Gaining Clarity

From the time I was very little, I never wanted to get married or have children. I knew this, deep down, with everything I was. In fact, as I got a little older, and my father made comments about how I would be a “good wife” when I cooked a dish or something similar, I got very angry. I simply didn’t want to be seen as “wife material.” I can’t explain why this is. I don’t know what was going on inside my young psyche to have such a strong reaction to a role that every other girl I knew seemed to desire so wholeheartedly. Friends and family learned early on never to give me dolls as gifts. They went straight into the trash. Lincolon Logs, Tinker Toys, Leggo, Erector Sets, microscopes, butterfly nets and huge boxes of crayons and modeling clay were more my speed. Starting at age 4 when my first brother came along, I began running around after kids and I didn’t like it. At all. One of the reasons I begged to get a job when I was 15 was to save myself from the agony of babysitting. I would have happily gone out and dug ditches to avoid the whining of little kids. I didn’t have many nicer things to say about kids my own age, either.

So, given all this, I’m kind of surprised that it has taken me this long to realize where a lot of my angst, frustration and recent dissatisfacton have been coming from. It’s easy to look at the obvious, that E is here, that it’s put a wedge between G and me, that there’s added financial and scheduling pressure, all those things.  All those things are true, but those are not the core issue. That goes deeper and it’s only been in the last few months that I realized what it was.

Wanting what no one else understands or not wanting what everyone else thinks they want and what the whole of societ tells you you SHOULD want is very hard. It’s hard to continually stand up and say, No, I don’t want to have children. I don’t like children. I don’t like being around children. I don’t want to be responsible for another human being for the rest of my life. No. No. No. Because everyone…even other people who may have felt as you do at one time…spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince you that you are wrong…that you, in fact, do want what you so adamantly know in your gut that you don’t want. It’s hard to keep your conviction. It’s hard to continue to beleive that you know yourself better than the rest of the world knows you. It’s incredibily difficult to put your own needs and desires ahead of someone you care about and who supposedly cares about you.

Bottom line. I was blackmailed into getting pregnant. My ex-husband threatened to hurt the rest of my family if I didn’t shut up, get off birth control and get pregnant. I suppose he had talked to his lawyer (I will never know this for certain, but I’m pretty sure this is what happened) and the lawyer said that if he “had a family” it would look better in court. And there you have it.

So, I was scared. I have never been good a making waves. I have always been the “good girl”, the responsible child, the A student. All that is fine, but it didn’t prepare me to be vocal about what I wanted. I didn’t know what I wanted. So when the time came and I should have stood up for myself and should have put ME and what I knew about myself first, I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t. I wasn’t brave enough. I didn’t value my own self enough. I let myself down in every way possible. I let myself down in ways I hope I would never let anyone I cared about down. I let myself be bullied into making the most life changing decision a person could ever make. I let other people have that power over me. I let society’s messages speak louder than my own true inner voice.

And that’s what makes me so sad. Not the actual decision, not the years of doing a job, managing a responsiblity that I never wanted in the first place. I sucked it up and continue to and I honestly try to do the best that I can. But it’s the self betrayal that eats away at me. And it’s taken me this long to realize that’s what it is.

So, after all this, I beg of anyone who reads this…if a young person or maybe a not so young person, a single person, anyone says to you, “I don’t think marriage and/or parenthood is right for me,” Please, for the love of GOD and everything you hold dear, please do not try to convince them otherwise. Please, just don’t. Please just encourage them to listen to their own inner voice for what they really want and are sure about. Because if they listen to that voice, if they are encouraged to listen to it by people they love and trust, they cannot go wrong.

Thank you.

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About GratefulGran

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...
This entry was posted in baby steps, history, Understanding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gaining Clarity

  1. MakingSpace says:

    This is SUCH a timely post for me. Thank you so much for this. First of all, you have my heartfelt support for finding the best way forward for you. I know that’s highly complicated – in fact I know this all too well. From the time I was very young (I first remember thinking about this seriously at the age of 9 or 10) I wanted children. At the same time, I wanted very much to not ever ever be married. Though my story did not involve the direct physical/emotional threats you faced, I ended up following what was “known” to be right. I’m delighted to have my children, but I cannot reconcile myself to sharing them with my ex. I fantasize about being able to raise them myself, in my way, with influences I choose – instead I walk a tightrope of emotion and relationships that I would simply not choose, values I deplore, and situations that never sink to the level where legal action is warranted or possible. But the fact remains that I really do not want to raise them with a co-parent. I never did. And the worst thing, right at this minute, is that I feel, even now, ashamed of that inner truth. I really appreciate your honesty here, it has given me lots of food for thought over the hours since I read it – and I think that simply acknowledging my truth and allowing myself to not feel ashamed about it is such a big step right now that I can’t think what I might do next, after that. But a step is a step, right? In your case, again my heartfelt support for making your life the best it can be given where you are right now and the choices you find before you. Sending hugs, good vibes, and, again, many thanks – for your clarity which inspired my own. Thanks for the permission to just tell myself the truth.

    • GratefulGran says:

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad this could help you in some way. It’s taken me a long time to be able to write about, even after I sort of nailed exactly what the issue was. Before I got married, I thought that maybe I could be married as long as children weren’t in the picture, but before I had a chance to maybe try that, well, history happened. I personally don’t think it’s odd that someone would want to raise a child alone. I totally get it. My mother could never understand why I wouldn’t try to get child support from my ex. He pretty much disappeared after the divorce and that was fine with me. I was like, if I accept child support, then I have to have CONTACT with him. Uh, no thank you. I hope you can work out your situation as well. Let’s work on being gentle with ourselves, with letting go of our angst about these long-ago decisions and try to move forward with better understanding. You know I’m here if you need me!

  2. Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire says:

    Wow. What a beautiful, thoughtful post. Thank you so much for sharing such a deep part of your soul. And I agree… It is so important for us to listen to our own inner voices – and to continually encourage one another all along the way. xx

  3. Pingback: Working It Out | The Grateful Granny

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