ”
….But one of the most sobering declines documented in Changing Rhythms of American Family Life is the amount of time married parents spend alone together each week: Nine hours today versus twelve in 1975.
Bradbury, who was involved in the UCLA study of those 32 families, says the husbands and wives spent less than 10 percent of their home time alone together. “And do you think they were saying, ‘Gee honey, you look lovely. I just wanted to pick up on that fascinating conversation we were having earlier about the Obama administration’? ” he asks. “Nope. They were exhausted and staring at the television.”