Unbearable: I Take Personal Offense To Bad Parenting

By  | 

angry womanHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

People often think that it’s really hard for infertile women to talk to or be around pregnant women. Like, even if we love this person, we’re going to be a tad jealous of their glowing fertility when compared with our barren inability to reproduce. Personally, I haven’t had too much of a problem with that. When my sister told me she was pregnant over a year ago, I was genuinely happy for her. She’s a really amazing mother and I care about her very deeply. How could I not be ecstatic for her?

However, there is one parent that I think most infertile women have a really difficult time handling. While we can be happy for friends and family members when they announce a new bundle of joy, hearing about a horrible or irresponsible parent is really difficult for those who are trying to conceive. I’m not talking about someone who bottle feeds when you think breast is best. I mean truly, objectively bad parenting.

This week, I wrote about a case of child neglect in my city and the lax sentence given to the mother who allowed her children to be beaten, choked and whipped by her boyfriend. There were plenty of parents and non-parents alike in my town who were upset by this case. But I have to admit that I felt personally offended by such a mother. It was impossible not to think, “I want so much to have a child, and this person doesn’t even care enough to protect her’s from a monster.”

It might not be fair. It might be an exaggeration. But I’m also pretty sure that it’s not unique to me. A close friend of mine used to tell me that every story of a mom abandoning her children made her so angry she couldn’t see straight. This friend was spending thousands on IVF to have children, so seeing another mother disregard her own was infuriating. Another friend used to say that she had no problem when her sister got pregnant, but hearing about teens who got pregnant through accidents and didn’t know how they were going to support their kids made her so frustrated.

There is something about seeing other people’s bad parenting when you want a baby so badly that just sets a fire in an infertile couple. It feels like the universe is just slapping you in the face. There is an obvious lack of fairness in struggling to have kids while others who don’t seem to want or care about them have no problem getting pregnant.

I have known some infertile couples who get angry at the idea of abortion. They’re mad that someone would choose to terminate a pregnancy when they want one with all their heart. I have to admit that my anger has never been directed in this path. I would never want someone to carry a pregnancy they didn’t want just so they can give a child up to an infertile couple. I think carrying a child for someone else to raise is a personal decision and shouldn’t be made by anyone but the individual.

However, once you’ve decided to keep that child, you’ve taken responsibility. You’ve entered into an agreement to look after and love that baby for their rest of their lives. Neglecting, abusing, or abandoning that child after you’ve brought them into the world, that is something that makes me furious. And even when I have no connection to the story at all, hearing that it happens feels like a personal insult.

(Photo: konstantynov/Shutterstock)