August 25, 2006

Fence Sitting

When I was younger, in college mostly, I had very strong points-of-view that I refused to back down from. One too many times I found myself slowly changing my views and if there is one thing I learned for myself at least it's never say never.

I think it's my policy of not ever completely ruling anything out because I'm always changing as a woman and as a person. My whole life I've always had very strong opinions and views but I always question things to make sure I know where I stand.

As a childfree woman I have to admit I'm a "fence sitter" or whatever you want to call it. Given that I'm also in a relationship with a guy who has a daughter I've been questioned many times on whether it's logical to call myself childfree.

For myself right now, today, I do not want children and it's hard to imagine children in my future. When I think of how my life would change if I had a baby, well it's something that makes me really uncomfortable.

Someday down the road I could feel differently and that's why I can't accept the "childfree" label entirely but I know I will always feel very strongly about the concept of Purple WomenTM. I've always felt people should be able to live their lives in a way that feels right for them. I think it's so easy for some to do what society thinks they should do and not what feels right for themselves.

So I will continue my journey and continue to ask lots of questions. I will live my life as a child-free woman until it's something that no longer feels right. I think the concept of being childfree is beautiful, because it finally puts a label on a choice between motherhood and everything else.


Betty said...

I came over from Dr John's blog. He selects a blog to visit for the day There will be more.
I think to have children if you don't want them is wrong and harmful to you and a child that would be born. I am glad I have children and I wanted children. My family is very important to me.

Margaret said...

Hi, sent over also from Dr. John. I didn't have any children until I had my daughter at age 35 and waiting was the best thing I ever done for myself and for our daughter.

At that age I was ready and most of all was confident, in my life as a person and sure I was able to add the Title of "Mother" to my belt.

That is until she was born. I sat there in tears wondering "who was this little person I had in my arms?"

My love and understanding grew along with her from that moment forward. Today she's a little confident 3 year old "Mini-Me" with more chance of opportunity than I could have given her 10 years ago.

But to think of having another? Although the pressure is STILL on from family, husband and society to not have her be an "only child." I'm 39 and shouting NO!!

But only because my life is full, and there is no emptiness. To have another at this time would mean to sacrifice the fullness of life that we are currently enjoying as a family and as individuals.

We went out and bought a Guinea Pig instead. Take care Purple Women!

QuillDancer said...

I am 47 years old, have never had a child, and have never felt any pressure to do so. I have lived in many different communities, many different states, and I've traveled extensively. Nobody ever questioned my (now ex-) husband and I on why we didn't have children.

Perhaps it was our attitude -- I mean, whose business is it but our own? Perhaps it is because people who say they don't want children are considered selfish, and Michael and I worked extensively with youth (I am an elementary teacher).

I see nothing wrong with a person making the choice they know is best for their own temperment and lifestyle. I personally have a problem with abortion. I realize many people don't, but I feel if one chooses to be childless, they should choose to take the proper precautions. Still -- those beliefs are mine and I do not have the right to force others to comply with them.

I am a member of the Dr. John Blog Parade. Happy Sunday.

Sue said...

Hi, I'm one of Dr. John's group too.

I had my children when I was very young. All four are wonderful and I can't imagine life without them. They have now blessed me with 7 beautiful grandchildren that I am still young enough to enjoy. It all works for me, I won't change a thing but I agree with Betty.

alpahgirl said...

Fence-sitting, be it with regard to children or any other important issue is sometimes detrimental. Time has a way of toppling us off that fence and making the decision for us. The question then is are we prepared to live with that possibility and to accept the decision that Time has made for us?

Personally, the child issue was way too important for me to fence-sit; I did some soul-searching instead and opted for no kids. No tears, fears, or regrets. It's the best decision I ever made, based on my temperment, life circumtances, and values.

Catch said...

HI! Im from Dr John. It is your choice...and if it makes you uncomfortable follow your instincts. I find as I get older that I have changed my mind on a lot of things too. I used to be very adamant about how I felt about things...not so anymore, being comfortable with yourself is more important.

bazza27 said...

I have 5 children, 3 boys who have moved on and now I've started again. The only thing that stops myself and my wife having more is money, one has to be realistic. However I fully respect you for your (current) decision and I hope you stay happy whichever way you go. Dr John sent me too.

Doll House Stories said...

I come from dr.johns blog good post today.

Cindy said...

You sound to me like a lady who's got her head on straight, so what if you deviate from the "norm" of popular thinking- if you're not ready, you're not ready and I think you deserve a whole lot of credit for recognizing that. Here also from Dr. John's...

Patrick said...

Fence sitting comes with age I gues as we see more and can see different sides to the same thing. Life is not just right and wrong but kind of fuzzy in the middle.

I have three boys and love them all but times they can be a chalange but mostly they brighten my very exsistance.

I was alos sent over from Dr. John's

Dr.John said...

There is an old saying that "He or she who sits upon the fence will end up with splinters." Thyen of course there is Humpty Dumpty and his fence (wall). The world would of course have fewer problems if people had fewer children. I don't know what's best for you but when my son and daughter called today to see how I was and my other son checked into the blog I knew I had made the right decesion for me.
As you have seen I am part of a diverse band of bloggers. Every day we go to different blog and leave comments. (That's half the fun of blogging) For doing that our loyal crew earns usless JCPOINTS and are entered in a weekly drawing for silly prizes. We invite you to join us. No registration fees. No blanks to fill out. No commitments to make. Just go to my blog , go to the link of the day and leave the words Dr. John in the comment and your in. Don't sit oin the fence on this one.O. no credit card required and nobody will call you.

Robin said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful and interesting comments everyone. I'm glad I opened up about this topic even though I know it could easily confuse or bother some people.

Anonymous said...

Dr. John,
Wow. What a nice surprise to have so many new visitors.

I think your timing was just right, as Robin's latest post really speaks to everyone. We've all been indecisive about something, and big decisions take some time to sort through. And as many intimated in the comments here, it is important to decide. That way you are empowered, not letting the state of "not deciding" be your decision.

Thanks for inviting Purple Women to join in your diverse mix of bloggers for blogging fun, and thanks for mentioning us as the Link of the Day on your site!

To all our new visitors...thanks for sharing your comments. I would also add that family is very important to me too - it just doesn't include my own children.

Robin said...

It's definitely a decision I should make someday although I've never been very good at those. All I know is the mixted emotions I feel and the uneasiness it brings me at times.

Elise said...

Wow, what a bunch of civilized visitors! So very cool that they are so respectful. The only part I can't agree with is the idea that one doesn't have children because of lack of "readiness"; it implies that child-rearing is meant for everyone, and that somehow we're just not evolved enough to understand yet. Many people have told me I would make a wonderful parent. There are also a million other demanding, potentially rewarding things I could do with my life (to quote a friend: "I could go to China and become a missionary, too"), but I just don't want to.

I have completely, totally ruled out the idea of having my own biological children. Since doing so, I have been able to have a lot more peace of mind. Like Quilldancer, I'm a teacher (high school music), so between having made up my mind and also knowing that I am making a positive difference in the world, I've had fewer and fewer people bother me about being CF over the years. The fact that I'm 40 might have something else to do with it (snark).

The lives of parents and non-parents are so very, very different, though, that I can well understand why one might fence-sit longer on this decision than on any other. The two roads diverge so widely that they're practically a "T" intersection. There's no right answer --- people who "know" they want kids from the time they're in high school; people who always knew they'd never be parents; fencesitters; everything in-between...the main thing is, it is vitally important that we welcome the idea that people discuss and ruminate on the choice (for so long, it was always just "assumed", which wasn't good for the resulting children and certainly won't suit our overpopulation problems now). It is the largest life decision that anyone will ever make.

Robin said...

Dr. Band - I didn't mean for it to sound that way, it was just what I meant for myself. I'm just in a personally unsure place in my life and not ready to make an official decision.

ChrisR said...

I'm with Dr Band - so nice not to see any vitriol from the visitors. :)

I guess for me being childfree is like being white or female or human. It's just what I am, not something I can change. Nor would I!

I didn't have to make a conscious decision to be childfree, but as a consequence I have made the decision to take some serious contraceptives.

Unlike QuillDancer, I strongly believe in the existence of abortion as a choice (unless you're the one in the situation, you can't judge), but it's one I'd like to avoid as I know it's a hard thing to go through.

And Robin, best of luck with your mixed emotions.

Nea said...

Dr. John sent me over......

I have five children, wanted children my whole life, couldn't imagine life without them. I often think women who say they don't want children are just covering up an "issue" of somekind. Most of the ones that I know who don't want kids, have lots of pets......and they talk baby talk to them. I wonder if this is a compensation. But regardless, to each his own....

Anonymous said...

Nea et al -
Welcome to Purple Women.

Now, I realize that your paying a visit is more prize-driven (teasing you here) than genuine interest in our subject, however I am pleased that you and your compatriots, mostly parents I've noted, stopped by. I've been wanting a broader audience for our topic, so please come again. (Those prizes that Doc John gives for leaving comments must be really somethin'!)

You mention an assumption you have about women without children covering up something defective. That is a common misconception. Yes, some women who are childfree have made that choice based on their own experience of family, but not as a general rule. Do you realize what a huge assumption that is? I suspect you don't know any Purple Women personally, or perhaps the one that you know colors your view on all of us.

If a woman doesn't have children, she is defective in some way.

Is it so hard to believe that a woman does not want to be a mother, as much as you wanted to be one?

I don't mind telling you that your comment (and I am glad you were brave enough to leave it) would absolutely incense most of the Purple Women I know.

alpahgirl said...

To Nea-
Them's fightin' words. We are not defective, we do not aquire a vast amount of pets and speak baby talk to them, we are not covering up some "issue"
Our issue is contending with stereotypical thinking as illustrated in your post. I suggest that you make a conscious effort on your part to get to know others outside your demographic. You never of your five kids may elect to not have children children of their own some day. it is my hope that as a parent, you would embrace them and whatever decision they choose to make.
As for speaking baby talk to my pets...I don't speak baby talk anyone, human or animal.