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  • #360181
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlie:

    You shared that  both your parents were attorneys, and that you are an attorney as well (you worked with abused youth in 2016, from a previous thread). Your parents expected you to be perfect and were “always very opinionated about everything” you said or did. You often felt that you were letting them down, and still struggle with wanting their approval. You became a lawyer partly so to get their approval.

    “Whenever they say something like my son ‘would be a great big brother’, it hurts.. that I’m less of a mother in their eyes”.

    You shared that your mother, although being “a very stressed out person” herself, minimized your stress by telling you things like “stop making a mountain out of a molehill”, and “stop looking at the glass half-empty”.

    Your 12 years of Catholic education which emphasized “avoiding sin and hell and things like this.. general messages of guilt/ shame” added to your strong inclination to second guess yourself “in almost every aspect of (your) life”.

    *After I read about your mother in your recent post and before I read what you wrote about your therapist being similar to your mother, I thought the same thing myself. For a moment I had the idea that your therapist is your mother.

    My comment to you today: I’ve seen it happening again and again… and yet again, that women who are mothers still try to please their mothers at the expense of their own children. The mother/ adult-child still longs for her mother approval and in that quest, will act against her own interests and against the interests of her own child or children.

    And it I’ve seen it again… and again, that the mother/ adult-child never gets the approval she yearns from. Just as you are in your second guessing yourself and regretting habits, your mother too is having her own habits- to disapprove of you/ minimize your stress.

    You know how strong your habits are… so are hers.

    The person who doesn’t have such strong habits yet is your young son. He is .. totally approving of you. Back to my experience: mothers betray their child’s approval/ love  by chasing their own mothers’ approval and love. The result: the mother betrays her own child, and she never succeeds to undo the betrayal she experienced from her own mother.

    Don’t have a second child so to get your mother’s approval: you will fail at that quest and your son (and his potential sibling) will suffer for it.

    anita

     

    #360197
    Charlie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    wow, you have incredible insight, Anita!! If only every therapist were as good as you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. You’ve given me so much to think about. Sorry this response is so short again…. I had to run some errands during my son’s nap but had time to think about your message while I was out. I’m wondering if you could share your wisdom in regards to two more questions:

    1) pandemic and global issues aside, when do you think it’s a good time for one to contemplate another child? I imagine when mental health issues are under control, but are there any other things you feel one should consider? The temperament of the child already there?

    2) I’m not sure what country you live in, but I’m in the USA, and I just feel that the world seems so scary right now – pandemic, global warming, polarizing politics and grace injustices, etc. But I know that every generation in history has had their challenges, yet I can’t help but wonder if the world is more unsettling now than before? What do you think? And do you also think these thoughts are valid concerns for bringing another child into the world? Right now I feel confident that we would be able to provide a great childhood and start in life for our son with our resources, but they would obviously be stretched thinner with a second. With everything going on in the world, I want to really be able to provide for my son.

     

    thank you so much again, Anita!!

    #360202
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlie:

    You are very welcome. I will probably have more thoughts for you tomorrow morning when I feel more awake and able to think better. For now, here is my answer one of your questions:

    “when do you think it’s a good time for one to contemplate another child?”- after the pandemic is declared contained, and when economic recovery is evident.

    I live in the USA, fellow American. It is 2:46 pm my time , so you can have an idea where I am. I am looking forward to be back to you Thurs morning.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by .
    #360207
    Charlie
    Participant

    Thank you so much, Anita! I am on the East Coast. Really looking forward to your thoughts and hope you have a great night 🙂

    #360252
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlie:

    “any other things you feel one should consider?” (regarding when it’s a good time for one to contemplate another child):

    If there is a viral pandemic going on with no vaccine or cure (and getting medical care/ being hospitalized because of possible pregnancy complications is a problem because one can get infected with Covid-19 at the hospital, or there may not be space in the hospital because of exhausted resources), it is not the time.

    If there is a war likely to start or is going on (ex. London, before, during and sometime after being bombed during WW2), or civil unrest/ riots in the streets, and/ or uncontrolled criminal activity in one’s neighborhood/ part of the city, it is not the time.

    If poverty and homelessness is one’s personal situation, or it is likely to be one’s situation (examples: as a result of a looming divorce, loss of a major source of income, economic recession or depression), it is not the time.

    If there is any domestic violence or aggression of any kind in the home (between parents, between parents and child,  or uncontrolled aggression between siblings); if anyone in the household is violent from time to time because of a mental illness, it is not the time.

    If anyone in the household is a heavy duty drug addict, and/ or is involved in selling and buying drugs illegally, it is not the time.

    If taking care of a second child would mean neglecting the first child, it is not the time. If the first child is hyperactive or has physical and emotional difficulties that require lots of parental attention and supervision, it is not the time.

    If anyone in the household smokes inside the home, or if the air in the city where one lives is unhealthy to breathe, during many days of the year, or on a regular basis, it is not the time.

    If there is no clean available water supply, or the supply is seriously threatened, it is not the time.

    If minimal health care is not available where one lives, it is not the time.

    If vaccines for the known childhood infectious diseases such as polio and chickenpox are not available, it  is not the time.

    If the potential parent is too young (not ready to give up on partying and focusing on parenting) or is too sick and/ or too old to be able to parent the child, it is not the time.

    the world seems so scary right now- pandemic, global warming, polarizing politics and grave injustices, etc. But I know every generation in history has had their challenges, yet I can’t help but wonder if the world is more unsettling now than before?“-

    – I think that “polarizing politics and grave injustices” have been parts of human life throughout history, some injustices greater before than in modern life. And progress has been and is being made as far as justice goes. Regarding idiotic and polarizing politics, I hope that in Nov we will have way less idiotic and polarizing politics in the US, and I wish politics everywhere else, locally and globally will move toward helping vs harming humanity.

    Regarding global warming due to fossil fuels, that’s going to last for .. decades at the least, before it means death for us all. And we are all going to die (human life has carries a 100% mortality rate), so I don’t see global warming as an immediate death threat, one to prevent a person from having children. (I wish progress will be made on the global warming issue).

    Regarding the global pandemic- as long as there is (if it resumes) massive international travel, there is the risk of spreading diseases from any part of the world to any other part. And as long as there is internet we have the information about how it is everywhere in the world, something that didn’t exist before (ex. Worldometer availing us with the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in every region and every country in the world,  every hour of every day,  all in one page). But epidemics and pandemics exist throughout history and with much higher mortality rates than the current, with way lesser health care, and no governmental welfare programs.

    I’d say that before the pandemic is contained and the economy begins to recover, it is not the time to have another child. After these two things happen (and hopefully governments will learn the  lessons that need to be learned and be way more prepared and efficient the next viral outbreak happens!), then it may be time to contemplate another child.

    “Right now I feel confident that we would be able to provide a great childhood and start in life for our son with our resources, but they would obviously be stretched thinner with a second”- your mental resources will be stretched thinner with a second child. Mental resources such as Calm and Patience, Attention, Guidance and Encouragement, these are most valuable and cannot be replaced by material goods.

    I suggest that whenever you contemplate a second child again, think of your mental resources and ask yourself: have I been calm and patient and attentive to my son for six months by this point? Do I see myself having the calm, patience and attention for my son while pregnant? Do I see myself having the calm, patience and attention for my son and for a second child for years to come?

    anita

    #360259
    Charlie
    Participant

    Anita,

    You are truly amazing, and I wish there was a better way to thank you! You’ve given me more insight in this thread on this issue than all other people I’ve spoken to combined. I particularly found your advice to wait until I’ve felt calm, patience, etc for at least six months incredibly helpful. No one has ever given me a time frame before, and this makes it all a lot more tangible. If I do decide that I only have the mental resources for one child in the future, is there a good way to be at peace with this? I often find myself comparing myself to other moms who have 2 or 3 kids, feeling like there must be something “wrong” or less maternal about me since I already feel my plate is full with just one child. I want to be able to be at peace with just one (because who knows what the future holds) without feeling like I’m lacking. I suppose I could remind myself that I don’t know what others are struggling with, and perhaps they are struggling a lot with 2 kids and I just can’t tell… but anything else I could remind myself of? Thank you so much, Anita.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Charlie.
    #360263
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlie:

    You are welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation of me, it feels good to read your words.

    “I often find myself comparing myself to other moms who have 2 or 3 kids, feeling like there must be something ‘wrong’ or less maternal about me since I already feel my plate is full with just one child”- so many moms don’t care about their kids being harmed by having more kids, they may not think about it at all, or if the thought crossed their minds, they may think something like: they’ll get over it. This kind of inconsiderate thinking is not admirable, it is not something to look up to.

    It is more maternal to care for the welfare of your existing child than it is to.. not care. There is something right about you (not wrong) for caring about the welfare of your child.

    “If I do decide that I only have the mental resources for one child in the future, is there a good way to be at peace with this?.. I want to be able to be at peace with just one (because who knows what the future holds) without feeling like I’m lacking“-

    – That feeling that you are lacking- that feeling was born in your early childhood, way before having children was a topic in your life. This feeling was born in the context of you being a child. So don’t expect to get rid of the feeling in the context of you being a woman and a mother. I felt this way myself and I no longer feel this way because I looked into my life as a child and I see now, seeing it deeply and thoroughly, that I was not lacking as a child, and therefore I am not lacking now.

    If you try to eliminate this feeling like you are lacking, by having a second child, or by not having a second child, none of these two options will get rid of that feeling for you, because that feeling was born, so to speak, years before you were able to give birth.

    You have to do what is right for you and for your son regardless of you feeling inadequate. Stick to rational thinking. Eventually your feelings will catch up to your rational thinking. But until you feel at peace, you have to endure the distress of feeling inadequate.

    anita

    #360264
    Charlie
    Participant

    Anita, thank you again. Wow,wow, wow, I am so happy that I went back to this forum and grateful that you are still here and took the time to respond in such a thoughtful and deeply enlightening way. I can’t thank you enough!! All of this is going to help me so much going forward, and in fact, I’m printing out this entire thread and putting it in my journal. You’ve helped me feel so much calmer and at peace with this issue already, and when these doubts and irrational thinking come back, I will read over your words again. Thank you, Anita!! I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and weekend. Thank you for all you do and for being here!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Charlie.
    #360269
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlie:

    You are welcome. I am pleased to read what you wrote. And I know, from personal experience, how much time of increasing insight and ongoing practice of correct thinking it takes to change old feelings and old beliefs. Therefore, feel free to post anytime you want to: be it later today, in a week or month from now.. whenever you feel the need to post and receive my input. Thank you for wishing me to enjoy my day and weekend, and I wish you and your family the same.

    anita

    #360279
    Charlie
    Participant

    Thank you, Anita! I definitely will. Just knowing that there is someone like you in the world that I can reach out to for insight when times get tough is a great comfort in and of itself. Until next time!

    #360284
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Till next time, Charlie!

    anita

    #364614
    Charlie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I hope this message finds you well. You helped me so much with considerations regarding whether to have a second child or not a few weeks ago. Thank you! I am just wondering if I could ask you a follow up question. I think doubts and insecurities started creeping back in the past few days because of unrelated issues surrounding my own parents, i.e. their emotional distance and non-support, the fact that they continue to support Trump, etc, all of which really confounds and hurts me. I tell you this only because I believe the issues with my relationship with my parents affects my thought process on this 2nd child issue greatly. Some days I desire a future with just my husband and son, so that I have plenty of room for my mental health and other interests of mine. Other days, I find myself envisioning a future with two children so that I have more people in the world who care about me and love me, as I don’t feel like I get that from my parents. Although I wouldn’t consider the latter until after this pandemic settles down, of course!

    Anyway, my original question was this: you mentioned that there are both advantages and disadvantages of having siblings. I spent plenty of time googling, and half the studies say only-children are every bit as happy as those with siblings; yet the other half say that those with siblings are happier in the long run. I’m wondering what you see to be the main advantages and disadvantages? I suppose my biggest concern is that if my son is an only, he will grow old with out anyone else closely related to him. He likely won’t have any cousins, at least for a number of years. I would so appreciate your insight as always… thank you!

    Charlotte (I chose “Charlie” as my username years ago but really go by Charlotte!)

    #364616
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlotte:

    You are welcome and good to read from you again. I am glad you will definitely not be considering a second child during  a pandemic or before Trump is out of the White House for good.

    I will rephrase your question and give you my simple answer: is it better for a child to have siblings or not? My answer: it depends on the parents’ emotional resources. If the parent taking care of the first child tends to be anxious, that means the parent doesn’t have the emotional resources (calm, patience, optimism and whatnot) to have a second child.

    (The studies that you read may not take this most important issue into consideration).

    “my biggest concern is that if my son is an only, he will grow old without anyone else closely related to him”- there are plenty of adults with siblings who grow old alone, with no relationships with their siblings. I see them all around me. If you bring about a sibling for your son, you can’t at all predict that they will get along as children or as adults.

    Please let me know if my answer is satisfactory, and if not- I will be  glad to answer you again when I return to the computer, in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by .
    #364620
    Charlie
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Yes, this does answer my question. Thank you so much. I think the best thing for me to do is to see how the next few months go with the election and the pandemic and see how I feel then. I have a feeling I will circle back to you on this, though, if that’s ok?

    If I can just ask one more unrelated question too, here…. wondering if you have any insight as to how to not be consumed by sadness/embarrassment/hurt by ones parents regarding their pro-Trump racist views. My parents are well-educated people who don’t say racist things outside of our house, but the fact of the matter is, they are racist and continue to support Trump, mainly because of his white supremacist views. I never knew this about them until a few years ago, and this has added to the heaviness in our relationship that was already there from their lack of emotional support (they are manipulators and screamers). I still continue to visit them, mainly to see the family pets and to see my old friends who live in their neighborhood, so I don’t want to cut out contact completely, but I end up feeling sad almost every time I see them or speak to them. My husband is from England and his family (who are very wonderful, supportive people) are all over there. Sometimes I wonder why I’m still here when we could be there…. But moving won’t fix things, I know, so wondering if there is a line of thinking I should be using when I get down about my parents’ many issues. Thank you so much and sorry for going off on an unrelated issue!

    #364640
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Charlotte:

    I will be back to your thread in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

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