There are lots of articles/blogs/columns about the Pope's comment that people who have pets instead of children are selfish. I'm not going to go into detail here as others have responded to this far more eloquently than I could. There was a particularly good response here, and I have read others too. Lots of comments about the hypocrisy of a church that requires its priests and nuns to remain celibate and childless, whilst berating those without children. I am just frustrated that such a view continues to be repeated - it is at least the second time he has made the "selfish" comment about people without children.
I was at a gathering on New Year's Day. Meeting a new couple, and along with the hosts, we chatted about all sorts of interesting things. It wasn't until another couple joined us - who knew the first couple through school kids - that the question of children came up. The guy asked it, not to my surprise. I often find that men ask this question. Perhaps they think they're trying to bring the women into the conversation (though my feminist sensibilities bristle at this idea), or perhaps his well of conversational topics was running dry (though he didn't seem to be someone who would ever be lost for words). Anyway, I digress. What was interesting, I thought, was the response of his wife, who turned to me and said that she felt she was moving into a different stage of life, as her children are about to leave home. The implication was that she could relate to me more, and she was being kind to include me in that, even though the two states (empty nest and childless) are very different (as I have written before). I appreciated her sensitivity.
Finally, another snippet of a conversation with my BIL. He was talking about his adult daughter (from his first wife), who apparently has decided to "stop contraception and see what happens." I said that I wished her luck, but that at her age (late 30s), "seeing what happens" is not always the wisest idea and that he should ensure she knows that if she has been actively trying for six months without conception, it might be worth getting checked out. "I'm sure that won't be necessary," he said. "Look at (my sister) and I. We did that, and everything worked out." "Yes," I said. "And so did (DH) and I. It's not always that simple." I was so frustrated. He could say that to me, of all people! But more importantly, I didn't want his daughter to delay seeking help out of a false sense of security. So I gave him some info - statistics related to age, related to infertility in the wider population, etc. His daughter was visiting a day or two later. I wonder if he broached the topic. But I did what I could. I'm pleased about that. For her sake, I tried.