Friday, May 30, 2014

Juxtaposition

I learned today that my formerly childfree ex-husband now has a son with his current wife. We split up back in 2000, and it was more of a breakup than a divorce, but it hurt at the time. I'm long over it, but always curious about where he's ended up. The woman who is now his wife despised me when we were still on good terms. She went so far as to forbid him from talking to me because she was immature and controlling, so we're not friends, but every once in awhile there's that urge to see "where are they now". Even though we were divorced and lived in different countries, she couldn't handle the fact that we were on good terms with each other.

Spoiler alert: Yes, I Facebook stalked them. Shut up.

His wife recently posted a family photo that made me laugh with schadenfreude. She's gleefully holding their baby son. He's looking miserable. He didn't even bother forcing a smile. The best photo of their photo session doesn't even have him trying to look happy. Now, I don't actually want him to be unhappy. Not at all. But he made his choice when he kept dating that vile woman and married her.

But there are other feels that come along with such a revelation. Knowing how controlling his wife always was, I'm presuming she had all the say in when they'd have a child. And I wonder, if we hadn't split up, if we'd have decided to have a kid. And, because it's a giant jerk, my uterus took a moment to remind me that it's there and barren. It does that sometimes, gives a little twinge related to seeing a baby and says "Hi, remember me??" Biology is irritating that way.

But minutes later, something else happened. A dear friend who is currently in Barcelona, my favorite city int he world, posted a photo. A photo of her baby, in a hotel room. Why the hotel room? The kids are cranky. They're only in Barcelona for a day before they leave on the rest of their trip, but they're in Barcelona, possibly the most amazing city on the planet, overnight! They could be wandering and people-watching and viewing the architecture and eating some of the best food in the world! But they're spending it in the hotel room with their already travel-weary kids. It's the first 12 hours of their vacation.

Now, they don't seem to have a problem with this. They're excited about their vacation and they should be! This is exciting for them! But I look at this picture of their adorable baby in front of the window overlooking Barcelona and I don't see the baby. I see missed adventures.

The complicated feelings lasted just minutes, only long enough to confirm I'm on the right path. And now, more than anything, I just want to go to Barcelona.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your blog, especially parts like these. I'm in my late 20s and soon everyone around me will start having babies and I need to know there is someone out there who got over baby rabies because I have no idea if my body will betray me when I actually have babies that I'm required to interact with.

Anonymous said...

Your ex is not thrilled to be a dad if he was CF when he was with you, trust me.

I agree with you about your friends in the hotel room in Barcelona. My friends got back from a trip to Munich and what they loved most about the entire city was that the hotel had a pool that the kids could play in all day, and bathrobes and slippers for each of the kids, too. I mean, wtf would you fly to Germany so that your kids could swim in a pool and each get their own bathrobe? Ridiculous waste of money, a decent Doubletree in Phoenix would have been exactly the same vacation for them. But they romanticize making their kids so worldly and sophisticated by taking them to foreign countries (yeah right).

Megan said...

I'm 24 and just got a tubal ligation on April 22 of this year. I knew when I was 15 that I didn't want to have children. I feel so alone sometimes because it seems everyone around me is popping out babies.

Anonymous said...

A man I work with just had a baby because the girl he was dating wanted to catch him. She did, they married shortly before she gave birth. The poor chap (who already has 2 kids from a previous marriage) told me that he actually did not want to get married but he had done it for the sake of the kid. He also told me that he has nightmares when he thinks how much money these three kids will cost him...I know of several other cases of "enforced parenthood" and none of the people who fell into the baby trap are happy.

Anonymous said...

'Your ex is not thrilled to be a dad if he was CF when he was with you, trust me.'

I'm not so sure. There was an old childfree board, 'childfree-ez' I think it was called, where two women were deserted by their husbands for women with whom they later had children. In one case, the man had even had a vasectomy that he must have gotten reversed (or used IVF or some other procedure).

Sometimes people change. Perhaps these men might have felt unprepared for parenthood at the time they were married to the childfree women in question; perhaps they felt that these women weren't the right ones to have children with.

What was sort of sad is that one of these women said she would not have been interested in having kids anyway (with anybody), but she felt a little sad that, in her own words, she wasn't even 'given a chance' to have children with the man in question.

Anonymous said...

Well I think that some people change their mind about being CF, but some people do not change their minds but find themselves talked into it by a partner. And the people that get talked into a lifelong responsibility when they never wanted that responsibility in the first place are not happy.

Amber Keeler said...

On Memorial Day weekend I went to my Aunt's lake house. Her grandkids were there. The youngest boy pulled at my uterus. He was so cute and so well behaved. But, then there was his annoying ass older brother. I think my uterus tried to burn its own tubes after hanging with him. I'm not gambling on what type of kid I get, thanks.

Anonymous said...

'Well I think that some people change their mind about being CF, but some people do not change their minds but find themselves talked into it by a partner.'

I don't think it's clear whether Childfree Me's ex truly changed his mind or got talked into (or tricked into) parenthood. About people changing their minds, it can go the other way too. For example, one childfree woman who had her own website said that her husband had tried to conceive with his previous wife but was not successful. When he married the woman on the site, though, he even got a vasectomy - which come to think of it might not even have been necessary because it wasn't clear whose 'fault' it was that he and his ex couldn't conceive.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stasha, Thank you for your blog. It feels hard to be in the minority admist a society, family and group of friends who seldom make sense of the decision to remain childfree. I appreciate your posts and completely relate to the "seeing missed adventures" in this one. It's all down to everyone's own choices at the end of the day. Without the likes of your posts and those of others, it can be easy to feel brainwashed by the pressure of society to just go ahead and have kids. We still live in an age where this decision is very new and viewed sometimes as quite threatening - it's so different to what always was the case before. Thank you again. S - in Ireland.

bonclyde149150 said...

Strange how not wanting children is seen as "quite threatening". Like we spend our childfree time being boogeyman under kids' beds for them to cry to their parents about.

Anonymous said...

I'm an older "Boomer" male who never had children. I llve in a socially conservative midwestern city where the goal of 98 percent of the women have is to produce children ASAP. Even the college educated professional women -- doctors, lawyers, architects, CPAs etc. in this town are caught up in that frenzy. Socially, I've had women react this way when they find out I'm childless "What, you don't have any children?" in an astounded tone of voice. In my social group, I'll call it, there are some childless guys but not a single childless woman. Even among the women I know professionally I cannot think of one who is childless.

I can't imagine the tremendous social pressure that's exerted on women to have children in an environment like this. You have to get out of this city to be free to be childless if you're a woman.

Amanda P said...

"I see missed adventures." This is how I feel if I think of what life will be like it I have kids. Right now, I don't even have as much adventure as I want to, and if I have the money and means, I want to spend it on having those adventures and not on raising kids. I loved Barcelona, and I could find a hell of a lot to occupy my time for a night there that doesn't involve hanging out in a hotel room.

Amanda P said...

"I see missed adventures." This is how I feel if I think of what life will be like it I have kids. Right now, I don't even have as much adventure as I want to, and if I have the money and means, I want to spend it on having those adventures and not on raising kids. I loved Barcelona, and I could find a hell of a lot to occupy my time for a night there that doesn't involve hanging out in a hotel room.

Amanda P said...

Hi Stasha,
I'm having a childfree link part on my blog until Jan 12 23:55 EST. I'd love if you could contribute a post, either a new post or one of your favorites from the past. http://wp.me/p48TkV-2aH

Anonymous said...

What the hell is a "feel"? That's not a noun.

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