Trickle Up Economics

While I know intrinsically that my decisions in life invariably affect someone else – the ripple in the water effect – it is not usually very apparent to me that this has happened.  It’s rare that you hear from someone that your actions in turn dictated theirs.  Although, in some cases, feedback is immediate – you stopped and so I crashed into you!

hiddenpowerDespite the Clomid Challenge (and yes, the bombardment), I have still been giving thought to the option of throwing in the proverbial towel and living childfree.  As I have gotten farther down that road, though, I have realized that this sentences not just us to living childfree, but our parents as well.  Which is a little awkward.

For myself, I have to say that my parents have been overwhelmingly supportive of us – regardless of the decision we make. In fact, I think my father believes it is a bit of folly to even consider having children: “they take so much time, so much money and you guys have such a great life together!” is what he would (and has) said.  He is the anti-parent in that respect. There is zero pressure for us to reproduce, in part, I think because they were under the mother of all pressure cookers to have children from my grandmother (my mother’s mother). 

I have no idea what was said, because I wasn’t around, but my understanding is that she made a real stink about not having any grandchildren and my parents resented this for years to come. Not that they had me to placate her.  But, they have often told me that they knew that they would not and could not do that to me because it was so awful for them.  As awful as it sounds, I have to silently thank my grandmother in some respects for being such a harpie in the matter because it has ensured that I don’t have the same treatment.

Mr. X’s parents are equally circumspect when it comes to the question of Grandchildren.  They are very eager to have grandchildren, but they are also very respectful of what we decide, and what we have gone through. 

We are supremely lucky in this respect.

But, with a decision to live child free, I am making a decision for our parents to live grand-child free as well.  What a responsibility.  On the other hand, it would be wrong to have children just for them.  Somehow, though, making the decision to have grandchildren for them seems less selfish than making the decision not to have children and depriving them of that opportunity. 

I know what my parents would say now about this: you are crazy!  But, what will they say 20 years from now?

image: Hiddenpower

8 thoughts on “Trickle Up Economics

  1. Both our parents were never pushy about grandchildren. We knew, however, that we were the only chance on both sides for them to ever be a grandparent. Mr S’s sister is unmarried and not planning on reproducing as far as we know. Two of my sisters intend never to have children. My other two siblings are nearing 30 and never have been in a long-term relationship. For us, being childfree was never an OK option, but it certainly helped during the months of failures to not have that pressure from the families.

  2. How wonderful to have no pressure from your parents. I’m sure you’ve put enough pressure on yourself in the past. I’ve never had to think about depriving our parents of grandparenthood because we already have nieces and nephews on each side. If anything I’ve felt that I’ve deprived my nieces and nephew from having cousins. If I ever do have kids they will be more like aunts and uncles to my kids.

  3. you are very lucky to have such understanding parents and in-laws. unfortunately that is not the case for us.

    when we got married my dad bought a mini van in preparation for all of the children we were going to have. my father-in-law has a file on what kind of nursery furniture that he’s going to buy for us. my mother talks about what jewelry she’s going to pass on to my kids (before our wedding when we were looking threw her stash of shiny stuff she kept on saying, “and this will go to your daughter, and this, and this.”).

    i try really hard not to think about the pressures from both sides of our families, but it’s inevitable.

  4. The grandparent thing is something I feel hugely guilty about, & I’ve blogged on different aspects of this a few times. Dh’s brother has two boys, so that at least covers his dad — but my sister is adamantly childfree by choice, so I am/was my parents’ only shot at having grandchildren. They did drop a few hints now & then early in my marriage — were thrilled when I did get pregnant & devastated when I lost the baby — did hint about adoption a few times — but they were never hugely pushy on the subject, for which I am very grateful. But seeing them with other people’s babies, & hearing their friends go on & on about their own grandchildren, makes me wince & think about how difficult it must be for them too. 😦

  5. My mother used to be ‘mildly’ pushy about having grandchildren, until my two younger sisters began reproducing like rabbits. Now I know she wants it for us because we want it, but there are now plenty of grandchildren to go around…and my grandmother actually pressures me NOT to have children. She recently told me I have such a “good life, good job, good husband…and shouldn’t be troubled with diapers and staying up all night.”

    Wish I could be as ok with it as Grandma is….

  6. Hmmm… Can you talk to them about this? Seriously, even though you already know their position–which is a wonderfully respectful, caring, understanding one–just having a conversation about your feelings might make you feel a bit clearer.

    I often feel that if I think I’m making a decision that will impact my loved ones, I owe it to myself to talk to them about it. Their response might help you zero in on what you are feeling, taking their implied emotions out of the picture… if that makes any sense at all. 🙂

    I want to urge you, as annoying as it might be, to not despair about the Clomid challenge thing. Not yet. Though childfree is always a good option worth considering, and I’ve often longed for it to be on the table for us (it isn’t, due to hubby’s feelings and needs at this point).

    On a stupider note, I know, I know, I broke my own “thou-shalt-not-read-precious-shallow-stories-related-to-reproduction-in-the-Times” commandment. But it was just SO obnoxious I couldn’t help myself! Damn that Style section…

  7. In our families, it was not parents or grandparents who were exerting pressure. It was our siblings. They wanted cousins for their children. The worst was my oldest sister. When I told her that it was doubtful that we’d be able to have more children (after our struggle to produce the first one), she said, “Oh, no. YOU can’t have an only child.” Thanks.

    I don’t believe that parents need to be consulted about your decision to have children or not. They got their turn on that merry-go-round with you. While kids are not interchangeable, there are always children in our spheres that could use an extra grandparent. I also think that you would be surprised at how your parents (and in-laws) really feel. If they know how painful, disappointing, and traumatic the IF experience is, they may prefer that you forgo that pain.

  8. I’ve often had those types of thoughts, too. Moreso for my parents, as I’m their only girl and thus the only likely person to allow them for major grandparent spoiling time. (My brother is not one for spending much time with our parents.) And while they haven’t really pushed us in regards to giving them grandchildren, I know that it hurts them that they don’t have the opportunity to “brag” about grandchildren like their friends do.

    It’s a tricky thing, I know. But ultimately it’s a decision that’s yours and Mr. X’s to be made regardless of whom it might affect.

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