Never wanted Kids, Don’t have the Time, Don’t have the Uterus

This has nothing to do with spelling or grammar – perhaps more to do with tone and style?

I’m not sure what people expect when writing to an agony aunt in a magazine, possibly some help, some reassurance, some support.  After all, they must be pretty confused to ask a stranger in a public domain in the first place. 

Can I suggest that if you are considering this, that maybe you don’t “Ask Shane”?  Shane Watson writes for Easy Living magazine (I read a couple today at my mother’s house – she’d picked them up at a local charity shop).  I found her answer to a reader query particularly annoying. 

A 39 year old woman requested advice on what to do as she was to be married to a lovely, sweet “conventional” guy who wanted kids.  She didn’t want kids, never had, worked in the music industry, travelled a lot, but felt that husband to be was hoping she’d change her mind about the children once they were married.   What should she do?

The answer, I’d hope, was talk to this guy more.  If kids are the deal breaker and neither can shift, then the deal breaks.  Harsh but true.  Why should either compromise on this? And surely that’s better than years of resentment?

Shane started off sympathising (ahem):

“There aren’t many people out there who accept that you can be a fulfilled female without also being a mother”

okkkkaaaay, and you would be one of them? Words stylistically designed to get your back up.

“you cannot deny your partner children if that is what he really wants:  not only is it cruel, it will fester and eat away at your relationship”

Jeez.  The guilt that this woman is pushing onto this already confused reader is unbelievable.  Her basic premise here is right.  Don’t marry the guy if he *really* wants kids and you don’t.  But really, couldn’t she have phrased it in a more compassionate way.  This just implies that you should just have his kids and
be grateful.  In fact the end of the article implied that the reader should be happy she has this man’s interest at all.  I mean, God forbid, she might be happy alone.

I think this particularly annoyed me because of a conversation I had with someone the other night.  Understandably, a child fundamentally changes your life.  But to imply that the lack of a child somehow makes your life less worthy or less fulfilled is just ungrounded and quite patronising.

Get over it, not everyone wants a child.  And to be fair, if you then find a man who does when you don’t, please don’t just settle and compromise, or no one will be happy. 

(Title quote from Sue Sylvester, Glee.)

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4 thoughts on “Never wanted Kids, Don’t have the Time, Don’t have the Uterus

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