Monday, September 18, 2023

#MicroblogMondays: More odds & ends

#MicroblogMondays is back!  :) 

This post may not be "micro," but I have lots of links for you!  
  • From The Atlantic: "Why Are Women Freezing Their Eggs? Look to the Men." (Gift link.) (I've added this book to my wish list!) 
  • Not ALI/CNBC related, but something I found interesting (also from The Atlantic): "The Very Common, Very Harmful Thing Well-Meaning Parents Do." YIKES. (One more entry in the "if this is parenting today, maybe it's just as well I didn't have kids" file -- not to mention the "I am SO GLAD I grew up before the internet!!" category.) (Also gift linked.)
  • This (gift-linked) article from the Washington Post is infuriating, on so many levels: "First, the loss of a baby, then the loss of legal rights." 
  • The always-wonderful Bibi Lynch rants about "‘As a mother’: the worst three words in the English language." Subheading:  "Having a child doesn’t give you some special insight or make you morally superior to the kid-free among us, writes Bibi Lynch. So why do so many people think it does?" (Content warning: Beware the accompanying photos! -- why do publications always do this??) 
    • (There may be a paywall, but you may be able to read a few free articles a month by creating an account and signing in.) 
  • Bibi chatted with Sangita Myska on BBC Radio about World Childless Week on Sunday during the last hour of Sangita's show. Their conversation is available for the next 6 days (i.e., until Saturday). (Edited: I got the date wrong;  correct date & link substituted.) 
  • While reading Bibi's article in the Independent, I saw a link to another story that made my jaw drop:  apparently this past week on "The View," Whoopi Goldberg, mid-sentence, while discussing a completely different topic, suddenly asked co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin (age 34, married in 2021) if she was pregnant!  Live, on national television!!  While Griffin's MOTHER-IN-LAW was in the audience, no less!!  Really, Whoopi??  :p    ("I see a glow," she said, trying to justify her outburst -- oh brother...) (She did apologize.)
    • Goldberg was roundly criticized on X (formerly Twitter)(deservedly so) -- but some people also came to her defense there. UGH.   
    • If that link is too hard to access, almost the exact same article is also on People. 
  • Worth a few chuckles (and cringes):  "That Weird Sad Childless Woman" (Alison Zeidman) on Substack posted examples she's found of "The Weird, Sad Childless Women of Stock Photos." 
  • Jessica Wildfire at OK Doomer can be kind of dark at times -- but I thought this was a great piece about grief (and our grief-phobic society):  "You Could Use a Mourning Routine."
*** *** *** 

The Cut (from New York Magazine) had a lengthy, frank article (written by an ambivalent childless/free woman) about what Jody Day refers to as the "#FriendshipApocalypse" of childlessness -- what happens when all your friends start having kids. The title:  "Adorable Little Detonators" (subhead: "Our friendship survived bad dates, illness, marriage, fights. Why can’t it survive your baby?").  There may be a paywall (and I'm not a subscriber, so no gift links);  if that's the case, try this link instead. 
  • Sample quote:  "Babies, those little assholes, really do show up in our lives like a popular girl transferring into school in the middle of the semester. Their sudden presence, though welcomed, coveted, hard won, and considered a blessing to their parents, throws the social order into disarray." 
  • And this:  "It becomes us vs. them. On one side: People With Kids (PWIKS: frazzled, distracted, boring, rigid, covered in spit-up; can’t talk about movies, only about how they wish they had time to see them). And on the other: People Without Kids (PWOKS: self-absorbed, entitled, attention whores, grumpy about life’s inconveniences even though their life is easy). When those slights go unaddressed, it becomes all too easy to pull away."
  • Jessica Grose, the New York Times's columnist on American families and culture, mentioned the Cut article in a recent subscriber newsletter:  "There’s Still Overwhelming Cultural Pressure to Get Married and Have Kids."  (You noticed??) (Gift link.)
    • Sample passage: "...I think when people get into their 30s and 40s and aren’t married and don’t have kids, they’re often judged... Many Americans find a range of family structures acceptable, but the family structure that Americans overwhelmingly see as completely acceptable is “a husband and wife raising children together.” For all the concern (and, sometimes, concern trolling) about marriage and fertility rates dropping, it’s still challenging to veer from well-worn cultural scripts to write your own new ones."  
    • And:  "A substantial majority of Americans — 75 percent — have been married by 40, and once they’re in their 40s, over 75 percent of men and over 80 percent of women have had a biological child. There’s this idea floating around that if only the broader culture pushed marriage and family harder, we wouldn’t have so many single parents, and I always wonder: When, exactly, did the broader culture stop pushing marriage and babies?" 
  • And in her Guardian column, Republic of Parenthood, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett also weighs in on The Cut article (in a blurb near the end of a piece about Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas and mom-shaming): 
"What’s not [working]:  Postpartum friendships, apparently. I enjoyed this article in New York magazine about the impact a baby can have on friendship groups, although I didn’t identify. What’s changed, I think, is that more and more women are choosing to be child-free and feeling entitled to child-free time, whereas historically they would be roped into communal childrearing. It’s a reasonable expectation, but we all need to be kind to one another, and new parents are especially vulnerable. Having a baby can be like a bomb going off in your life, and at times like that you need your friends more than ever, even if they’re sick of hearing about it."

    • In the online childless communities I frequent, several people (including me!)  bristled at Cosslett's comments. Among the points made: 
      • "Entitlement to child-free time" and "Roped into communal childrearing" is a telling way to put it. (How dare we feel "entitled" to personal time, right??)("A reasonable expectation"?? -- I should think so...!)  As someone said, "feeling entitled to another person's labour and support is the real problem."  And as another said, "Surely there has to be some give and take?"  (Kindness works both ways.) 
      • Not having the baby(s) you wanted and expected that you would have all your life to this point can also be "like a bomb going off in your life."  And yes, "at times like that you need your friends more than ever, even if they're sick of hearing about it." And too often, our friends are not there for us then... 
      • What do you think? 
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here

1 comment:

  1. I read part of the first article on friends. It’s funny how friendships can feel so intuitive and natural until they don’t.

    I haven’t had a friendship that stayed at the same level of intimacy and contact for decades, nor do I know anyone else who has. Regardless of whether a woman has had children (and most of my high school/university friends didn’t) people need different things at different points of life, and the same people are not always able to provide those specific things. Sometimes I’ve been the right person to offer that intimate support to a friend, and sometimes it’s somebody else.

    Is there a feeling sometimes of sadness/jealousy when I realize that I’m not the #1 person in a friend’s life? For sure. And sometimes it is because I have children. I can’t spend hours over at a friend’s house week after week; it just wouldn’t work. But there might be other reasons too.

    I’m lucky to have a group of friends that are pretty easy going and accepting of the give and take of life, and to my knowledge we have never mocked or demeaned the different circumstances we’ve found ourselves in, whether those were chosen or not. I think that’s extremely important, and it’s the part I bristled at a bit in the article. A person can roll eyes/call names, or they can expect understanding and support, but probably not both at the same time.

    It seems to me that it comes down to offering (and accepting) a lot of kindness, patience and forgiveness. The good news is, adult life offers up lots and lots of opportunities to practice those things.