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Having baby isn't a recipe to rescue romantic relationship

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Introduction

Human beings by their very definition are imperfect. And as intelligent beings, even if we deny our imperfection with words, our subconscious is self-aware about this aspect of our existence; and there are plenty of strategies on how to live a life as an imperfect being, some are useful, some are extremely harmful even though they seem useful. One of the useful ones is to have a healthy degree of resilient and engage in living the life with a trial-and-error approach, watching out that anything you have done might have the wrong choice and as soon as you realize it, learning your lesson, correcting mistakes or ending that path or etc., and moving forward with the next time trying to achieve your goals while avoiding the same mistake. That's just one of strategies that is usually helpful, let's just name one example of the opposite effect: avoiding any behavior that could indicate you are imperfect, that means even if what you got is not what you wanted, instead of looking back and thinking with yourself "oh, I didn't know enough," or "oh, I had the wrong perception," or "oh, I was deceived/coerced/etc," you try to fix or improve what you have got, and that is never going to work, because the reason you got that thing in first place is those wrong beliefs, that lack of knowledge, or whatever-else which was the cause and unless you fix those you can't avoid making the same mistakes over and over and over again.

There are plenty of interesting examples to demonstrate this theme, for example, Trump's presidency and the op-ed in the NewYork Times about containing the president instead of that republican asking himself "How the hell did we get here?" and acting accordingly.

But unfortunately, we live in a culture that this denial of imperfection is deeply embedded in. So, Trump's presidency being an anomaly isn't really going to show how widespread this theme is actually is, in fact, I rather want to focus on a particular example, which is personal to me, but also I think some of the individuals around me are more or less engaging or supporting to engage in it. Another reason for choosing this example is that in my other writings I have emphasized how important, to me personally, is to have a child and it kinds of lead to thinking that a child is a fundamental necessity of being a family, or, at least, having a child is an existential milestone in such endeavor, I think that is really far far far away from the truth.

Just like the common practice of women leaving the men in the hope of the man running after her and changing his behavior, which never happens unless invoked by other reasons, having a child is often not of any help to get two individuals connected to another, to bring them closer to one another, to make their courtship closer to what it feels like to be a family or to encourage the man to make a more masculine and fatherly role in the partnership instead of being a "man-child," or however-else the commonsense wants to label it. I'm not saying people who claim that having a child got them closer to one another, or men who claim that after holding their baby in their arm for the first time their life and their world-view changed are lying, what I wish to say is that even though those statements make you feel like it was the "newborn" that had such effects, that newborn alone is not the reason, and unless you have those other reasons available, a newborn can be another "mistake" of yours and your partner. Again, careful, if you think your pregnancy is a mistake, the solution isn't necessarily an abortion rather you have to accept it is your mistake and you are imperfect and try to find out the roots of that mistake and fix those things, not to get rid of the sign of your imperfection, okay?

An almost ordinary childhood

I remember a few times when the discussion between my parents got really emotional, my mother would say: "you didn't even bother to be there when I gave birth to Hossein." Almost as if it would encourage her husband, my father, to feel guilty and give in to whatever she wished to receive from him. While back then when I was really young I felt bitter for how my father had treated my mother and I felt he owed her something, as I grew older my mother stopped using such statements in front of us. Because instead of evoking pity and sympathy for her, such a statement is an acknowledgment that she stayed together with a man who was not affectionate for her, who did not wish to be part of important events in her life. Especially since I learned that children don't come from hospitals rather people have sex before any childbirth can come to existence, it became really obvious that "you shouldn't have sex with a man who doesn't want to be part of your life! Why did you do it?" That is not the kind of question my mother wishes to face, ever.

When I was a child, I believed my parents are normal; but now when I look back at my childhood with such insights, especially now when I have thought about having a child and looking at women, not only with the criteria of a mere instant romantic feeling rather thinking and rethinking whether I would one day wish she being the mother of our child, and guess how our combination would feel like, lots of interactions in my childhood with my parents standout for different reasons. One of the things that surprised me when I was a child was that my mother would say: "oh, when he does something good it is YOUR child, but when he does something bad it is MY child." Back then I just heard those sentences and couldn't really make sense of them; now, I see a woman who was using me as an object to win her husband's commitment and devotion to herself for the rest of their lives and a man who could not feel like a soulmate with such woman and yet at the same time did not wish to be as cruel to abandon his child altogether, especially if that child could make him feel good about himself.

I don't know my parents' youth years, so they should judge themselves, but something I'm sure about, it can't be said that they were two young people who didn't know sex and were physically attracted to each other and I was the unwanted child in a relationship that wasn't supposed to last. My parents married when they weren't that young, I guess maybe around 25 or 30. And I wasn't their first child; in fact, there was a miscarriage before me, a side-effect of an accident in which my father had also lost his mother and sister, and the brother-in-law. Grieving is a difficult business; I mean, I have seen real-life people who give up on their relationship and marriage after losing a young child, and etc., so maybe that miscarriage and the fact that my father lost his mother and sister in that same accident caused them to become romantically distant from one another, or at least made it so hard to be interested in one another as human beings, or otherwise it can also be that the marriage itself was a mistake. I can't judge, I can't even guess. But thinking about my childhood I can't put the blame on one or the other, rather I think both these individuals share the blame for instead of taking the role of a parent in respect of their relationship with me and committing to their own difficulties in their relationship to one another, they used me as just another area of their lives where they did avoid and distance themselves from one another emotionally and intellectually.

You may think the story of my parents is an exception, it is just a single instance and can't be generalized to the public, but recently watching the first season of "Masters of Sex" I just realized, how ordinary a couple my parents could have seemed to all those around them and as well, to themselves. Dr. William Masters and his wife Libby Masters both can be seen as evil and saint-like characters in the series, because in some respects their motives are noble, he is a devoted pioneer in science interested to advance his knowledge and that of the mankind, and she is a woman coming from a shattered family in childhood aiming for having something she didn't have back then, a "family", and I think both these motives are relatable to us, to some extent. However, both these individuals abuse one another. He neglects his wife emotionally, she aims at coercing him into commitment by getting herself pregnant from him while they have agreed to stop having a child. And if you think about it, what is making these people into acting with such moral cruelty towards one another is the fact that they do not wish to acknowledge that their relationship is not what a relationship ought to be. That they are incapable of intellectual and emotional interest in one another the way two lovers should be and that is neither their fault nor their shortcomings rather a fact that has to be acknowledged and lived with. Look, we are unique. Just because a woman is attractive and a man is financially successful enough doesn't mean they would make a good couple if they try hard enough and stay committed to one another. Dr. William Masters isn't having an affair because his weak moral commitments, but because his needs for reciprocal intellectual and emotional interest is not going to be filled with his wife. Libby Masters, similarly, isn't a witch and using witchcraft to steal her husband's sperm and turn him into her slave, rather she is just believing that a child is a thing he and her husband can share together, that he will feel as inspired about the child as he feels about his science project. I haven't seen the complete series, maybe he does like the child, maybe he doesn't, but one thing I'm sure about is that even if he does indeed love that child, he won't be interested to share the responsibilities of a parent with Libby.

So, here is what I really wished to argue: a child can be an amazing project for a man and a woman to show devotion, commitment, and interest to another, to boost their love and romance, and to strengthen a newly founded family; however, it is not going to have any of these effects if that man and woman aren't intellectually, emotionally, spiritually connected to one another and wish to undertake endeavors together. That's really fundamental. That's not only true about a child and private relationships, even in professional settings and with other projects, sometimes a project fails not because the people involved in it weren't good enough, or the project was a bad idea in and of itself, rather because those people didn't make a good enough team together. The same is true about having a child. Sure, it can be amazing, but it will have horrible long-lasting impacts if you and your partner does not make a team and yet stay committed to raise that child together.

My childhood did seem normal to the relatives and friends, however, now when I look back with this insight, lots of the difficulties I have in navigating life, interpersonal relationships and attachment absolutely makes sense to me; and the difficulties aren't just about my relationship with the external world, rather internally I have lots of trouble that would seem totally incomprehensible to people who come from emotionally healthy childhoods.

One of the things that really confused me growing up was the fact that my parents would at times say that they are interested in me, that they care about me and etc., and yet I never felt loved by them. And I couldn't make sense of my own feelings towards them, and on both sides, I was being condemned for not reciprocating their "love" for me. My mother would say that I don't care about her feelings and worries and etc., and my father would consider me being ungrateful for all he has done for me. The first time that being the recipient of such remarks really confused me, was once when I took a group of my friends and invited them to take part in a religious lecture after the school and I thought it is going to end at a certain hour but apparently that day was a specific religious date, and hence there was an extra program and we being the first ones who went there, it was nearly impossible to go past all the people and leave when the lecture was finished, so we stayed till the whole extended ceremony was finished and as a result when I arrived home it was midnight. Now, at the same time, my parents living in another country had worried about me and called everyone they could to get any news from me. Me living with my uncle and having told him about my interest to attend that lecture and having asked the date and time from him, I thought I have done everything necessary and had all the permission to do so. And finally when I got home my mother's reaction behind the phone was "how could I not care about her worries" and later when I went to school many teachers repeated the same comments, and I was confused because I really didn't think she would worry about me. I mean, had I had felt some form of emotional attachment with my parents, I would have informed them that I will be exceptionally late, but we just never had. By contrast, my behavior was registered by those teachers whom my parents had contacted as a "rebellious" act of teenage boy; inside me, however, there were no "rebellious" motives. I sincerely didn't imagine they would bother. And I really to this date don't feel any different about whether they would bother about me or not, because simply they didn't.

My childhood seemed like a normal childhood, and I never felt like an "unwanted" child, instead, I didn't felt being their child at all. My parents were interested in me if I made them feel good about themselves, or otherwise if something I had done was going to hurt their image as a "good parents" in the eyes of other people, but never about me, my happiness, my sadness. Which all makes sense, even their difficulty to accept me as "their child" makes sense because to both of them I was a source of disappointment. My birth had disappointment my mother's hope to turn her relationship around by introducing some form of a mutual project between herself and her husband, and I guess, for my father I was just an extra burden making it harder for him to avoid his wife. So, I don't think their lack of emotional attachment was based on a personal vendetta against me, because as a newborn I was nobody, and even though when I was a young child my mother and father could make me feel ashamed and guilty by explaining how much time and resources I consumed from them and coerce me into whatever they expected from me, nowadays my response is "why did you have sex, if you didn't want a child?" I'm not trying to promote being ungrateful regarding your parents. I do think children take away a great deal of parents' resources, but at the same time, I think fulfilling your duties as a parent is not an excuse to demand whatever you wish you like it from your child. It's not an excuse to decide his field of study, his career, his living place, his wife, his future for him. Yet, that is what my parents did and still do. And I think in some respect that behavior is understandable, because, for them, I was never their child, I was more than it. I was my mother's failed attempt to win her husband's affection and emotional attachment, and I was my father's misery for spending more time, energy, and etc. together with the woman he had rather avoided and spent with other women, with whom he could have an intellectual and emotional bond. As human beings we live with this predefined perception of justice in our minds and one common feat of that sense of justice is that "the more effort you put, the bigger the rewards out to be," and so whenever our expectations are unfulfilled while we have made an investment, we try to demand alternative rewards from that investment. I think that's what happened respecting me in the eyes of my parents. I took away my father's opportunity for satisfying his emotional needs with having an attachment to other women, so now I have to satisfy those needs by the success I achieve, and he can take pride in them. I disappointed my mother's hope for increased emotional attachment from her husband instead me being there caused her to actually experience many situations that demonstrated he doesn't care about her and made him even more bitter and emotionally distant from her, so I have to satisfy those unmet hopes with being more emotionally attentive to my mother and obey her and care about her expectations and hopes and dreams.

I think, if you are in a similar situation as my parents or Dr. William Masters and Libby Masters from "Masters of Sex" then I believe having a child is only going to worsen it, and that child is also going to suffer. And the suffering isn't just the stories that I told about how detached I felt myself from my parents, that's one source of those damages, the other source is that I never had the example of a healthy romantic attachment in my parents as a role model in front of myself, instead I had been lied about what is a healthy romantic attachment by my parents; as their relationship since after my birth didn't seem like one, yet they acted so as if it is one and whoever questions it is wrong.

Look, I can understand that accepting your marriage, or whatever-else relationship status you currently have with someone, being a mistake and being something that has to be discontinued is not easy; especially if there had been individuals who warned you, or who stood against it, or who stood between you and you rejected them, broke contact with them and etc. It would feel like you're going to make yourself being defeated to the very same individuals whom once upon a time you were so happy that you have overcome their disagreement with your relationship. But accepting that you are not perfect and that you have made a mistake or lots of mistakes, is in long-term far more beneficial than trying to fix your current relationship, for example, hoping a child would bring you two closer to one another just as once you were [or believed yourself to be] at the beginning of the relationship.

To be honest with you, if you give yourself enough time, and you make those personal development steps, you will actually be able to see the faults in your partner; actually, you will be able to see that those happy moments at the beginning of your relationship that felt like "he or she is the one" were actually filled with signs that displayed you two aren't perfect for each other, yet you didn't spot those signs. It's okay to have made these kinds of mistakes. It's okay to divorce or to end a relationship.

Believe it or not, men and women who make similar choices as my parents are plenty. One of the most prominent examples I know of is Princess Dania. If you listen to her interviews, she sounds like she got herself pregnant in the hope that it would discourage her husband's affection for the woman he really felt emotionally and intellectually understood by, but it didn't. It made Diana and Prince Charles more emotionally distant over time. Unfortunately, we live in the time that fake feminists tell "men can do whatever they want, and women can't do anything at all" which is a very misrepresented understanding of how things really are. Some men like Prince Charles rank the public perception so high that they cannot afford to be rejected by a woman, or to end a relationship with someone, especially if they had fought for it in unjust ways in first place. The uneasiness of these men to end their relationship, unfortunately, gives their wives the impression that it can be saved, that they are just waiting for the right amount of emotional attachment, for the right kind of mutual hobby, for the right kind of mutual endeavor to be together, however, this is just not going to happen.

It feels comfortable that right now people around you treat you the way that makes you feel like you are a successful example of a romantic relationship, and that's why I wished to talk about my own childhood, so you can see, even if today the people around you don't see how not good enough your romantic relationship is, one day, your children would judge you otherwise, and that is going to hurt more than it is going to hurt to accept you have made a mistake today and now. Do it now.

Additional observations

  • For a long time, I had big trouble and unease in my heart for going after trying to be admitted in schools that gave degrees in fields I personally aspired to learn more and become a professional in, few of them being: pure mathematics, economics, and filmmaking. Because my parents acted so as if in case I do anything else than the fields they wished me to study in, I'm hurting them, I'm making them unhappy. And I had really a hard time to break out of this undecidedness which was caused by at one hand trying to be a grateful child and at the other trying to live my own life. Now, I understand why they believed I am making them unhappy, and why it is not relevant. Because it is not me who is making them unhappy, if I became an independent filmmaker instead of an engineer in a firm, it is their misplaced expectations of what a child is; because my existence took away their opportunity of having their emotional needs met elsewhere. And even to this date, they accuse me of being confused and not committed to any interest and career, and they can't see how their unreasonable expectations and coercions have affected me, which makes it all more horrifying. So, if you too come from similar circumstances, be very careful that whenever your parents tell you something you are doing is making them unhappy or hurting them, it may actually be totally false, and you may have no impact on what causes that unhappiness rather it is their past and their unmet needs from that past that they are trying to satisfy through you which is making them unhappy. So be careful that these people who lied to themselves about the nature of their own relationship for all these years, don't make you lie to yourself about the nature of how your decisions about your own life are impacting them.
  • Another thing that I wish to say is that even though this text may be true about a few individuals in my close environment, writing on this topic in this manner is to a great degree inspired by me overhearing the conversation between my sister and my mother about her preparing her for whenever in the near future she is going to have a baby, which I found quite offensive. Look, I don't disagree that you need to be prepared for having a baby, but I think it is my sister and her husband's decision whether they want to have a baby or not, and when. My mother buying baby clothes, and etc. "just in case" is, in fact, an indirect act of coercion and not really being a prepared grandmother, or teaching your daughter what it means to become a mother and having a pregnancy.
  • For a certain group of population maybe the fact that a husband has enough financial stability and a wife has enough beauty is the utmost criteria for establishing intellectual and emotional bond, but for some people that's not enough, and perhaps for a minority who have intense emotional and intellectual abilities those facts won't play any role at all. So, instead of generalizing your criteria of whether someone is going to make a good boyfriend or girlfriend for you or not, or asking your friends who aren't the same level intellectually and emotionally intense as you about what they think, and how they did it, and who they think is better and apply that directly into your own life, you have to be aware of how different and similar you are to other people, in which aspects and so on. Of course, the more different you are from the majority of the population the more surprised other people are going to be by your choice of partner, because they can't comprehend how do you make your decisions, and it is okay to be so. Just because the society thinks you and someone are a happy couple and you aren't, doesn't necessarily mean you are doing a bad job as a romantic partner, or you need a baby to get it back together; maybe the society is not good at understanding you, and that's okay. It is perfectly natural not to be normal. As you know, everything "natural" graphs in a bell-shaped curve, meaning that there is always a tiny minority who are going to be so very different than how most people are, and that's perfectly natural.

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  • Author: Scrappy Nobody

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