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This is a question Kids

Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. Or in the case of Fred West - both. Tell us your ankle-biter stories.

(, Thu 17 Apr 2008, 15:10)
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There have been a few "anti-children" posts on here this week, it seems as opportune a time to post my own semi cathartic story about how the issue of kids and parenting nearly destroyed me a few years previously.

Around the time I first started posting here I was in a relationship with a lass I'll refer to as "G". I'd known "G" for some eight years or so, she'd originally dated a friend of mine before we started seeing each other. I'd always held her in high esteem, she had long, ebony hair, big brown eyes and outwardly a gentle, inoffensive nature.

To start off with, things went very well indeed. We quickly established early on that she wanted kids and I didn't, but we were both happy to give me the benefit of the doubt - in the right relationship, anything is possible. Besides, I really enjoyed “G”’s company and had high hopes of a positive future for the relationship.

After a few months, the cracks began to show. “G” began to get increasingly fretful about having children and began to press me to see if there was any possibility I’d change my opinion anytime soon.

"PJM, do you think you'll ever change your mind about kids?" was a question oft asked.

How do I react to that? Obviously she wanted children someday. Much guilt ensued. Do I really not want kids?

Unfortunately "G"'s agenda was to have children as soon as possible. She was dissatisfied with my (honest) explanation of my feelings, which troubled me. I enjoyed her company and she seemed to enjoy mine. If I could resolve my feelings towards not breeding then maybe a secure future beckons? The more I tried to wrestle with my conscience, the more frequent and intense the questioning became.

"PJM, when do you think you'll change your mind about children?"

"PJM, you'll love them if they're your own"

"PJM, it's every woman's right to be a mother"

Each and every time the future of our relationship came up, her eyes would fill with tears and she'd remind me how much she loved me and how much she hoped I'd have children with her. She’d talk frequently about friends of ours with kids and how much she wanted to have a family. She lost her own mother to cancer and had never come to terms with it, even nine years on. She wanted to provide the family life she'd been denied.

We were out with friends one evening and I overheard "G" ask someone "When will PJM commit?", I looked up at those watery doe eyes and I felt a sharp stab of guilt.

Now I respond very badly to guilt. It literally tears me apart and I found myself in situation where I couldn't bear walking away, but agreeing to have children with "G" to her time scale was madness. She was badly in debt financially and was unlikely to see black ink on her bank statement for another three years even if she were extremely careful with her money. I didn't own my own home and I was in no way ready to become a father. I felt "G" was trying to achieve having children long before the relationship had developed to a point where it was a natural progression. Even agreeing in principle wasn't enough, for within weeks there would be a plea to agree to the original and unrealistic timetable, which loomed like a storm on the horizon.

Kids... We all have our own ideals on the type of parent we'd be, even if we don't actually intend on breeding ourselves. I'd had a very bad paternal role-model and the fear of turning out repeating the same mistakes as my own father were very real. I'd rather never be a father at all than to be a half decent father. Had I enough fatherliness in me to ensure that I'd be a fair role-model? Did I, could I want it enough? Could I provide enough? My mind wandered to the mental image of trying to budget for a fast growing toddler needing clothes... Could I trust "G" not to max out her credit card again, seeing as I'd be expected to pick up the tab? My doubts were strong. However that wasn't the end of the story for me.

I tried to approach it rationally and sat down with “G” to explain the financial implications.

“But people just cope!” she opined.

“But I don’t want to just cope. I want to have a reasonable standard of living too. Besides, you think it’ll be another three years or so before you pay off your debts?”

Reason failed. It was obvious that in her mind we'd somehow manage because other people did. That was enough for her. I had a vision of me a couple of years down the line with a screaming baby, an evening job and desperately trying to make ends meet. Frankly, I was chilled to the bone. As long as "G" was clutching that baby, everything else was secondary.

"PJM, do you think that in three years time you'll want children?"

I took a decision to end the relationship. It’s fair to say that it didn’t go down well, there were veiled threats of suicide, of her feeling like she cannot go on without me. No matter what, my sense of guilt prevailed and I had to back down and give it another go. It wasn’t unwillingness on my part, I genuinely liked her but I could not face the building pressure to give a detailed timescale as to when I’d commit to fathering children.

To make matters worse, "G" had ingratiated herself with my family and friends, to the point where she'd turn to them for advice and moral support, often bursting into tears over coffee and biscuits. I felt like I had no-one to turn to for advice, whenever I wanted to talk to a friend, “G” had gotten there first. The comments from friends were at first mildly patronising, "He'll be great with kids, after all he is one himself". Then harsher words started to be uttered in my direction, words like "selfish". It felt like my bachelorhood was being forcibly wrenched from by grasp.

My feelings toward children were polarizing, I was getting to the point where I was beginning to detest the merest suggestion of children and the ever growing multitude who appeared to voluntarily surrender their independence and spawn. Why must I be expected to do the same? I was even actively considering getting myself vasectomized, so great was the burden of pressure on me.

Then one evening, a close friend with whom “G” had been confiding in summoned me round to his house and made me sit while he lectured me about "that poor fucking girl".

"You must show her you're ready to commit. Kids are amazing, you need to get your fucking act together sunshine." said Phil

"There's never a good time to have kids. You should just do it as soon as possible. It’ll be the best fucking thing you ever do." he continued.

I couldn't believe this. What could I do? Every time I tried to end the relationship I had people telling me how cruel I was and how I must go back to "G". The only option left was to consign myself to a life of parental servitude for which I wasn't ready. Everyone would be a winner except me, who’d be working hard to provide for a family just to keep everyone else happy. Was I a bad person to look myself in the eye and ask “What’s in it for me?”

At this point, I discovered that "G" had been going through my mobile phone and my PC, desperate for evidence that I'd been having an affair. I found "G" on front of my PC one evening sobbing.

"Are you meeting women from the internet for sex?" she challenged.

I wasn't. I had no idea where this was coming from. Turned out that she'd found me on a networking site on the net with my marital status listed as "single". The name of this networking site? Myspace.

Over the next two hours, every single website I'd visited and every single text message on my phone was dissected in minute detail.

"How many women in your phone book have you had sex with?"

"Is she prettier than me?"

“Are you talking to any of these women about me?”

I explained the Myspace page, for I had only one Myspace buddy and that was an old workmate, who wanted to show me his mate's band (hi Harold!). As for the women’s phone numbers, they were all friends of long term standing. I was as likely to sleep with any of them as I was to be elected the next Pope. I simply couldn’t go on with the destructive cycle of guilt, rampant insecurity and pressure from all sides. I was working 50 hours at week at the time as it was, plus I was prescribed a fairly outrageous amount of antidepressants just to keep me glued together. Something had to give before I did.

The catalyst was when my brother and another friend of mine took me aside and warned me that while “G” had been round for coffee and crying on their shoulders, she’d dropped very strong hints that she was contemplating “forgetting” to take her contraceptive pill without telling me first. Enough was enough and I called time. I explained that we must not see each other anymore and that was that. It was fucking difficult, but for the sake of both our respective sanities I had to be strong and call it quits. To be honest, there was a large part of me that really didn’t want to.

Over the next few weeks, my friends and some family members were very terse and distant with me, I stopped speaking to Phil outright. Indeed, my birthday came and went without a single phone call from my friends in recognition. I couldn't understand what I'd done wrong, I'd done the honorable thing and freed her, had I not?

A year later I discovered why.

"G" had spent the weekend of my birthday out with a large group my friends who felt the need to console her over the fact that not only had I heartlessly dumped her, but also the fact that she’d found me on a dating website. Despite her protestations to the contrary, she neglected to tell my friends that it was Myspace and told them something else entirely. Much else was said too, the likes of which were sufficient to ensure I was a social pariah for a long time afterwards.

Eventually, I had the opportunity to set the record straight with my friends and although some friendship will never be the same again, I can look back with a certain degree of comforting hindsight, I'd done my best and I'm satisfied my intentions were honorable.

A lucky escape? Quite.


Although it must be said that that "G" isn't a malicious soul in any way and never meant any harm, her actions although fuelled by low self esteem and personal issues for which she'd avoided taking responsibility for had some very far reaching consequences. I'd withheld from posting this story on here, not only because some of our mutual friends of ours read what I write from time to time and will undoubtedly see this post, but also because it was still relatively fresh in my mind to make writing about it uncomfortable to say the least. So why write it?

Well, since then (April 2006) I have had the opportunity to put my side of the story to friends and family who for the most part suspected that some emotional blackmail was going on but even so identified much more readily with the tearful "victim" rather than the outwardly callous boyfriend. Although our friendship will probably never be the same again, Phil and I are talking and socialising once more. I have been able to resolve the situation in my own mind and move on, because I accepted I was being unconsciously manipulated. That kind of thing happens to folk every day.

As a result, these days I am okay with kids, mostly because the pressure to have them isn't an insidious presence in my background and I've been free to get to know some on my own terms and generally they aren't that bad... most of the time. I'm still not sure I'll ever want my own, but the decision is at least in my own hands. "G" knew full well that getting pregnant by deception was wrong, yet was so desperate for a child that she was apparently considering it - no doubt with the comforting caveat "You'll love it when it's your own".

Plus, of course given the subject material this week, I deemed it to be too topical a tale not to post here.

Aside from this, it's reinforced in me my own view a relationship is in the slightest bit rocky rocky or uncertain, then electing to have children is an exercise in the utmost irresponsibility - this may be easy for me to say given the fact of my gender and that I don't possess the stereotypical biological clock, but then as a great lady once said to me "They don't stay children forever, after that then what?".
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 17:36, closed)
Well done
for sticking to your guns. Having kids should always, always, be a joint decision. No-one should have parenthood forced on them - especially not by a manipulator like her.

We chose to have our kids and while it is the best thing we ever did, its also bloody hard work.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 17:44, closed)
Oh sweet lord, PJM!
My heart goes out to you. Big time.

I've been the one desperate to have a family at some point down the line, but for me that meant walking away from a relationship where the other person was equally adamant that it would never happen. Compromise does not work. It's a horrible thing to realise that love does not conquer all. It's also horrible to have to make such lifechanging choices. But it would be even more horrible to trap and bind someone else in a situation they did not want. As for people sneakily springing a surprise baby on their partner - is there anything less trusting and less loving? Fuck! Did she honestly think that you'd stay with her out of some sense of guilt or pity? And forsake your own happiness? The crumb of comfort I hold on to is that if one stays true to oneself and honest with others then at some point one hopefully meets someone who fits your life - and you, theirs.

And breathe.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 17:44, closed)
Blimey O'Reilly
I had a very similar experience. SWMBI went through an uber-broody spell a few years back when it would have been im-frigging-possible to have had kids. And then a bit later we got married, and the subject came up again. And again. I think I was at the very least ambivalent to the concept, sort of going with the flow, but I never had the 'Wahey, gonna be a daddy' bit. Come the birth, again I felt like I was acting a part. The lack of sleep may have had something to do with it. I don't think I really 'bonded' with my son until he was a couple of months old.

The same with my daughter: a strange 'well, if you really want to' sensation right up until they've plopped out and a while after that.

I still look around at myself and think 'what the hell am I doing here, this is what grown-ups do' at times.

"Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult". Sheesh.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 17:48, closed)
I've known people this has happened to.
Worse- I'm related to a woman who decided that her husband needed to grow up and be responsible, so she stopped taking her pills.

Me, I wasn't ever eager to have kids (though I love them dearly and am glad I have them now), but gave in to the persistent Catholic whining and agreed to do so anyway. The ironic part is that I've weathered the tribulations of parenthood far better than she did.

You seriously dodged a bullet there, and managed to avoid giving a child a potentially unhappy life. When I get home I'll raise a Saranac Amber to you.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 17:50, closed)
And another thing
- this "every woman's right to be a mother" stuff: I consulted a medical ethicist on this very matter (not Enzyme, but someone who uses equally big words) and he said something about Article 12 of the Human Rights Act which states that a man and a woman have the right to marry and to found a family, but that this is potentially discriminatory and also, even if you have the right to do so, no one has the obligation to supply or fulfill that right. He then cited legal cases relating to it but I was getting drunk at the time and so I forgot them.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 18:12, closed)
Had I known you at the time, I'd've been shouting, "RUN, PJM, RUN!"
That was grossly unfair, especially turning to all your supporty system peoples before you could get a word in.

Lucky escape you had there, mate. And look who you've found now.... that's what makes me believe in Fate. I reckon that everything we do, choices we make, people we meet; it all happens for a reason, and if we make a wrong choice, somehow or other we'll get back on track. So, hugs 'n' snogs to you and Madame le Poulet.

p.s. does "G" stand for gash or gooch?
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 18:51, closed)
As CHCB says
it's no one's "right" to be a parent in any form.

I'll toss out here the case of H. Much as I love her as a friend, H is a VERY high maintenance woman, now in her mid 40s. And when I first met her, five years ago, she was desperate to get pregnant.

This is a woman with serious health issues, a complete control freak, and at the time had just hit 42. So why did she want to get pregnant? Because she loved kids and had been told for decades what a great mother she would make, and now that she had spent her 20s and 30s having fun, she realized that her time was about up. So she wanted a baby and she wanted it NOW.

I won't go into details, but fortunately for all involved this never came to be. Nothing good could possibly have come of that.

Just because a woman has a uterus and the urge to use it doesn't give her the RIGHT to do so.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 18:56, closed)
Hard as it was mate...
... you did the right thing.

Being guilt-tripped into corners is one of the hardest things to cope with: well done for surviving.

*big hearty man-hug and the offer of a beer and bike-ride oneday*
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 18:59, closed)
...I speak as the poor schmuck who actually fell prey to one of said broody feminine things. Not exactly the most well-adjusted of women, she conveniently 'forgot' her birth control. Now, I've always shouldered the fact I was less than responsible in not opting for my own efforts, but fact remained that I got trapped into a relationship (and very nearly married) to a woman who not only made my life hell, managed to do so whilst alienating my entire social circle by citing the blame entirely on me. It took three years to get the truth from her lips, but by god, the look on her face when everyone realised what a lunatic she was came to pass was priceless. Naturally, we're not together anymore, as you might imagine.

Oh, and my son is, despite my initial reservations, a person I'm proud of. Just turned five two weeks ago, and thankfully is inheriting more of me than his mother. If nothing else, I'm glad he'll get some good genes from me to balance out what his mother gave him.

Now, I suppose I have to go and do an actual post. -gasp-.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 19:22, closed)
... no considered response, just, whoa.

I might post something more coherent later, but for now I have to go and buy vegetables
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 19:25, closed)
^ What Davros said!!
Why does it happen to the nice guys? You had a close call and lived to fight another day : ) Although I suspect that you and that fowl women, (haha), are more lovers than fighters.

No women has a right to have a baby. I don't need an ethics professor to tell me that.

*Sorry CHCB, I don't mean that to sound patronising I just feel very strongly about it*
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:10, closed)
I wasn't consulting one in order to find out my rights, I was getting drunk with one and looking for QOTW fodder! :)
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:13, closed)
Wait a minute, CHCB-
you were looking for fodder? What, you wanted to be mudder?...

(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:15, closed)
boom tish!
*changes "fodder" to "ammunition"*
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:17, closed)
Good on you
For staying strong.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:20, closed)
Lets have a group hug and promise...
To protect each other from crazy women and unscrupulous men.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:31, closed)
S'me again...
Sorry, my comment above about "G" was a tad harsh. Mr Humpty just taught me how to do these clever things today. I was practicing.

Now I've shown Davros too :o)

Here's a bottom (_._)

Bottoms are rude and funny.
What happened to you was not.

Also, Ive been thinking about it with my little feet in the kitchen.....

Surely, when you love someone, part of that deal involves respect and empathy? Or am I an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy? I was thinking how you were showing these qualities, yet they weren't reciprocated. So, inevitably, whether you and G agreed on breeding or not, the balance wasn't there in the first place.

*even more hugs 'n' snogs to you and your Nice Lady*
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:31, closed)
^ nice artwork, Tourettes
Have a mimsy:
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:35, closed)
and some boobies!

(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:51, closed)
Artwork time?
(That works better if you use the pointy angle bracket above the comma, but for some reason it doesn't show up.)
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 20:54, closed)
^^ How does one aquire the knowledge to do this.
I can't even spell correctly or use the right punctuation, never mind these acts of artistic and linguistic tomfoolery.
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 21:02, closed)
Teenage boys - my nephews - will know these things by some process of osmosis. Being asked by their mum to "sort" their PC was something of an eye-opener, I can tell you.

I basically set up their MSN to record all conversations, and didn't tell them how to stop it!
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 21:21, closed)
....are so many people such utter freaks

Well done for ditching it... I would have been screaming Frank Bough by the second paragraph to be fair

If anyone else out there knows a man or woman like this might I recommend a rusty bear trap.

Only 6.99 at MTCs rusty bear trap shop till Friday
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 22:19, closed)
Nice work on keeping it together.
Really impressed you managed to write all of that so well, and so calmly.
*raises bottle*
Here's to keeping it together in the face of insanity eh?
(, Tue 22 Apr 2008, 23:09, closed)
Here's the kind of suggestion I usually give to friends and family
You should totally donate sperm. It would be awesome.
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 2:46, closed)
I almost went past this message
but then I saw who had written it and even though it was really long I read it. I am glad I did, fantastic story with admirable morals and willpower. If only more were like you, well done sir!
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 2:46, closed)
compromise is...
..for choosing between wallpaper and paint not for choosing to have kids. Good for you for not caving in to whining manipulation.
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 9:57, closed)
good on ya
like someone else said good on ya for sticking to your guns, whilst there is no perfect time for having kids there are deffinately times when you shouldnt, like when you really dont want to. there are too many kids with parents who never wanted them and treat them so that they know
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 11:09, closed)
You were lucky you had the choice.

My ex-girlfriend would regularly mention the fact that she wanted kids (At this stage we had been going out a couple of months tops) she was on the pill (Gotta love how we seem to be under the impression that the pill is flawless).

After a night out one weekend we got down to business, just after we finished up she exclaimed 'Fucking hell, if I don't get pregnant after this I'm never gonna get pregnant' ...... When I questioned this statement I was lovingly informed that she had in fact come off the pill without telling me. When i objected to this I got a major guilt trip.

As luck would have it she did end up pregnant after that night, we are not together any more, but our son (Now nearly two) is more important than anything else to me. I would not give him up for the world, but it sucks having other people decide weather or not I was ready to be a father without me.
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 11:43, closed)

you did the right thing! Kids are not mp3s that you can delete at will; if you must have them, they're for life!
So having kids to please someone but you is inconsiderate.

I'm proud of you boy! ;-)

Be funky

(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 12:05, closed)
Well done PJM for sticking to your guns. It's all down to choice, and it wouldn't have been fair for you to have that choice taken away from you.
(, Wed 23 Apr 2008, 12:32, closed)

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