Privileging Parents

I mentioned on Twitter today that I was feeling like the people in my “real life” community aren’t supporting me. And that it’s especially hard when I see them seemingly bending over backwards to support others. I think that feeling would be hard regardless, but it stings especially because I feel like it’s happening because we aren’t yet parents and most people don’t yet know about this pregnancy. Allow me to explain.

When I talk about my real life community, right now I am primarily speaking of the local military community. As some of you know I used to volunteer for my husband’s squadron. I’ve worked very hard to give support to the members of his squadron and their families. So it especially stings when I don’t get the same kind back. Again, we have received some support from some lovely friends and I am totally grateful to them. But they have been few and far between.

I know I have said that when my husband first had his surgery I posted on Facebook asking if people could provide meals. Two people did. Two. One of those people reads this blog and knew I was pregnant. The other actually found out I was pregnant around that time because she was giving away all her maternity clothes and I wanted them so I told her. Although she had offered a meal before she knew that.

Today I saw a meal train thing for a woman who I don’t know who had surgery. I don’t know anything about what kind of surgery or why she had it. Just that she had surgery, would be in the hospital for a few days after, and had a kid. And the meal train was full of people bringing meals for like weeks. Including people who are my friends on Facebook who didn’t offer me a meal. And I can’t help but wonder if the disparity has to do with her having a kid. Like, here I am a woman who isn’t working or in school right now and doesn’t have kids, what possible reason could I need help cooking while taking care of my invalid husband? Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to take care of someone after surgery? Even if I wasn’t pregnant it would be significant. The feminist in me also wonders if it had to do with the fact that it was a woman having surgery, not a man, but that’s another issue.

Among middle-class married people, and especially in the military community, being a parent is privileged. It just is. Events are catered to your needs. People drop everything to help you out. I have to be honest, it hurts when someone who used to be a friend who dropped me because she couldn’t handle my depression jumps at the chance to babysit a mutual friend’s kids while her husband has minor surgery. I’m glad someone is helping my friend but damn, she couldn’t even “help” me by staying my friend on Facebook?

This post is all over the place and probably not really making my point. But I’m sad. I feel like people here don’t like me anymore. (And don’t even get me started on the people here I grew up with.) There are people who I know would gladly be doing things to help me right now but they don’t live here anymore. The other day I was having really bad back pain and having trouble just standing up. We didn’t have anything prepared for dinner. I asked for help on Facebook and the only response I got was from someone three states away wishing she was here to help. She is also someone who now knows I’m pregnant (pretty much all our close friends know now). The people who are here ignore us like we don’t need help. I can’t help but ask myself, is it because we aren’t parents?

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3 comments

  1. What a horrible feeling. 😦 I don’t have experience with military life, but I see the same happening in our culture as a whole. I see childless friends working longer hours than their counterparts with kids, who are also allowed more flexibility in their schedules. I know others who are expected to work on holidays, because they don’t have families. And, much like you’re experiencing now, I’ve seen childless friends who reach out for help, but are told they don’t need or deserve it because they don’t have kids and should be able to take care of themselves. It’s awful. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. Your military community should be ashamed of themselves.

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