Saturday, 28 April 2012

How do you tell if someone doesn't have children?

I made it my mission to find a suggestion for Olivia's pinterest board
In this research I was reminded that it is actually quite difficult to tell if a woman is childless - in fact it's really only by the absence of a mention of children that you guess that they don't have children.

I really want to suggest Chellis Glendinning.  She is an eco-psychologist in the US (well she lives in Bolivia now I think) and I read her book 'My Name is Chellis and I am in Recovery from Western Civilisation' over 15 years ago.  It made a lot of sense to me.  I still have this quote from the book in my book of quotes (p13,14):

Visualise a distance of one hundred feet: the length of a basketball court plus 6 feet more.  Imagine that this distance represents the last 1 million years of existence of the creatures who have become Homo sapiens.  Fasten your seatbelts: the last one fifth of an inch of this hundred feet represents the length of time that we have lived in mass technological civilisation, with the assumptions about life and reality that you and I are taught to assume as 'normal'.  Not very long and conceivably not very normal.

But I really don't know if she is childfree.  There is no mention in anything I've read about her of a husband or children, but while absence is conspicuous it doesn't prove anything, she may just like to keep her private life private.  If she is childfree I want her included as she is a bit of a role model for me I guess - but how do I find out??

Friday, 27 April 2012

My snake dream

I feel the need to preface this post by saying that I'm not really one to interpret dreams - maybe I should be, I don't know.  All I know is last night I had a pretty horrific vivid dream that I feel the need to write about I guess as a form of purging.

I was bushwalking with other people along a wooded path - everyone else was up in front and I saw them walking past a huge python, having handled pythons before I wasn't too concerned I figured as long as I didn't bother him he wouldn't bother me.  As I went to walk past he raised himself up and brought his head right up to my face - I had to put my arm up to protect myself and it took all my strength to prevent him coming closer to my head.  This was one huge python and somehow I think it was talking to me and making a deal with me, I have no idea what the deal was.  It's a bit foggy but I think I agreed to the deal and then having no thoughts of following through on the deal I started to run to get away.  Everyone up in front had stopped and was looking at me - most significantly there was a person I grew up with there - she is one of those people who pushes all my buttons (I ran into her walking the other day), she has a husband, 2 children and lovely suburban lifestyle and she bugs me big time.  Not so much because of that - but I just find her incredibly insensitive and annoying and condescending.  She is not the type of person I would ever be friends with now but we grew up together and it's one of those family friends things.  Every Christmas my family (parents and sister's family) gets together with her family and one other family - everyone but me and one other of my generation now has kids.  I just don't go anymore - it's really not a fun place for me to hang out.

Anyway my most vivid recollection from this dream was of her standing safely with her family (along with others) watching me as I ran for my life to get away from this snake, that I could now see was chasing me and gaining on me.  I knew it was going to catch me, but there was nothing I could do and everyone else was too safe and secure with their families to even consider helping me.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

'Non-Mothers Day' movement

While walking my dog today I came up with the idea of a 'Non-Mothers Day'.  A 'Non-Fathers Day is equally valid, but as a woman I'll go for the Non-Mothers Day first.  When I got home I googled this and what I came up with is numerous ways that non-mothers have spent Mothers Day.  This is not what I'm suggesting.  My idea of a Non-mothers Day or 'Nomos' Day (a phrase coined by Jody Day from Gateway women) is that it would be on a separate date to Mothers Day - date selection is something to consider - what would be an appropriate date for Nomos Day??  The day would celebrate the good that Nomos have done for society, such as not adding to the exponential population growth, I say with my environmental hat on.  It would also celebrate the challenges that Nomos face in our society where procreation is highly valued and rewarded and Nomos often have to search for many years to find their place in society.
I have some friends with a daughter who have never celebrated mothers day or fathers day, the reason is that it was their decision to have their daughter and thus why should their child thank them for this?  I love this idea.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Over before it began

There once was a man in Canberra who was interested in me, as much as I was interested in him - or so it seemed.  After meeting through friends and getting on well we had started communicating over the phone/email/text.  It was nice - but me being me I wanted things to proceed and he was keen to come and visit me.  But then he saw the price of flights from Melbourne to Canberra and was a bit put off - not enough to cancel, just to save up a bit.  So we kept talking and finally I told him that I'm looking for a serious relationship and while it's nice to talk and email I really think we need to spend some time together in order to really get to know each other better.  Considering I'd seen him twice in Canberra, it only seemed fair that he travel to Melbourne.  I've put myself out time and time again for men who aren't prepared to do the same for me and this time I was determined not to do that.  I also said that if things did proceed that while I'd be happy to move to Canberra and stay with him for a year or so, I wasn't happy with the idea of living in Canberra forever.  It's far too cold for me and even one year would be tough.
So this was the bit he couldn't handle.  It seems he is finally settled somewhere and has a well paid job.  Having put down roots he doesn't want to move again.  He's also built some friendships there and feels there are people in the community who depend on him too much.
For a very fledgling relationship I'm feeling quite devastated about this.  He is such a lovely, caring, intelligent man who I feel a great connection with.  I know he was keen on me as well - but as I said to him - obviously not keen enough to compromise.  I held such high hopes for a future with this man - now I feel as though it's loneliness forever.  At one stage when we were talking I said 'so I guess it's goodbye then', he said, 'well not necessarily..'  I stopped him as I've been in too many long painful drawn out relationships going nowhere - maybe I shouldn't have, I don't know - but I find ambiguity very difficult and I don't move on unless ties are cut.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The glorification of motherhood

 As someone who desperately wanted to have my own child(ren), I have nevertheless always felt it is a selfish path.  I'm not saying it's not extremely hard work, emotionally and physically exhausting and that it would no doubt change you forever.  But it is a choice that is made for your own reasons, as an environmentalist I feel very strongly that the world does not need more children.  I often say that the government should be paying us not to breed!

I have real concerns about the divide in society between mothers and women who are not mothers; when ideally we women should be banding together.  On another forum there was a post recently with a writing piece about motherhood, this piece to me increased that divide rather than trying to span the divide.  Here are some extracts:

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years - not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a caesarian scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future. 

To me it says that only mothers try to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.  In actual fact many mothers I see become extremely inward focused and have very little energy to do anything other than look after their nuclear family.  I fully understand how this can happen and I'm not saying it wouldn't have happened to me, nevertheless it makes me sad.  Not only does the strong focus on nuclear families weaken our community in my opinion but it can make for a society that really isolates childless and single women.  I know I'm not the only one who had negative reactions to this post, but interestingly the divide of those who liked and disliked the words was fairly clearly along the divide between childless women and mothers.  I was somewhat dismayed that not many of the mothers could see why childless women would be left feeling cold by this piece.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Wired for Love

I'm reading a great book at the moment - Wired for Love, by Stan Tatkin.  Stan is a psychologist and the focus is on neuropsychology and attachment styles.  It is written for couples, rather than singles looking for love, but I think it is still applicable for those looking for love such as myself.  He seperates people into anchors (securely attached), islands (avoidant) and waves (anxious, ambivalent).  I would classify myself as partially a wave and thus I can jeopardise relationships by my fears of being abandoned.  He outlines 10 key principles that can help you get you and your partners brain working for love rather than war.  A few of my favourtite principles are:
  • Creating a 'couple bubble' allows partners to keep each other safe and secure
  • Partners should serve as the primary go to people for one another
  • Partners should prevent each other from being a third wheel when relating to others
  • Partners who want to stay together should learn to fight well
The type of relationship he describes sounds pretty wonderful - also pretty aspirational as well, but I guess one has to have aspirations.