I know very well this subreddit has a toxic reputation outside and people think we are baby-haters, but I don’t give a damn: I think there are stories that need to be shared for the sake of children and their well-being. I do what I can to make more and more people understand how they live in neglect because of their horrible parents, and to convince fence-sitters, if there are any reading now, to never have a child without so, so much careful consideration.
Some years ago, the summer before I started university, I decided to try and tutor some kids. I helped with homework and whatever they had difficulty with. I want to preface that I have no education about children overall: I know some from personal research, but I am in no way an expert. Either way, I thought it would be a good way to employ my time before I went back to my studies. One day I got a call from a lady who asked me to help her granddaughter with maths, as she had trouble with numbers and division and she needed to figure it out in order to finish her summer homework.
It did not take me long at all to know why her grandmother had hired me and not her parents: they were separated, and both had different partners with whom they had older children. They were always outside doing their own shit and never at home; what little attention they had went to the older half-siblings. So I went to meet this ten-year-old girl, sat down with her and tried to figure out what exactly it was that she needed.
This child was the sweetest and most loving baby I had ever met. She wanted so much to tell me all about her life and the things she liked. It took her minutes to adopt me as her older sister, and it was impossible to say no. But her struggles with homework were very real and went so, so much deeper than that: she seemed to have severe social anxiety in school, felt completely abandoned by everyone, and though I cannot diagnose her I can reliably guess her severe difficulties were due to some learning impairments. I don’t know if she was dyslexic or dyscalculic, but her reading comprehension was so far off the mark that I couldn’t help guessing something had to be going on.
The night after my first session with her, her grandmother was in town with her and was taking her to get ice cream . I was invited to accompany them. She insisted on taking me around the streets and showing me cool things, despite the fact I had been familiar with the place since I was a child myself; she wanted me to sit next to her, and wanted me to hold her hand the whole time.
Even in the space of that single day, I already hoped I would have the chance to stay with her, be supportive and help soothe the loneliness her family was putting her through. I am heartbroken to say I was not so lucky. I only had a second session with her, at which point her grandma expressed her disappointment: I had not solved the problem in one day, and she was not interested in hearing my concerns about her learning needs and calls for help. She fired me without any further explanation, and I never saw either of them again.
It would have ended there, hadn’t it been for this woman’s extraordinary gall. The next year in summer, she had the audacity to call my number to ask where I could find swimming pools to take the girl to. I complied not to hurt the child and asked to speak to her again. I said hi to her, I promised I had not abandoned her and she could come visit me any time she wanted. It was the last time I heard her voice, too.
I cried so, so much so many times because of this whole ordeal, and even now – as I tell it in public for the first time, so many years later – I am fighting to hold back tears. I never stopped thinking about her even if she never saw me again. She is in her late teens now and I don’t dare imagine what must have happened to her. I cared about this sweet little girl so much – she was so loving, so innocent and so lonely, completely unaware of what kind of people she was completely at the mercy of. She had gotten attached to me so fast, and I never had a single chance to tell her so many things; that I loved her, I wanted to help her, I would never have abandoned her to herself. I wanted her to know she deserved better.
My crap family turned me childfree long before this, but this experience is what straight up turned me antinatalist. As I said: I am FAR from hating children, and I won’t ever attack parents by default for their choice, but I cannot help feeling deeply shaken by the thought children are born. They end up in the hands of monsters that do not deserve them and hurt them so, so much, in ways people don’t even realize exist. Even with the enormous prevalence of both, physical and sexual abuse are far from the only kinds people experience to then grow up in despair. I have no trust in anyone to handle a child with actual care. I have no trust in anyone who wants to give birth.
These people do not deserve their children.
Thank you so much for reading this post, if you get here. It has been and always will be a weight on my chest. To my lost little sister, in the near impossible chance you ever come across this and know enough English to read it: I am so, so sorry, honey, this was never how it was supposed to go. Never forget you deserve so much better.