Saturday, April 13, 2013

When Selflessness is Mistaken for Selfishness

Yesterday, I read an article written by a woman who wished she had never had children. She said that, even though she has two grown children whom she loves, life would have been happier without them. Actually, she referred to them as parasites who never gave back, which sounds like an Onion parody, but she's serious. So why did she have children?"

Her husband wanted children before marriage, and she felt it would be selfish to deprive him of a family. She didn't bond with her son at birth, but she breastfed him because it was good for him. She stayed home to raise her boy and girl because it was better for the children to be raised by a mother than shuffled off to daycare.

The comments by readers were pretty harsh. What a selfish woman, they said, to not want her own children. To be able to say that she wished they hadn't been born, even now when they are old enough to understand.

I think they got it wrong.

We live in a society that values feelings. Don't tell that guy you have an STD, because it would feel good to sleep with him right now, and if he knew that one night in bed could cause him years of pain, you might not get to feel good right now. That's selfish. Ruin that girl's life by posting pictures of her drunk on the internet, because you feel like a good laugh. Selfish.

This woman acknowledged her feelings, but they didn't control her.  She rose above them to do what was right.

Conversely, I read an article called A Single Woman Faces the Biggest Decision of Her Life.  Here you have a single woman who says lots of lovely things about babies, but she's already pricing "over full-time day care" for the child. She feels like having a child, and even if every legitimate study done shows that children raised in traditional two-parent (mom and dad) families fare better in life, it's her feelings that are going to send this baby into a world of daycare mommies and no father. She will be a full-time worker and a part-time mother, and if the experiences of my friends and family are anything to go by, the child will cry when she picks it up and takes it away from "mommy". That would be the woman raising it full-time.

People can say anything. I can say I hope that Obama is eaten by a gigantic groundhog then next time he golfs, but unless I supply the groundhog and make it happen, it's only words. Maybe this woman needed the money and wrote a shocking article for the bucks. Maybe she has a disassociative disorder that hasn't been treated. Maybe she's just self-centered, wondering why her children weren't giving back, but her actions tell the story.

Her actions were selfless, and that's what counts.

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