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How Do You Balance Life with Kids?


maritalbliss86
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And it's a negative stereotype to believe young women can't know themselves well enough to take on marriage and children.

 

Interestingly, society concurrently believes that women can't know themselves well enough to know they don't want to take on marriage and children--just ask any woman under 35 who tries to get an IUD. She is discouraged from doing so. Even though it's safe, even though it's cost effective, even though removal is simple.

 

I experienced this firsthand, at visits to several different doctors. To be fair, it wasn't a hard no, but it was firm discouragement. The main reason was, "In case you change your mind about not wanting kids," which made no sense to me based on what I knew about the IUD..... but I'm conditioned to take the advice of doctors, so I didn't push.

 

But once I turned 35, I was on the doctor's doorstep lol!

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Interestingly, society concurrently believes that women can't know themselves well enough to know they don't want to take on marriage and children--just ask any woman under 35 who tries to get an IUD. She is discouraged from doing so. Even though it's safe, even though it's cost effective, even though removal is simple.

 

I experienced this firsthand, at visits to several different doctors. To be fair, it wasn't a hard no, but it was firm discouragement. The main reason was, "In case you change your mind about not wanting kids," which made no sense to me based on what I knew about the IUD..... but I'm conditioned to take the advice of doctors, so I didn't push.

 

But once I turned 35, I was on the doctor's doorstep lol!

 

Yes! One of my dearest friend's daughters got married and became a mom as a teenager. I never considered that stereotype about a woman being "too young" -certainly I've heard of individual comments about certain teenagers/young women being too young for marriage and children based on where they were in life and often their motivation for having a child (especially if it was an accidental pregnancy, the girl was all alone and somehow thought she could hack it as a single mom) and sure I was subjected to many comments about being "too old" to have children -how it was selfish, etc. I can see individual situations where a particular person is too young/immature to take on parenthood - even putting aside what precise age the person is (meaning, just immature or unstable in some way or could be harmful to a child like someone who uses drugs, etc)

 

I don't like any of the negative stereotypes mentioned or that patronizing type of comment to women being too young to get the IUD. Ugh. So ridiculous. I know of someone else who posts here (I mean she wouldn't mind if I "named" but that's up to her - who described in detail what it was like to try to get a hysterectomy or sterilized (if that is the right term) because she did not want a child, ever and she I believe had challenges getting a surgeon to perform the surgery. Anyway, she's not the only person who I've heard about that from.

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Interestingly, society concurrently believes that women can't know themselves well enough to know they don't want to take on marriage and children--just ask any woman under 35 who tries to get an IUD. She is discouraged from doing so. Even though it's safe, even though it's cost effective, even though removal is simple.

 

I experienced this firsthand, at visits to several different doctors. To be fair, it wasn't a hard no, but it was firm discouragement. The main reason was, "In case you change your mind about not wanting kids," which made no sense to me based on what I knew about the IUD..... but I'm conditioned to take the advice of doctors, so I didn't push.

 

But once I turned 35, I was on the doctor's doorstep lol!

 

I do generally agree with you that doctors seem to hate sterilizing women unless they've had 2+ kids it seems, but the IUD issues back then were more complicated than just doctors not trusting women to know themselves.

 

Back 10 years ago, IUDs were relatively new and the medical community (healthcare and insurance) seemed to believe they could cause PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) due to the strings hanging down and due to the length of time the IUDs were in place, some for 10 years. PID can also happen with tampon strings, so I remember thinking that the materials were so different, that it didnt' really make logical sense to me.

 

PID causes the fallopian tubes to become inflamed and damaged, then as they heal, they tend to stick and grow together... it really messes them up. The fallopian tubes are delicate and fragile anyway, so PID usually renders the woman infertile.

 

In order for the IUD companies and even the healthcare providers and insurances to ensure against lawsuits for potentially causing a childless woman to never have kids, they made the rule (back then) that you had to be married and at least with one child.

 

The married (and faithful) part was because of the risk of single women using it and getting STDs that could also cause PID and then cause infertility.

 

The child part was to ensure an already infertile woman didn't believe the IUD caused her infertility. It was basic legal protection that I don't believe they need anymore as more research has come out.

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Maritalbliss, I'm not going to quote your reply to me, because it's long and I don't want to bung up your journal.

I just want to say that your ideas around this topic are very familiar to me. It's like a scratchy woolen sweater that has been passed down for ages in a lot of places. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Always has. It's just not consistent with my values.

So it's not lack of understanding your perspective. Though I was surprised to hear you see that way of thinking and being as defiant, or somehow out of the norm. Though actually that makes sense, because it becomes an "us versus them" thing, which is like a fortress around the beliefs.

 

Itsallgrand, that comment that quoted you wasn't made to only be a reply to you, I think I was trying to confront 4 or 5 women, but used your quote to make a separate point/s.

 

I never said those were my views though (the scatchy sweater thing). I think so much is lost online with communication :upset:

 

Here is what I actually said,

"My generation was raised not to trust men to really provide for us, to always have a back up plan in case of divorce. We were raised to believe that marrying too young was, "settling." All that comes from negative stereotypes.

 

And even then, in general, people don't like to see a woman dependent on a man. They don't like thinking a woman may not have a college degree to fall back on because they stereotype men thinking the man may cheat or leave her (that men aren't loyal or faithful).

 

There's some truth to it, the divorce rate is high, but for men, I'm fairly certain most of them don't like the implication that they're not trustworthy and that their wife needs to make sure she can support herself in case he cheats or decides to divorce her (or vice versa... implying the marriage will fail). Having a back up plan is possibly wise, but it implies (like a pre-nup) that there's a serious level of distrust of the people's or one person's character."

 

I don't believe men are untrustworthy and that that's why you need education, But that was definitely the messaging I was told by various older women.

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I think though divorce rate depends on country. The current divorce rate in Canada is 38%. My mom was divorced from my dad 48 years ago when it was highly unpopular. I remember being made fun of as a kid for having divorced parents. I think the 80s were pretty much the height of divorce rates. My mom was divorced in 72 and divorced for second time in 1980.

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I think though divorce rate depends on country. The current divorce rate in Canada is 38%. My mom was divorced from my dad 48 years ago when it was highly unpopular. I remember being made fun of as a kid for having divorced parents. I think the 80s were pretty much the height of divorce rates. My mom was divorced in 72 and divorced for second time in 1980.

 

You're right... and where I was raised I'm sure is wildly different from any other place.

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I can concur that it's a real pain in the behind for a childless, young woman to get sterilized. I was (surgically) sterilized in my mid 20s. I have no children and have never wanted to have one but it was hard to find a doctor. I eventually did find a doctor but you know, I think I let him think that I was kind of dumb/ambition-less and I also realized that he knew members of my family so I didn't tell him that I was part of my family. I had a feeling if he knew, he'd be reluctant. Whatever, I got it done.

 

PID and IUDs is actually a really, really big risk. I can understand wanting to encourage monogamous women in good relationships to have it. There are other methods that may be better for someone who is not monogamous. Implanon comes to mind. You get very good protection but nothing that would "wick" an infection way up into the uterus.

 

The problem, where I see it, is not with doctors but with our litigious society. A woman should be able to sign away her right to sue *if she changes her mind*. Medical malpractice is one thing but I don't think young women should be suing if they changed their minds later. You know what, too bad, so sad. You make a choice as an adult and you have to live with that.

 

I highly doubt that I will ever regret my choice to become sterile but if I do, that is my own burden to bear and I will deal with it the best way I can.

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No, I understand your main message loud and clear, OP.

The bottom line is most of the world actually thinks like you. It's still the minority who discourage young girls from getting pregnant (or even give them an option, by providing real sex education and birth control options, and by not applying cultural/religious pressure towards her ).

The vast majority of women on the planet are economically dependent on men (husbands, fathers, brothers, etc) to survive, and not always by choice.

Getting married and having children is the default, with few exceptions. There is still tremendous forces at play to actively push girls into this default - from within families, communities, even in the workforce and when you seek medical care. Women fight to be treated as a human first, rather than just a potential or current mother.

I mean, I just can't... I can't pretend I think it's terrible that there be some qualification to raise kids and to teach them. Of course there should be. Having the working parts doesn't automatically make one qualified for these tasks.

All you need to do is work with kids who are in the system, or who have been abused by biological parents to see not everyone who has a child is qualified to raise and teach them.

I know where your thought process is going... I know it, and I don't like it.

I always try to not be rude. But dude, seriously, I know there is a "women should have as many kids as possible and stay home" imperative running through all this. Maybe religiously driven, maybe something else, but I know it when I see it.

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No, the IUD has been around since the 60s. The kind I use (ParaGard) has been around for a little over 30 years.

 

Yeah, I remember the IUD being mentioned when I was in junior high school (now called middle school lol) and that was in the late 1970s.

 

My ex husband (while we were still married ) tried to get a vasectomy when he was 28. I had been told quite sternly by my doctor that it would be a very, very bad idea for me to get pregnant again after two extremely difficult pregnancies. My husband COULD NOT find a doctor who would perform the procedure. He finally found one who said he would do it when my husband was 30. And my husband explained that his wife nearly died while pregnant and that she (me) was strongly advised to never get pregnant again. And that he cared about possibly losing his wife and he didn't want to potentially be the cause of that happening. FINALLY, the doctor agreed. Jeez Louise, who owns his sperm??? Apparently not him!

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No, I understand your main message loud and clear, OP.

The bottom line is most of the world actually thinks like you. It's still the minority who discourage young girls from getting pregnant (or even give them an option, by providing real sex education and birth control options, and by not applying cultural/religious pressure towards her ).

The vast majority of women on the planet are economically dependent on men (husbands, fathers, brothers, etc) to survive, and not always by choice.

Getting married and having children is the default, with few exceptions. There is still tremendous forces at play to actively push girls into this default - from within families, communities, even in the workforce and when you seek medical care. Women fight to be treated as a human first, rather than just a potential or current mother.

I mean, I just can't... I can't pretend I think it's terrible that there be some qualification to raise kids and to teach them. Of course there should be. Having the working parts doesn't automatically make one qualified for these tasks.

All you need to do is work with kids who are in the system, or who have been abused by biological parents to see not everyone who has a child is qualified to raise and teach them.

I know where your thought process is going... I know it, and I don't like it.

I always try to not be rude. But dude, seriously, I know there is a "women should have as many kids as possible and stay home" imperative running through all this. Maybe religiously driven, maybe something else, but I know it when I see it.

 

So, I enjoy my Facebook moms groups -I'm on a few of them - but since I was 42 when I became a married mother I spent many adult years having many adult responsibilities. If not daily, then almost daily, there is a post by one of the thousands of members on my moms groups (both are local to my geographic area) that presumes that marriage and motherhood are essential for the badge of adulthood (otherwise you're just a free wheeling/partying/not a care in the world single person), that devalues friendships because "well I'm married, I don't need friends because I'm not out partying anymore", that judges women who outsource to nannies/housekeepers because they love and want their full time career. The first part is really the part that irks me the most that and the "smug married" garbage. And many posts about how having an only child (as I do) is selfish. None are directed at me personally, I'm just sharing the tenor of what is discussed regularly.

 

And, constant devaluing of the father's role in child rearing - all of the snide comments about how the dad is one of the children, one of the "boys" - how their work/career even if intense and crazy hours can never ever be as hard as the work they do being home full time, that they need to know this, that whenever they are home and not working they need to help with the housework and the child care, etc. Across the board. I was home by choice -by joyous choice - for the first 7 years. My husband worked his behind off. And was and is a great dad -a great parent!! Never did I think what I did was harder. At certain times, on certain days -well sure -just like the reverse -his job was harder than mine at certain times. But I married him in part because he was passionate about his career, passionate about the contributions he made, and wanted to make -I loved his energy about it -and loved it even though he chose a path which wasn't the most financially successful of what was open to him to choose -because he wasn't passionate about the more lucrative option. I am behind him 100% on that and have never been financially dependent on him in the sense that if needed I could contribute equally to the family finances.

 

Back to what I see on my moms groups. Doesn't matter whether the father works 9 to 5, or 7 days a week plus business travel plus unpredictable late nights, works from home starting a business - nope, whatever they do cannot be as hard as what they do. The "at least you get a lunch break" to the man or woman working outside the home - the "you get to have adult interaction". Etc. Many of those women worked only a few years or less before being home full time. I'm sure many didn't actually choose to be home but "had to" in the way you describe.

 

Certainly I think the dad needs to be a dad! Certainly I think the man needs to do housework and not just help - he's a partner in the marriage, in the family. But the constant "what I do is sooooo much harder" and insisting that a full time working spouse -especially one who works more than full time - then has to do 50% of the household stuff even though his wife is home full time - that to me tells me the woman in question has amnesia about what it was like to work full time -or never did for too long/saw a job as purely a means to an end (which is fair just that not everyone thinks this way and certainly many do not - I did not for one thing, and do not).

 

OP -huge disclaimer -none of what I have written above - none, not one word of it -has anything to do with you personally or anything you have written other than in the very general sense that this follows up on what Itsallgrand posted and shares my thoughts under the general and broad category of women/motherhood/procreation based on my personal experience and what I shared about my mom facebook groups.

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boltrun,

 

It's true, as you know, for men to get sterilized too. My dad got snipped in his 40s and his doctor REQUIRED that my mom was both notified AND gave her permission! What the heck. I heard that and I was shocked! Does my mother own my dad's sperm? Why was her consent necessary for him to make a choice about HIS body?

 

Times are changing for sure. I had a partner when I was sterilized but the doctor told me "I don't really care if he's for it or not, it's your body!"

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No, the IUD has been around since the 60s. The kind I use (ParaGard) has been around for a little over 30 years.

 

I had a ton of friends who were becoming doctors or already doctors at the time, plus I had mine explain it to me, and from what it seemed like, at least the IUDs were becoming more widely accepted and used or something, there was a serious newness about it all.

 

Were they really that statistically popular, and given out freely in the 60's? Everyone treated them with kit-gloves back when I first got mine (I've had 3 paraguards).

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boltrun,

 

It's true, as you know, for men to get sterilized too. My dad got snipped in his 40s and his doctor REQUIRED that my mom was both notified AND gave her permission! What the heck. I heard that and I was shocked! Does my mother own my dad's sperm? Why was her consent necessary for him to make a choice about HIS body?

 

Times are changing for sure. I had a partner when I was sterilized but the doctor told me "I don't really care if he's for it or not, it's your body!"

 

YES I was going to bring up this and ***MEN HAVE TO USUALLY GET THEIR WIFE'S PERMISSION TO STERILIZE THEMSELVES!

 

How backwards is that?! My doctor would never have asked my husband to "allow" me to sterilize myself now.

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No, I understand your main message loud and clear, OP.

The bottom line is most of the world actually thinks like you. It's still the minority who discourage young girls from getting pregnant (or even give them an option, by providing real sex education and birth control options, and by not applying cultural/religious pressure towards her ).

The vast majority of women on the planet are economically dependent on men (husbands, fathers, brothers, etc) to survive, and not always by choice.

Getting married and having children is the default, with few exceptions. There is still tremendous forces at play to actively push girls into this default - from within families, communities, even in the workforce and when you seek medical care. Women fight to be treated as a human first, rather than just a potential or current mother.

I mean, I just can't... I can't pretend I think it's terrible that there be some qualification to raise kids and to teach them. Of course there should be. Having the working parts doesn't automatically make one qualified for these tasks.

All you need to do is work with kids who are in the system, or who have been abused by biological parents to see not everyone who has a child is qualified to raise and teach them.

I know where your thought process is going... I know it, and I don't like it.

I always try to not be rude. But dude, seriously, I know there is a "women should have as many kids as possible and stay home" imperative running through all this. Maybe religiously driven, maybe something else, but I know it when I see it.

 

Itsallgrand...

 

I do not believe women should just stay home and keep having babies. We actually are around a lot of families like that, very large families, and while I love them, it does look extremely hard even though the parents are workign as hard as they can to be the best parents (these are good people we know).

 

I think I mentioned earlier in this article that the only thing I see them doing wrong (in my mind) is that they make the older child or kids watch the younger ones too much in my opinion. It looks like it makes them miserable, I could be wrong though... I just don't think it's fair to have 10 kids and then make your oldest a defacto parent.

 

I think we agree on a lot more than you're thinking... believe me I understand kids in underprivileged homes! Sometimes I read the child abuse reports of what's happened recently, and I cry and get very messed up emotionally for more than a day sometimes.

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OP -huge disclaimer -none of what I have written above - none, not one word of it -has anything to do with you personally or anything you have written other than in the very general sense that this follows up on what Itsallgrand posted and shares my thoughts under the general and broad category of women/motherhood/procreation based on my personal experience and what I shared about my mom facebook groups.

 

Got it. Just to add though, I know I've said this before... my husband helps a ton! Even with his work schedule making him work well over 40 hours a week, he still makes sure he helps me with lots and lots of things.

 

I mean he practically owns the laundry for at least us (the kids help with their own some, especially our oldest), and I also pay them because I want them to have that satisfaction of getting paid for doing some of the work that's not too hard.

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Got it. Just to add though, I know I've said this before... my husband helps a ton! Even with his work schedule making him work well over 40 hours a week, he still makes sure he helps me with lots and lots of things.

 

I mean he practically owns the laundry for at least us (the kids help with their own some, especially our oldest), and I also pay them because I want them to have that satisfaction of getting paid for doing some of the work that's not too hard.

 

Sounds like a good arrangement!

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YES I was going to bring up this and ***MEN HAVE TO USUALLY GET THEIR WIFE'S PERMISSION TO STERILIZE THEMSELVES!

 

How backwards is that?! My doctor would never have asked my husband to "allow" me to sterilize myself now.

 

It's really backwards, IMO. Your body, your choice. Should someone discuss with their spouse their choice to get sterilized? IMO, sure, but the responsibility of doing so lies with the partner, not the doctor.

 

What if someone is in a relationship that is abusive and is trying to get out but reproduction coercion is a factor? Person has a few kids already, doesn't want more, wants to get sterilized as a way to protect themselves while they make moves to get out of a bad situation.

 

Unfortunately, our litigious society makes things hard to change.

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Everyone treated them with kit-gloves back when I first got mine (I've had 3 paraguards).

 

I think that's because in the 70s, one specific IUD actually did cause PID. It was called the Dalkon Shield. It was removed from the market, but there were tons of lawsuits (I read somewhere that the number was close to 300,000) and the company went out of business. The problem was a design flaw with the string, which allowed it to somehow get back into the uterus. After that, the IUD had a bad rap, especially in the 70s and 80s.

 

By the 90s, people had relaxed a bit. There was some belief that if you used an IUD and contracted an STI (I think gonorrhea or chlamydia), you were at higher risk of PID, but even this was contested. By the time I started making my inquiries (circa 1998), the major issue I was advised on was not PID, but ectopic pregnancy--which I do have a healthy fear of. I live in a major metropolitan area in close proximity to several well-known medical schools and teaching hospitals, which may be why I've received different information than you have.

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Yea Batya I don't like facebook groups (back when I had facebook I was in several interest groups). Even the most low-key ones always had women creating drama or whining about their life, the mom groups yes, nearly always had memes and posts about mocking men or claiming the stay at home mom life was just SO hard.

 

Bleh!

 

I'm much happier never seeing that kind of stuff! I try to keep really busy with projects anyway, and I find a ton of joy in my life and know this is really privileged.

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Yea Batya I don't like facebook groups (back when I had facebook I was in several interest groups). Even the most low-key ones always had women creating drama or whining about their life, the mom groups yes, nearly always had memes and posts about mocking men or claiming the stay at home mom life was just SO hard.

 

Bleh!

 

I'm much happier never seeing that kind of stuff! I try to keep really busy with projects anyway, and I find a ton of joy in my life and know this is really privileged.

 

You know what that is a great point. I just loved the idea of reaching out and connecting in this way especially when I was a new mom, and a newlywed and newly unemployed and new to my city (lol too much newness). You remind me that I need to keep balancing the risks and benefits of being involved in these groups. I am in a parenting group that is very well and carefully moderated so I feel "safer" interacting there.

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You know what that is a great point. I just loved the idea of reaching out and connecting in this way especially when I was a new mom, and a newlywed and newly unemployed and new to my city (lol too much newness). You remind me that I need to keep balancing the risks and benefits of being involved in these groups. I am in a parenting group that is very well and carefully moderated so I feel "safer" interacting there.

 

Yes, I loved reaching out and seeing happy posts and seeing people's high points when they'd share them.

 

The negative overweighed the positive eventually for me, but I do miss seeing people's high points.

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Today we harvested Camellia buds and leaves for the ancient practice and art of making tea.

 

This was the tea fit for Chinese Emperors, and the scent and flavor fits.

 

I only have one elegant Camellia tree right now, but it's doing great. Our soil sucks... it's clay with little nutrients, but I pour coffee grounds and sometimes hot steaming coffee itself to give the tree it's acidic delight.

 

Part of me hates using my coffee this way, but it's honestly like a trade. Camellia takes my precious coffee, of which I can just buy more and in bulk since that's how I buy everything these days. And then the plant in return, provides us with a tea that is worth more than the coffee anyway.

 

I had my oldest harvest it this morning. We learned about China and Japan last year during their ancient period, and now we're learning about the world (all over) during the middle ages this year. It's fun to do things like this, and I think these are things I hope our kids will remember about their learning experience!

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