My God my god I feel so seen. Nobody has ever believed when I say "No babies. Never. I raised five before I was 15, my baby years are over". I've been so often accused of exaggeration because no mainstream individual can imagine a mom who just hands a 9 year old an infant and says "you wanted a doll for Christmas, this is better!". I was the one punished for their transgressions. I have a seizure disorder now caused by a lack of sleep until I went to college. I'm talking five hours many nights as a child because my bed was full of siblings to care for, who wet the bed, who were scared, and I was expected to be at bible study across town at 6AM. I felt so ashamed of how I would hurt my siblings when I was little, scratching or spanking them, because I had so little power to keep them in line, knowing I would get punished no matter what. I remember my first "alone" time babysitting I was 8. I remember the other kids in school thought I was so weird for always having to take care of babies.

I have asked my doctor for a decade about sterilization and she insists "Oh, you'll change your mind and want babies! What a beautiful experience!" But maybe now I can show her this article to help her understand that no, "it's different when it's yours" does not make an ounce of difference for the resentment I will always feel and immediate anger when I hear a baby cry. And this is after a decade of therapy.

Thank you for protecting your daughter, thank you for helping me realize that it wasn't my fault babies made me angry. Thank you for helping me feel seen when for decades I only had a fuzzy, icky feeling that I was mad, and I didn't know why and needed to hide that unrighteous feeling from Satan.

And to whoever is reading this, I wasn't even IBLP, I was Mormon/LDS and this was the same story for every girl in my Achievement Days/Young Women's class. Even a young guy I grew up with raised his siblings and then took his life after his dad belted him one too many times for not "being a better example". It isn't just fringe groups, it's in more mainstream churches.

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I'm the oldest of 8 and had a similar upbringing (although thank GOODNESS my mother did all the middle of the night stuff). Whenever I've complained that I raised at least 4 full kids myself, my parents and other parents would brush me off and tell me I'd see one day how hard it really is. I recently had my son (who will be my ONLY child) after years of discussion with my husband who really wanted kids. And guess what? 1 child as a 30 something who also works full time is less work than trying to mom 6 younger siblings with my co-sibling-parent.

(Plus, for me, loving my son as much as I do + the choice I had in this makes a loooot of the slog of parenthood so much better than with my forced parenting years.)

Seriously, don't ever let anyone make you feel like you need to have your own. You already put in the work. You deserve the rest of your life to yourself.

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Wow I will be saving this comment, thank you so much for validating this! My younger siblings roll their eyes because they don't remember it this way, and just thought I was a bossy older sister. They thought it was my job to feed and clothe them and were never privy to my punishments on their behalf. Thank you thank you thank you!

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