You cannot un-have children

Image by the excellent Stuart F Taylor

I’m not going to call this a ‘guilty’ pleasure because it’s just a pleasure, but I’m a sucker for problem pages. I adore reading about the trials of other people’s lives, and soaking up the often-very-wise advice they receive. I also enjoy mining them for content, because sometimes I’ll find a letter that addresses a topic I really want to talk about. Or in today’s case, some advice that I want to rip to pieces. Today: an advice columnist berates a woman for destroying her marriage because she’s decided she doesn’t want children! Yay!

Check out this advice to a letter-writer who’d changed her mind and decided not to have children. It’s the third letter down, by ‘Cowardly or Conscientious’, in which she explains that she has changed her mind about having children, because reflecting on her mental health issues has caused her to worry that bringing a child into the world might be a bad thing. From her letter:

“I have always strived not to stigmatize mental health issues, particularly since my loved ones and I have had them. But when my partner and I recently tried having children, it triggered another mental breakdown for me, and issues I hadn’t dealt with from my childhood came up to the surface. Since then, I’ve decided I no longer want to have children. I reflected and determined it would not be fair to risk having a child who would suffer as I had. While I have always tried to manage my mental health, I have found there are no guarantees. I also worry the stress of trying to parent might be more than I can manage.”

This seems pretty reasonable to me. Trying to have children had a serious negative impact on her mental health, and caused her to reassess her decision to have them. Much as, you know, sometimes the decision not to have children weighs heavily on someone’s mind and they decide one day that they do want to become a parent after all. People change their minds! And they do so for a variety of reasons.

Don’t make me a mother and a monster

For what it’s worth, I think her reasons are legit. Personally, I have a whole laundry list of reasons why I don’t want to have children (I like my freedom, I think I’d be pushed into doing more than my fair share of the care work, I can’t afford them, something about the environment which frankly I only include because it helps to shut up eco-people who nag me about having kids, I’m lucky enough to be an auntie to some amazing children so I get a lot of the fun without the hassle, I have just never felt that kick of maternal instinct, I fucking love my life and I don’t want to change it), and hovering somewhere on that list is a word in big bold capitals: MONSTER? Perhaps the most significant reason I don’t want children is because I don’t want to hurt them.

I’m not a particularly shouty person, and I’m definitely not a violent person, but I am someone who has a Lot Of Emotions and has had to find a bunch of coping mechanisms that help me to deal with them. Key among this is solitude. If I’m angry, I will go for a walk on my own, or go read a book on my own, or go find somewhere to just be… on my own. Lurking behind this desire to take myself away from frustration, stress and conflict is an abject terror that if I don’t remove myself from a situation I might accidentally hurt someone. Yell at them, or say something cruel that I don’t mean. I think it’s unlikely I’d ever physically hurt someone but… you know… I’ve spoken to parents who have told me that during a 4am screaming fit from their baby after many hours of no sleep and pure adrenaline they understand how easy it is for someone to snap. Parents are sometimes advised to just put their baby down and walk away. Let them scream, but remove yourself from the situation for the child’s safety.

That is absolutely fucking terrifying to me, as it’s terrifying if I find myself making a grumpy face at one of my niblings because they want me to play when I’m tired and sad and I see their little face crumble and think ‘shit! I have just given you a tiny rock of sadness that you’ll carry around potentially FOREVER.’ I don’t want to have children because I don’t ever want to hurt a child. And anyone who has children knows that you will hurt them at some point. Not necessarily physically (although the first time a child fell over when I was meant to be looking after them, and split their lip, blood everywhere, tears and screaming and blood and guilt and oh God oh God I did that I did that – me! I neglected this poor small baby and let them come to harm! – I spent the next week having nightmares about far worse scenarios and waking up drenched in sweat), but you’re guaranteed to hurt them no matter how desperately you try not to.

As Phillip Larkin famously said: they fuck you up, your mum and dad. When a child is born, no matter how loving and caring and wonderful the family that surrounds it, it’s still going to get at least a little bit fucked up. Parenting is basically the act of ruining a human, as you layer mistake upon error upon fuckup until they gather a shiny trauma collection with which to go out into the world and fuck other people up too.

I have a huge amount of respect and love for the people who know this but do it anyway – boldly accepting the challenge to try and raise someone in as healthy and happy and secure an environment as you can provide, confident that although you’ll definitely fuck them up, you’ll overall do a good enough job that these tiny proto-people will still be excited to tackle life themselves. Huge huge kudos to you. You are braver people than I.

But all this is a sidenote: this woman doesn’t need my blessing to not have kids. Any reason is a legitimate reason to not have children in your life, because it’s your life. Choose not to have kids because you think they’ll clash with your wallpaper, for all I care! Not having children is a less risky prospect than having them: you cannot UN-have children, after all. So I think if you’re already keen to avoid it, people who try to persuade you otherwise are doing both you and your imaginary future children a huge disservice. Which brings me on to the advice.

‘I won’t call you cowardly’

The advice to this letter-writer came as a real shock to me. As I say, I read Slate a lot and I usually enjoy the advice as much as the letters. But in response to the writer’s concerns, agony uncle Doyin Richards tells her:

“As a fellow mental illness sufferer (clinical depression), I had similar concerns before I became a dad… but I made the decision to not let my mental demons rule me. I went to regular therapy and did my part to address everything that held me back, and I feel as if I’m a pretty damn good dad today.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling you cowardly…

I mean… of course you shouldn’t? I know the letter-writer has used the pseudonym ‘Cowardly or cautious’ but still… to even imply that there might actually be cowardice in here belies a really ugly dismissiveness about the dangers of giving birth. Let us remember, because we frequently forget: having a child can be genuinely risky – even life-threatening – to the person who is going to carry it. Not just because it could trigger serious mental health issues, which the letter-writer has already experienced, but also because the act of giving birth is something which can cause medical complications. Because society is appallingly racist, that risk goes up if the person giving birth isn’t white. Giving birth is not a fun lark with no risk whatsoever, and I find it hard to imagine someone who had given birth themselves (especially if they had experienced birth trauma) ever being so blasé about it.

He goes on to tell the writer that:

“…but I think we can both agree that pulling the bait and switch on your husband must be really hard on him, and he has every reason to be upset…”

I don’t think ‘changing your mind in the face of new circumstances’ counts as ‘pulling the bait and switch.’ The writer was clearly keen to have children, so much so that she tried and it triggered a mental breakdown. She did not trick her husband into believing she wanted children, then pull the plug once she’d ensnared him: she changed her mind. As is her absolute right because no one should ever be forced to have kids if they don’t want to.

I do feel sorry for her husband here, because it must be really rough to realise that if you want to have children, you won’t be able to do it with the person you love. I feel for him, as I can see from the letter that the writer feels for him too. She, too, is struggling at the realisation that her choice to not have children likely means the end of her marriage. But – painful though that is – it’s still a choice she’s allowed to make. You don’t owe a partner children, even if you’ve wanted them in the past. You don’t ever owe someone exactly what they want, especially when it may cost you your health and happiness. I struggle to imagine this same advice being given to a man who’d decided he didn’t want kids.

From my vantage point, it seems as if you used your mental illness as an excuse to get out of your marriage. If it was important to you, I think you would have done more to try to save it.”

Again: she pushed herself into serious mental trauma to try and do this thing that both she and her husband wanted. It’s not ‘an excuse’, it’s literally ‘a very important reason.’ What’s more, why does the responsibility for ‘saving her marriage’ fall solely on the letter-writer here? Hmm? Why is it her job to persuade herself she actually does want kids, rather than her husband’s job to persuade himself that he could accept a childfree life for the sake of staying with his wife? Genuine question, cos I’m stumped. Given the extreme seriousness of a decision to have children, and the fact that – again, sorry, I feel like I really do need to keep pointing this out – you cannot UN-have children, why are we assuming that it’s the letter writer who needs to change her mind, and not her husband?

“You’ve also automatically assumed the worst-case outcome for having kids, when it’s possible you’d surprise yourself by becoming a great mom.”

Here’s the bit where I realised I wanted to write a blog post about this. Because yes, he’s right: it is possible she’d surprise herself by becoming a great mum. Entirely possible! Absolutely not guaranteed, though! Not guaranteed at all! And if it turns out she isn’t a great mum, or isn’t the kind of mum she’d want to be, then that child has been born into a family where it may well not get a great start. Perhaps her care for this imaginary future child should take precedence over a stranger’s hope that she might pull through. Perhaps her knowledge of her own mental state, her behaviour, and how she wants to live should trump the romanticised imaginings of someone she’s never met? Perhaps women know themselves well enough that they should be allowed to make decisions over their own lives and bodies, and not be called ‘cowardly’ if they make a choice that someone else doesn’t agree with?

It’s a gamble. A HUGE gamble. And once you’ve had children, you can’t UN-have children! So if it’s a huge gamble, with massive risks (you might utterly fuck up a child’s life! You might ruin your own! You might cause extreme unhappiness for you and your husband! You might die in childbirth!) and you are wavering hard towards ‘no’, someone’s suggestion you change to a ‘yes’ based on little more than the vague hope that ‘you might surprise yourself!’ should be taken with an almighty pinch of salt.

“I’m so thankful that I didn’t listen to the voices in my head that said I wouldn’t be a good dad, because I couldn’t imagine my life without my children. I feel sad that you won’t allow yourself the same opportunity to try.”

I’m happy for him that he’s found joy in his own children. But this is absolutely not true of everyone who has children, and it isn’t by any means a guarantee. Some people literally die giving birth. Some people break down and cannot cope without serious support. Some people (though they rarely talk about it, for obvious reasons) do actually regret having kids. His argument here is a purely emotional one based on his own experiences, with very little consideration to what the letter writer has said she wants, and is capable of.  I could equally make an argument like this from the other side – “I’m so thankful that you have listened to the voice inside you telling you that this isn’t a good idea. I couldn’t imagine my life with children, and I feel relieved and delighted I’ve avoided it, because I don’t have to deal with raising a whole human for the rest of my actual life.”

And finally, onto the kicker:

“Technically you’re not asking for any advice here, but I’m going to give you some anyway. If you want to experience any semblance of joy in your life, you have to stop living in fear.”

Sorry, what? This advice columnist believes that you won’t be able to experience any joy if you’re afraid? I am an anxious person and I’m constantly afraid. I am also constantly filled with glee at all the excitement life brings. These two things are not incompatible. It’s more than possible to feel joy while also being scared of the future, as it’s more than possible to live a happy life when you’ve chosen not to have children. There are many reasons not to have children, and ‘I want to find joy in other things in life’ is a valid one as well.

As I say, I have a huge amount of respect for people who actively choose to have children, knowing all the risks and embarking on what is a lifelong project (it doesn’t stop when your kids are 18, my Mum is still an extremely active and involved parent to her large adult children, as well as now Grandmother to more) with courage and care and understanding. It is phenomenal, and I salute you. But I do find it weird when some parents assume that everyone else will feel the same as they do about kids. Oh, you’ll love them when you have them! You might surprise yourself! You could be a great mum! I might, sure, as this letter-writer might too. But that’s a huge gamble to take with our lives, and the life of any potential future child. It’s not a gamble anyone should take lightly, and with risks that great, absolutely no one should be considered a ‘coward’ if they choose not to roll the fucking dice.


  • K says:

    Thanks for writing this. While I absolutely adore my daughter and am glad she’s here, parenting is hard work (and different types of hard work at different times in their lives). It’s a massive commitment and not something to force yourself into if you’re really unsure or reluctant.

  • Mark says:

    One of the reasons my 8 year relationship broke down was because of children. I wanted them, she didn’t. And I’m sure I may have gone down some train of thought similar to this advice columnist, that she’d make a great mum, she might surprise herself etc. And now that we don’t have a kid and we’re not together, I think “Thank god for that”. As you say in the title, you can’t un-have a child.

  • Mosscat says:

    Great post about a cruel piece of so-called advice. Despite trying to have children a long time ago, as I’ve got older, I’m relieved that I don’t have children and I know I would not have made a good parent (however that is defined).
    I am infuriated when some people assume that my husband’s granddaughters will ‘make up for’ my perceived loss of motherhood. They’re his grandkids, nice enough, but I have no special bond with them.
    And I don’t need compensation for a so-called lack in my life, thanks!
    I love and respect my friends who are parents, I love some of their kids and tolerate others! I am also grateful that I am not a parent.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    On first reading the response of the advice columnist, I didn’t think it was that bad – at least, the actual advice itself, to seek therapy, seemed sensible. On re-reading it though, I considered that she is very probably receiving therapy already, so that’s less helpful. Also, it’s noticeable that the columnist only advises *her* to seek therapy, when what the problem is crying out for is some kind of couples’ counselling with the both of them.

    Besides the advice itself, the way it was phrased was pretty glib and callous, certainly given the seriousness of the issues involved. The part about ‘If [your marriage] was important to you, I think you would have done more to try to save it’ makes me cringe.

    The real mistake here was handing someone with a really serious problem (or two) to a lighthearted parenting advice column, rather than directing her straight to professional help. In fact, why was this dilemma classed as a parenting problem at all? It’s a relationship problem.

    Anyway, yes: having children is a huge challenge and responsibility, it’s definitely not for everyone, and no one should be shamed or guilt-tripped for feeling unable to go through with it.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “why was this dilemma classed as a parenting problem at all? It’s a relationship problem.” Really good point, yeah. It’s not a parenting problem unless and until kids are certain. And yeah, he does advise her to seek therapy but to be honest the way in which he does it also rings alarm bells for me – he advises it because he tells her she’ll never experience joy if she keeps letting fear hold her back, rather than as something positive that could help her work out what she wants. The idea of using therapy just as a tool to change someone’s mind on an important life decision is kind of dodgy I think, unless it’s something the person has explicitly said they want to work on/become comfortable with. I totally agree that couples’ counselling could be helpful for them, for sure.

  • Laura says:

    He could perhaps have been forgiven for suggestion exploring options of surrogacy or adoption, to explore whether the letter writers fears of parenthood are really about passing on what she seems to suggest are hereditary mental health conditions, and whether she would be open to a parenting that does not involve her biological children. I assume the letter writer would’ve already considered this option, but you never know. Instead he doubles down on the ‘biological parenthood being the best thing ever’ trope and fails not only to consider what she is saying, but also how motherhood often differs significantly from that of fatherhood (as you rightly point out, the physical dangerous and often unequal caring responsibilities). Which makes you wonder what he’s doing writing an advice column when he can’t see other perspectives – not just of this writer, but that of mothers.

    Also that “I can’t imagine my life without my kids” well then you’ve just got a crappy imagination then.

  • Megan says:

    Converting small humans into productive adult humans takes a lot of courage.

    That said, not only is it not cowardly, it is an act of bravery to decide not to have kids, because most folks (at least in the cultures I’m familiar with) just _expect_ adults to have children. It’s just what you do. It is even braver if the person making that decision had originally wanted them and is in a relationship where having them is a thing, because now, in addition to the societal expectation that they’re bucking, that person has to tell their partner they’ve changed their mind and no longer want this thing that might be very important to their partner.

    The very first thing that every child needs is simply to be wanted by the person or people who will be raising them. Being willing to stand up and refuse to deliberately bring an unwanted child into the world is a thing that this woman should be applauded for. It doesn’t matter why she doesn’t want kids. The simple fact that she doesn’t means that she shouldn’t have them.

  • Fajolan says:

    Thank. You.

  • Zed says:

    The original letter writer touched on it, but the inherent ableism in these discussions around motherhood really needs to be called out. Deciding not to have kids is a decision, but I keep seeing people saying they aren’t having children because of their mental illness. That’s a fine reason, but I worry it perpetuates the ableist idea that people with ANY mental health issue shouldn’t have children. I’m going to pick on a thing you mentioned (full acknowledging that the intention of your statement was not framed in this way, I’m just using it as an example of the way people talk about these issues): “Some people break down and cannot cope without serious support”. That’s all parents. Nobody parents alone. Some people with disabilities do need serious support to parent and that’s fine. We are all interdependent, we need each other regardless of if we have children or not. As you quoted it’s huge undertaking to parent. Supported people and communities make better families, children and parents. Parenting as a person with a disability is an act of rebellion against a eugenic world that says you’re a failure of existing the way you do. So, be a parent or don’t be. However, let’s be clear about some of those ableist and eugeic ideas that underpin these discussions.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hey Zed, thanks for your comment – you raise an important point. I had a similar discussion with a mate on Friday who’d read my post and was worried that I was being too blase about the writer’s concerns re: mental illness and specifically her assumption that she would pass any difficulties on to her children. And maybe I am, because yeah you’re both right on that point – we shouldn’t be saying, as a society, that people should avoid having children if there are concerns that mental illness is hereditary. As you rightly point out, that’s ableist and eugenic. A far better way to tackle these concerns is to ensure that everyone has access to adequate support – whether that’s childcare, mental health support, financial support, ideally all of these and more.

      I take your point, and perhaps this is something that the letter writer could address in ways that may still lead to her deciding whether to have children. However I think I want to pull apart the individual and the macro here. Yes, as a society we shouldn’t be telling people who have a history of mental illness that they shouldn’t have children, and so if there’s an underlying belief that it is somehow ‘immoral’ to have children when you have a history of mental illness then we need to counter that very strongly (because it’s not, and believing that leads us down some really dark roads). I would never tell anyone else that they shouldn’t have kids because they were ill, and I’d hope no serious person would ever do that either.

      But on an individual level, I very strongly believe that literally *any* reason you do not personally want to have children is a good enough reason (as I say in the post, flippantly ofc: avoid having kids because you think they’ll clash with your wallpaper if you like). So while I would never say to someone ‘don’t have kids because you’re struggling’, if someone tells me they don’t want to have kids because they’re struggling, I don’t think it’s my place to try and change their mind. People’s individual choices don’t always imply (or even ever *have to* imply) that others should make those same choices – I think that has led us to a really uncomfortable and pressure-filled place when it comes to the choice to have children in the first place. And as I say, my own difficulties with various things make me acutely aware of the ways in which I’d struggle as a parent. I think it’s OK for me to say ‘that isn’t a struggle I want to take on, thank you’, while at the same time affirming people who have made the opposite choice (and, as you say, supporting them and being part of the village that could help them look after their own child/children).

      On top of this, there are so so many reasons for not wanting children which get pushed away as ‘not valid’ – I don’t want my body to change (selfish!), I am frightened of childbirth itself (coward!), I don’t believe any man I would be with would chip in his fair share (uncaring, untrusting, unloving! Unfair on the guy!), etc etc – that I think there’s a non-zero chance that some people throw out reasons like ‘I don’t want to pass on X or Y thing’ purely to shut up those who would tell them their other reasons were wrong. When society is so keen for everyone to have children (women especially), it can be exhausting to have to keep justifying one’s choice. Fundamentally, I’d like to live in a world where people could just say ‘I don’t want to/I’ve chosen not to’ and not feel like they have to justify why. But we don’t live in that society yet, so we give reasons. And those reasons are always going to be personal, they’re not always going to be rational, and they absolutely shouldn’t be seen as universal: one person’s ‘I don’t want to pass on my mental illness’ will be another’s ‘I think the planet is dying and I don’t want to contribute another human’ and another’s ‘I haven’t met anyone with whom I think I could form the kind of coparental partnership that I’d like in order to raise a child.’

      This is waffly, sorry, but I’m trying to get at what I mean by separating the individual from the macro. On a macro level, society shouldn’t be telling *anyone* that this or that reason is valid, or that there are specific things that should prevent you from having kids. And you’re right, saying ‘you have X condition, therefore you shouldn’t have kids’ is extremely gross and eugenic. See also ‘you’re too poor to have kids!’ – which somehow becomes more gross to me every time it’s said, especially by politicians who seem to be doing their damnedest to dump more working people in this country into poverty.

      *But but but but but* – if any individual came to me and said ‘I can’t afford kids, I have decided not to have them’, my response would not be to tell them that they should reconsider and try to change their mind, because it’s still an individual choice, that they can make for any reason. I hope this makes sense and gets at what I’m saying.

      As I said to my friend on Friday, maybe I’m pushing back harder here than I would if I had always been neutral on the choice to have children or not, but because I’ve always been a ‘no’, I’ve had a lot of this pressure put on me, so there is almost certainly a part of me that is champing at the bit to say ‘your choice, not mine’, because I don’t think we hear it nearly often enough. And you raise something really important, so I’m grateful to you for pointing it out. I wanted to explain my thinking on this, but I will definitely think on this more, and I really appreciate your input.

  • Bob Hoskins says:

    He should have not bothered answering anything, she’s made her mind up, and good for her. It has clearly made a problem for somebody she is married to, and it would seem that they were married under the context that a family would be created, which is a situation that is now not going to happen. So it’s up to him what he does, she doesn’t have a decision really to make, it’s a little off that she’s chosen to keep the focus on herself, it’s almost like she’s trying to manipulate him into turning off his own needs to suit hers, which isn’t a healthy relationship and it wouldn’t be healthy the other way around either. It’s a joy of life for many and a chore for many others. She’s made herself clear which is all she needs to do. He needs to make his own decision on what he does next – ask a parent that wanted children whom matters most, the partner or the child, and it will be the child every time, they’d swap their partner but they’d never swap their children. It’s not the agony uncles place to validate her, I’m sure she hasn’t intentionally done this so he can ease off on the she should have dealt with these issues first or have been open enough with her partner and herself to realise what being a parent actually means before entering into a relationship that was to be built not just around two people. Then again she might not be being truthful to herself in this instance either. However, I’m not sure why the ire is on the few words that have been written by an agony uncle rather than the tangle mess she has weaved, that caused chaos for both herself and her partner and will do so for the rest of their lives.

  • Bob Hoskins says:

    Yes, I missed that bit entirely… but maybe not. The point I took was that when you consider these big life choices are multiple times in your life and before it’s too late… not in the midst of trying to create another life, you do it way before you say stop shooting on my chest, just leave it in tonight.

    For most i’d make an informed guess that a dream partner is exactly that, someone who is part of your dreams, you share these dreams together, if not then you move on.

    Maybe the fella is trying to say that’s she should sort her shit out, see if actually she’d enjoy being a parent before the inevitable happens and her partner walks away. She doesn’t sound great, she ain’t got her shit together, she isn’t a dream and there is no point pretending otherwise. The agony uncle yes he’s a prick but he’s a married prick living his dream, she isn’t living her’s and either she sorts it herself or she doesn’t, no one else can do it for her. I’m sure he’s not suggesting she has children for shits and giggles, or that she ignores her issues that may manifest poorly if she becomes a parent. If she takes his advice then she’ll be no worse off, the advice is seek help and revisit the decision is it not, he’s not put it succinctly enough but the advice does have a flow… he’s not said have some children and sort it out inbetween changing nappies and grabbing sleep has he? and yes she is scared, life’s scary, if she needs some help to switch a light on or two then she should seek it out.

    One thing though, I’d been sleep deprived for years, but I’ve yet to understand how a normal person would snap, it’s inexcusable. I know people do, however they usually end up having their children taken off them or it ends horribly. When things get that bad that you can understand people that snap then maybe you’re one of those that will and need some help rather than pretending otherwise.

    • Girl on the net says:

      “not in the midst of trying to create another life, you do it way before you say stop shooting on my chest, just leave it in tonight.”

      She didn’t just… you know… not think about it. She changed her mind in the face of new information. Honestly, it’s extremely weird that neither you nor the advice columnist understand that people are allowed to change their minds on massive life decisions if the circumstances change.

      Also “way before you say stop shooting on my chest”? This was the first yikes of your comment, then you followed it up with…

      “She doesn’t sound great, she ain’t got her shit together”
      “either she sorts it herself or she doesn’t, no one else can do it for her”
      “yes she is scared, life’s scary, if she needs some help to switch a light on or two”
      “When things get that bad that you can understand people that snap then maybe you’re one of those that will and need some help”

      … someone told me recently that I’m a bit too lax with my bans here in the comments, and I’m gonna agree and ban you here. Discussion and disagreement is welcome, but you’re being extremely callous, and I don’t think you’re adding much to this discussion other than shaming a woman for changing her mind, and offering me unsolicited advice.

  • H. says:

    My son is 5 and a half months old. He’s so cute, I love him to death.


    I basically haven’t done anything in the past half a year besides work and babysitting. Sex degraded to a pure biological necessity, we managed like four 5 minute fucks in the past 6 months? And God, we loved fucking.

    You go into this determined that you will be the exception, you won’t do it like others. Well, I agree with Larkin. They fuck up our lives, and we fuck up their future lives. I hope there’s a chance for a win-win somewhere in here. I’ll be definitely looking for it :).

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Miranda, I’m sorry that I had to delete your comment, but I can’t let those kinds of comments through the moderation queue. Suicidal ideation is an extremely difficult thing to overcome, and I think it’s incredible that you are able to talk about it, but that level of detail can be extremely traumatic for others who may be struggling with the same thing. I’d also urge you – as before – to seek help for the things that are still proving difficult. and are both excellent organisations. Please don’t post detailed descriptions of suicide and self harm in my comments though – I know you mean no harm but there may be other people who are also struggling with these issues, for whom comments like the one above could be harmful.

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