27
Feb
08

Can women be honest about the downside of motherhood?

‘It’s still taboo for women to express mixed feelings about motherhood, but many don’t find the idyll they’d been led to expect.’ If you’re a mother, does that ring true for you?

The quote is the opening line from an article by Eliane Glaser who works on one of the BBC’s most revered radio programmes Woman’s Hour. Tomorrow, the show will explore the difference between expectations of motherhood and the reality. And we’ll be talking about this on Wednesday.In her article Eliane writes:‘In the course of making a special edition of Woman’s Hour on motherhood, I found myself opening up a Pandora’s box of maternal ambivalence, with one ordinary, non-depressed mother after another describing how their own experience did not match up to the blissful idyll they had been led to expect. Many emphasised their intense love for their children, but also spoke of times when they found looking after them exhausting, lonely and mind-numbingly boring. ‘

If you’re a mother what’s your experience? Does what Eliane describes sound familiar? And who should be held responsible if there’s a divide between the way your society wants motherhood to be and what actually happens?

Joining us on Wednesday will be Liz Fraser, author of The Yummy Mummy’s Survival Guide. A mother of three and a former TV presenter, Liz has written a handbook for mothers who want to be yummy and not slummy. Liz also says she has a very low tolerance for women who complain about motherhood.

We’ll also be speaking to Sophie Hannah. Sophie is a mother of two and a successful author and her third book ‘The Point of Rescue’ deals with a mother who hates motherhood.


134 Responses to “Can women be honest about the downside of motherhood?”


  1. February 25, 2008 at 13:25

    motherhood ain’t what it used to be

    10 or 12 kids, everyone learnt to parent their younger subliings

    there were no myths; it was just real

  2. 2 steve
    February 25, 2008 at 13:42

    Why are women overly concerned about what others think of them? No wonder so many have little to no self esteem, because they overly care what others think, and for silly things too, not important things. WHO CARES WHAT YOUR NEIGHBOR THINKS IF YOU DONT WANT TO HAVE KIDS!

    • 3 Claire
      September 19, 2009 at 23:13

      I was so looking forward to motherhood and was shocked in a way at how difficult I have found it. I love my daughter dearly and feel guilty for saying she has been a difficult baby but I have found it difficult to adjust to the demands of being a mother and having a baby who does not sleep well. My daughter is a beautiful and intelligent little girl but as a working professional I sometimes miss the stimulation of working and actually felt slightly relieved when I went back to work when she was 7 months old which makes me feel quite guilty. I really enjoy spending time with my daughter and do my best to give her my full attention and meet all her needs but when she still cries despite this I often feel a failure and wonder what I am doing wrong. In reality, lack of sleep massively clouds your judgment and I know that I do everything I can to make her a happy and contented child but those who have children who do not sleep well will understand what effect this has on all of the family. I have always wanted to have 2 or 3 children but now find myself questioning how I can cope with another. I love my daughter so much and it is the most rewarding experience I have ever had but at times I just feel like crying.

  3. 5 Katharina
    February 25, 2008 at 14:35

    Hi,

    I’m a happy mother of a five year old boy, and I really wanted to have him, BUT…

    to explain I have to give a little bit of my personal history: originally Austrian, I moved with my husband (Canadian) to Toronto in 2000 and in 2004 we moved to Ghent (Belgium). That being said, when my son was born in 2002, we had very few friends, mostly from work, so I felt very isolated when I stayed home with the baby – who woke up every two hours or even more often, for 18 long months! I went back to work when the baby was seven months old, first part-time and then full-time, and I felt so relieved to be able to be among grown ups again, not caring a baby in my arms while I go to the toilet (otherwise he could tear down the walls with his cries) and similar crazy things. Still now, while I enjy spending time with him and he’s a very funny, loving boy, when he expects me to watch “Dora the explorer” or some similar show with him, I go on strike because otherwise my brain will have a nuclear meltdown.

    In general, I think that expectations are too high nowadays, they changed very dramatically within the last 100 years or so. It used to be that you’re a good parent if your children make it to adulthood, and nowadays you’re not a good parent if you admit that you appreciate having a life on your own, especially as a mother and even more so in German-speaking countries, where mothers are more or less expected to give up their career and adult life for their children. This is the reason why I’m glad not to live there anymore, even though of the isolation mentioned before.

  4. 6 Will Rhodes
    February 25, 2008 at 16:58

    Nothing wrong at all with women having this view – after all, they are splashed on a daily basis with magazine, TV, store adverts that say it is an idyllic situation – my personal opinion as to why you have some, certainly not all, teen pregnancies we do, with the compensating for something they didn’t get/was expecting as a child.

    The reality is and always has been, bringing up baby is damn hard work!

  5. February 25, 2008 at 18:20

    I am the mother of a wonderful 3 year old. I say wonderful because I am thankful that I am not forced to devote all my time to being a mom. I somehow found a balance, which involves 4 sets of grandparents and daycare part-time. I am still able to keep my sanity this way. I know people who stay home or want to stay home with their children everyday and love it.

    I know a family that has 9 children and she is getting ready to have number 10. She home school’s them all. Insanity is all I can say. Also, I guess that would have to be that “that’s what you want to do.” I want to be successful, educated,smart, happy, and well-rounded. I want this for my child too. If I stayed home, I would be crabby, depressed, and probably hear voices in my head.

    When my child graduates high school and moves out, I’ll still have a life of my own along with participating in his. I know many parents that once their children moved on they found emptiness and loneliness and had to start all over finding a sense of self. I love my son, I hug him every chance I get, but I also love “my me time.”

  6. 8 George USA
    February 25, 2008 at 18:36

    Aren’t there countries with a negative birth rate paying women to conceive in Europe now?

    Berating an institution exactly as old as mankind seems contrary to those payments don’t you think?

    Perhaps “Western Civilization” has had it, not because of the Muslim hoards,

    because we have undermined our own cultural truths, goals, values, and ultimately reproductivity.

  7. February 25, 2008 at 19:59

    As a mom of a 3 yr old and one on the way I can say that it is just more difficult for the average woman now days. Used to be there were always help around when you needed it in the form of extended family and friends and like someone above said, you probably grew up helping to take care of the kids so it had an idea of what you needed to do with your own.

    Now women are left to fend for themselves much of the time usually due to others working and in no time she may have to return to work herself. That was/is my problem is that everyone that is close enough to help works and soo many people come out of the woodwork but only want to hold the baby and are expected to be entertained by mom…that not only does she have to take care of her family she has to take care of the inconsiderate guests as well…and we are taught to just deal with it and make nice so not to hurt their feelings.

    We are constantly told that we need a life of our own outside of being “mom”, but not too much because that would be selfish and harm our children. If you stay at home you are just buying into the Patriarchy’s view of women, but if you work you are harming your kids (that is what is called the “Mommy Wars”).

    If you breastfeed your infant many feel you shouldn’t do it in public, but if you chose to bottle feed you are a bad mother (and told this by countless health professionals no less not just family and friends).

    Moms are constantly told that if you give your kid this or that is it bad…if you dont give it to them you are bad. I have had FAMILY tell me that I HAD to give my kid candy because kids need candy!!! And my son was less than a year old and they got mad because I wouldn’t let them give him candy!

    So, it isn’t so much about caring what other think…they are gonna tell you what they think anyway and eventually it gets hard to ignore.

  8. 10 Katharina in Ghent
    February 25, 2008 at 20:06

    Indeed, some countries like Germany or austria are considering paying “birth premiums” (again, in Austria we had them until about 20 years ago), but that is totally off the point! Those European countries like Sweden or France, where women are offered a life apart from tending after your baby, once you’ve had one, have a very decent birth rate, above 2.0. Those countries on the other side, where the daycare situation is dire and no nannies to be found, and women are expected to stay at home for 2 or 3 years per child, there most women will either not have babies at all or “try” one, see how hard it is and how difficult it is to go back to work and shy away from another one. It’s that simple, and yet so many stubborn politicians refuse to accept it…

  9. 11 Maria in Ohio
    February 26, 2008 at 02:46

    I am a 40 year old woman who has chosen not to have children. There is still a bit of a double standard here in the U.S. You have to be very careful in whose company you express your opinion about not wanting children. It’s getting better but in some circles it’s still seen as being selfish or anti-female. Having children should be a choice, not an expectation.

  10. 12 George USA
    February 26, 2008 at 10:53

    Life is defined as an organism able to reproduce.

    This week I heard a man 35 spouting how he had a girlfriend of 11 years and would marry when life was no fun any longer, children were too limiting to fun. My immediate reaction was revulsion, but after consideration, I agree, he should not reproduce or love someone more than himself on earth.

    The ladies here who chose not to have children should not do so.

    Recently I found that the woman who bore the boy I raised (and bailed out), then went on to have a family, (and then bailed out of that also), and is now “seeking men who like to flirt, sensuality, and…” so forth.

    At the end of both men and women’s life, as death nears, they call their loved ones, not their board members, sales managers, professional associates or anything to do with how they earned their daily bread in life and not their one night stands.

    If we use the biological definition of life, those who never reproduce never were alive.

    But I do not think that right.

    Those who never love anyone other than themselves never live.

    It does not matter if they have children or not, loving others is the sole thing of value that takes place between birth and death. Some spinsters love others and some do not. Some mothers love others and some do not.

    At the end of a movie called “The Perfect Storm” a character is adrift alone in huge seas about to die, and explains all that counts of life is love, and it is all that lasts.

    Yes.

  11. 13 Alison, Idaho
    February 26, 2008 at 15:29

    My husband and I live in southern Idaho, which is heavily populated by Mormons. When we tell people around here we are not interested in having children, we get reactions of shock, amazement…sometimes disgust.

    It’s hard for people to comprehend that our plans for our life together don’t include breeding, when so many around here had 4 kids by the time they were 25.

    I think we’re a great family…just us and the animals. We’re both very close to our siblings and parents, and we love our nieces and nephews. We give to charities and have lots of friends, but I think the Mormons think we’re going to hell for sure…I guess we can agree to disagree on that one.

  12. 14 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 03:08

    Totally off topic, but this is an excellent topic, and I think it might be this way in other countries:

    “American and Alone”

    http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=119560

    “Since one does not seem connected to anyone or anything else, one’s focus inevitably becomes brute self-interest. Narcissism, competitiveness, mistrust, and defensiveness reign among atomized individuals. Like threatened bullfrogs, we puff ourselves up into formidable things. We build massive egos, a bunch of useless hot air, to try and fill the gaping void caused by love’s absence.”

    “Recent studies confirm Chuck’s observations. In 2006, a study in the American Sociological Review claimed that the average American only has two close friends in whom to confide, while almost 25 percent claim to have no friends at all (1). Another recent study found a marked increase in the suicide rate of middle-age American men (2). In 2004, a similar bump — 8 percent — was found among American children and young adults aged 10 to 24, the largest rise in fifteen years (3). And of course, there is the seemingly endless string of “berserker” shootings perpetrated by disaffected, friendless young men.”

  13. 15 Dennis Cote
    February 27, 2008 at 07:37

    I fully agree with Alison. Once religion is brought into the subject, people that choose not to have children are looked down upon.
    It’s sad, really.
    Perhaps the couple is keeping in mind; finances in the long run won’t work out, they don’t have the patience for the night time wake ups, or they couple is simply happy as a couple, and wish to be on their own, as a couple, nothing more.
    I’ve seen people having children that simply can’t afford it, unless they have them within the 5 year limit to stay on welfare. And they happily admit it!
    I applaud Alison and her husband for making their own decision, and not letting the tv, magazines,religion, and peers pressure them into something that should be ONLY their decision.

  14. 16 VictorK
    February 27, 2008 at 11:05

    Ths story comes under the heading of ‘More self-indulgent moaning from soft and pampered Westerners who refuse to accept that they have it good.’

    A few years ago I heard a young Ugandan woman speaking on the BBC world service. She came from a region that had been devastated by civil conflict (the Lord’s Resistance Army, as I recall). Virtually all of the young men had fled the region. This woman lived alone and supported herself by farming. She was unmarried and childless. Her consuming ambition in life was to be a mother. Yet she knew that it was too dangerous for any young man to remain in the region and so the odds of her finding a husband were slim at best.

    Bur she had made up her mind. She was determined to let the first suitable man she encountered impregnate her. She knew that such a man was unlike to marry her or make any kind of commitment to her or any child she gave birth to. She was also very aware of the possibility that such a man might be infected with the HIV virus. But her determination to be a mother was more important than the risks and difficulties that she knew she would face along the way.

    I don’t know what happened to that woman. I like to think that she found a husband and together they had a large family. But I felt the deepest admiration and respect for her. Here was a woman fully in touch with her nature. Her instinct to have a child was natural and healthy and she was prepared to make the greatest sacrifices to fulfil that instinct. In the West, many women defer or completely avoid child-bearing in order to maintain a certain material standard of living. Abortion is commonplace and is used almost purely for contraceptive purposes. Here, in contrast, was a woman prepared to risk her life in order to have a child and ready to make any material sacrifice to attain her goal. Uganda may be a society that is poor, misgoverned, and in many places violent and chaotic. But it really seems to me that there is more of genuine moral and spiritual health in such a country, as typified by the story of this woman, than there is in many of the frivolous and decadent societies of the West.

    And women who have never in the course of their superficial lives broken a painted fingernail doing real work are wailing that motherhood is not the ‘idyll’ they dreamed it would be! That’s one episode of WHYS I won’t be listening to, I’m afraid.

  15. 17 Opit Kim Craig
    February 27, 2008 at 12:31

    What do you xpect? famale beating, mistreatment, addictions etc. these r things married women xperience in Uganda. I don’t kno’ wat female activitist r doin’ besides enriching themselves thru the so-called ‘NGOs’.

    Rape is rampant, defilement of 2 month old babies right here in Kampala.Young girls instead of studying r bein’ used by Joseph Kony as his wives. There’s alot of young mothers in say Gulu- 12yr olds.

    Motherhood has turned out to be a painful xperience with children being dumped even at university campuses where I am, thru illegal abortion centres, in pit latrines…

    In short, motherhood is laughed at down here by the so-called ‘learned’ women(mothers of tomorrow).They r so scared to bare children giving all sorts of xcuses such as losing shape,curves, looking older earlier than xpected…

    Unless sensitization is done not only at the grass root level,since these people seem to even revere motherhood more, but at the intellectual level because this class has reduced motherhood to almost nothing.

  16. 18 Phillip Kihumuro
    February 27, 2008 at 13:37

    Hi BBC, I believe that Motherhood should be full of JOY and HAPPINESS. I realise my mother is a happy woman because the kids that she has are exactly what she desired to have.Motherhood thus needs to be satisfying in every aspect of life.

  17. 19 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 14:00

    Don’t have much of a problem with women who don’t want to have kids, but I do have a problem with women who do have kids, and decide they regret it because they can no longer do whatever instant gratification things they did before having kids, and then they get upset, and take it out on their kids, and their kids grow up to be damaged people. If you have kids, if you’ve chosen to do it, then you better devote your life to your kids, and not complain about it. you made the decision, now be responsible for the decision you made. Life isn’t all fun and games, sorry.

  18. February 27, 2008 at 14:11

    I think being a mom has many things beyond it,far from being a house keeper.Women should not try to discover what other people think of them, when a woman decide to be honest to her motherhood then there are some things she has to fore go and from this modern and technological setting of the world it’s impossible.

    Regards

  19. 21 Ros Atkins
    February 27, 2008 at 14:44

    Hi guys,

    What a great topic!

    I have thought if having children is right for me. While I want children I wonder if I am ready to give up my free time and the monopoly I have on my husband’s time. Am I ready or even truly willing to give up time from a career to have/raise children. I have many friends, some who have struggled for years with heartache and loss, who have kids and they are happy. However, I have on a few occasions heard them grip about it and the loss of their own time. I know these are serious points to consider and weigh and find a balance too.

    I applaud you for opening Pandora’s box and I greatly look forward to the show and the thoughts to be shared.

    Heather Mann

    Houston, TX

  20. 22 Joanna, St. Louis
    February 27, 2008 at 15:02

    I am 25 and have told my mother my entire life that I did not want kids. Everyone has always looked at me like I was crazy for saying it. Up until meeting my fiance, I truly did not want to sacrifice my career goals to have kids. I also never thought I would meet someone who insisted on not just one but several kids. We have gone round and round on this subject and come to a compromise that we would have at least 2 (with him hoping to have 4). I told him that I do not want to be a stay at home mom for many reasons.

    To be honest, I’m two sided on this issue. I sometimes don’t really feel the motherly instinct. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids but I also enjoy sending them home and having “me” time. But, when you love someone, you compromise. And our compromise is that we will BOTH have to sacrifice some career aspirations to have a family. It’s not fair for me to have to make all the sacrifices, it’s a different world than it used to be.

    Another personal reason for me being apprehensive is the toll that it takes on your body. Nowadays, men are having affairs left and right. Unless you have money, it’s difficult to get your body back. I can imagine mother’s getting depressed because all they look at are fit women on tv and ads. Personally, I’m probably obsessed with my weight and the thought of having to look like my mom in her “mom jeans” is terrifying and I’m already depressed about it. Is there sucha a thing as PRE partom depression.

    Seriously, having no kids, what sounds good about: feelingobese for 9 months, puking from every scent, not being able to drink alcohol, coffee, and your favorite foods and watching every one else being able to, hours upon hours of labor only to have a basketball come out of a hole the size of a quarter, then having a flabby stomach and stretch marks, never looking the same in a swim suit, worrying that your husband doesn’t find you attractive, sitting at home watching soaps and Oprah, while cleaning, cooking, doing laundry. I’m sure motherhood in itself is satisfying but when you have to compromise all of this for it, I imagine it can be a huge obstacle to overcome. I think men forget about all of this in their quest for heirs.

  21. 23 Ros Atkins
    February 27, 2008 at 15:12

    Hi Ros,
    Akbar here in Terhan.
    Thku so much for your email.
    There is so much going on.
    Yr topics are exciting.
    Women’s rights is a massive issue at present here.
    But political agenda also heated.

    Rgds,
    A. Javadi

  22. 24 Ros Atkins
    February 27, 2008 at 15:12

    Hi Ros,
    I just think women should accept their natural roles in this world no matter how difficult. Not even drinking water is without difficulty cos some people die during it.
    If we all claim we do not want to play our roles in society because it was not as easy and exciting as we thought, there will be no 24hr security guards, no astronauts, no leaders, no fathers and no mothers.
    Women should learn to accept one of their roles, i.e to mother the next generation.
    Atsu
    Accra, Ghana.

  23. 25 Alison, Idaho
    February 27, 2008 at 15:40

    I think a lot of us are missing the point here…which is exactly the point. When a woman complains that having children wasn’t as fullfilling as she had hoped, everyone assumes she’s complaining about not having enough money or not having enough free time or something superficial like that.

    But that’s not it at all. It’s about not having enough mental stimulation. Having kids is supposed to be all you will ever need, but suddenly your biggest conversation topic is which diapers work best or how you fit cleaning your toilet into the schedule of raising kids.

    Believe it or not, women have ideas about the world and thoughts about things that are bigger than what’s in their home. What they discover when they have kids is that they have no outlet for those ideas. It’s boredom and lack of stimulation that is the problem…not greed or laziness.

    I hear this complaint from my friends with kids. They wouldn’t trade their kids for all the money and time in the world, and they do dedicate their lives to them, but that doesn’t mean they’re blissfully happy. And they shouldn’t be berated or called selfish because they feel this way. They are still excellent mothers.

  24. 26 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 15:48

    Alison, I know of cases where the mothers would tell their kids they regretted having them. I know of cases where a mother would tell a daughter “you ruined my figure”… And if you’re a stay at home mother, and you don’t think it’s stimulating, pick up a book and do some reading. Get some software and learn a new language. Rent audiobooks from the library and learn a new topic. You can always have time to challenge yourself intellectually. I just think some people prefer to complain.

  25. 27 Ros Atkins
    February 27, 2008 at 16:07

    I’m married with kids but I think my wife has always made clear motherhood is her greatest joy … even when the house is on fire!!!

    Many Thanks
    Kind Regards,
    M Harry Yamson, Accra

  26. 28 Alison, Idaho
    February 27, 2008 at 16:28

    I agree with you Steve that some people always need an excuse to complain…it’s the American way, and that may be the case with some of these mothers. But when you say that you always have time to challenge yourself intellectually, that may be true for you. But if you are the sole caretaker of three small kids, that’s just not really true. Every waking moment is consumed by childcare. It’s not like a job that you leave at 5 and have the rest of the day to yourself. When would you learn a language?

  27. 29 Virginia Davis
    February 27, 2008 at 16:54

    I enjoyed my pregnancy. I gave my child up for adoption at birth in the early 60’s. I was not ready to be a mother and, as it turns out, I did not have another child. It was for the best. I would have doomed us to the social services system and out of despair, I might have ended my own life. My child was adopted by loving parents who adopted six other children. I met her when she was in her early 30’s – she’s a wonderful individual. Having a partner, being a parent is one of life’s experiences that I missed. But as a mother, it was more loving to let her be raised by others.
    Virginia in Oregon

  28. 30 Nick, Kenya
    February 27, 2008 at 16:55

    There is really nothing they can do about it, and there is no reason for telling people about your problems while knowing they cant help. I think his is the reason women would rather keep quiet

  29. 31 John in Salem
    February 27, 2008 at 17:04

    I’m in my mid fifties and I have never met a mother who did not have something to complain about.

  30. 32 Andre
    February 27, 2008 at 17:08

    Motherhood is a very demanding task and not all women are temperamentally suited to it. I see nothing wrong in women saying that being a mother is not their first priority or that they don’t enjoy being mothers as much as our culture apparently thinks they should. Children can become boring as their life experiences are limited, their conservational abilities are limited and, their needs are near constant. Why on earth do we think this is what all women should want?

  31. 33 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 17:09

    Alison, even taking care of kids, you could get a portable CD player, and listen to CDs. They have many audio CDs you can use. You could play them on a computer and just listen. http://Www.netlibrary.com has them for free (presuming your local library is a member). There are the Michel Thomas (God rest his soul) CDs that aren’t that expensive, that you might even be able to get from the library. If you can listen to music, wear an ipod, you can learn. There is no excuse to not be able to do that unless you are having a conversation with someone. There is always time to listen, to read, etc. Even when you’re in your car, driving kids someonewhere, put the CD in and listen to it. Connect your ipod to your stereo and listen. I used to drive long distances to visit my ex girlfriend and would learn languages or listen to lectures on history during the drive. At any point, going grocery shopping, waiting in the doctors office, you can listen to this things and learn and stimulate your intellect. There really are no excuses to not be able to do this.

  32. 34 viola anderson
    February 27, 2008 at 17:13

    Not a new topic, but always an interesting one. First, barring science-fiction type changes, motherhood is here to stay, folks, in all its myriad varieties: good, bad, mediocre, loving, protective, abusive, exploitative–you get the idea. I am a mother so I understand perfectly where all the mothers are coming from, the pressures they face, the fatigue, the depressing realization that you are well and truly trapped by motherhood because of love for your children. No longer can you become engrossed in anything except the care of your children because distraction can be fatal. And face it, not all fathers are loving, kind, supportive, helpful, and grateful for being fathers. Many are resentful, childish, critical, obstructive; even, in some cases, abusive–one more thing for mothers to be concerned about on their children’s behalf. However, in the words of a young mother encountered at a mall when my daughter, my son-in-law, my brand new granddaughter,and I were shopping for a jogging carriage, “It’s the best thing in the world.” The most difficult things are often the best.

  33. 35 melinda
    February 27, 2008 at 17:31

    Wow – what a topic. i think it will always be a “sore spot” for women. My daughter is 37 now. She was frequently ill as a child with life-threatening asthma. She and i both count those years as very strong bonding between us; i was able to be at home for five years, during which time i took part-time jobs on Saturdays (working as a physician’s receptionist); evening jobs as a supervisor of a medical lab reporting group; once i even delivered the early morning newspapers on Long Island, New York. My husband was the alternate care-giver in those situations and he enjoyed his time with our daughter.

    i think that women inherit a lot of fantasies and myths. Marriage will mean prince charming and happily ever after. Children will all be brilliant (and as in Lake Wobegone, good looking). Is every/any woman totally happy with her parents/husband/children. i think the answer is no…those are all fluid relationships and change from minute to minute. It is up to the mothers to find intellectual stimulation. When i attended community college here in Portland, there is a huge population of single mothers who find the time to get to class. It may take a very long time to get a degree by taking one class at a time, but they are willing to do it. Not just for intellectual stimulation but to pave the way to a better future. Those women enjoy their children sometimes, and want to tear out some-one’s hair at others. No, life is not easy with children. When someone you love makes a mistake and has to pay the consequences, it is heartbreaking.
    i remain grateful to a woman who told me (on the morning i was to head to the hospital to give birth (by C-section) that i shouldn’t expect an overwhelming feeling of warmth and love for this small person…that would grow. The other is part of the myth. Also, i think more moms would enjoy their children if the first thing they are concerned about was not what prep school or kindergarten or play group the child/children will be admitted to. We are having miniature adults at home; did you ever think that you may not be stimulating their intellect? What was the question? i think mothers are more and more accepting that children are a part of life and so far no-one has achieved the perfectly great life; sometimes when a child in the family has a debilitating (sp?) illness, can neither speak nor move or participate in life in any way and needs twenty-four hour care, i know that those mothers love their child but that they do not love what has happened to the child’s life or to the mother’s. AND if children weren’t so spoiled now (tantrums in the supermarket for a piece of junk (food or toy)) more mothers could afford to be honest. But in many cases, the mom is responsible for the way the child is monster like in its behavior and they don’t dare admit that motherhood is not as good as they thought it would be. They brought it upon themselves (usually through lazy parenting). It takes time to say no and help a child to accept that no and to remind them they will live through it until the next yes comes along.
    i am so grateful for this topic. It has obviously brought many things (past and persent) to my mind. Like it or not, it’s still one of the most important jobs a parent and/or society can have. Mothers, teachers, day-care workers should be recognized for the heroes they are – just like firemen, policemen, doctors. Maybe another topic should be “What about teachers? Are they honored and respected and paid as well as they could be?” Thanks for the venting space. m

  34. February 27, 2008 at 17:43

    I post on my Damian Daily blog about similar topics. Anyone who proclaims that motherhood is “everything they hoped and more” must have had low expectations. I succeeded in the high-powered career with major responsibility long before becoming a mother, but the mom role is the hardest job I’ve ever had. Of course I love my children, and they surprise me in new and exciting ways all the time, but I definitely have my moments where I long to escape the pressure of two young ones depedant upon me for everything, if just for a short while –long enough to take the occassional bubble bath or focus on a more creative outlet. I think that by admitting these shortcomings — that we can’t be everything for our kids all of the time — helps to make us more “human” parents.

  35. 37 archibald in Oregon
    February 27, 2008 at 17:47

    My wife and I are both 38, childless and quite happy. Biological imperatives aside, there is a societal compulsion toward reproduction that overrides any logic related to current overpopulation, financial difficulty and/or life goals. Many of our friends have had or are having children and all of them express frustration, some regret and a few despair. On the other hand, some seem to have found purpose in life after having their children. We feel the pressure to have children, but resist because it seems manufactured, mostly by those who are jealous of the freedoms they gave up. Family is always tauted as the bedrock of society, though currently it seems to be the stone that is sinking it. Do we need more people on the world? I think not. Anyone expressing dissatisfaction with their children should look at the selfish reasons for having them in the first place.
    This is not about mothering, but about the fact that with centuries of experience in child rearing, how can anyone in the modern world not know what they are getting into? If you choose it, be happy with it, it is a wonderful thing. Excluding certain extremes, no one is forced to have children, it is a choice.

  36. 38 Joe in Portland
    February 27, 2008 at 17:50

    When my wife and I first met, she told me early on that she did not want to be a stay at home mom. So I called dibs. It’s now 6 years later and I am a stay at home dad with our third child due in just a few weeks. My choice to stay home was very strong in my mind, but after 6 months of taking care of the kids full time, cleaning and improving the house, and doing some contract work on the side I started to waver in my commitment. It was too much for me. I lost the enjoyment of being with the kids because I was just overwhelmed. Once we got the kids into part time daycare I began to “normalize” again and I can really enjoy the kids again.

    If, before I had kids, a friend had told me they didn’t want to have kids I would have found it hard to believe and also a little confusing. Now that I am well experienced in the field, I can appreciate the thoughtful deliberation that should go into the decision to start a family. It is great to be a parent and I would never wish my kids away, but it is always a lot of work and can be harder than you can imagine at times. Having children is as huge of a decision as it sounds and the expectations of society do not help anyone make a thoughtful, informed decision about it. Telling the truth about our experiences as parents is the only way to help future families get off on the right foot.

  37. 39 Mary
    February 27, 2008 at 17:51

    I’ve packed four children into 5 years of reproduction – this for a woman who didn’t really know if she wanted children for most of her life! Has it been an idyll? Absolutely not. Has it been an experience I would change if I could go back in time? Maybe. That’s because I’d do things differently in the process of motherhood. But if any of us could go back and re-live our lives, wouldn’t all of us do certain things differently? Of course. On the other hand, since we can’t, it’s important to look at why we feel motherhood isn’t a perfect “bliss”. It’s because motherhood, like life, is imperfect. There’s no way to glamorize the diapers, the trials of pregnancy and delivery, the illnesses that require a strong constitution, and the exhaustion of sleep deprivation. Why do women reproduce then? Because nothing is as fulfilling as seeing a beautiful child look up to you and say, “I love you Mom!” We need to realize that it’s OK to be honest that motherhood is a mixed experience. It can be fabulous when it’s fabulous, and it can be heartbreaking when it’s heartbreaking. If any of us out there have kids on the autism spectrum (I have three – now “recovered”) we know what “heartbreaking” really means. But between those two extremes you can have boring, happy, sad, or just plain bland. We can lose income (I’m at $1 million lost ten years after leaving work to stay home) and we can lose the regard of our society (there’s a lot of great lip service, but I feel incredibly patronized compared to the treatment I received when I was a full-time professional). And yet, I wouldn’t give any of these children “back” even if that was an option. Each was planned for and anticipated with great excitement. The surprises? Twins in the middle, epilepsy that turned out not to be epilepsy in those twins, and autism spectrum disorder that turned out to be eminently curable as long as we were willing to make draconian changes in our and our children’s lives, including alternative biomedical treatments and enormous expenditures for therapy and tutoring. All of that is still not over. As a mom I am held hostage by the damages that the US vaccine policy inflicted on my children, and that introduced a whole new wrinkle to the “non-idyllic” status of my own experience of motherhood. The reality is, however, that there is always SOME wrinkle for each mom out there. There IS no idyll, because life isn’t made that way. Instead each of us need to find inspiration in the beautiful child that looks up to us and says, “I love you, Mom!”.

  38. 40 Anthony
    February 27, 2008 at 18:10

    Im a father of a 6 year old son in California, and I think it depends on the person. I have my son every other week, and I love every bit of it. We do things together, play, watch movies, play videogames, play board games, talk, shop, and everything. It real does depend on the person.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  39. 41 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 18:12

    Listening to the show, I’ve realized something. Given how self absorbed people are these days, having kids would be quite a challenge, becuase you HAVE to put your kids first. For a self absorbed person, that would likely make them miserable.

  40. 42 Elias Lostrom
    February 27, 2008 at 18:13

    This is not news, it’s history. In the 1970’s I assisted a friend doing a sociological study of mother with young children in Londons suburbs and we found that the vast majority where on tranquilizers, working 12- 16 hour days and were very unhappy with the role. What is new is that you are actually discussing it..

  41. February 27, 2008 at 18:17

    There are no downsides to motherhood or fatherhood. The downside are the expectations. Raising a child or children is work. It means putting a hold on things you may have wanted to do. The more you involve your children with the things you love – art, dance, fixing the car etc…the happier the family will be.

  42. February 27, 2008 at 18:17

    Steve, USA (email)

    Listening to Ros read out the topic of the show, I realized how childish the expectations of these women are. It’s sounds like they expect life to be perfect and they’re utterly in shock that things aren’t all going to be wonderful and fun. It kind of speaks volumes about why the divorce rates are so high, and why most divorces are initiated by women. They expect things to be perfect, and perfect right away, and when they don’t get what they want, they leave. It sounds like they think the same way about having children. Remember, having kids means you can no longer focus on you. You’ve lost your rights to do whatever you want, you are second to the needs of your child. If you don’t want this, don’t have children. But if you do, don’t you dare complain about your only voluntary decisions. Can anyone imagine changing diapers would be fun?

  43. 45 shanti
    February 27, 2008 at 18:18

    the pressure of raising kids in the modern world is harder because we’re more closed off from each other, from our families and communities that used to share the task of raising kids

    but this is fine, because the size of this planet is finite and we dont need families with 10 kids anymore! wake up people!

  44. February 27, 2008 at 18:18

    Lamii, Liberia (email)

    Everyone should be quite honest about their domestic problems especially as it relates to parenting. I don’t have children yet but I know quite well what a handful they can be. I empathize with those parents who undergo this challenge.

  45. February 27, 2008 at 18:18

    There are no downsides to motherhood or fatherhood. The downsides are the expectations. Raising a child or children is work. It means putting a hold on things you may have wanted to do. The more you involve your children with the things you love – art, dance, fixing the car etc…the happier the family will be.

  46. 48 MJ
    February 27, 2008 at 18:18

    For me, motherhood has been both idealized, and also demonized for it’s hindrance on personal freedom (which perhaps is an affect of my career-girl generation). Having heard mostly negative aspects about motherhood, I’m now surprised by the positives. And yes, although I did experience hard times with adjusting to being a mother, bouts of depression, and the difficulty of shifting gears and putting my career on hold, I was absolutely surprised by how much I love my child. It is a very difficult job and I haven’t had as much support as I wished, but I made through it, am in a different place than when I started, but am better for it.

  47. February 27, 2008 at 18:18

    Sandi, Oregon (email)

    I never became a mother, by choice. I am 56 and grew up in an era, here in the US where it was somewhat accepted to choose NOT to have children. With that being said, I have felt the stigma from time to time for my decision. BUT, when I have told mothers that I didn’t have children many express that they love their beyond compare, but wouldn’t do it IF they were to have the chance all over again. They felt safe to say that to me.

  48. February 27, 2008 at 18:20

    Tara in San Francisco (email)

    I am listening to your program right now and am annoyed at the comments these parents are making. I am not a parent but have worked in child care for over 10 years and am excited about the prospect of myself being a mother one day. But I have never been under the impression that having children will be easy or that my children will be perfect. I think that blaming ‘society’ for creating a false idea about parenthood is ridiculous. Why do we constantly have to find someone or something to blame for less than perfect situations in our life. Get over it parents…you were not a perfect kid, your parents were not perfect, your kid wont be perfect and by the sound of it, you are not a perfect parent.
    Why don’t we find something better to bitch about?

  49. February 27, 2008 at 18:21

    Are we really talking about this? This topic has to be the most rediculous one yet on world have your say. Whats next, no one ever told me being alive would be so diffucult?

  50. 52 Laura in Minneapolis
    February 27, 2008 at 18:23

    I’ll admit i’ve only scanned the majority of the posts today.
    But I totally agree with the speakers on the program today. We have these unattainable “perfect life” goals in our minds (Thanks Disney), and feel were doing something wrong when it’s anything less. Our western society needs to learn to be ok with the imperfections, and embrace them.

    I’m a child psych and gender studies major… great topic 🙂

  51. 53 Justini from Iowa
    February 27, 2008 at 18:23

    Its true that motherhood is, for the most part, a choice. But the challenges of today’s society – more single parents, smaller extended families, more spread out families… are very valid concerns that mothers need to deal with. Its not respectful to just say “quit whining!” There aren’t any easy answers but its something that should be acknowledged!

  52. 54 Morgan
    February 27, 2008 at 18:24

    I think many women are coerced into motherhood. It seems that there is a lot of pressure to have a full life, which includes a family in most senses. More women deciding to life alternate lifestyles, but there seems to be a guilt that follows such decisions.

  53. 55 L.Walker
    February 27, 2008 at 18:25

    the only way to propagate the species is to lie to women about having kids. no one in their right mind would consciously decide to give up the rest of their lives without being given a rosy picture of something that really isn’t.

    society pressures women to be everything and they can have it all, job, kids, social life, looks. women need to be smart and pick their battles.

  54. 56 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 18:27

    Tara, t’is why I said it was childish, this entire subject. Life isn’t fun and games. TO think having kids will be easy is childish. To think you will find a knight in shining armor, have a perfect relationship, is childish too. People are just INCREDIBLY self absorbed to the point they are more ego centric than even the kids they are complaining about are! Grow up people!

  55. 57 Dee
    February 27, 2008 at 18:27

    I just broke into tears last night talking to my husband regarding this same topic. I have a 3 year old and worked part-time until six months ago and I have to say it was much easier when I was working now that I’m a “stay-at-home” mom. I think that it is modern motherhood that is killing me. If I work then I am given a pass for not living up to the perfect mom standards that pressure me now. My tears were a result of planning my toddler’s birthday party. I felt the need to make handmade invitations and plan something fun. Frankly, I don’t want to do any of it and I am trying to do the minimal but it is a struggle to not feel as though I am being a “bad” mom.

    Also, I really take issue with magazine and newspaper articles or features on woman-owned businesses, or women in business, that don’t talk about childcare situation though the children are mentioned in the article! Drives me crazy!

    Listening on Sirius Radio

  56. 58 John in Salem
    February 27, 2008 at 18:28

    The problem with parenthood isn’t so much that we don’t know there are going to be difficulties, it’s that we overestimate our abilities to deal with them.

  57. 59 Emma in the Netherlands
    February 27, 2008 at 18:28

    I’m a 25 year old Canadian woman living in the Netherlands. I have no desire to have children. My Dutch, Italian and German friends find this view absolutely shocking – they look at me like I’m a defective female specimen. Back in North America, however, my position was well understood and respected. In the Netherlands there is obvious contempt for mothers who work full-time and career women who choose not to have children.

  58. 60 Paul
    February 27, 2008 at 18:30

    I wonder whether the experience of motherhood varies with the presence of an underlying depression in those who don’t experience the joy that is often described as accompanying the hardship?

  59. 61 Mason, Utah (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:30

    As a single father who has never been married (I have my son from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon, and get along with his Mom very well) I have an enormous amount of respect for women and moms, it is VERY tough, and made even harder with the pressures of modern life, including work. Being a parent is stressful, exasperating, boring, tough, terrifying, full of sacrifice, noisy, infuriating. That said, being a father is the most wonderful experience of my life, my son makes me laugh everyday and makes me so proud as he learns about life. Parenthood is tough, and only the extremely naive can believe that anything in life is wholly wonderful.

  60. 62 Tommy C.
    February 27, 2008 at 18:30

    I think this is more of a Western culture issue. Based on selfishness and the need for all problems to be solved by the click of a button. Aside from birth just look at death and old age homes, they are full of Westerners. Very rarely do you see Asians, or Indians, etc. Alot of people in western society want the best of both worlds: A high status career AND a loving, smooth progressing family.

  61. 63 Beth California (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:32

    I grew up in a very traditional Mennonite community where the woman’s place is to stay at home and raise the children. When I got married we have not immediately started to have children because I know it is a huge responsibility and it will be incredibly difficult. When neighbors and friends from church ask why we have not yet had children I explain the reality of it and how difficult it will be. They do not understand and tell me that I need to buck up and start a family. I feel a bit left out of the community and frustrated by it.

  62. 64 May
    February 27, 2008 at 18:33

    For my personal experiences, my children love me unconditionally and I do the same to them. Motherhood is part of the life journey that teaches people how to love and care.

  63. 65 Pat, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:33

    Just tuned into your show and find that a poem I recently wrote fits with today’s topic.

    Thinking Out Loud

    Most days keeping up is all you can do
    and there’s no chance of getting ahead.

    Instead you run around the playground,
    crawl through tunnels and mazes called

    motherhood on your hands and knees,
    and accept the fact that phrases

    understood in your era will not work
    with this child—just because—

    for example. God, you feel tired
    some days. So tired you could . . .

    would set parenting out to the curb
    and other days someone should fire

    your ass for all the things you
    don’t know—a long list. And there’s

    more to come, such as teenage
    rants and raging battles of will

    still to face, when language turns
    into a landscape strewn with at least one

    land mine per day, when you hurl
    heated words back and forth,

    and you stuff I’m sorries into
    open wounds like bandages.

  64. February 27, 2008 at 18:35

    Parenthood, be it motherhood or fatherhood is a big challenge in modern times. It involves big responsibilities and sacrifices. Parents should be able to get closer to their children. The best gain they can have is successful children. Many parents, especially mothers, put family in the second place for successful careers. They think that children can grow normally if they are taken care of materially. The problem starts during adolescence when children find there is a gap between them and their parents. They can relate genetically but emotionally, each is drifting apart. Successful parenting means a balance between family responsibilities, professional ambitions and the enjoyment of personal freedom. Each complements one another for self-gratification. It is naturally rare to find someone ready to be childless, jobless and morbid. Such conditions are just imposed by circumstances.

    Mothers, in general, should defend their rights for equality and success but not at the expense of the rights of children. They should have the ability to balance between their professional and motherly roles without neglecting the opportunity to enjoy the other sides of life.

  65. 67 Anthony
    February 27, 2008 at 18:35

    Steve, I’d have to strongly agree with you on that. I know so many people that have kids, but they just sit them by the T.V. and pay no attention to them. They would rather buy a Coach bag than buy books for their kids, would rather go on vacation by themselves than take their kids anywhere, and they would rather play cards and drink with buddies than play Candyland with thier kids. Selfish.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  66. 68 Ingrid, San Francisco, (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:37

    I’m a full time working mother of two daughters and have been surprised to find a strong stigma still exists for women who choose to go back to work soon after having children. With both my daughters, I went back to work after three months off because I love my job and because I have a wonderful nanny who takes care of my girls. Is this stigma just in the USA?

  67. 69 Rebecca, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:38

    Although I’m not a mother yet, I see it as being similar to marriage.

    We carry many illusions about marriage meeting all our needs, when in reality it’s more about giving than receiving. It seems the same with motherhood–is it less about us being perfect moms and more about giving our best for our children, whatever that looks like? In that giving there will be joy and pain, but just like marriage or anything else worthwhile, it will be difficult—and profoundly rewarding.

  68. 70 Toni, Uganda (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:39

    In Africa tha plan to be a mother is great but the down side of it all is the challenge of how and where you raise them.Poverty makes motherhood a nightmare while job obligations make it unwanted. But above all this, the solution is support.

  69. 71 Lily (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:40

    My four children were born in the 80s, which saw the beginning of the “helicopter parent” phenomenon. I often long for the days of my own childhood, when there were clearly defined adult spheres and child spheres. Though we had less physical freedom, we had more emotional and playing freedom. Now parents are too involved in micromanaging their children’s activities and lives, which actually interferes in their growing up process. As a college professor, I see the effects of helicopter parenting among the middle class every day: immature children who have a sense of entitlement, too much discretionary time and income, and a double life, one half of which is hidden from their parents.

  70. 72 Mike, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:41

    I was and still am a very involved Dad. My wife and I very much shared bringing up the kids. It was, at once, the most exhausting, trying, isolating, wonderful, loving, and amazing part of my life. I was certain that I didn’t want to be a father and that if I was I’d be bad at it. But I was wrong.

    I do a lot of backpacking in the western mountains here in the USA. As I’m nearing the end of an exahusting day I often shake my head and wonder why I do this for fun. Then I come to some vista and I know.

  71. 73 Justin
    February 27, 2008 at 18:41

    That women have been allowed to have an opinion let alone voice it is a relatively recent thing and sadly still not universal in all cultures today.
    So that one of the jobs that men have classicaly not done turns out to be hard is hardly supprising

  72. February 27, 2008 at 18:41

    Prospective parents (women and men) lie to themselves that having children will solve the problem already inherent in their relationship and to give something to busy themselves with to distract them from boring lives. Work on being happy in your own life before bringing another un-needed child into this already overcrowded world.

  73. 75 carol
    February 27, 2008 at 18:48

    I think the difficulty of talking about the “downside” of being a mother is only the smaller part of the much worse issue that mothers are seen as the better people, while childless women are considered as not fully human, as egotistic semi-humans who do fully participate in society. “Downsides” are a thing of everyday-life, and starting off somewhat blue-eyed too, but saying NO to having children, though it’s good the career, is a taboo in conversation. And with that goes the taboo to tell other people that you think they have too many children (over-population).
    Carol
    42, Germany

  74. February 27, 2008 at 18:50

    Good motherhood doesn’t mean being overprotective. Children also need a degree of independence. Mothers shouldn’t kill their children with protection and kindness. They should realistically be good mothers. What matters is the emotional bond between them and not the ongoing physical contact. In poor countries, it’s normal to see children in group outside roaming in the streets or playing in their neighborhood without their parents constant watchful eyes. Children can cope among themselves.

  75. 77 eve
    February 27, 2008 at 18:52

    nuclear family is a false construct. extended is what we were designed for. thats what makes modern parenting so hard.

  76. 78 Vytas, Oregon, USA (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:53

    How could the myth of the joy of parenthood have survived this long? The statistics of parental abuse & murder of ones own children makes the violent incidences in schools pale in comparison. And still, we expect traditional families to model positive values for the next generation. Tradition anywhere needs to be questioned, analyzed, & reconsidered.

  77. 79 Jessica, Texas (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:53

    I’ve had the mixed experience of mothering my three kids in Ireland for three years as well as in our home in Texas.

    I found in both the US and in Ireland motherhood is taught to girls as a fairytale from the time they are very young. It is almost a state of social conditioning, and it’s been my observation that this “story” is mostly given via peers (or the child subculture, if you will).

    Even though I worked as a private Nanny and in day care before becoming a mom, I was in no way prepared for the realities. I knew it would be difficult, however the smiling faces of the children I handed back to their mommies and daddies, the baby-doll fairytale of my youth, and the social expectations I perceived buffered me from those around me who tried to tell me the truth of it.

    Frankly, I blew them off as bad mothers, negative people, or someone who aimed to bring me down. Ah, the joys of the ignorance of youth.

  78. 80 Sheri, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:57

    Did the women on your show never pay attention to family life as they were growing up? I’m sure their Mothers weren’t always happy, perfect, and well coiffed! I bet there were times they were tired and grumpy…part of maturing is accepting responsibility and not always being self-centered…there is nothing like motherhood to relieve selfishness!

    God Bless all Mothers!

  79. 81 Pratima (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:58

    I am deliberately avoiding to communicate to my school friends of 10 years ago because I do not want to be known as just a stay at home mother. Mother hood is lovely but hard as one of the parent works hard at work the other has to take up almost all the responsibility of being at home and being a mother. It gets to me sometimes as I find myself driving on the same road for the fifth time during one day. I love my kids but I miss the other ‘greener’ side sometimes. being a mom in US is even harder as the support system is minimal. In India mothers are spoilt even today. They are treated specially when they become mothers until they become mother-in-laws.

    I discovered that I want to be a mom and stay with them at home after I had my first child. I think that if I were younger I would have another (third) child.

  80. 82 Christina Millar
    February 27, 2008 at 18:58

    I am so glad to hear this topic on World Have Your Say. I just had a baby last January – unplanned. I had no illusions about child-rearing and felt no pressure from various trendy approaches to it. Still, I am still struggling with the sheer amount of time I have to spend with my baby, and the fact that I constantly have to be aware of what she needs. I feel as if I am in two pieces.

    I think many women feel this way but we lack the language to discuss our complex emotions about our children. We love them and feel distant from them all at once. We have a desire for ‘family time’ but then resent not having time to ourselves.

    For example, I have Saturdays to myself as my husband takes the baby, but if he says he wants us all to go into town I have a hard time saying ‘no’. This is not because I feel pressure from him or from what others expect – I am torn because I WANT to spend time with the family, but I NEED time to myself. Often I don’t realize until the next day or later in the week how much I needed that Saturday on my own.

    I’ve learned that the biggest pressures on mothers are usually not those from outside or other people judging you – the pressure comes from the conflict between our desires as mothers and our desires as individuals.

  81. 83 Daniel, Texas (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 18:59

    I am a stay at home father here on an isolated farm in Central Texas. I have stayed home with my daughter ever since she was five weeks old.

    It has been a wonderful experience. No, it hasn’t been perfect; there have been times when I have been scared and worried.

    But it hasn’t been that bad, just a fair amount of work. Anything worthwhile always is.

    The bond that I have built with my child is priceless to me, and I would not give it up for anything. It shocks me to realize how easily I might have missed this wonderful experience. Overall I find this to have been the most satisfactory period of my life, more satisfying than when I worked in radio myself or my time in the book business.

  82. 84 olive
    February 27, 2008 at 19:03

    Hi,
    My view might be valid for Germany where I live. To begin with, I admire motherhood.
    I agree if women are honest and sharing about how hard it is to be a mother. One child or two children, i can give my full understanding if they moan about motherhood. However, if they know how hard it is to be a mother, they have a third or even fourth child, then I’m afraid I have no sympathy with the grumbles. On the other hand, women in industrial countries have to be realistic about life. They have to be honest to themselves at the first place before they make up their mind to have children. They are obliged to think what the upsides and downsides are before they go for that.
    We are not living in 50-60 years ago where woman’s profession was housewife and giving many births.
    Having children is a choice and we should be glad that nowadays women can choose and have a choice!
    However, having a decision to be a mother because of tradition, society (friends and family), and age are definitely wrong.

  83. 85 Siobhan
    February 27, 2008 at 19:07

    My 32ish friends and I are at various points on the road (or into) parenthood…I’m still contemplating diving in…my husband and I will probably try for kids within the next year.

    I have to say that while I recognize that the reality of parenthood isn’t paradise (like I agree some mags would have us believe—even their coverage of the downside is often rose-colored), part of my hesitance is the over-coddling of kids (at least in the US) I witness around me….parents who put aside their lives for their kids. I’m all for being a loving, supportive parent, but like one of you speakers said—it breeds adults with no coping skills if they expect everything to be perfect. In fact, people 10 years my junior in Gen Y (the first children of the era of uber-nurturing, in my opinion) are among the young mothers who are shocked when having a baby means caring for it ALL THE TIME.

    Another part of my hesitation is worries of the world (environment, politics, war), but I’m coming to recognize that my human urge to reproduce doesn’t mean I have to wait to solve the problems of the world before moving ahead…I’d be waiting a looooong time.

    I’m looking forward to reading Liz Fraser’s work…but maybe I’ll wait until I’m in deep. 🙂

  84. February 27, 2008 at 19:13

    Jeff, email

    I don’t know about the world but here in the states everyone keeps talking motherhood as if it is the woman taking care of the kids… Its not that way anymore!! I am a single father with 3 kids and it is I that is the Mom, and Dad. The world needs to take a step back and look. The Women are not always the best parent and when we talk about parenthood it should be both. For it takes 2 to make a kid and both should be there to take care of the kids. It seems to me that all to often Parents this day and age don’t step up. They are to busy trying to find excuses why their kids are the way they are and don’t take the time to discipline and teach their kids right and wrong… I never expected to be separated and doing all the work.. But I was brought up to be a father, in a family situation and everyone works together for the better of the family… Life is not easy, never will be. Kids are not perfect and people should not expect them to be! I have really enjoyed my kids and feel blessed to have had children. The best part of being a father is learning how patient I can be and the enjoyment that you see in the kids eyes when they see something we all take for granted for the first time. People should really take a step back before having kids in this day and age. Kids are easy to make not so easy to take care of .

  85. 87 Ros Atkins
    February 27, 2008 at 19:15

    Ros –

    As a stay at home father of two, I have to say that, yes, it’s sometimes fallen short of my expectations. But that’s okay – I’m pretty sure my stay at home mother thought the same thing many times bringing us up! I’m also sure that, like me, she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Jerry, Cleveland OH

  86. February 27, 2008 at 19:16

    Darla, Oregon (email)

    I had this exact same experience (of being made to feel badly about honestly stating that motherhood is difficult and wanting to continue to pursue my own interests outside of motherhood after having my daughter) and I found this very frustrating and it was hurtful to feel judged.

    My biggest problem, though, was the lack of support from other mothers of young children! I attempted to attend ‘New Mom Groups’ in an effort to connect with other new mothers. I was under the impression that would would let the toddlers play amongst themselves and that the moms would have an opportunity to discuss current events, the arts, etc. This was not the case!! All of these new moms wanted to talk about their children! When I spoke of things outside of motherhood, I was met with disdain and was unable to find a connection with any of these mothers.

    Fortunately I had a few childless friends who were still willing to converse with me as an adult, but it would have been wonderful to have this outlet and allow my daughter to have a playmate at the same time. This was sixteen years ago and my partner and I are now expecting a newborn – I can’t help but wonder if this has changed over the years.

  87. February 27, 2008 at 19:17

    santy, Germany (email)

    My view might be valid for Germany where I live. To begin with, I admire motherhood.
    I agree if women are honest and sharing about how hard it is to be a mother. One child or two children, i can give my full understanding if they moan about motherhood. However, if they know how hard it is to be a mother, they have a third or even fourth child, then I’m afraid I have no sympathy with the grumbles. On the other hand, women in industrial countries have to be realistic about life. They have to be honest to themselves at the first place before they make up their mind to have children. They are obliged to think what the upsides and downsides are before they go for that.
    We are not living in 50-60 years ago where woman’s profession was housewife and giving many births.
    Having children is a choice and we should be glad that nowadays women can choose and have a choice!
    However, having a decision to be a mother because of tradition, society (friends and family), and age are definitely wrong.

  88. February 27, 2008 at 19:19

    Ben, Ohio (email)

    It seems that a common experience people are having is that women feel they are on their own. Do you think this is generally true?

    My wife and i waited until we were in our mid to late thirties to have kids. That made a huge difference as far as being ready for the challenges.
    I have a lot of friends my age who have children our age or younger. (we have two six year olds) We fathers talk quite abit about fatherhood and the raising of kids. I am around a number of fathers who either are the main care taker or desperately want to be more involved. Women are given unreasonable expectations from childhood about motherhood, but I think they can look to their mate who may be eager to help but may feel they can’t or aren’t allowed. Communication is the key and having the discussion before you get pregnant.
    Also, I think its important to realize that if you go in with too many expectations and ideas about how it should be. Keeping an open mind and learning day by day and going with the flow helps.

  89. February 27, 2008 at 19:19

    Doria (email)

    One mom talked aboout the first time your child poops in the tub…how about the first time you discover that your teen is late, not answering his phone, and you don’t know where he is? The same thing happens, people want to pretend that their teen is “perfect”, and you must be doing something wrong.

  90. 92 Sean, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:22

    My wife and I have begun trying to have our first child. Until recently we were overwhelmed with people telling us how great it would be. I was never able to fully buy into that ideal though. Frankly I’m terrified by the unknown difficulties that await. I’d love to know more about what to expect in order to prepare. However, despite that fear I am also excited to take on the challenge, and I have no delusions that it will for a moment be easy.

  91. 93 Ishmeal, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:23

    I had the unique opportunity as a male to spent the first 3 years home with my some. It was NOT easy. I have a great deal of respect for mothers. My challenges – besides the many that every new mom struggles with – were struggling with the absence other Male role models who were also primary care-givers. It was a very depressing and isolating time.
    I also encounter what I can only describe as a benevolent ambivalence (and often out right suspicion and hostility) with some mother when my son and I would attempt to join their “sacred” circles at the play park.

    I think in the (USA) parenthood/motherhood is both over rated and under rated – over rated because we are told that mothers and parents are somewhat morally superior to childless people – hence the expectations of the perfect parent. And under rated because although we give much lip service to “family values”, this country’s policies toward maternal AND paternal leave, affordable child care, health care, etc. is abysmal.

  92. 94 Justine (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:25

    I think its great to finally have a program where it is OK for mothers to say this is a very hard job not that you don’t want to do it or anything like that just to know that other mothers share in the sentiment that sometimes we give up ourselves as a person temporarily to raise a child. Especially in today society of family support being states away for most of us….

  93. 95 Jan, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:25

    Thanks for this topic. As a teenager I watched my mother and all her middle class stay-at-home-Mom friends who were unhappy and complained constantly about their lives. At about age 15 I decided I wasn’t interested in motherhood. Through my 20’s when my friends were having babies, I vacillated a bit but always came back to how unhappy mothers seemed to be. Fortunatly I married a wonderful guy who also was not interested in parenting. At age 50, I have no regrets about not having children. I’ve had many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I was raising children. I do resent a bit, women who chose to have children and then complain about their lives. It is a choice now. My observation is that too often women try to have an intense career AND be a mother and end up not doing either well. Those of us with no children end up picking up the pieces at work…..and their children (or partner) end up paying the price at home. I hope young girls hear your program and realize that motherhood is not all its cracked up to be and there is another very good option.

  94. 96 Eve, San Francisco (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:26

    Nuclear family is false! extended family is the natural course which modern life has led us away from. that’s what makes it so hard. we are trying to do things as we weren’t designed for.

  95. 97 Therese, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:27

    I actually put off having kids til my late 30s because I had a pretty good idea about how hard it would be, and I did not want to give up my selfish pursuits. Then I decided to take the plunge. It really is true that you can never really know what it will be like until you experience it. But the one thing that I did not expect, was how it would open up my heart to give much more than I ever thought I could give to others. For me, it was such liberation to shift my priorities from myself to others. Yes there have been many hard times, as well as delightful times. Probably more hard times than not. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done because it opened up a spiritual side of me that is priceless.

    Hillsboro, OR
    USA

  96. 98 Meegan (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:27

    I am a mother and have always understood that motherhood is hard. From the time I was a teenager and babysat I realized that kids are hard work and that moms often need a break. Currently, often the topic of conversation between my friends who are moms and I involve the challenges as well as the joys of motherhood. Of course popular culture gives an idealized version of motherhood, as it does marriage, career, etc. It is the women in our lives who help us understand the realities, and it is up to us to support one another.

  97. February 27, 2008 at 19:30

    The human instinct endowed in the very being of a human being woman exist. The soul and choice of existance that belongs to the individual.

  98. 100 Scarlett, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:30

    Motherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I don’t hide the difficulties of motherhood, but I think I minimize the bad parts simply because they dissipate so quickly. I can have the worst day with my 5-year-old and the next day it is gone, not forgotten necessarily, but it doesn’t make me angry anymore. Every day is a clean slate.

    Also Attachment Parenting is not an extreme parenting style. It focuses on knowing your children, being physically involved with them, it’s not a 24/7 kind of thing, but good attachment strengthens the bonds of love and makes those hard parts so much more bearable.

  99. 101 Keith, Cleveland (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:31

    I am a stay at home Dad for 5 and 2 year old boys. I have been listening and want to know if any of your guests actually paid attention to their parents, family and friends while they raised their children? Everybody acts like they were dropped into parenthood out of the clear blue sky. I had no illusions about being a father, as I had seen it practiced by many people over the years. Sure there are some surprises, but my past experiences opened my eyes to reality. This has been the best experience of my life and the reward will be when I see my boys grow up to be men.

  100. February 27, 2008 at 19:33

    I feel it is very important for any mom to understand that motherhood isn’t fill with rainbows and lollypops. It is tough! It is the most rewarding thing you can ever do, completely selfless, and beautiful, but something of value doesn’t not came cheap or easy. It takes work and a lot of sacrifies. If a mother is aware of the challenges she will face it will be easier for her to handle them and espesally not feel guilty for feeling over whelmed. It is healthy and good to know the realities. Having a child is very interesting because it can be the hardest thing on your marriage, but also nothing can bring you closer to your spouse then having one. You will sometimes feel completely lost and vonerable, but also you will never feel more at place, safe and confident in what you do.

  101. 103 Jen, Portland (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:36

    There is a societal problem with the idealisation of motherhood in countries like the US and Britain. But it is less one of Hallmark- card portrayals of motherhood, but a more insidious conceptualisation of marriage and motherhood as the ultimate goal of every Hollywood romance, of the dating world. The story ends with happily-ever-after, which is equivalent to having a baby– the complications aren’t even relevant.

  102. 104 Joanna, St. Louis
    February 27, 2008 at 19:37

    Response to Steve-it is obvious you have some deep seated emotional connection with this issue. Perhaps you should remember the sole purpose of this blog is for people to express their opinions. I would guess that the vast majority of people do not regret having children, they just wish they could have their previous luxuries at the same time. We all know that having children is a serious decision, not to be entered into lightly. However, I don’t think that we truly appreciate things until we are there. Just like when you were a kid and couldn’t wait to become an adult. Once you became an adult you see the benefits of being young without bills and responsibilities and you sometimes wish you appreciated it more at the time. These are merely opinions that may help someone who is experiencing difficulties deciding whether or not to have kids. Maybe they realize that they can’t compromise themselves for children and that stops someone from bearing children and neglecting them or maybe it helps for someone to hear other’s views on the joys of parenthood to confirm that the benefits outweigh the costs of compromise. No offense, but I’m getting the feeling from your posts that your answer to the question, “Can women be honest about the downside of motherhood?” is no and that you don’t want anyone to express their opinions because opinions annoy you and people should just “grow up.”

  103. 105 Sam (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:37

    I am a product of a mom who was miserable raising me as a child and now i’m bitter everyday as an adult at the challenges i face in my social life as a result. Moms, please remember that if you’re truly miserable at raising kids, please get help ASAP, because it impacts the children’s future lives most profoundly.

  104. 106 James, Kenya (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:38

    Am a new dad my daugter is 8 months. The experience I have had is that for the first few months it has been emotionally draining. Waking up at 3 am to change diapers.Since my wife works late I have had to help out and honestly its been much more tougher than people told me. Also attending work with red puffy eyes from sleep deprivation has become a norm.

  105. 107 Robert, Canada (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:39

    Hello, I’m typing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada listening on the web right now

    I’m about to be a 30 year old father in 4 months, it was a difficult decision we made to have the baby, and I will be the first to accept the fact that we aren’t prepared in this day and age. I don’t make enough money in my mind, we don’t own a home and we won’t have the nest egg I would like to retire on while still supporting another mouth to feed and an education to pay for.

    That being said we fully intend to ask for help from those around us. We both know that we have no idea what we’re in for but as in other matters in life it’s important to be frank with those around you and your partner about how you feel about the challenges you’re facing, your fears and hopes.

    To admit first that you have no idea how difficult it is for parents to raise a child is perhaps the most important admission you can make. I’m nervous but determined.

  106. 108 Erin, Oregon (email)
    February 27, 2008 at 19:40

    I am a professional woman, as I own a financial planning franchise, and I find motherhood to be extremely difficult. But I knew that going in. However, the one thing I didn’t count on was having a special needs child–and that throws all sorts of new challenges my way. I have recently had a second child, and even though he appears to be perfectly healthy, I struggle with the idea that he will end up on the Autism spectrum, like my daughter.

    I have suffered from postpartum depression, and am currently back at work, trying to be all things to all people. I get through these days by telling myself that this is temporary, and “this too shall pass.” I am not thinking about 18 years from now; instead, I am thinking of when my children are old enough to tell me what they want, and I can teach them things.

    I knew that I was not the type of woman who would find motherhood easy. I have kept my sanity (mostly) through working. After I told one of my friends that I am a better mother for being a working mother, she asked me if I knew that before I had children. Yes, I did. But it was clear that she did not. She had struggled as a mother and chose to go back to work a few years later because it wasn’t working for her family.

  107. 109 Alison, Idaho
    February 27, 2008 at 19:54

    I think this conversation is great. I think that if women two or three centuries ago could hear this, they would not think “self-absorbed” as one of your callers said. I think they would say, “thank God! I’m not alone!” Being honest about your feelings and frustrations is how we cope with day-to-day life, and conversation is what makes us civilized. Anyone who says you’re being selfish and complaining too much is just propogating the idea that isolation is the only way. I say ignore them and listen to each other.

  108. 110 Manja, Germany
    February 27, 2008 at 20:03

    Does anybody know of Jean Liedloff? I think she is right. It makes me really sad to read some of these comments. I am not one of these supermums, but I really love my baby girl and even when she is giving me a hard time, I still know it’s not her fault, it’s her right to tell me somehow what she needs. She is one year old now and I really know her and I just know what she needs. My boyfriend, my daughter and I are a good team. We carry her around and allow her to be a part of the things we do. Niether one of us is expected to stay locked up at home. She simply participates in our lives as much as possible and observes us. I wish there weren’t so many smart articles and books for parents, like how to raise a child, but rather just this one from Jean Liedloff about the continuum concept and some books for babies to read on how to handle stressed, busy, bored or fearful parents.

  109. 111 Brian, Germany
    February 27, 2008 at 20:33

    Having a child is all about selflessness. Ironically, the giving brings one hundred times as many rewards. Of course, part of the giving consists of taking care of one’s own well-being. Our problems are rooted much deeper than simply being able to handle everything with home life. They are problems created by a society which has estranged its children under the presumptuous notion that they should be protected from the big bad world. Today’s daily activities do not incorporate children enough and mothers are expected to stay home and raise children. We have made a science out of “raising children” and forgotten the most important things, i.e., love and respect.

  110. February 27, 2008 at 21:37

    I am the mom of 10 kids. I do greatly enjoy parenting, or I would never have had this many kids.

    But I think that there is nothing contradictory about also saying that I have moments of great frustration every day. Kids fighting, tracking in mud, not following through with their school assignments. etc… That’s part and parcel of motherhood. But to me the benefit greatly outweighs the frustration factor.

    I am an RN and a writer and have many other interests and skills as well. But there is not doubt in my mind that at the end of my life I will look back at my mothering as the most important job I did, the more important contribution I made to this world.

    Things that are worth doing often are not easy.

    Mary, mom to 10 including 4 from Ethiopia and 2 from Korea

  111. 113 Shakhoor Rehman
    February 27, 2008 at 21:41

    Of course women can be honest about the downside of motherhood because as an old African adage puts it, “It takes a village to raise a child”.

  112. 114 steve
    February 27, 2008 at 23:03

    Joanna: Not sure what you were referring to really, but you I presume don’t seem to understand the consequences of bad parenting (which can be the result of parents regretting having kids). The kids will grow up to be, well, say mentally unbalanced. We just had another shooting today in TN. A gunman, age 26, killed 4 people and himself. We’re going to see this on a daily basis pretty soon because if you read articles about the state of society, people are more narcissistic than ever. They simply don’t care about anyone but themselves. With a society where guns are common, that means there will be lots of shootings. So if you decide to have kids, you’ve waived your right to complain. you must do the best you can do, which means making sacrifices. You will have less fun, you will have to do unpleasant things, you will have to work hard and give the child lots of attention and care. if you’re not willing to do this, then don’t have kids. It’s quite simple actually.

  113. 115 Pattie
    February 28, 2008 at 00:14

    What I have observed is not so much on how difficult or not it is in being a parent. The problem I have observed is the undue influence that the social service industry has over the lives of families.
    We were caught up 25 years ago in the witch-hunts that were advertised over allegations of child abuse. No matter what we were accused of, there was never any evidence to support these allegations. Yet, we were forced to live under a microscope. No matter what we did, it was always wrong. After two and a half years, we lost custody of our children.
    20 years later we finally got to see our children. We tried to explain what had happened back then. Later we learned that they refused to believe our side of the events so long ago.
    First our hearts were broken because we were denied a relationship with our children. Now we are being denied that again and the denial of a relationship with our grand children. How much heartbreak can one be forced to endure.
    For 20 years, I have avoided going to the homes of friends that had children in them. I passed on participating bin events that have children present. I even surfed passed movies and programs that involved families and children. It is just too painful.
    The only thing I have to look forward to in my sunset years will be my coming death. There is no one to pass our family’s legacy on to. There is nobody to grieve our demise. There will be just death.

  114. 116 abbywho
    February 28, 2008 at 09:37

    It isn’t just a job…it’s an adventure.

    A single parent since my daughter was 13 months old, there have been times that I have wanted to scream “Can’t someone ELSE DO THIS?’ I then remind myself that I got married because I wanted children. I was distressed through three years of trying to conceive. All things considered, I am blessed with a loving and socially conscious child who gives of herself freely, often getting her heart trampled on in the process.

    I think of those out there that have loved and lost children, who can’t conceive for one reason or another and I wind up feeling tired, but grateful.

    The one thing that every parent tends to forget is that our kids are on loan to us, and there are no guarantees. Embrace the moments, make the memories good ones and find a way to be grateful.

  115. 117 George USA
    February 28, 2008 at 10:44

    Women who do not love their children and women too self centered to have children are the same animal.

    The only difference is one bore children and one did not.

  116. 118 Maurice via email
    February 28, 2008 at 11:17

    I am a father of two daughters and value every moment. Professionally, I have been involved in mental health and social services to children and families for a great many years. Like most things in life we bring our entire life experiences, personalities, cultural beliefs and expectations, emotional make-up, and intelligence to our most intimate experiences. Even if someone could convey the realities of parenthood to non-parents who would listen. Parenthood is not for everyone.
    Maurice
    Portland, Oregon

  117. 119 Alisha via email
    February 28, 2008 at 11:19

    While the decision to have children is technically a woman’s own, there is huge pressure to do so. Women who aren’t interested in reproducing are often treated as somehow unnatural. I think that those who are criticizing women for complaining about their voluntary decisions should take this into account. I’m 29, single and have no intention of having children, which is a position that I’m constantly forced to defend.
    Alisha, Chicago

  118. February 28, 2008 at 13:15

    “I’m no more your mother
    Than the clouds that distils a mirror…”

    “Morning Song”, Sylvia Plath

  119. February 28, 2008 at 14:23

    As a Caribbean immigrant mother of two girls under two years, enduring a destructive marriage, isolated and pretty well penniless, my good fortune was to be living in New Zealand in the 70’s. Fee-free government-funded, Playgroups and Playcenters, which stressed welcoming parents to stay and chat while their kids were involved with sand, water, paints, pets, music, books, dress-ups and other kids, helped to preserve my sanity. I enjoyed speaking with other women,imitated Kiwi child-rearing activities like reading to them as babies, made the girls part of but not my entire world, and took them to every free City council concert, beach, festival-in-the-park-puppet show, museum, ship-in-the-port visit, Santa or Memorial day parade, art gallery exhibition,& fireworks evening.
    Best of all my Jewish community celebrated Shabbat every week with time for a chat after the service. The girls came. There were many festivals all year with child inclusive features; as well as a bar mitzvah here, a birthday kiddish (light meal) there, & special Friday night meals and rituals at home, which all gave predictability and order to our lives. Yes, solo-parenting was hard work which I enjoyed when I was not sleep deprived or exhausted, but the community’s and nation’s pro-child policies then, can be credited with helping to shape the wonderful young women my girls have become. I wasn’t a brilliant Mum but I was determined to do my best and think I did so.

  120. 122 Andrew Stamford
    February 28, 2008 at 14:34

    It seems that these days there is such a hype about motherhood, the typical “Isn’t it a miracle” stereotype. The reality of motherhood and children is far from that. It is all to easy to coo over little babies being wheeled into an office by a new mother or down the street, but having a child doesn’t entail fireworks and streamers it is hard work for many people. It is a huge lifestyle change and the glossy magazines and saccharine sweet ads on TV showing us dancing mothers smiling perpetually as they waltz about their immaculate homes with baby smiling contentedly from their cot do nothing to instill the truth about this which many people actually believe and of course are disappointed as they find out what it is really about. And going on from depression yesterday… need I say that expectations on the one hand that don’t meet reality on the other hand will not do much for people’s happiness.

  121. 123 steve
    February 28, 2008 at 14:41

    George:

    “Women who do not love their children and women too self centered to have children are the same animal.

    The only difference is one bore children and one did not.”

    I would think the former is by far worse. If you claim that not wanting to have kids is self centered (I think it is the opposite, that it’s selfish to have kids, to bring a child into this world, against their will, in a world that doesn’t need more people, because you want your line to continue), that is peanuts compared to someone who doesn’t love their kids because they’re too selfish.

  122. 124 Joanna, St. Louis
    February 28, 2008 at 16:05

    I agree with Steve in his response to George.

    I don’t think it is self-centered to not have children if you don’t want to. If anything I think it should be applauded that she was able to go against the grain and say, “children are just not right for me, personally.” Like Steve said earlier, there ARE way too many poor excuses for parents that don’t realize that they have a huge impact on raising these screwed up kids that are going on shooting rampages.

  123. 125 George USA
    February 29, 2008 at 00:19

    Great, I have sparked remarks.

    You both make defense of women not having children.

    But there is the truth to my statement also-

    Women who do not love their children are the same breed as women who are too selfish to have children.

    Self centered ladies do both.

    Your reasoning does not make them more loving, and does not change what they are.

    There are women who never had children and would have done anything to have some but they are caring and loving with other humans anyway.

    I do not propose self centered women be forced to have children, to the contrary, they are unfit to do so.

    But it is not reasonable to try to pretend an essential component of being human is missing.

    They love only themselves

    and children would only be a drain on their focus on the only person on earth important to them,

    themselves.

    Think “ME” magazine. It was written for them.

  124. 126 Catherine by email
    February 29, 2008 at 10:45

    I think that women in the United States have gone too far in the opposite direction. When I was pregnant with my daughter, comments from family, friends, people on the street, and articles I read in magazines an on line were almost all focused on the ‘grim reality’ that is motherhood.

    American post 90s pop culture which is largely based on sarcasm and whining has been dominating messages to American women.

    I think we need to achieve a balance. Women need to hear about the very real challenges of motherhood but also about the wonders, the joys, and the tools that are available to American women that can help to improve the experience of motherhood overall.

    Best,

    Catherine

  125. 127 Janlascko
    March 1, 2008 at 17:09

    I’m nearly 55 years old and of course was raised in the baby boomer era, Donna Reed (I live in the US). My parents divorced when I was about 7, had a brother 3 years younger. One of the saddest things I learned about, and it took years of therapy to understand, what that my mom, really didn’t want me, nor my brother. when she got “knocked” up with me, her parents ‘forced’ her to marry my dad, but the reality was she just wanted to have me and put me up for adoption. She later when on to marry a man 23 yrs her senior, and he didn’t want brother nor I around, so brother and I flitted from one relative to another.

    THough I was the child in this case, I was accused by her of ‘ruining’ her life, that her life would have been so much better without me. Not that I was a bad kid…I even served in the military, didn’t drink nor do drugs and am now attending college. I just chalk all this up to her having post-partum depression more than 50 years later. Some women just don’t want to be mothers (ironically, she claims she was the best mother in the world – NOT).

    I spent nearly 25 years as a single mother and was just the opposite, maybe too close to my kids. But that’s ok – it was my choice

  126. 128 Ros Atkins
    March 6, 2008 at 12:15

    Hey Ros,
    How about those of use who have opted out of the parenthood thing. For a variety of reasons Adam and I have decided to not have children. We have been met with bewilderment, pushy expectations from family and co-workers telling us we should, and trying to make us feel guilty for not having children, sometimes outright hostility. I didn’t know not having kids made me selfish..
    Tracy Fox
    and Adam Fox

  127. 129 abby
    March 12, 2008 at 15:44

    Having been adopted as a child, I can assure you that both mothers can indeed be mothers. In the 1960’s you simply did not have a child out of wedlock. My birth mother, with the backing of a blood test, attempted to gain support from my birth “father” unsuccessfully for four years before she gave me up.

    My mother is my mother – she was there for all the hiccups large and small, and has given me all the values and love a mother should give a child.

    In my 30’s I made contact with my birth family. I can assure you that my birth mother never stopped loving me for a moment. Both these women displayed the greatest love possible. Neither considered themselves…they considered me.

    I have been divorced and raising my child alone from the time she was 13 months old. and ahve adhered to those values. Before dating, socializing or anything else…my child is my priority.

  128. 130 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 11, 2008 at 08:59

    I think we should be honest about the downside of motherhood!

    Dennis
    Madrid, United States of America

  129. 131 PaniMoiff
    November 5, 2008 at 02:27

    What do you think will happen to America in the nearest future? It seems to me that General Election in the USA looks starts to look like comedy show. [url=http://celebslam.celebuzz.com/forums/member.php?u=33041]:D[/url] Yesterday I found the following post in periodics:

    “The Naked Cowboy endorses McCain–ooookay [url=http://www.asianave.com/FreeRingtones/]:)[/url]

    The Naked Cowboy was just on tv saying he plans to endorse
    McCain. [url=http://toulousehandball.com/forums/index.php?showuser=12035]:D[/url] LOL I’m sure McCain’s camp will relay that to him
    and I am sure it will mean all the difference to the
    outcome of the election. NOT!

    McCain’s entire campaign has been a 3 ring circus. What
    happened there? Bozo the clown Bush would have been right
    at home if they had let him anywhere near them. ROFL

    How exactly does Bush show his face now that his entire
    party has disowned him? [url=http://www.welcometonorfolk.org.uk/forum/member.php?u=1917]:([/url]”

  130. 132 chels
    December 19, 2009 at 11:18

    i was just reading this because i wanted to know how many people would actually do thigs diferent if they could, obviously no one wil admit this. However no one els wil mention the toll it takes on your relationship with the man or women by which you had these kids…. just wondering


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