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Not married - no kids - disability choice #412263 04/28/08 10:22 AM
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Gillian ClassicalMusic Offline OP
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I don't want to go into a lot of detail here but the reason I never married is basically that I never met anyone I wanted to marry. There are advantages to not being married too lol but I fully respect those who are married and wish them all the greatest of joy in their relationship.

I think even if I became married I would choose not to have a child. I don't think I would be permitted to adopt (I live in the UK) because my health is not good enough.

Basically I have severe deafness (I wear two bone anchored hearing aids as I am unable to tolerate in the ear hearing aids due to chronic otitis externa) accompanied by vertigo and migraine. I also have hypoparathyroidism and as I was a child when I developed this I am vague on what it is. However I do know I am on medication for the rest of my life. I was born with a cleft palate which was corrected by surgery.

I would not wish any of these conditions on any child and feel in the circumstances that it would be irresponsible even to think of giving birth. And in any case I made the decision at the age of 15 not to have extra marital intercourse.

I'd be interested to see what other people think of the disability aspect of having children.

Incidentally I am due to become an aunt towards the end of May - and I'm looking forward to it! Baby will live just up the road and he's a boy.

Living Without Children - Automated Note
For New Visitors: This forum exists as a support community for people who are living a child-free existence. This area is here to help nurture, inspire and educate those who, for whatever reason, are living their lives without children in the home.

Posts made here must be supportive of this lifestyle choice. Comments should not question a person's decision to or reasons for being child free. Those negative comments are called "bingoing" or "trolling" and are not allowed. Please be sure you are aware of this forum's intentions and rules before posting!

Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: Gillian ClassicalMusic] #412267 04/28/08 10:49 AM
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There was a related conversation recently, and I went back and copied part of one of my posts from there for you. That conversation centered primarily on the genetic aspects of the childfree choice. Interesting topic. I applaud you for considering the health of a potential child in a serious manner. So many people don't. Anyway, here's what I think on the matter:

I am not one who favors applying the strict selective breeding standards often used on livestock to humans. I simply believe ALL factors should be weighed before a couple chooses to bring a child into the world, including genetic factors.

Every child born deserves the best chance they can get at a full, healthy life. The outside world is dangerous enough without having to fight for life from within. The fewer children who spend their childhoods in hospitals, the better. I think we can all agree on that. If achieving emptier pediatric wards requires couples with high risks of producing disabled children REALLY think through the decision to procreate, and many choose a child free, fostering, or adoptive path instead, no one is harmed by that... and existing people may even be helped.

Incidentally, a few years ago, my fiance and I had a long, semi-joking conversation about our various minor and not-so-minor genetic problems. That conversation was a turning point for him in fully accepting the idea of not having anymore kids. He'd never seriously thought through that aspect of what we'd offer a child. He'd thought about our families, our finances, our career plans, his daughter, our personalities, etc., all of which were good things to consider, but the nitty-gritty of our genetic problems made him step back and look at the concept of us producing a child with a more clinical eye. He's a firm believer in "survival of the fittest." He would not want to make a child with someone with my genetic flaws.

I don't blame him. At almost 27, I've already proven to have all but two of the genetic flaws of both sides of my family. I've got everything but the heart murmur (from Dad's side) and my high probability for cancer (from Mom's side) is a possibility that will never leave me. And just based on genetics, I'm not a good candidate for reproduction.

I just wish EVERYONE would consider such things. There are people out there with much more serious genetic issues than those I carry. People should think of the child's life BEFORE they make the child. That's an important part of responsible parenting.


Happily Living The Childfree Life!
Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: M.B.] #412274 04/28/08 11:55 AM
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Very few children in pediatric wards arrived there due to genetic conditions. Most are typically developing, genetically average kids who suffered injury from accidents, illness, or abuse, or who caught or developed illnesses due to exposure to germs or toxins.

Some are preteens or teenagers who made bad choices, or one bad choice, during a space of time when they assumed they were immortal or when life seemed too difficult, or when they just were not aware of the danger of a thoughtless action, impulse or activity.

Families of genetically anomalous children, like the family of the Governor of Alaska, find great worth in each of their children. Most kids with Down syndrome make great contributions to their communities as they grow up, and have meaningful and productive lives as adults. Most children with Down syndrome are as unlikely to be hospitalized as their mainstream peers. They do deserve equal access to medical care - and all children deserve better medical care than they have access to right now - and the same consideration while under care that any other child should find.

Although there is a greater likelihood that the child of a mother over the age of 35 will have Down syndrome, so many thousands more mothers from age 18 to 25 have children, most babies with DS have younger mothers. Although the statistics are not the same as this example, think of it as 20 of 1000 children being fewer than 100 children out of 200,000.

So, young mothers do not have as great a 'genetic risk' of having a baby with DS, but more babies with DS are born to young mothers. Not that this is any of your business. We have the right to bring our babies into the world no matter what their genetic surprises or potential. As children grow, every single one of them has special needs of some kind, even those who do not develop illness or suffer injury.

It used to be that people with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism were at a great disadvantage compared to those with better eyesight. Glasses and contacts make life much easier and accessible for those who use them. Most people with disabilities can get along as well with small accommodations and support. And even if they can not, they have a perfect right to express their diversity without other people deciding they should not have been born. Hitler had a disagreeable solution to full pediatric wards, and he is rotting in hell. I don't like your partner's views much better.

The genetic problem that most people have is that we are born human and are prone to mistakes - most of human progress has come from people who made many mistakes until they discovered something extraordinary that worked. Some of human progress has come from the inspiration of making someone else's life easier, bearable, or more healthy.

No progress has ever developed from the thought that everything is perfect, or the illusion that an individual or group has achieved perfection themselves. We are born unique and wonderful and have the capacity to improve every day. What is needed is compassion and encouragement, not ridiculous theories that don't work well for anyone.

We all grow and learn. Most typically developing people plateau early and don't progress much past high school, many plateau in middle school. It's not necessary to keep growing and learning ~ most adults could sleepwalk through their lives.

People with Down syndrome continue learning, and teaching, all their lives. We should have learned from them that we do not need to plateau intellectually, spiritually, or any other way - but it's hard to learn things like that if we assume their extra chromosome means they can't teach or inspire those of us who are not chromosomally enhanced.

People with disabilities have the same capacity to teach and inspire as the rest of us - and the same right as anyone else to be lazy, inconsiderate oafs who feel no responsibility whatsoever to teach or inspire anyone. Whatever variety they may be, they have the right to bring children into the world who are just like them, with any flaws and talents, disposition or potential.

You seem like an excellent candidate for reproduction because of the qualities you reflect in your writing. I respect whatever decision you make, although I question your partner's opinion. He already has a daughter, you say, but has not considered the value a brother or sister would offer her.

He considers your genetic flaws contrary to his ideas of 'survival of the fittest' - technically the theory is survival of the fit - but does not consider your genetic gifts in the balance.

He doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but everyone to their own preferences. I am certain you could do better, whether you choose to remain childless or not. It all depends on whether you love one another - and that is not always reflected in whether you want to have a child together, I know.

I believe you would be a great mother and that your child would be a treasure, but you do not need to be a birth mother, or any other kind of mother, or bring a child into the world at all, to be the best person you can be. As my daughter once explained to her young friend, "We are born perfect and we are getting better every day." That's how I feel about all babies, including my son who was born with Down syndrome.

Pam W
SE of Seattle

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Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: SNC_Editor_Pam] #412277 04/28/08 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: SNC_Editor_Pam
We have the right to bring our babies into the world no matter what their genetic surprises or potential.


Forgive me, but shouldn't this be about the rights of the child above all? To be given the best start in life, including not being deliberately burdened with conditions which will make its* life more difficult than its* peers'? While I'm not saying that disabled people are any less human than the rest of us, or that they have less of a right to be here, I cannot understand a parent who would willingly inflict suffering on their child simply to satisfy their urge to reproduce. That, to me, is extremely selfish.

I am reminded of the case of two deaf women who made sure that their child would be deaf, so that they could have a child exactly like them, disability and all. How fair is it to deliberately deprive a child of the ability to hear? To listen to beautiful music, to pick a telephone, to experience the full range of what the world has to offer? All so that its* parents could have a mini-me?

Originally Posted By: SNC_Editor_Pam
You seem like an excellent candidate for reproduction because of the qualities you reflect in your writing. I respect whatever decision you make, although I question your partner's opinion. He already has a daughter, you say, but has not considered the value a brother or sister would offer her.


This is exactly the sort of bingo CF people (and parents of single children) encounter on a regular basis. I'm sure that we would all appreciate it if you refrained from making such disrespectful and personal comments while on an CF board. After all, don't the new rules promote tolerance and respect above all?

* DISCLAIMER: All references to "it" are nothing more than a grammatical shortcut for "he" or "she", and are not in any way intended to objectify children. For "its", please read "his or her(s)".

Last edited by Manatee; 04/28/08 12:27 PM.

The emperor has no clothes. Choose The Childfree Life!
Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: ki-akkil] #412282 04/28/08 12:53 PM
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Angela P Offline
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Originally Posted By: SNC_Editor_Pam:
"You seem like an excellent candidate for reproduction because of the qualities you reflect in your writing. I respect whatever decision you make, although I question your partner's opinion. He already has a daughter, you say, but has not considered the value a brother or sister would offer her."

Originally Posted By: Manatee
This is exactly the sort of bingo CF people (and parents of single children) encounter on a regular basis.


I saw this, too. In fact, I had to rub my eyes and read that statement three times before I actually believed I read this in the MNK forum. In addition, did someone actually tell Myrabeth she could "do better" as in a fiancee?

Quote:
He doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but everyone to their own preferences. I am certain you could do better, whether you choose to remain childless or not...You seem like an excellent candidate for reproduction because of the qualities you reflect in your writing. I respect whatever decision you make, although I question your partner's opinion. He already has a daughter, you say, but has not considered the value a brother or sister would offer her.


1. I don't think Myrabeth wants kids. In fact, I'm pretty sure. I don't even ever recall her saying she's a fence-sitter, though I could be wrong.

2. One of Myrabeth's other posts includes her feelings on having siblings just for an only child's benefit:
Originally Posted By: Myrabeth
Being an only child has major perks for both child and parent. I can't understand why having just one looked down upon. Most of the adults I know who grew up with siblings experienced more (emotional) harm than good from their siblings, either directly or because having siblings negatively impacted the quality of the parenting they received.


What I think is poetic, Myrabeth in yet another post (in March) saw it coming, since she's so used to it now:
Originally Posted By: myrabeth
The upside is I have gotten used to these prying questions. I think it has prepared me for what's coming. The baby questions will be getting more frequent in the coming years (when we are married and as I edge closer to 30), and thanks to experience with the meddlers I deal with now and inspiration from this fabulous forum, I'm ready!


Last edited by Angela P; 04/28/08 02:03 PM.

"Men and women think that it is necessary to have children. It is not. It is their animal nature and social custom, rather than reason, which makes them believe that this is a necessity." --Democritus
Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: Angela P] #412283 04/28/08 01:03 PM
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Good point, Angela. I can't believe that I had missed the end of Pam's post where she denigrates Myrabeth's fiance and suggests that she would (and should) make a wonderful parent - I think the length of the post meant that I didn't read all of it in as much detail as I should have done.

That someone would come into this board and make such ignorant comments really beggars belief.


The emperor has no clothes. Choose The Childfree Life!
Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: Angela P] #412285 04/28/08 01:11 PM
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My husband and I both battle with different medical issues and it is definitely a major factor in our decision to not have children. I am diabetic, as is my husband, and we come from a long line of this disease in our family. My mother, my mother's brother, my grandmother and who knows how far back it goes. It is also rampant on my husband's side of the family in his father, both maternal grandarents and who knows how far back on that side. There is a very high likelihood that any children we would have would also one day, due to genetics alone, be diabetic. I also have high blood pressure controlled with medication. These health issues, although not deafness,blindness, downs syndrome etc, are still big enough for us to consider my health during a possible pregnancy AND the health of the child as well as the effects on that child during gestation.

Here is an MSNBC article link regarding this very subject:
MSNBC


People do not know that a mother who is diabetic before pregnancy, has a higher risk of producing a child with abnormalities and problems due to sporadic blood glucose levels. It can lead to limb deformities right down to having a bigger than normal baby which can cause permanent damage to the baby during delivery (shoulder distocia for example). I also worry about the high blood pressure problems as pre-eclampsia during pregnancy is a life threatening condition to the mother and possibly the baby as well. I would be going into a pregnancy knowing full well that I would be considered "high risk" and I do not want to take any risks. There is a likelihood that all could be fine and well but there is an even greater likelihood that there could be major complications and therefore, this is one of the many reasons we have decided not to have a child.

There are some people out there who would take the risk and deal with the outcome, whatever it is. My husband and I chose not to go down that road. We could see a very grim picture of our lives if anything would go wrong with the development of a baby -something we could have controlled or avoided. I do think that to stick your head in the sand and pretend that there is nothing to consider when you KNOW that there are problems/genetic issues to think about is absurd. Each person has to make their own decisions but to not think about outcomes at all is not responsible.

Last edited by jhmd; 04/28/08 07:05 PM.
Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: SNC_Editor_Pam] #412288 04/28/08 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted By: SNC_Editor_Pam

So, young mothers do not have as great a 'genetic risk' of having a baby with DS, but more babies with DS are born to young mothers. Not that this is any of your business. We have the right to bring our babies into the world no matter what their genetic surprises or potential.


It IS our business. Since when do parents outlive their children? Who is going to look after and pay for all the medical expenses for a special needs child? The money and resources that are used could be better allocated to feed the hungry of the world.

People need to look to future of the child rather than just try to fulfill their own selfish needs to procreate.

Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: Anatasia] #412289 04/28/08 01:23 PM
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Yeesh, it's pretty sad that we are getting bingoed in our own forum.

Re: Not married - no kids - disability choice [Re: Anatasia] #412308 04/28/08 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: Anatasia
People need to look to future of the child rather than just try to fulfill their own selfish needs to procreate.


Absolutely! THis is one of the many reasons I am CF.

Last edited by Cherry Red; 04/28/08 02:06 PM.

"The world might be considerably poorer if the great writers had exchanged their books for children of flesh and blood." ~Virginia Woolfe
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