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  #31  
Old 09-08-2011, 05:46 PM
peabean peabean is offline
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So, I'm guessing that the child you conceived with this woman is out there somewhere? You could pursue some amount of custody of this child. You can get a court order for a DNA test and that would give you parental rights to this child.

I understand your desire to have 50%+ of childcare right from the start but as a young mother myself I don't think this is realistic. I am one of those 'broody career women' that you speak of finding. I had it in my head that since I had to carry the baby for 9 months AND go through labor, as soon as the baby was out my husband and I would return to our 50/50 division of labor.

Ha! Double HA! That is just not what babies want! They want to nurse and nurse and nurse!! I never expected that he would be able to do so little in terms of direct childcare in that first year. With a nursing baby sleep is at a premium so night time wakings meant I popped her on the boob and tried to get us both back to sleep ASAP.

What my husband could do during this time was support me. That is what a new mother needs. That is his 50%. It's the cooking, cleaning, getting me water (when you first start nursing you drink gallons a day!) and all the other things that need to be done to maintain our lives. He was able to rock her, hold her but since she ate every 2 hours, for 30 minutes at a time...well you do the math.

So, I guess I'm saying that I think you have some unrealistic expectations about early parenthood and how much a father can do. Even when the mother DESPERATELY wants him to take 50% of the work, it doesn't matter. Really, it's all about what the baby wants, which is it's mom. Those, unfortunately for men like you (and my husband) are the dictates of biology.
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  #32  
Old 09-08-2011, 07:33 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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OK, I can't keep quiet about this.

Is wanting a kid about you (the OP) or about the kid? If it's about you and your needs, just don't have another kid. It's gotta be about wanting to give the kid everything. It's NOT ABOUT YOU. It's NOT about your DNA, your ego, or some unsatiated yearning you have to participate in a child's upbringing at every stage of its life. It has to be about sacrificing what YOU WANT and if you're not ready to do that before you have a kid, how are you going to do it after?

Do your as-yet-nonexistent kid a favor and don't have it.
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  #33  
Old 09-08-2011, 08:06 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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So bear with me please if I seem reluctant to look at arrangements where men are encouraged to be involved in childcare if that involvement is mediated through a maternal veto.
I hardly think the Na women all got together and vetoed male involvement. Yeah, just imagine them all sitting in a back room some centuries ago, where they all conspired and said "let's not have husbands and let's keep the men from knowing who their kids are 'cause we don't want their help." What makes you think it wasn't a mutual decision, that the men welcomed because it gave them the freedom of having multiple sexual partners without worrying about jealousy from siring offspring with "another man's" woman? How about they look at their sisters' children as their own because they have close familial ties to the siblings and cherish their children, and have no need for self-aggrandizement from fatherhood as you do? You seem to think the Na men are sad, but you haven't even considered that perhaps they don't see children as possessions with labels on them that demarcate to whom they belong, and they simply love the children in their own households without question.

I agree with NK. If the goal is to nurture and protect a child, to further their emotional and intellectual growth, and raise them to be good, productive, vital forces in their own lives, then why should it matter whose sperm they came from? If love is the overriding force, any child can be loved. You said earlier in this thread that a broody woman would never "settle" for being an aunt, which is simply not true. Many women are happily willing to be aunts, foster parents, and adoptive mothers. Not enough, though, because either they have succumbed to patriarchal brainwashing or their paternity-obsessed husbands won't let them. Having to know that a child is your own is egotistical and certainly doesn't put the child's needs first.
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  #34  
Old 09-08-2011, 08:24 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post

Many women are happily willing to be aunts, foster parents, and adoptive mothers.
Of course!

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Not enough, though, because either they have succumbed to patriarchal brainwashing or their paternity-obsessed husbands won't let them. Having to know that a child is your own is egotistical and certainly doesn't put the child's needs first.
Well... as a dyed in the wool crunchy granola mom, I longed since childhood to birth and breastfeed my own babies. It really felt like a biological imperative, and I did a damn good job of it. Had we had fertility problems, I would've been heartbroken, but I would have adjusted and adopted a needy child or children, Asian, African or any other ethnicity. I would have induced lactation and co-slept and wore them in cloth slings, fed them whole foods, overseen their health care, and homeschooled them, and everything else I did with my kids.

Now, at my advanced age, I continue to volunteer with my breastfeeding/parenting group as I have for the past 22 years. I also work as a nanny to get my "baby fix." I would not take on the care of an infant full time now as TRiver wants to do, because I wouldn't want them to have to deal with the likelihood of losing me in mid-adolescence.
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  #35  
Old 09-08-2011, 08:42 PM
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Having to know that a child is your own is egotistical and certainly doesn't put the child's needs first.
Well... as a dyed in the wool crunchy granola mom, I longed since childhood to birth and breastfeed my own babies. It really felt like a biological imperative . . .
Oh, my statement didn't come out right at all now that I see it again!

Of course, I know there is a wonderful bond that happens between a parent and their biological children, and I don't think it's egotistical in general for people to want children - of course not! What I meant was that those who are obsessed and so focused on that aspect, as if who the child comes from is the most important thing about having a child, comes out of ego. In that sense, they're not looking at the kids' needs first, they're looking at the kid to fulfill this obsessive need or some feeling of emptiness in themselves. And that's a terrible burden to place on a child.
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  #36  
Old 09-08-2011, 09:25 PM
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OK then. *hugs*
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  #37  
Old 09-09-2011, 07:13 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I think the Na customs aren't that different from ours until recently: they raise whichever kid is born into their family as their own. In that case, the mother is their sister.
But until recently, and to some extent still today, people would just raise their wives' kids like they were the father, even if they weren't always. Now there are paternity tests so you can check but I bet many people don't.
I don't think you need a poly relationship for it to be a risk.

I remember when I was a kid that there was a figure that I heard a bunch that one in four kids didn't have the assumed biological father. I remember the figure clearly because we were four kids in the family and there was a lot of jokes that one of us statistically wasn't my father's biological offspring.
If that figure was true, it still meant a significant portion of raising genetically unrelated kids, while with the Na there is a gene relation even if it's not direct.

I do admit I don't personally understand what difference it makes. I mean I get the pregnancy thing, it's about physical contact and such, I get breastfeeding as well. But genes? I don't understand what they matter or what they're worth. Do I share my parents' genes? Probably but does that make them my parents? Hell no! The time they've spent on me makes them my parents.
Do I consider myself more linked to them because of DNA? No, I consider myself linked to them because of expressions or gestures we share due to living together for a long time.

I guess it's probably a big part of why I've never cared about having biological children. I guess it's good to know what to expect as far as hereditary conditions are concerned, but it's the only advantage I can think of and I'm just not sure what the difference really is. I mean you might not even know. If it made a big difference, surely you would know at first glance, right?

Not asking for any justification here. I'm just explaining that I don't get it at all. I'm sure it's an instinct so that the species keeps going, and something about feeling one's genes are superior (not necessarily consciously) and need to be carried on, but I don't think I'll ever get it.
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  #38  
Old 09-09-2011, 12:59 PM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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TrueRiver, I'm pregnant right now and I have to say that I wouldn't consider veto-ing the father's parental rights, because I'm already exhausted and the baby hasn't even come yet! It's scary to think of doing this all on my own. I am going to need my husband's help, and a lot of other help.

So what happened with that woman who "veto"ed your parental rights? How did that relationship become so damaged? Did you have a role in that falling out, and would it be helpful for you to take a look at what happened and see if you could have done something differently?

In any case, it sounds like your relationship was a bit on the unstable side. I'm not saying this is a requirement, but it's nice to be living with, and in a stable relationship with, the mother of your kids so that you are really around to take care of HER that first year while she takes care of the baby. To participate in a child's care, it is so nice if you can participate in your whole family's care for those first few years. It's not just about whisking the kid away to your apartment for some dad-time. You have to be willing to nurture the whole family relationship and take care of mamma, too! In fact, trying to get between a mother and her child may have been what made this woman feel uncomfortable in the first place. It has to feel like you are supporting the mother-child bond.

You say that you'd be happy to take care of the children while she went back to work--and that sounds like a fantastic arrangement that many women would go for--but that won't happen at least for the first few months to the first year if she is on mat leave because she will be breastfeeding.

I am kind of confused about what you really want, which is fine, because I bet you feel a bit confused too. It's hard to reconcile your dreams and aspirations for your life with what's actually happened, sometimes. Sometimes, we don't get what we wanted and we have to adjust a bit and find joy in what we have.

To that end, I have a little advice about finding joy:

1) You already have two biological children out there in the world. You are their father. Don't give up on them because you missed their toddler years. Relationships can be repaired, slowly. I say you do what you can to let them (and their mothers) know that you are thinking of them and that you want to be in their lives.

Advance slowly if the relationship has been damaged somehow. Send letters and birthday gifts, and don't worry if you don't get a response for awhile. They may not trust you yet. Talk to their mothers and say you want to be a part of your children's lives.

I don't know how old your children are, but you can maybe go on age-appropriate outings with them. A young child could go to the zoo or the science centre--take their mother too, and any other young siblings. Let them know that you care about them, so you care about their whole family. An older kid might want to go to a concert or a car race or whatever they're into.

Good luck!

2) Don't give up hope about having another kid. You're on the old side, but not too old to reproduce. Unfortunately, if you want your experiences to be different this time, you're going to have to do it differently. You're going to have to date single women with the idea that it's leading towards marriage and family. It's nice to have that kind of stability in a child-rearing situation, and it's what many women want. It will also ensure you're in the household to share in all those child-care duties you want to experience.

Dating seriously is hard and you might have to make sacrifices. You've talked about how you might not want a poly woman in case there are paternity issues. BUT you're more likely to run into the opposite problem. Is a single woman who wants to get married and have children with you going to want a poly man? Possibly not, TrueRiver. Would being monogamous be something you would be willing to consider?

If you included monogamous women in your search for a mom-of-your-kids, you might be widening the pool, is all I'm saying. But that would mean you might have to change your lifestyle a bit, and I don't know if that's a sacrifice you'd be willing to make.

3) It sort of sounds like, in addition to a relationship with your own kids, you want to have a role in childcare, carting babies in carriers around town in a carrier, etc. Might I suggest a career change? You should get some training and then try to be hired as a nanny! I suspect that some couples would be unwilling to hire an older man as a nanny, because they are sexist assholes. But some might look at your education and enthusiasm and hire you to spend hours a day taking care of their children. Worth a thought.
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  #39  
Old 09-09-2011, 05:02 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Totally off-topic, apologies, but... Michelle, thank you. I just wrote a super long piece of advice in the New section and I was thinking, am I crazy or delusional for spending all this time and all these words giving my perspective to someone I've never met and who very well may not agree/care. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who's feeling the role of the long-winded, quixotic sage today.
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  #40  
Old 09-09-2011, 05:08 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Also, please note River, I'm not saying you'd be less likely to listen/care than anyone else at all, it's just that usually people go their own way no matter what you say.

Sorry again for the threadjack!
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