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25 comments

There’s this fashionable notion that women without children or husbands are happier. Let’s assume that’s true and not just a decontextualization of some rogue statistic with perfect headline potential. That would only be true in a society that can support it: a stable society built by people who make sacrifices and raise kids so that the childless rest can enjoy their lives.

But... that is exactly how society works. Parents, especially mothers, make enormous sacrifices to raise kids so that society can keep functioning (because you know, society needs people so we have doctors etc tomorrow not just today), while being penalised for it and watching their childless, single friends stay free. Marriage and motherhood, as it stands, are a trap.

The start of this article is infuriating. Ok, covid was shit for people on their own. I agree. I saw it in friends and relations, but on the whole I see that those people now are moving on with life, getting out there again. Meanwhile, those of us who became parents during covid? Traumatised. We spent most of my kid's first year of life in lockdown. No idea until pretty much it happened whether birth could go how we'd planned or whether I would be labouring at hospital on my own. No idea until it happened whether we would be able to have any family help in the immediate days following birth. Was a summer baby, so we go kind of lucky and it wasn't full full lockdown immediately. Then the winter came. Spent our first christmas as a family of 3 isolated from family at the last minute (thanks and fuck you, BoJo), then 3 months in full lockdown, with a baby who never fucking slept. The fact everyone survived is a fucking miracle, and frankly after living through that I don't think I will ever have another child. I am scarred for life. So you know what's crushingly lonely? Being awake at 3am (having not yet slept, as has been the case every night for 6 months) with a screaming baby, isolated from your "village" (seriously, what village) by lockdown rules and distance, unable to make a network near you because not a single mum and baby group is running (except maybe by zoom, but you try meeting new people over zoom for the first time with a screaming baby, I dare you), and reaching breaking point with your partner (who's the only verbal person you interact with most days) because he hasn't slept for 6 months either and neither of you knows what you're doing and all the ways you normally would learn how to be a parent are off limits thanks to covid.

I'm here all week if anyone wants to talk crushing loneliness, it's a specialty of mine. I know all its different flavours up to age 30s now. I've done the "too busy working to make any friends" variety, and the "too poor to get out and meet people", and the "too self-conscious and insecure to make any lasting connections", but fuck me, "new mum at the height of the pandemic" was the bitterest flavour of all.

I felt every word of your heartbreaking comment and I wish I could offer more than just virtual hugs from one mom to another. 🫂🫂🫂

These years have been so hard. And yet we endure. What else is there?

Hugs. We've all been through the wringer. I'm certainly not claiming the monopoly here, I have nothing but respect for mums who were trying to work and homeschool, or juggling new babies and older kids. And I really empathise with the older folk who were living alone, retired, and completely isolated for fear of the virus. It's just not a humane way to live, for anyone. I have a lot of bitterness to work through from how our government handled the whole thing, because it was cruel and unusual for a lot of people - and a lot more stringent than other countries who ended up having lower death tolls.

But yes, we endure. There isn't much choice!

I feel all of this comment in my bones. I had my second baby ten days before lockdown started in my state. We spent an extremely long and lonely first year. Being a new parent during lockdown was absolute shit. I had twins in the spring and pregnancy during the pandemic was also absolutely shit. We have barely seen any one since March of 2020..

One of the positives about getting old is that you can know better than to bother reading more than three paragraphs into a piece like this.

Because if you've seen this pathetically predictable argument made once, you've seen it made fuckteen-trillion times since the Second Wave rolled in.

I'd like to see less think pieces that assume women without children are lonely. We don't see that narrative about men nearly as much....wonder why 🙄

I personally do not think child free women are any more lonely than mothers as a whole and I’m really tired of reading this sort of thing. Child free men aren’t talked about like this and we all know why.

I think it's not necessarily COVID that's making millennials realize mortality is real; I think it just happened to be happening while a large portion of millennial women had to start thinking seriously about their family choices.

It's true that for millennial women, there is no cultural narrative that is mainstream that celebrates choosing motherhood. The narratives that do celebrate motherhood are all conservative or religious.

For a woman who has mainstream liberal views, it feels like choosing NOT to have children is what is asked of her. The liberal paranoias of climate change, worker exploitation, and general unhealthiness of our food system and health care system align to make us feel like opting not to bring anyone new into the world is the moral choice.

Women pay attention to messages like these, especially when we are on the fence.

I agree that the trend in leftist circles is to say that they do not want to have kids because of climate change but I think that is the very vocal minority.

I will add that the not so vocal reason why leftists still do want women to have kids is for the kids to be used as fashion accessories and a vessel to display one’s activism (e.g. assigning political parties to children who cannot speak and not even close to thinking about politics by putting them in clothing and photo shoots to dictate the political affiliation of the parent(s))

I am curious what everyone's thoughts on this article are...

[–] Ruby 19 points

It strikes me as rather classically conservative.

  • claiming single women without children are unhappy
  • claiming women who are pursuing careers are more unhappy than family oriented women
  • encouraging women to consider having babies as tho its a fix for loneliness
  • completely ignoring all the women WITH kids WITH careers who were fucked to all hell during the pandemic due to the COMPLETE LACK OF SOCIAL SUPPORT (where does this magical community come from? It certainly doesn't come from childbirth!)
  • ignoring data indicating marriage makes women unhappier and the burden isn't worth it
  • failing to talk to women on all sides of the conversation
  • pretending one woman's sadness about not having kids is EveryWoman

Furthermore - where are the "girl"bosses? Where are the thoughts and feelings of women who lead? Women in their 40s, 50s, 60s? Maybe some of them would have some things to say about workplace culture and social demands that would illustrate far more than one 20-something year old might think about.

[–] hmimperialtortie cats plz 10 points

The idea that children are a cure for loneliness strikes me as bizarre. I’m one of those women who don’t like children at all, and if I’m going to have a companion with limited conversational abilities I’ll stick to cats.

It is incredibly easy to be lonely with children in your life. I love my children, but my cat was a better companion before he passed.

I can vouch that children are not a cure for loneliness. Having children in our current social set-up causes very bad, painful, long-term loneliness. Being alone is not the same as being lonely.

Thank you. It feels weirdly conservative to me as well, and like a reactionary perspective, but is framed as feminism.

[–] Rheya 10 points Edited

Thank you for the fourth bullet point. Definitely a thought that crossed my mind. My mom friends and I were sharing memes in April 2020 that only a woman without kids would think about having them during the pandemic, and that no woman with kids would want to have more during that time.

I’m really tired of the type of shallow analysis exemplified by this article. Where did “liberal feminism” come from? It is “feminism” taken over by men and so of course it never served women. FDS wasn’t a response to COVID, it was a response to decades of men eschewing any kind of adulthood or responsibility in favor of porn and no strings attached sex that is increasingly distasteful and dangerous to women.

Yep. If a mother didn't have family support or some nanny going into the pandemic she sure wasn't going to be able to get back-up help during it. It's a fantasy that lockdown meant cozy cuddling up with family and not stir-crazy, understimulated and tv-saturated kids screaming in the background of zoom conversations.

And well said about FDS! Men seem to think there's nothing wrong with manipulating and abusing their way into sex, so as long as they behave like absolute predators and pests, I see nothing wrong with women comparing notes and collectively raising our expectations.