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  1. #1
    Marx's Avatar
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    Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Angels or savages - who would have children?


    A new book is causing a storm of controversy by labelling children as annoying and pointless - a charge made all the more inflammatory by the fact that its author is a mother. Entitled No Kid: 40 Reasons Not To Have Children, Corinne Maier's book has sparked fury in France, where it was published.

    Here, Corinne argues her "no kid" case while another mum, Ursula Hirschkorn, stands firm for parenthood.


    Corinne Maier, 43, a writer, who lives with her boyfriend Yves, 45, a psychiatrist, daughter Laure, 13, and son Cyrille, 10, in Brussels, argues her case.


    Children are just too much work. They just aren't worth the hassle. Parents today are put under so much pressure to bring up perfect children, but what's the point?



    They are just walking problems to which you constantly have to find solutions.


    The world is in the grip of baby mania, with celebrities flaunting their pregnant bellies in magazines, live births on TV and everyone demanding the right to have a baby at any cost.



    To be a la mode, the must-have accessory is a baby.



    If you can't make your own, then a whole business has sprung up to service your needs and now as long as you've got the cash, you can buy IVF, eggs, sperm or even children.



    Anyone who dares to be different and suggest that being child-free is the better option is vilified as immature or selfish.



    It's a brave woman who will stand up for her right not to have children.

    Let's start at the beginning with my first reason for being anti-children: labour is torture.



    Even with anaesthetic it's the worst pain you'll ever feel. Anyone who tells you it will be a beautiful experience is lying. It's more like that scene from the film Alien, where the monster bursts from an astronaut's stomach.



    Then there's breastfeeding. Everyone tells you breast is best, but no one tells you it hurts like hell. If you opt out and bottle-feed you're made to feel guilty for "going against nature".



    Get over these early hurdles and you hit the big one: how to keep your child amused and happy.



    This will fast become one of your most hated jobs. The moment you give birth you can forget leisurely lie-ins, last-minute trips or a spontaneous roll in the hay with your partner.



    Instead, your weekends revolve around being woken at the crack of dawn to traipse around the zoo or watch minimum wage actors cavort in cartoon costumes at Disneyland; sitting through stupid kids' films and eating in "child friendly" restaurants. In my opinion this alone is reason enough not to have a child.



    But perhaps the weekends aren't so bad when you look at the monotony that is the life of a working mother.



    Your career is on hold in a dull job, because it's the only way you can get out of work on time to pick up your children from school or take a day off when they get sick.



    I stayed for years in a job that bored me - as an economist - just so I could get out early to pick my children up.



    I worked all day, and then came home to shopping, cooking, cleaning and hours of homework, and all so my kids could treat me like a maid. It was so boring.



    Being a working mum is like being in prison, but there's no time off for good behaviour and no electronic tags you can wear for a brief trip back to the freedom you've given up for your offspring.





    I found the hardest thing to give up when I had my children was my personal freedom.



    There is no time left to be you any more. If I hadn't had them, I would have spent my money travelling the world. I could enjoy my money, rather than being stuck at home waking them up every day in time for school.



    Once you have children, there is no space for spontaneity any more. We tried to go to an art exhibition last weekend which we'd been looking forward to for ages, but we had to take the kids along and they hate art.



    They whined so much that we gave up and left without seeing anything.

    If you thought your friends would help you get through parenthood, then you've got another thing coming. When your friends have children, conversation shrinks to how "Oscar's using the potty now" or "Alice slept the whole night".



    Nothing is more mind-numbingly boring than "mummy talk".



    Make no mistake, bringing up children is war, and you're on the losing side.



    Every time you plan a little escape they will undermine you. Just as you are off to bed with your partner, they'll throw up; the one night you book a babysitter they'll come down with a fever; on your birthday they'll throw a tantrum as you're stepping out of the door - you just can't win.



    Perhaps this is why children are such effective passion killers. Take my advice, if you want to stay together, avoid baby-making.



    What hope is there of a fulfilling sex life when a woman is forced to turn into a fat, deformed animal decked out in sack-like dresses?



    Far from the beautiful images on the front of magazines, the ugly reality usually means a long cold spell between the sheets.



    Even once the baby is born, nights punctuated by feeds and a crying baby leave you so exhausted that any thawing in that department is a long way off.



    As you bid adieu to your sex life, your relationship is quick to follow. You go from being a couple to being Mummy and Daddy.



    Your job as a parent comes first, and the romance in your lives is replaced by DIY and dusting.



    Now, my boyfriend Yves and I are parents first and a couple second. Our relationship hasn't been the same since we had children and I miss the romance.



    Of course, millions of parents will read this and get all defensive and think that it's all worth it because those angels of theirs are sweethearts. But they're not: they're little savages.




    Just think back to your own childhood - the playground was a bear pit where children were bullied and toys stolen.



    Things haven't changed and little children are just as unpleasant and annoying as they ever were, except that as a parent you're not even allowed to fight back now.



    I was in the library with my son when he was younger and he was playing up. He was getting on my nerves and annoying everyone, so I gave him a slap to make him behave, but then everyone looked at me as if I were a bad mother.



    Modern parents' hands are tied. While there is pressure to produce perfect children, you no longer have any power to say no to them, so you're more likely to produce perfect brats.



    Sometimes a slap is the only way to explain something to a child.



    If you've disagreed with me up to this point and you still think you can cope with the emotional cost of a child, then perhaps you should consider the financial one.



    Kids cost a fortune. First the family car and the house, then there's basics like food and clothes, and that's before they start pestering you for the latest toy.



    A lot of people decide to have children to build a family around themselves, as a refuge from the world so they won't be lonely and will be loved for who they are.



    Certainly, I often wonder why I had children. I think it was because I am an only child I thought I would be less alone if I had a family. Now I've learned that being in a family can bring a new kind of loneliness.



    People often ask me what my children think of the book, but they don't give a damn.



    They live in their own world and I live in mine. I would never give my daughter advice on whether she should have children. I don't care if I have grandchildren or not, but I know that if I do, I don't want to look after them too often.



    The idea of a cosy picture postcard family is fantasy and the whole "loving family gathered around the Christmas tree" image is a lie.



    More murders and child abuse happen within families than outside them - every family is a nest of vipers: all the more reason not to add to your own.



    Even if you are savvy enough to realise that having children won't add up to having the perfect family, another parent trap is believing that it's OK to put off your dreams in the hope that your kids will fulfil them.



    But if you have no children you are free to make your own dreams come true now, surely a more attractive option.



    If you can't bring yourself to give up on the idea of children as your future, what future do you see for them?



    Financial and job security are things of the past, housing is beyond expensive, the planet is suffering from over-population - do you still think it's such a good idea to bring yet another baby into this world?



    They could end up being your problem for the rest of your life. What a prospect.



    Instead of pitying the child-free, we should be envying them, I know I do. Because as a mother-of-two I know better than most why having children is a big mistake.

    Ursula Hirschkorn, 35, lives with her husband Mike and their two sons, Jacob, three and Max, one. She says:


    So Corinne Maier thinks motherhood gets too much good press - but I beg to differ.



    I think most mums are only too happy to regale their scared single friends with tales of stretch marks, sleepless nights and sex-free relationships, if only to elicit a bit of sympathy.



    I think most women go out of their way not to drone on and on about their children, especially when they're with friends who don't have a family.

    To be honest, though, in the face of this vitriolic attack on the lifestyle I've chosen, I say to hell with other people's feelings.


    I think the real secret of motherhood is that for all our griping about loss of personal freedom, dead-end careers and endless rounds of nappy-changing, being a mother is the best and most important job in the world.



    As soon as you get pregnant, you finally realise the point of all those years of dealing with budding boobs and annoying periods.



    As you body swells up with potential, you finally have a legitimate reason to spend hours drooling over baby clothes and the latest prams.



    And you start to get what this baby-making business is all about.



    Now I know that not all pregnancies are as rosy as mine, which were a round of cat naps and guilt-free chocolate scoffing, but the end result makes it all worthwhile even if you've spent nine months fighting morning sickness.


    The moment you look your baby in the eye, you know a love like no other you will ever feel. Your feelings for your newborn baby are the very definition of unconditional love.



    They are the cutest thing you've ever seen, even as newborns when they are slicked in blood and look like Winston Churchill (all new babies do).

    Now I won't lie - yes, the early months are hard, but then doesn't anything worth having take a bit of hard work and self-sacrifice?


    One of my most cherished memories is of a night feed with my son Jacob when he was all of two months old. I plucked him screaming and red-faced from his cot, and started to feed him his milk.



    After a few moments, he pulled away from his bottle, looked up at me and gave me his first, beautifully gummy smile.



    I've never felt being up at 2am was so worthwhile - even when I was dancing away at some nightclub in my youth.



    I remember reading when I was pregnant that once you have a child you will never be bored again.



    I was sceptical to say the least. In my experience, babies were grand masters at doing nothing, in between bouts of banshee screaming, but that was before I had my own to play with.



    Even watching Jacob sleep held its own fascination, and when he started to do really interesting things such as eat solids, roll, crawl, walk, talk and boss me about, well that was when things really got fun.



    My husband would come home from work and our entire dinner conversation would be about the milestones Jacob had reached, no matter how infinitesimal.

    Parents know their world shrinks when children come along. They are painfully aware they are missing out on films and plays and boozy nights out.



    But isn't that what your 20s are for? Do you really want to go on living the same way until you're 50?



    The truth is that becoming a parent makes you less selfish - it forces you to devote yourself to another being more than to yourself.



    It allows you to experience the joys and challenges of that little person's life as they live it.



    And it lets you reconnect with your own childhood by reliving the excitement of discovering the world all over again.


    The first time my son Jacob kissed me and told me he loved me, it beat all my previous romantic trysts into a cocked hat.



    When I was a new mum to Jacob, I remember saying to my husband that if I were to die then that it wouldn't matter so much because I had done the best thing I ever could in having my son.



    These are the moments that I will remember and savour when I am old: watching the boys put on a show, complete with my posh make-up smeared all over their faces, beaming as we clap their tiny achievements; my three-year-old boy genius asking me if we could come to a "compromise" about his excessive lolly consumption; my beautiful little baby boy pointing out the "tittomotamus" (read hippopotamus) at Disneyworld.


    I certainly won't be thinking about how well a particular business meeting went or how many times I went to the cinema.



    And that to me is the best argument for motherhood there could be.
    The most offensive thing you can do to a feminist is treat her with FULL equality.
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  2. #2
    Kim's Avatar
    Kim
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Reading Ms. Maier's comments made me literally nauseous. Don't get me wrong, I don't judge a person's decision to have or not have children. Quite frankly, there are some people that would probably be better off not being parents. However, if Ms. Maier didn't want children, she shouldn't have had them. Having had them, I think her attitude's disgusting. I wonder how her 10 and 13 year old children feel about her book and comments detailing how they've ruined her life and how much better off she would have been if they'd never been born. Ofcourse, she states that they don't "give a damn", well I'm sure it looks that way. I imagine being raised by somebody so selfish and cold has long since alienated them and their feelings. I find her comment "They live in their own world and I live in mine", extemely telling. I have an 11 and a 13 year old. Sometimes they probably wish I was in my own world, but I make sure that I am very involved in their lives. I can guarantee you that they would be irrevocably damaged if I ever vocalized half of what Ms. Maier has said here, let alone wrote an entire book on the matter. The part she got right is that parenting isn't easy. It's not. It's definitely the best and the worst thing you'll ever do. I've experience more love and joy and also more pain since having children...especially now that we're approaching those teenage years. I can say that, difficult though it may be, painful as giving birth (all natural) to three children was, once I had children, my life took on a completely new meaning. Everything that had seemed so important, like a career, didn't seem to really matter compared to the miracle I held in my arms. Nothing, NOTHING compares to the joy of parenthood, not "leisurely lie-ins" or "last-minute trips" and me and my husband cared enough about our relationship to make time for the "spontaneous roll in the hay".

  3. #3
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Kim,

    Nothing new. Below is a piece I did last year on my blog:

    So I am cruising the Internet reading, as I usually do at the wee hours of the day. Bored with the garbage emails that I appear to be inundated each day with and I come across this ditty:

    Making fun of boys totally fair

    Somewhat irritated, I search further and discover that COOLTOOLSFORMEN has covered this individual already.

    reading further, I discover an additional morsel;

    Gender divide is a royal pain

    OK, now I am actually pissed off at this woman. She not only treats her son with such discontent, but she goes even further and uses him as a stepping-stone for ridicule and humor in her columns.

    I e-mail her.

    ____________
    From: TMOTS
    Sent: Saturday, April 8, 2006 3:21 AM
    To: Shapiro, Treena
    Cc: me
    Subject: Nice articles

    IT is so pleasing to see the equality that you hold so dear to your heart is being applied to your children. [/sarcasm off].

    I wonder how Corwin, you know, that evil little male in your house, will feel as well as act towards women when he comes of age. Iíll give you a hint. You already called Sloane (nice name BTW) by the appropriate term, "princess". This poor lad is going to grow up will all sorts of issues when it comes to interactions with men and particularly women.

    You are married as well. Funny how your mangina of a husband seems to just ride the feminist dogma wave and allows you to psychologically abuse this poor child. All in the name of equality eh?

    Pathetic.

    A father of a boy AND a girl.

    ____________

    I expect nothing in return, as I usually do. They never respond to fork-tongued males. Amazingly, I DO get a response.

    ____________
    I'm not interested in arguing whether I'm sexist or not, although I will defend my son. The column points out that I think he's smart.

    The only reason I'm responding at all is because for the past week I've been getting hate mail from men who are threatening violence against me and since you seem to be more interested in written abuse rather than physical or sexual attacks, I'd really like to know where you read this. The column was originally published in January and has been taken off our website, so it's clear people are reading it somewhere else.

    I know that you'd probably love it if these men actually followed through with what they're threatening, but I'm hoping that out of the kindness of your heart you might be able to tell me if they are reading this locally or in another state.
    ____________

    Notice that she is so typical with her answers, any one of us could have responded identically. They never seem to have anything new to say. Same-ole, same-ole.

    So I respond back.

    ____________
    First and foremost, both of your columns are posted on the Honolulu Advertiser. Nice picture BTW. I can see the nurturing motherly instinct and love just oozing from that smile.

    Sure you "say" that he is smart, but you treat him as a second class citizen, as you columns seem to imply. Instead of just telling him that Sloane can be king if she wants to, you blind the genders lines and belittle him by ignoring his pleas. Explaining to him that there is nothing wrong with her wanting to be king, AS WELL AS nothing wrong with HIM wanting to be king, I surmise, would have been more 'motherly' of you. But, you chose to "refuse". Thus refusing his feelings as well. This is sexist and you are sending him a message that a woman can do as she pleases and can do no wrong, but a man... well.... they smell, throw rocks at them.

    This is what is wrong with the genders. When MEN & WOMEN stop this we are smarter or better or always the victim, then the issues that keep coming up between the sexes will subside. I truly believe that. Sure, they will never go away, but they certainly would crawl back under the rock from which they came from and belong.

    Men and women are different. Fine. Men and women are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to doing 'things', fine. But belittling a male child all the while placing his sister on a pedestal does nothing but create contempt in that lads mind. If you truly believe in equality between the sexes, I should not have to tell you this.

    So the Feminist Mantra comes forth. I, as a male, write you stating my distaste of your insensitive (almost abusive) parenting towards your son as well as your columns, and you immediately accuse me of the ATYPICAL feminist favorite. I am "abusing" you in writing rather than one of the other male-only goodies; physical and sexual. Gee, thanks. And you claim MEN have issues. You appear to be willing to raise the 'victims chalice' at any cost. As long as it is women who drink from it, I assume.

    "Written abuse"? Hardly. If I wanted to abuse you (in writing) I would have. Insulted? Sure. Slightly angry that you would treat your son this way? Most definitely. But I tend to use a forked tongue rather than abuse in my writings. Being a feminist, you should be all too familiar with this type of writing. Whereas it is quite visible and apparent in your columns.

    Lastly, I take exception to your insinuation that I would "love" it if these alleged men were to physically assault you. Where would you get an idea like that? Because I disagree with you? Because I am male? Because it is in the genetic makeup of all males? Thus, I must be a part of the "Patriarchy (tm)" that thrives secretly on the abuse of women? Come now, you appear to be somewhat learned. You cannot honestly believe that just because I disagree with your ideals, that I would want you hurt... That is just plain ole silly-willy emotionalism.

    One last note, think about how your son will feel when he is older; old enough to go to the library and look up his mom's writings. Better yet, uses the Internet, just as I have. Ever think about how he will feel when he sees what he may have always felt or thought? You favor his sister based solely on her sex, and dislike him (based on his sex) so much that you use him as a tool for humor and ridicule in your columns. A motherís love knows no bounds.

    ____________

    It will be interesting to see if she responds back again.

    Here is her email address: tshapiro@honolulu.gannett.com
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  4. #4
    Marx's Avatar
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Quote Quote from Kim View Post
    Nothing, NOTHING compares to the joy of parenthood...
    so right you are.
    The most offensive thing you can do to a feminist is treat her with FULL equality.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    I couldn't bear to have my own kids, they're too much work, and they kind of annoy me. That being said, if I did have my own child, I'd do my best to raise him/her and make them feel wanted even if they weren't initially planned.


  6. #6
    Marx's Avatar
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Quote Quote from Feminist_Scum View Post
    I couldn't bear to have my own kids, they're too much work, and they kind of annoy me. That being said, if I did have my own child, I'd do my best to raise him/her and make them feel wanted even if they weren't initially planned.
    I tell you this, FS... Once you contemplate the 'magic' of how that lil' baby is coming to be, and you hear 'daddy', and you're there to see the first steps (and falls), and they call out for you in their moment of fear... Your world will never be the same. It's truly awe-inspiring... being a parent isn't just a job, it's a privilege. It's a wonderful part of being human. Sadly, it's a part that can be stripped away by selfish women with only one person on their mind - me, me, me.
    The most offensive thing you can do to a feminist is treat her with FULL equality.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Nothing.. absolutely NOTHING comes even close to your childs first word.... Dada! Melted my heart!

    TMOTS
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  8. #8
    Feminist_Scum's Avatar
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    I have some nieces, and they can be awesome at times. I take one on walks with me and my dog. She loves it, and we have a great time. When it comes to the thought of me having my own, the thought makes me shudder.

    I have no hatred for children, but I just don't think I have the mentality to be able to have my own, and don't think I ever will.


  9. #9
    Feminist_Scum's Avatar
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Quote Quote from themanonthestreet View Post
    Nothing.. absolutely NOTHING comes even close to your childs first word.... Dada! Melted my heart!

    TMOTS
    I can totally understand that, but the good things from being a parent would out weighed by the bad things such as the crying and tantrums for me. It'd just irritate me too much.

    It's not the same I know, but I consider my dog to be my daughter. She's enough for me.


  10. #10
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Arg... there are so many things wrong with that first article that I don't even know where to start. I am appalled... aghast that a mother could write such nasty things about her children. Why didn't she get fixed if she didn't like children??!!??! The evidence of her stupidity, selfishness and miserable parenting skills is sprinkled throughout the article but she thinks she's some kind of martyr. Example: she slaps the little boy because he is annoying. You can't slap someone just for being annoying! The adult sets the stage for the relationship. If the parent sets up a cold and adversarial relationship with the child that is what she will get. If she is too stupid, lazy and selfish to properly discipline and socialize the children then it is her own fault she can't feel the love that children naturally emanate.

    I'm not criticizing someone who doesn't want to have children. However it is my personal feeling that I was lied to by society about how burdensome children are. I don't see my child as a burden at all but a joy. I think people create the burden in their own hearts. (That is assuming their basic needs are met.)

  11. #11
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    I have a lot of respect and admiration for people of either gender who know they do not want children BEFORE they have them. Not everyone is meant to have children....almost all of us have voice boxes, that does not mean we're all meant to be opera singers, KWIM? I would MUCH rather people find out BEFORE they get pregnant that they are not parent material, than decide it later and either abort the child or abuse/neglect it after it is born.

    Having said that, I will say that for most of my life I did not want to have children. I changed my mind 8 years into our marriage, and we now have three living children. I also lost four babies late in pregnancy, and as traumatic as those experiences were for our entire family, I do not regret my decision to become a mother.

    Besides...having kids enables me to have a second childhood! As a parent and especially as a homeschooler, I get to turn a whole new generation on to Joan of Arc, the Titanic, mummies, submarines, medieval swords, knights in armor, deep sea fishes, and all sorts of other cool stuff! Plus I get to race my son on our bikes, and beat him! (LOL)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Incidentally, when I first logged onto this thread and saw that picture, I thought it was about or by a transsexual. That picture looks like a man in woman's clothing.Not trying to be bitchy or catty, just stating what I thought.
    Last edited by IronLady; 21st-August-2007 at 05:44 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    In spite of not having the privelege - as Marx rightly says of fatherhood,
    I still enjoy the company of children often its my friends children .They sometimes humourously complain I spend more time with the kids than I do with them. Children have a natural friendliness and you can have great laughs with them, they can be very cruel and difficult too, but by and large I find their company totally inspiring.
    You have to have a strong dash of unsophistication about you to enjoy them.I imagine over cereberalised, intellectual types or massivley materialistic fame seeking celebs would be the types who dont like children.Yet even among the worst of these you see real warmth towards children,because to be otherwise is to be abnormal.
    feminism is a disease the Doc is working on a cure. Symptoms include compulsive liar, constant aggression, allergic to logic, often affects women who are fat with short hair and big earings, but can be normal looking.
    Reason tablets three taken daily. If the sufferer displays shaming tactics double the dose. Remarkably the illness disappears in disaster zones.

  13. #13
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    @TMOTS

    From Ms. Shapiro's article

    This "boys are stupid" thinking could lead to the obvious conclusion: Girls are smart"
    It's quotes like that that belie the argument that "girls are smart". How feminists managed to work out that the best way to empower one group was by belittling another....I'll never figure out. What's really disgusting is that she's willing to sacrifice her son in pursuit of her feminist agenda. Be sure to let me know if she resplies back, I'd like to hear her response.

  14. #14
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    the sad geek is offline Silver Supporter
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    Re: Angels or savages - who would have children?

    Quote Quote from Annette1313
    ncidentally, when I first logged onto this thread and saw that picture, I thought it was about or by a transsexual. That picture looks like a man in woman's clothing.Not trying to be bitchy or catty, just stating what I thought.
    That's what struck me too. I have often suspected that the more masculine a woman is the less likely she is to have maternal feelings.

    With regard to the first writer, a woman should only have a child if she really loves it, in the right way and for the right reasons. Scores of human jetsam and flotsam prove the danger of deviating from this rule.
    Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light. (Spike Milligan)


 

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