Friday, October 21, 2011

Some people have no shame

Last night.

7:17 Union-Oshawa. Before I start my story, since when did this train get so full?

Anyhoo, I was seated in a quad with a dude zoned out with headphones on and two women, slightly older than I, who sat opposite each other. To my left was a quad of three with a bag copping a seat (photographic evidence below!!!) I did ask the woman to remove it as people were standing and she said she was saving the seat for someone. The train left Union with that bag on the seat. Man, these people are shameless.

Speaking of shameless, the two ladies sitting next to me hadn't seen each other since high school. It was the only explanation for why one of them began the arduous task of relaying her entire life story beginning with the breakdown of her marriage and then the birth of her two teenage children.

Without disclosing too much about myself, I'd like to point out that childbirth and decisions about how many children one should have are sensitive topics for me especially if people are going to throw out opinions about postpartum depression. Unless you've gone through it yourself, please don't pretend you know what it's like and please don't offer opinions about women who did/do suffer from it and all the things you would have done/do if it happened to you. We are not "weak", "selfish" and "insecure" women who obviously had "broken homes as children" or "distant husbands". The fact that we survive and manage to raise well-adjusted children speaks to our strength, thank you very much.

In a nutshell, you should be able to piece together how uncomfortable and awkward it was for me to be subjected to this conversation. At no point did I say anything to these women because who I am to dictate what people can talk about on a train? Part of it was my fault as I really didn't want to search out another seat on what was a crowded train but when they moved onto discussing couples who decide to only have one child and what a selfish decision that is, and how hard it will be on that only child when their parents are dead, to have "no family left" and no "siblings to turn to". I had to get up and leave.

Why can't people just talk about horrible bosses? Leave the heavy shit for the coffee shop.


FRED'S WIFE said...

CJ, first and foremost, absolutely! Postpartum depression is an awful illness and be proud you got through it.

Sadly, there will always be people who will never comprehend how the birth of a baby can be a traumatic and difficult experience for some women who have to learn how to cope as opposed to those who have no problem and adapt just fine to motherhood.

Because, you know, we were all built and hard-wired to be mothers.

I will admit that Fred and I did have two children specifically so that they would have each other. They are in their late teens and can't stand each other and I don't see this improving as they grow into adults which is a shame. So that blows the only child theory out the water.

James said...

They're the same people who tell depressed people to just snap out of it. They've never been there so they can't relate.

April C said...

I am sorry for what you went through after your child was born and I am sorry for what you had to listen to last night.

I am also sorry about the comment from FRED'S WIFE. Although it is undoubtedly well meaning it is those kinds of comments that feed into the same thought processes that make people with postpartum depression "weak".

Postpartum depression has nothing to do with a woman's ability to cope, adapt to motherhood or whether you are built and hard-wired to be a mother. It is a chemical imbalance. Following birth your hormones swing wildly and some women get nothing more than a tiny bit of blues that can be passed off as exhaustion and other women get full blown postpartum depression.

It is a chemical reaction in the brain. One which no women should have to be ashamed of or explain.

The fact that you, or any other woman, seeks help for postpartum depression shows your strength! There are women who hide their postpartum depression (likely out of shame cause by comments like the ones those women made), get no help and in some very extreme cases have caused grave harm to their children.

As for having more than one child . . . having more than one child does two things. 1. It gives them someone to fight with. 2. It gives them someone else to blame for things so when they both say "Not me", you really can't be sure who did it.

Squiggles said...

I think they are closet Scientologists! Vitamins solve all problems!

Some women have no real filter and think every and all subjects are open for discussion. I came across one such entitled *itch at a restaurant the other night.

People's reasons for having children/not having children and the numbers involved are their own reason. Didn't it cross these people's minds that maybe some woman are incapable of having children or more than one?

FRED'S WIFE said...

Exactly, Squiggles. I also didn't even think about what it would be like if a woman who say, had a stillborn child, had to listen to this conversation.

April, Forgive me, you're right.

April C said...

Fred's wife, nothing to forgive. At least you meant well . . . unlike the ladies on the train.

Anonymous said...

"selfish decision to have only 1 child"??? wtf? what would they say to me, a woman who conciously decided NOT to have ANY children? Bet they also bitch about all the trouble their kids get into LOL. who told them to have any kids?

TomW said...

@Fred's wife: don't worry too much about the fact your teenage children don't get on with each other. I didn't really get got with my siblings as a teenager, and we get along fine now.

The assumption that an only child will have no family when their parents die is silly: it implies their only child will never make any friends, never find love, and never have any children.

ExGOnowTTC said...

As the father of a premmie child who passed at 25 weeks, i have no patience for people like that. I've actually called several out both on the GO and the TTC. No swearing (even though i wanted to) just told them to shut up and show some decency. Mind you, being over 6 foot tall and somewhat solid helps :).
Too often men suffer in silence when it comes to these issues, especially when it comes to infant loss.

Svej said...

It makes me so angry when people generalize about mental illness, post partum depression in this case.

I live in an area with a lot of homelessness and mental health issues - It is really easy to make comments based on assumptions. But it is a very different story when you are exposed to it daily or if you experience it yourself.

The same goes for a lot of subjects.

C.J. Smith said...

ExGonowTTC says:

Too often men suffer in silence when it comes to these issues, especially when it comes to infant loss.

This is true! Oh my goodness. My poor husband. He didn't know how to help me and wound up on anti-axiety medication. Very rarely are any of these issues dealt with as a couple.

I just about wanted to punch the one woman when she said "distant husbands". How is he supposed to know how to deal when his wife is howling in the shower and he doesn't understand why?

This was such a dark time. I don't care to re-visit it but I totally understand the anger.

Anonymous said...

What? I can't believe what I'm reading! Is this not a free country? I can talk about whatever I want. You don't like it? You're "free" to leave.

Don't think I didn't see all the faces you made while I was talking and I was going to ask you if you wanted to sit somewhere else. Don't make it seem like I forced you to listen. You had your Blackberry and it's not my fault you didn't have headphones.

Do you not think before you write that maybe the people you are writing about actually read your site.

I am mortified that you would single me out like this so your "fans" could go at me like we're on Donahue.

Perhaps you should focus on your weight issues and journal your overeating in a diary on your BB so you're focused on something else other than the conversations of others.

Talking with my friend was therapeutic for me. Sorry you couldn't understand that.

Rude. I won't ever read your site again.

C.J. Smith said...


Really, the weight thing? That's all you've got? Did I go on about you at all? Make fun of you? Poke fun at you? No.

You're right. I wasn't forced to listen but it was hard not to.

I am well aware that when I write about situations I am directly involved in, the people in the story could also be readers which is why I went "public" with this one. What you were talking about was incredibly personal and you weren't mindful of those sitting around you. Let's say your father was a pedophile who molested several children and was in jail, would you talk about that, too?

My point is, there is a time and place for such personal discussions and the GO train isn't the place and when it's crowded, it's just not the time.

I made faces because your conversation bothered me and I did move, remember?

Anonymous said...

Number one, my father would never be a pedophile. Number two, why would anyone want to publicly admit that???

There is nothing wrong with talking about decisions other people make and reflecting what choices we would make if faced with difficult situations.

I'm sorry you couldn't handle being a new mother. It's important that women who get pregnant put a support system in place including having family ready to help as I really believe that isolation can cause depression.

I would never say to someone snap out of it but as much as it could be a chemical imbalance I still feel that exhaustion, having no support, having a husband that chooses to work over staying home or rearranging his schedule to be there half days, living far away from family, can all cause a woman to become depressed.

As for only children, I am fully aware some women can't get pregnant or can't have more than one child. I wasn't talking about them. I was referring to women who are capable of having more physically and financially who make the choice to keep their child from the benefits and advantages to having siblings.

Generally when siblings don't get along this speaks to failures in the parenting, not the children.

I've said enough. I can't believe I am even having this discussion.

As for the man whose child died, you need to get counseling because it shouldn't anger you when people talk about it. This is real life, you have to be prepared to deal!

bh said...

I am always amazed at what people consider an appropriate conversation for public consumption.

I can't believe that you just told a grieving father he needs counseling. How do you know what he needs? Are you a psychiatrist?

Personally I'm glad CJ stuck this out on her blog. Because it's important people do realize that they do need a filter when riding the GO train. I've heard my fair share of conversations that made my ears bleed. I don't feel I should be made forced to move because you don't know what it means to have discretion.

I can't believe you would turn around and attack CJ for pointing out or writing that your conversation bothered her. You think that everyone should be immune to issues in the world? Whatever lady. You're an idiot.

PS. I've never commented before but I had to speak up on this one.

Anonymous said...

it's very refreshing to read from angry people who at least know how to spell. just sayin'

Squiggles said...

Really Anon?

You seriously think that your attacking people because they do not agree with what you said is appropriate? Especially when it seems that people seem to be siding with CJ? Unless you were talking about specific women of your acquaintance who have had 1 child or not, you are out of line making such generalizations.

Right now, I have chosen to not have children. Of course, that may change is my social/ medical circumstances have changed. But I do take offense at what you have writen, both paraphrased by CJ and the comments above. But then again, I am known as an extremely independent person and hate being lumped in with the other masses.

Siblings not getting along is not due to parental issues. As 1 of 3, there were some interesting dynamics growing up. We all basically get along now, but there are definitely some boundaries that have had to be put into place because of personality clashes. Believe it or not, but all children have their own personalities, and just like co-workers, sometimes they clash.

As for it being personal, I have no clue who you are. Chances are many people in the same space as you may not realise you were the one blabbing on the train. It is the same argument that the DDDs pose.

Hope you are happy. Because now I am cranky and in a bit of a fighting mood.

ExGOnowTTC said...

Angry? It's always hilarious how big-mouthed opinionated people respond by saying someone is angry. Yes, i guess i am angry. Angry that the gene pool hasn't had some chlorine in quite some time.

Bicky said...

@ExGOnowTTC: "the gene pool hasn't had some chlorine in quite some time." - I love that line.

This is a sensitive topic, obviously, and in my opinion, not really ideal GO train conversation material.

Svej said...

Anon: "Is this not a free country? I can talk about whatever I want. You don't like it? You're "free" to leave."

You talked about what you wanted to, now we can talk about what we want to. Which just happens to be your public display of opinion. Like you said, you're "free" to leave.


April said...

Hey Anon, I think it is a good idea to talk about these things on the GO Train. You should listen carefully because tonight I will be discussing various personality disorders and I sense an strong one in you. Are you my husband's ex-wife? Because you are about as self-righteous and bat-shit crazy as she is.

CJ didn't single you out. No one that reads this site but you, her and your equally uncooth friend know who you were. Your use of anger is a way of preventing your consiousness from admitting you were wrong. A lot of people with personality disorders can't admit they were wrong. Your automatic attack about CJ's weight is another clue. Seek help.