- Love and regret: mothers who wish they’d never had children
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- Just Say No
- Help! My husband loves his mother more than me - Times of India
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Love and regret: mothers who wish they’d never had children
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Just Say No
Is your question one of these? How much will it cost? How do I pay? Can delivery be arranged? Cassie, another young woman from the same town, felt similarly. When I first talked with Cassie in , she was in her early twenties and had recently reconnected with an ex with whom she was having unprotected sex. Motherhood is enthroned in working-class culture, and rightly so. But in such a view, there is both wisdom and danger. Motherhood is enthroned in working-class culture.
Shortly after she and her boyfriend, Austin, moved in together, Cassie was feeling sick and waiting for her period. She panicked, wondering how he would respond. I did it! Cassie saw having a baby as the adventure of a lifetime, the glue of a relationship. Cassie wanted to love a baby so badly—to be loved by one—that she thinks she was blinded to who the father of that baby really was.
The relationship soured. She stayed with him for several months after their wedding, putting up with his video gaming, pot smoking, and low-wage, irregular work hours, mostly for the sake of her unborn daughter.
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But as the marriage descended into dysfunction, she had to grapple with the fact that her decisions in a partner meant that her daughter would not have a healthy home with both of her biological parents. While neither Emily nor Cassie experienced maternal regret—rather, the sensation of children filling the emptiness of their lives—it became clear to them that motherhood was more demanding, more requiring of self-sacrifice than they could have ever imagined.
Emily remembers the moment when she was holding her newborn first-born son squalling in one arm and a breast pump in the other. For Cassie, the sacrifice was transformative. I have her life and her future. For Emily, now 27, life took a different turn.
Help! My husband loves his mother more than me - Times of India
Several years after that night we talked, her third son was born addicted to heroin, and she lost custody of her children. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depression, and PTSD from traumatic events during her childhood, Emily used drugs to cope, and she found her personality completely altered, every maternal instinct numb. She would hold her baby and feel nothing.
When she got sober and her mind cleared, she was devastated by what she had done. When he was a year old, Emily signed over the rights of her youngest son to that same aunt.
It was not something she wanted to do, and it was the most difficult decision of her life, a complex moral calculus involving her own needs and desires and those of her child—love and sentiment in conflict. She raised him. She saved him. Like she does. Because I did. I always have.
I still do. I suspect that young men and women are quicker to intentionally get pregnant without marriage and other markers of stability because of the strong sentimentality surrounding parenthood. As it did for Emily and Cassie, the experience of actual motherhood has a way of correcting this imbalance, as sentimentality gives way to sacrifice. But the question remains: how can a culture honor and celebrate motherhood without over-sentimentalizing it?