20 January 2012

The Media and Attitudes to Children

Thanks to my brother, I'm a great fan of The Big Bang Theory.  I first encountered episodes on a transatlantic flight, and I kept laughing aloud and then looking to see if anyone was watching me.  Sheldon's absolutely hilarious, and is the reason I watch the show.

The other night I was catching up on the latest episode.  While I enjoyed the parts with Sheldon (the thing with the pocket watch and giving Amy a tiara were great!), I was rather disappointed in the exchanges between Howard and Bernadette.  They get on the topic of children, and Bernadette explains that she really dislikes children.  Howard counters that she might feel different when it's her own, and her retort is that then it would be her body that's ruined.  Later she says that she'd have children if Howard would be the stay-at-home-parent so that she can have adult conversation and actually enjoy her life.

It's said the life imitates art, though I think it also gives a commentary on the views and values of society.  These views towards children really sadden me, even more so because I know they are not isolated or pure fiction.  When I was about seven months pregnant with Kieran, a colleague said to me that he'd never have children because he wanted to be able to do whatever he wanted.  Thankfully, another colleague steered the conversation in another direction rather quickly, but I've often thought back to that, and how sad it is.

It's true, being a mother means I don't get to do whatever I want.  However, does that mean it's not fulfilling or good?  No!  In fact, I'd counter that it's better for me to not get to do whatever I want, because sometimes the things I want aren't necessary what is best.  Besides, it's just selfish.  Yes, being a parent means putting my child before me, but that's not a bad thing.  It is a beautiful thing, and a way of participating in the self-giving love of God.

As for ruining my body, I'll admit I've had issues with body image after having children.  That in no way means my body is ruined.  As a friend pointed out, it is amazing that our bodies have nourished and grown and continue to nourish and comfort our children.  That's not ruined!  While it may not match up with societal expectations, it is beautiful.  When I think about it, it's truly amazing what my body has done and is doing, all according to God's design.  Ruined?!  I think not.

1 comment:

  1. I think society has a skewed view on both marriage and children. People treat marriage like a "ball & chain" and you'll "lose your freedom." Likewise, you're right, with children people think you have to stop doing what you want to do or stop going out with friends. (I had a friend who even told me while pregnant that she essentially felt like she would never see me again once the baby was born 'cause I wouldn't be able to go to parties anymore).

    And like you, I feel that this is a horrible view of family 'cause I feel more complete for being married with child now. Yes, we can't always go hang out with friends on short notice and we have to be careful when making plans (to make sure we can get a sitter if we need one), but I wouldn't trade my afternoon giggling for all the late nights out in the world or for those single people who think they're "free 'cause they're not tied down".