Some people just don’t get it

       A few weeks ago, Complete without Kids author Ellen Walker published an interview about my Childless by Marriage book at her blog on Psychology Today.com. You can click the links to refresh your memory. Well, the comments have been coming in. Many are kind, but the anger has started. The first nasty one, which I read yesterday afternoon, made me so uncomfortable I abandoned the computer and started a massive cleanup of my garage. (Anybody got a truck I can take to the dump?) The next one was almost as bad, but that first one hangs on me, like spider webs. I want so much to defend myself, but I know it would not help.
       I can’t quote the whole thing for fear of violating copyright, but here’s the opening passage:
“This sounds like ‘Oh the sadness of not being part of the Mommy club because
of my husband’. Cry me a river, why did you marry him if you weren’t compatible in one of the most important ways possible?”
       She goes on to say nobody’s going to want to read my book, and she is grateful she doesn’t have children. She doesn’t understand why anybody would want to.
       A sample from the second response: “Boo hoo. So you can’t have a biological child. Ever heard of adoption?…And really, the ‘should we have kids or shouldn’t we’ conversation should be
raised way before marriage. Like, on the first date. Seriously. Are people
really this stupid?”
       Well, yes, I guess we are. If you’re screaming by now, join the club, but lots of people think this way. You’ve probably heard comments like this before. The people who make them don’t understand how it feels to love someone and know you’re meant to be with him or her but not know what to do about that desire to have children. They don’t understand the grief and pain that come with infertility or that adoption is not easy or even always possible. It’s all not as simple as they make it out to be.
        I admit that not my not having children was at least half my fault, that in some ways every one of their comments is valid. That’s why they make me so uncomfortable. But I hope people can try to exercise a little compassion for people whose situations are different from their own.
        What do you think? Go ahead and be honest. I have a lot more work to do in the garage.

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11 thoughts on “Some people just don’t get it

  1. Sue, those people don't get it. They're defensive because they feel like they have to defend their decision not to have children. They shouldn't take their defensiveness out on you.

    I posted comments there, but I want you to know that you did a brave and totally honorable thing by marrying the men you loved. You did a brave and honorable thing by compromising for love. You did a brave and honorable thing to admit that love is, usually, a compromise and that sometimes these compromises really hurt.

    You are brave and wonderful!!!

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  2. Hi Sue, don't spend any time thinking about these responses. I read lots and lots of articles on the internet (about all kinds of topics) and there are always the few (or more than a few) harsh to downright nasty responses. With everything. You can't avoid it so don't worry about it. There are always going to be people who don't agree and who can't see things from anybody else's perspective. I do have children by the way – but limited family otherwise.

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  3. Hi Sue, I think that whenever anyone posts on the internet, you need to adapt the attitude that people are going to comment on things in their own language and view point. Sometimes you just need to remember that this is not everyone's cup of tea, and they're just writing down what they feel. I'm curious to know if others in that comment section rose to your viewpoint's defence? I find that's usually the case. Overall, I know it's hard not to take these things personally, but sometimes you just have to say 'Huh. They feel differently' and move on from there. I hope you NEVER stop writing, as it makes me feel so connected to know others are in the same boat as I. I read your blog all the time. I hope this comment makes you feel better, but if you like cleaning the garage, don't let that be the reason! 🙂

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  4. Aw, thanks, you guys. People have rallied to my defense here and at psychologytoday.com. I'm not worried about the mean comments, and I won't stop writing. However, I do have to finish cleaning out the garage if I ever want to park the car in there again. If I had kids, maybe I could give them some of this junk, but they probably wouldn't want it. Goodwill, here I come.

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  5. I HATE the adoption comment. as if that is any more a sure thing than just kissing to get pregnant.
    We tried for 7 years to get approved to even TRY to adopt, and didnt.
    And the Discuss on first date.. sure.. cause then you wont sound desperate to get married and have kids .. i agree early on you gotta ask but if you fall in love, how shallow is it to leave for that? And like many in this situation, He thought I might grow out of wanting kids (i was 18 when we married)

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  6. Wow, Sue. I hope the people who wrote the comments either don't have children of their own, or have taught their children more grace and compassion than they are able to show. Disagreements don't need to be hurtful or offensive. I agree with Andi – you are brave and wonderful.
    -Theresa

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  7. I'm sorry you had to read such vitriol. It's understandable that people have varying points of view, but context and appropriateness and compassion would go a long way.
    Keep in keeping on.
    Tracy

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  8. Sometimes I wonder if all of the people who say that they never wanted children and are perfectly happy are being honest. I mean, I'm sure some of them are, and I envy them and think they are awesome…but I know I am guilty of lying sometimes and pretending that I am one of them when really if things had turned out differently and I married a different person, I'm sure I would have children and would have been happy about it. I guess I'm just saying that I'm glad you are being so honest on this blog. I think there are more of us in this situation than people think and its nice to know there are some people out there who can relate.

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