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2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-28 10:38
Think about your motives if you don't want to ruin the little person's life and your own.
This article is part of the Auto-da-fe project. In it, we declare war on everything that prevents people from living and becoming better: breaking laws, believing in nonsense, deceit and fraud. If you've come across a similar experience, share your stories in the comments.
Laces, carousels, bows, pink heels and a toothless smile - parenting is often presented as a state of overwhelming happiness and peace.
Reality, on the other hand, sometimes does not live up to expectations. Anger, irritation and despair are added to tenderness and joy. In some cases, it comes to real depression with seditious thoughts “Why do I need all this? Looks like I was in a hurry and nostalgia for the times when your life was not a clear schedule of feedings, vaccinations and classes with a speech therapist.
As psychoanalysts believe
Modern psychoanalysts often refer to the definition of "good enough mother", which belongs to the famous British pediatrician, child psychiatrist Donald Winnicott. It refers not only to the biological mother, but also to any "mother figure" - that is, to the person who takes care of the child: to the father, grandmother, nanny, and so on.
Winnicott was rather laconic in his requirements for ideal motherhood: he did not say a word about higher education, preparation for childbirth, decent wages and willingness to sacrifice himself. "A good enough mother," in his opinion:
- It should just be physically. Not to get sick, not to die, not to go on an expedition for six months, but to be with the child and remain predictable enough for him.
- She knows how to cope with her anxiety - those feelings and fears that overwhelm her in the role of a parent: resentment, guilt, fatigue, envy and sadness. Coping does not mean denying them, but realizing, analyzing what is a real danger, and what is a far-fetched threat, not to confuse fatigue with hatred.
- Do not anticipate all the child's desires and do not try to protect him from everything in the world, but give him the opportunity to feel some discomfort so that he learns to cope with anger, melancholy and resentment on his own.
- Have your own life, not just focus on the child. I am happy to do something else besides “aha” and “we pooped”: work, sports, cross-stitching, sex with a spouse and communication with friends.
- Be able to dream.
Only with such a parent, as Winnicott believed, the child understands that everything is surmountable and the world can not be afraid. Everything else - breastfeeding or formula, walking on the street or on the balcony, taking to developmental classes or playing cartoons - is either not important at all, or is of secondary importance.
To summarize Winnicott, then a "good enough mother" is a person who does not see parenting as an end in itself, and therefore does not use a child to satisfy his own needs for love, communication, leadership, and God knows what else. He already has it all, and in such quantity that he is ready to share it with the child.
However, many choose to become parents for other reasons, which is unlikely to lead to something good.
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When You Don't Have to Become a Parent
1. If the goal is to strengthen the relationship
In your relationship, "the light has gone out", you quarrel more and more and do not trust your partner. Or he pulls out with a marriage proposal. Hopes are pinned on the appearance of a child to save relationships or to transfer them to another quality.
The naive assumption that a child can keep or change a spouse is very common. If the relationship has outlived its usefulness, then the birth of a child, of course, can unite the couple, but not as partners, but as parents - that is, people will be together only for the sake of a son or daughter.
This is a very unstable family structure: a heavy duty falls on the shoulders of a child right from birth - by any means to save parents from divorce.
Typically, these children are often sick, have learning difficulties, behavioral deviations. They unconsciously do everything to make mom and dad think not about their unhappy marriage, but about solving children's problems with the eternal struggle for the status of "best parent."
It also happens the other way around: say, dad wanted to leave the family, but a child was born that looks like him like two drops of water. Then he becomes "daddy's joy", "friend", with whom they lead round dances against mom. Old unresolved conflicts creep into the relationship with the child, and the marital relationship, which was already in its infancy, is finally destroyed. Within the family, there is a hidden competition for daddy's love, in which, naturally, the child wins. This is very sad for the baby, because in fact he plays the emotional role of a spouse, and for the wife, who turns out to be a "third odd man" in this family. You cannot leave and remain unbearable. This is often a direct road to alcohol dependence and depression.
2. To receive dividends
The lover does not leave the family, but promises to support you, if you give birth, the mother-in-law is waiting for the heir so that there is someone to write off the apartment, the maternity capital will help cover the mortgage. Having a baby becomes an easy way to get material benefits to improve your life in the present, and maybe in the future - who knows how much more the retirement age will change.
In this case, the child becomes a hostage of parental expectations. He is welcome not as a person, but as a magic antelope that turns everything around into gold. It often grows in an atmosphere of “you must”: helping the elders, nursing the younger, earning money, “give-and-bring” - an understanding of “conditional” love is formed.
A person grows up with the conviction that you can love him only for something, and not just like that.
It is very difficult for him to psychologically separate from his parents, he feels himself eternally obligated.
Such people usually find an aggressive, domineering partner for the relationship, whose love, like in the parental family, will constantly have to "deserve" - to receive for some concessions and services.
It is worth mentioning about the parents, who will be disappointed: it is obvious that raising and maintaining a child requires not only emotional, but also material resources, and the costs are likely to exceed income.
3. If you want to escape from work
You are a girl and you do not want to work, but you want a dress and cook borscht. But your husband believes that without work you will become boring, or simply not ready to support your family alone. The birth of a child is seen as a good reason not to engage in any more unloved business, but to realize oneself in accordance with the “female destiny”.
It is a sad story when a child is manipulated. Of course, there are women who are the best at raising children: patient, self-sacrificing, resourceful and energetic. But this is an exception to the rule. If a woman does not have the strength and desire to work, where can they get a child from? It is highly likely that such a mother will become deeply unhappy in her “I don’t know what I want” and will take evil on the child for her “broken life”, associating all her problems with him.
Such a child will grow up insecure, guilty for everything, with difficulties in arranging his personal life, because the main woman for him will, of course, remain the inconsolable mother. Marriage in such cases is often doomed to failure, since the father is removed from upbringing, finds himself on the periphery of the family and either goes into work headlong, or builds other relationships on the side.
4. Just because it's time
Health is increasingly failing, excess weight appears, bald head and insomnia: childless old age looms frighteningly on the horizon. Time goes by, it won't be better, and you have to give birth. The appearance of a child seems to promise a second youth, full of impressions, events and emotions.
However, the "time" comes when you are sincerely ready to change your usual way of life and give up some habits and hobbies for the sake of the child (albeit temporarily).
Parenting is not everyone's vocation. This is a deliberate decision that is made on an individual basis.
The idea of having a baby because “time goes by” and “it should be so” leads to frustration, chronic fatigue and neglect of parenting. And often to anger at the child who violates your comfort, personal space, measured rhythm of life. In an atmosphere of excessive severity, lack of support and emotional warmth, not a single person has ever grown up happy.
5. To be no worse than others
Friends have already given birth and are sharing the successes of their children with might and main, discussing Montessori cubes and whether there is semolina on Turkish all-inclusive. Your opinion does not matter, because you are from the category "give birth, then you will understand." A child is needed to confirm one's own value in society and maintain a high level of self-esteem.
In this case, the parents project their expectations onto the child: it is unconditionally assumed that he will become a successful project, will be the best in everything.
Like it or dislike it - be so kind as to go to chess, horse riding and ballroom dancing to maintain the status of parents and meet their plans for the future.
It seems like there is nothing wrong with such a comprehensive development, if not for one "but". Absolutely everything is decided for the child, and at first he cannot resist, and then he stops doing it. The more stringent expectations are directed at a child, the more difficult it is for him to develop his personality.
An internal conflict is formed, in which there are two main scenarios of development: to become weak-willed and lack of initiative, or to arrange a riot and, at the first opportunity, leave the parental home for free swimming. Parents in this case are literally at a broken trough: their marriage was based on raising a "worthy person" from a child. The search for the one to blame for the couple begins, conflicts and quarrels.
6. When you need to get rid of your parents
Parents always point out what to do, explaining their guardianship by your infantilism and lack of independence ("Here you will give birth to your own, then you will command"), my mother sheds a tear, telling that her friend became a grandmother twice, and her father complains that there is no one to give the collection to blame, because he doesn't seem to be waiting for his grandson. The only way to get rid of reproaches and expectations seems to be the birth of a child.
In psychology, there is such a thing as a separation agent - a third person who unwittingly contributes to your emotional separation from your parents. In this case, the child becomes a symbol of your growing up and finding the long-awaited freedom.
Sometimes this is really the only way to start an independent life, especially in those families where it is believed that the final maturity comes with parenting. But, as in point 4, parents are not ready to take on the responsibility of raising a child. In one scenario, he is bailed out by grandparents, who, now with their grandson, realize their need for extra care and control. And then he grows up to be an infantile personality, spoiled by attention.
In another case, the child is a "scapegoat" in the family: it is on him that the negative is splashed out, he becomes the main culprit in all family troubles and the shame of the family. This often turns out to be an abuser, since from childhood a person was instilled with an inferiority complex and hatred of the world.
7. To get guaranteed love
When a woman is desperate to arrange her personal life or her spouse is constantly at work, and she is left to herself and spends her evenings alone, the child becomes a light in the window, a guarantee of eternal unconditional love. Everything that is done for him is designed to compensate for his own deprivation. As the "window light" matures, he takes on more and more new roles: friend, ally, companion, spouse, caring parent, nanny.
Someone sees this option as quite natural: a child is born to bring happiness into the house and become the meaning of life. There is someone to talk to, someone to take care of - and someone who will take care of you. Quite a common situation. A trap in functional load: it is one thing to discuss with your child how the day went, to share opinions, emotions. And it is quite another to jointly solve family problems, complain about the spouse, unite against him, look for in the child what the partner lacks.
As a result, the distance between spouses increases and the distance between parent and child decreases. The phenomenon of “functional marriage” arises when a child becomes a psychological husband or wife to his parent.
This is an unbearable burden: it turns out that the well-being of the mother or father depends on the child's behavior.
Many friends misunderstood my desire to have a dog: “What are you? This is such a responsibility! You’re at work all day.” And they reacted in a completely different way to the message about pregnancy: “Cool, congratulations! What happiness! The same people were ready to entrust me with a living baby, but doubted that the dog would be fine with me.
And here it is worth again returning to the good old Winnicott, exactly in the place where he talks about the ability to cope with anxiety and divide desires into our own and those of others. These are very valuable qualities at all times. And regardless of whether you plan to become a parent or not.
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