I Can’t Believe People Would Actually Dare To Call My Children ‘Illegitimate’

family in houseAs regular readers of my posts know, I have two different children from two different fathers and I have never tied the knot. I CHOOSE to live MY life as a non-wife. But what makes me so furious that I want to actually throw my laptop across the room are when readers have the nerve to call my children “illegitimate,” a word I haven’t ever uttered. Ever.

If anyone came up to me and said, “Your children are BASTARDS and illegitimate,” I would punch them in the face and gladly take the jail time.

My children are as legitimate as any other children. They are precious and the fact that I have never married is because I don’t want to get fucking married. Yes, I accepted two proposals. And time goes by, I just say, “That’s my husband.”

I’m also appalled that so many people still seem to think it’s the woman who pushes for marriage. Never ONCE have I said to either fiancé “SET THE DATE! SET THE DATE!” I have told both of the men who proposed to me that I really don’t want to get married, but I do want to be with them. (Yes, the first one didn’t work out, but hey, most partnerships don’t.)

In my mind, with both my children’s fathers, I felt and feel married. I AM NOT AGAINST MARRIAGE. For others. For me, well, I do think it’s archaic. That’s MY opinion. Most of my friends, but not all, are married and never ONCE has any one of my friends EVER used the term “bastard” or “Illegitimate” when it comes to my children.

My 94-year-old grandfather, when he was alive, didn’t seem to have a problem with me having a child without being married. Is the notion really that just because I’m not married, I don’t love and cherish my children?

A while ago, I met Kate Hudson. We talked babies and cravings (she craved sweets and I craved carbs and we had a really lovely time together.) She has two children with two different fathers and I don’t think she’s in ANY rush to go to the altar with the father of her second child. I wonder if those who think, or use, the word “illegitimate” actually leave their house.

The other day, my daughter told me that one of her friend’s parents recently got separated. “And guess what mommy? Her father is now gay and has a boyfriend,” she continued. My daughter told me this as if she was asking, “Can I go for a bike ride?” She was so blasé about it.

My daughter also had a friend come over two weeks ago. This 9-year-old girl told me her father was 72 years old. Of course I asked her if she had step-siblings.

“Yeah,” she responded. “My stepsisters are the same age as my mother.”

I then asked, “So it’s your dad’s second marriage?”

My daughter’s friend responded, “Actually, my mom is his third wife,” as if it was the most perfectly natural thing in the world.

Do I think this is bad for these children? Nope. I think it’s called the year 2013! There are gay fathers. There are lesbian mothers. There are people who marry three times. Women are having children on their own. Would you ever say to them that their children are “illegitimate?”

Even though I may not to be married, my daughter talks about marriage and how many children she will have. I listen and even help plan her future wedding (red cake, red dress). I think it’s fucking fabulous that a little girl can talk openly about her gay dad or a dad who has a wife who is the same age as her stepsisters.

It doesn’t bother me when people are appalled, for whatever reason, that I am not married. I DO care, however, that people seem to think it’s okay to call my children “illegitimate.”

My children are as happy as the child whose parents got divorced and the child with the gay father or the child whose dad has been married three times — and of course — as a child whose parents are married.

I realize I write about my life publicly and I am willing to take the heat. Hey, go after me! But Mama Bear comes out when innocent children are called “illegitimate.”

Because you know what’s even more archaic than expecting all women to get married before having babies? Using the word “illegitimate.”

(photo: zimmytws / Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      WORD. You go Mama.

    • Blueathena623

      I was not aware people even used that term anymore.

      • Justme

        I use the term “illegitimate child.” It’s much easier than saying that my dad got a girl pregnant in college but she left school and never told him until her son was forty years old and having health problems so she contacted my dad but he has only met this guy once so he’s a not really part of my family but is related to me…kind of.

      • ChopChick

        That was heavy….

      • Justme

        I realize that now….after rereading things. But honestly, it doesn’t really bother me – I mean, it could happen to anybody who has premarital sex. I just don’t have another word for what he is in my father’s life. I tried to call him my “brother from another mother” and my mom quickly shut down that suggestion. Ha!

      • Oz

        He’s your half-brother. I have one too.

      • once upon a time

        Yeah, I have one too, in quite similar circumstances to yours Justme, and I’ve never stressed about what to call him. Because we’re close I call him my brother but if you’re not close to yours, then half-brother is appropriately matter of fact.

      • Justme

        I’m not stressed about it – just matter of fact. I have a very close relationship with my two older brothers so calling this man my “half-brother” feels weird – I have no relationship with him. So “illegitimate” works for me.

      • hillbilleter

        Seems like your mother would prefer you to call him your half-brother rather than your illegitimate brother, although either term is accurate. Illegitimate implies that your dad slept around without protection, whereas half-brother makes no judgement on your dad’s habits. Word choices have power whether we like it or not, and I wonder what your mom’s intent is when she insists on letting everyone know that your half-brother is illegitimate? To a woman of her generation, the difference in meaning could be very important, saying more about her attitude toward your father than it does about your attitude toward your half-brother.

      • Justme

        You don’t know my mother. She and my father have been married happily for over forty years. This happened my fathers freshman year of college, before they ever met. She doesn’t care what I call him – half, illegitimate. She just didn’t like my funny joke. It really isn’t that big of a deal and not something that regularly affects my family in any manner.

      • hillbilleter

        You’re right. I don’t know your mother. I guess I’m just going by what my own late mom would have done to rub it in during an argument. She had a way with words and their many nuances. Quite the quipper, was Mother.

      • Justme

        My mom was upset at first but quickly realized it had nothing to do with their marriage or my fathers devotion to our family. This guy exists. He has his own father who raised him. He thinks as little of our family as we think of him. It’s a non-issue now.

      • Justme

        The term “brother” for me means there is some sort of relationship beyond DNA since I have a very loving and close relationship with my two older brothers. So this guy, to me, isn’t a “brother” but just my dads illegitimate child. I don’t mean it in a negative way like the commenters on Rebecca’s previous article…just more matter of factly.

      • once upon a time

        Far be it for me to tell you what to do, and if your dad’s son is cool with being called illegitimate then more power to y’all. It’s just that illegitimate seems like such a loaded term to me, and half-brother is rather clinical and matter-of-fact – all it says is that you share a parent with this person.

      • Justme

        I’ve never had any contact with him, and my father has met him once. I don’t think he even refers to my dad as his father – the man who raised him is his father.

        I think when discussing the power of words, you have to consider intent and context. There are lots of people who aren’t fond of Rebecca Eckler and their choice of words in the comment section was meant to be rude and disrespectful towards her young children. In my situation, the man is in his forties, its not splashed across the internet (in an identifiable manner, at least) and it simply describes the situation – no judgment on anyone’s character.

      • hillbilleter

        I just use the terms brother and sister for my half-brother and half-sister whom I have never met. My sister and I are in pretty regular contact through social media, but not the brother (but he did “Friend” me right before he jumped out of social media). I never met my late biological father and he’s the one I have trouble describing. I did call him after his first heart attack. Nearly gave him another one. I had a much better Daddy than my bio-dad (see the problem?) could ever have been.
        For an only child, I have a very large family of halves, steps & fosters, and I call them my brothers and sisters, because that’s what they are, either biologically or legally, and whether we have met or not. People who know our family already know the category each one falls into.
        What to call all our parents? One calls her own bio-dad her Mom’s sperm donor. We have a lot of fun labeling our parents. Not sure all the parents completely love it; but hey, they made their choices and we’re the results. :)

      • hillbilleter

        Yeah, but in the vocabulary of society at large, he’s your half-brother. Your other older brothers are just plain brothers. When we have our own private vocabulary, it opens the door for all kinds of misunderstandings. You really don’t need to explain the relationship to people beyond “half-brother.” People who count, know already. Calling him illegitimate makes a comment on your dad that “half-brother” doesn’t.

      • Justme

        I’m not shouting it from the rooftops. People who know my father understand the situation and its not a big deal. My close friends know and they don’t judge my father or my family. It is what it is. Not that big of. Deal.

      • CW

        It tends to be used these days mostly in reference to the offspring of adulterous relationships. Which technically Ms. Eckler is in given her fiance is still married to another woman.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      All kids are precious, and it’s frankly no one’s business who has what piece of paper. The criticism you get for your living arrangement is absolutely ridiculous. What planet do those people live on?

      • katia

        what people? i dont recall any examples

      • hillbilleter

        There aren’t really any people criticizing her for her living arrangements. Especially if she’s riding an elevator with Kate Hudson. Nobody cares if she’s married, divorced, or is the Queen of England. I thought there was going to be some legal info in there about the heirship rights of illegitimate children. Silly me.

    • ChopChick

      For once, I agree with you. Those people should really step off.

      And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting marriage for yourself, but I still have to say, it makes absolutely no sense that you accepted a proposal. Engaged = going to get married, yet you’re telling us you don’t believe in marriage for yourself. And that’s fine, but understand that wearing an engagement ring while talking about how much you don’t want marriage makes you seem a bit…off your rocker.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        People are allowed to change their mind. I didn’t come to terms with the fact that marriage wasn’t for me for a long time due to societal pressures and crap from my family. My partner and I went as far as buying the rings and starting the early planning stages of getting married before we decided that it wasn’t for us. We’re still together and we both still wear the rings sometimes. It just doesn’t seem like an issue to us.

      • ChopChick

        I don’t disagree, but I’m referring to: “…the fact that I have never married is because I don’t want to get fucking married. Yes, I accepted two proposals…

        …Never ONCE have I said to either fiancé “SET THE DATE! SET THE DATE!” I have told both of the men who proposed to me that I really don’t want to get married, but I do want to be with them.”

        There’s a difference between changing one’s mind, and knowing one doesn’t want marriage yet holding oneself out as “engaged,” the precursor to marriage. If she doesn’t want marriage, no hate here, Im just saying its a little odd to hold yourself out as being in the pre-marriage phase when you don’t want the marriage phase. I’m just saying she should embrace her decision fully.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I totally see what you’re saying. I was just wondering if maybe she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do at some point. Some people waffle between wanting marriage and not wanting it. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing there must have been some contemplation of marriage if she accepted a proposal. I might be wrong through.

      • Andrea

        She has always been very vocally anti-marriage. Even though she denies it now, she has always been contemptuous of the institution, calling it archaic and old fashioned and “so 2006″. It was almost offensive the way she talked about it.I have no issue with someone deciding not to get married. But if that were truly her stand, she wouldn’t have accepted the proposal. And you don’t need to diss marriage just because it isn’t what you want.

        Plus I don’t really believe her anyways. She accepted the proposal. The only reason she’s not married yet is because her boyfriend is still married to someone else.

      • Jess

        The only thing she contemplated was “Do I want to wear this pretty diamond? Fuck yeah I do!!”

      • Lana

        “Should”? Who are you to bring out the S word on someone else’s life? You’re no better.

      • ChopChick

        Really searched for that one didn’t you?

      • once upon a time

        I won’t pretend to understand Eckler’s thought process, but I can give you mine.

        Growing up, I watched 99% of the marriages around me fail spectacularly, and it gave me a genuine aversion to marriage. Together forever, no problems, but marriage? Not if you want us to end up getting divorced (not to say that all marriages end in divorce, of course, but it’s the only outcome I can see for myself if I were to get married.)

        So, after a lot of talking and compromising, my partner and I decided to get engaged as a way of saying, to society but also to ourselves, that we’re committed to each other for the rest of our lives. And, as I said downthread, I accepted that meant that I couldn’t call him my husband, that I wouldn’t get to walk down the aisle in the white dress, and a bunch of other stuff that married couples are afforded. I’m totally fine with that.

        So, to answer your question in a really long way, sometimes people chose the engagement as the commitment because they don’t believe in or trust marriage.

      • Psych Student

        Perhaps one of the benefits of being engaged is that she can use the term “fiancé” without people jumping on her. Others (not you) say it upsets them when people who aren’t legally married use the term husband. However, “fiancé” implies a sense of commitment to the relationship that “boyfriend” may not. And being engaged allows her to use the term. Besides, there are people who have engagements that last for years and years.

    • Allison

      Sigh… when my 89 y/o grandfather found out about my un-wed pregnancy he said “Well, I guess you moved to the big city and your morals changed.”
      I moved from Phoenix to Chicago.

      • Psych Student

        *eye roll directed towards grandfather’s comment* Isn’t it just *lovely* when people attribute things they don’t like to “moral failing”? *grumble*

    • Lisa

      Lmfao! Ohhh wow.You accept proposals and call men your husbands, but marriage is “so 2006.” Now you like to talk big game about punching people in the face for calling your kids “illigitimate.” You’re a piece of work. Thanks for the laugh, though. I needed it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

        The point is people are verbally attacking her kids and that’s completely out of line. I get that she has some conflicting views about marriage or being engaged, but that’s not the point, here. Nothing justifies adults calling children names. That’s disgusting.

      • Lisa

        Rebecca Eckler apparently enjoys calling her son a “cranky little fuck,” as stated in her last ridiculous post. Tell me, is that not disgusting? It’s certainly not justified, I don’t care how cranky a child is. She wants to get all huffy about people calling her kids illigitimate, but she can’t even keep her own mouth shut.

      • CrazyFor Kate

        Children are not sacred, Lisa, you can joke about them too. The difference is she is using it as an endearment and the “bastard” people are using it to attack. Can you really not tell the difference?

      • Lisa

        Calling a child a cranky fuck is not an endearment. It’s sick.

      • Psych Student

        Actually, there is a difference. I call my wife a “whore” and say that I only love her because she’s hot – because she’s asked me to (I do also tell her how much I love her sexy brain and the like. Early in our dating relationship, she told me she’d always wanted to be viewed as so attractive that someone would like her just because she’s hot). Even after five years I still check in on if she enjoys those terms to make sure (she does). Those are our terms of endearment. If I call someone one the street a “whore” then that’s *awful* because it would hurt them. My friend tells his dog in the happy sing-song voice that she is ugly and stupid. But he loves the dog.
        It is acceptable to decide what is an endearment and what isn’t. It is acceptable to decide to teach your children that different words mean different things in different contexts. So she calls her son a cranky fuck. Besides, she typed it in a blog. She may never say it to her son. Perhaps it was just a venting option. If he sees it when he’s a teenager, she can sit him down and explain what it means to vent frustrations and that sometimes people say things as endearments even if they use language that may appear hurtful when said to others or in a different context.

      • Simone

        Lilting, merry chuckle.

      • Molly

        “Cranky fuck” is not an endearment, no mater how you swing it. Guarantee that if the child were old enough to understand what he was being called, he would be hurt. You can try to justify it all you want, it doesn’t make it right. But then again, you do the same thing Eckler does so I’m not expecting you to even remotely understand what people are getting at.

      • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

        It doesn’t justify anyone else doing it, either.

      • Lisa

        You don’t think I’m aware of that? No one should call children names. However, it still remains that Eckler is bitching up a storm when she does the exact same thing she is pissed off about. Hypocrite.

    • catherine

      my wife and i like to joke about how traditional we are – we waited to get married before having children. ;)

      • True Disbeliever

        I like to say that we had one of those old-fashioned weddings. We did not have children yet… and I was not pregnant.

    • LiteBrite

      This is one of the few things you wrote that I actually agree with you on.

    • Tea

      I think that calling children bastards or illegitimate is extremely rude. Period.

      But, I don’t see why you’re surprised. To be frank, you tend to be very vocal about your arrangement, and not always very articulate online. Your tone never comes off as an “activist” for the non-marriage movement, or even overly educational. It’s more of a stream of conciousness that can come off as anywhere from very blunt and matter-of-fact, to smug, and I think there’s a huge difference between saying ” I’m not getting married but plan to stay in a committed partnership, we choose to avoid marriage as an institution for our arrangement” and ” I’m engaged but never going to get married so there!” You’re going to get some confused individuals, and some people with no brain-to-mouth filter.

      I know you in theory shouldn’t have to explain or justify yourself, but you’re writing a column on the internet, some criticism and scrutinizing is expected, especially if you don’t explain clearly. People explicitly read it to hear your thoughts and opinions, and they tend to be ” This is my way, deal.” You’ve never given a very clear, articulated and planned reason on why you choose not to marry, just a very passionate one, and I think that is putting people off, and causing them to give equally passionate responses.

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      • Tea

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      • whiteroses

        Couldn’t have said it better, really.
        Maybe it’s just me, because my husband and I had to jump past a lot of immigration hoops in order to do it, but it irritates me when someone refers to a person they’re not, technically, married to as “my husband” or “my wife”. It took my husband and I two years and a near deportation to get permission to marry, so it irritates me when I hear my SIL call her boyfriend “husband”.

      • Andrea

        For some reason, it REALLY bugs me too! I guess it is kinda snootish of me, but dammit, if you are not married, he’s not your husband!

        Don’t want to be married? That’s fine! But then, you don’t get any of the privileges, I’m sorry. Use the word partner if boyfriend sounds childish.

      • Lashatumbai

        Yea, I’m going to go ahead and refer to MY relationship any old way I want to. I understand you had to jump through hurdles to get married, but that really has no bearing on what I am allowed to call my own lover. A piece of paper does not define marriage in the ways that count.

      • Psych Student

        Well said! As someone who’s marriage isn’t recognized by the federal government, there is no way in hell I’m not going to call the woman I love my wife just because the federal government is dragging it’s heels. And if I were living in, say Mississippi, I would call her my wife, even if the state didn’t recognize it, in large part because, well, they can suck it. For the record, we got socially married in Washington a year ago and then legally married in Washington last December and we live in California, which recognizes our marriage.
        I kind of feel like people who try to police the terms other people use for their significant others, are like the people who suggest that gay marriage will someone diminish their straight marriage. Just because some uses the same term you do to describe a slightly different arrangement doesn’t mean that you can’t use the term or that your use of it means any less.

      • Andrea

        Psych: sorry, that’s WAY different. Like Tea said, this does not apply to homosexual couples who are not allowed to marry (yet!)

      • whiteroses

        Exactly. Homosexual couples have never been allowed to get married in every state. Heterosexual couples can (for the most part) get a marriage license, go down to the courthouse, and be married in less than two hours.

      • Lashatumbai

        I understand that the piece of paper gives legal rights, however, I maintain that I can refer to my significant other however I wish and it’s none of your affair. I actually do want to be married to my fiance but there are circumstances in the way, so for now I am going by his last name in every way I can and he is fine with that. We have been together for years and have a child. I will call him what I want.that. I don’t understand

      • Lashatumbai

        My phone was not very forgiving of that last sentence. I take this personally because I am tired of being told my relationship is not as valid as yours because I am not yet married, no matter how much I want to be.

      • whiteroses

        I didn’t say my relationship was “more valid” than yours, did I? Because I don’t recall typing that. No, how you refer to your fiance isn’t my affair. Neither is it yours that referring to your fiance as your husband annoys me. I was eight months pregnant when I got married and I’ve been with my husband for the better part of a decade. Even with the pregnancy, my husband never referred to me as his wife until we were actually married- because until then, I wasn’t. If we’re going to say that the heart is the only thing that matters, I’ve been married to my husband since 2004. But the heart isn’t legally recognized.

        It annoys me because my husband and I had to fight to get married. It annoys me because you actually aren’t legally married. Seperating when you’re someone’s partner- even if you have a child- is completely different than getting a divorce. Circumstances may be in the way, but the law isn’t barring you from getting married. A long term relationship and a marriage are very different. Equally valid, but very different, and anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t paying attention. I can’t really say it better than Rachel Sea did in her comment to this Mommyish article. http://www.mommyish.com/2013/03/12/not-married-with-children/

        Marriage does mean something. Otherwise, homosexual couples wouldn’t be fighting so hard to do it, and high-profile divorces wouldn’t even be remarked on. It means something, or there wouldn’t be a wedding industry.

      • hillbilleter

        Your relationship is as socially valid as any married couple. It’s just that a marriage license isn’t a sign saying “We have an adult sexual relationship.” It’s a legal contract, as binding as articles of incorporation for Donald Trump. Probably more binding. Being miffed about that is like being upset that you have a rental agreement instead of a deed filed in the county courthouse. If you don’t want the rental agreement, get the deed, but don’t say you have one when you have the other. That’s just lying about what sort of legal rights and responsibilities you have and says nothing about your relationship.

      • hillbilleter

        You may have some legal repercussions over that, if one of you, God forbid, becomes hospitalized or dies, and that’s what the marriage certificate prevent. But if there’s a problem, there’s a problem. I hope you get everything cleared up and are happy ever after. Some states allow for common-law marriages after a couple have lived together for a certain number of years. Have you checked into that?

      • hillbilleter

        I applaud your commitment and your marriage. That means you did get married and have a marriage certificate. You are each other’s spouses. That’s basically a legal term that provides each party with explicit responsibilities and benefits. Choosing to say it’s not a legal document but a social one makes it no less a legal one. You do have a wife; you have a document to prove it. If you didn’t have a document filed in a courthouse, you wouldn’t be a legal spouse. Just like saying you own a house, with all responsibilities & rights, when you’re just renting would be a lie, saying you have a legal spouse when you share the rent and not rights to make legal decisions for each other is a lie. It’s not just a social document. It’s a legal document. Not something to lie about.

      • Andrea

        Lasha: yeah a piece of paper surely DOES define it. You can choose not to believe that, but it is true.

      • whiteroses

        Not emotionally, that’s true. But it does count when it comes to benefits, property laws, healthcare and whether or not your children are legitimate (since that’s what Eckler’s article is about). My husband can make end-of-life care decisions for me. He’s legally entitled to half of everything I own.

        Spouses have hospital visitation rights, can be on each other’s health care, can file joint tax returns, and are entitled (for the most part) to have child visitation and custody.

        If you don’t want to get married, fine. Whether or not to do so is everyone’s personal choice, and the fact that ANYONE legally can’t is terrible. But no matter how long you’ve been lovers, you don’t have the same benefits your average married person does. It’s not just a “piece of paper”, and calling it that devalues those who would kill to get married and can’t. Marriage isn’t a certificate. It’s so much more than that.

      • Jussame

        Eckler lives in Ontario where common law spouses DO have the same rights as married couples (health care decisions, property rights, joint tax returns etc.) so your point doesn’t hold.

      • hillbilleter

        The marriage certificate does matter, really. When one is in the hospital and unable to make legal decisions that marriage certificate cuts through a lot of red tape. Or if, God forbid, one of you dies, the other one automatically has the legal right to plan the funeral. The surviving spouse automatically inherits property, figured differently according to which state you live in, but the marriage certificate isn’t just an emotional declaration. It’s a legal declaration that your spouse has the same rights and responsibilities as you do over any legal or medical decisions that need to be made. So the terms husband or wife have great legal impact during very trying times in a couple’s life. Now, you can visit a lawyer and pay to have a sheaf of legal documents written up and signed by both parties that gives each other all the legal benefits of the marriage certificate. But gosh, that sounds so much more convoluted and confusing to hospitals and funeral homes than a mere Marriage Certificate. Why spend all that money & have to explain to everybody what you did and why you did it, when you could just get married and only sign one paper with the same results? Besides, if you aren’t married and call each other husband and wife, that’s just a lie. If you feel you have to lie about your real relationship, why are you even together?

      • Jen

        Agreed. If you don’t want to be “married’ or don’t believe in it, what’s the point of calling him your “husband” or her your “wife” because it’s not your thing, it makes no sense. Obviously it is your thing or you wouldn’t call them that.

      • Tea

        I’m kind of the same way. I had to move 1100 miles, kill our savings, and leave behind all of our family to go get married. We had a ceremony a few years earlier in our home state, with rings and a minister, and called each other “husbands” in private, but that was because we legally couldn’t do it. Eventually, we made the move just to do it all legally.

        So I give a little pass to queer couples who would kill to marry, but can’t due to state laws.

      • whiteroses

        So do I. Gay marriage isn’t legalized (yet) in all of the US. And it never has been.

        But straight people who choose not to get married and yet refer to their partners as “husband” or “wife”? Heck no.

      • Gangle

        Yeah, no I don’t get that. I am married now, but I called my spouse husband before we married. By the time we got married we had gone through some pretty horrendous fertility treatments, health scares, overseas travels, deaths in the family and three house moves. We grieved for the children we cannot have and rebuilt our futures. We no longer felt like girlfriend/boyfriend, we were never properly engaged (he never ‘proposed’, we finally decided the time was right to get married and then did it on the sly) so fiancé didn’t work. The truth is, we were husband and wife long before we had a wedding.
        And, on a side note, no child is ever illegitimate.

      • whiteroses

        Speaking as someone who was eight months pregnant when she got married and, almost a year later, still hears the whispers behind my back that my son is a “bastard”- I’m not sure who you’re preaching to. So I speak from personal experience when I say that everyone who calls my son a bastard can kiss the very widest part of my ass. As another commenter has said- it seems hypocritical when people have children and yet consider raising children less of a commitment than marriage. It’s not. In many ways, it’s far more permanent. I will be linked to my husband forever, no matter what happens, through my son. That’s not what I was talking about in my previous comments. Without marriage, I wouldn’t have the various benefits I do that a “piece of paper” affords me. Well, me, my husband and my son.

        In my own experience- my husband and I have experienced three inter-continental moves in the nearly ten years we’ve been together. His dad had cancer. His sister got divorced, which caused a whole new set of issues for us both. We were also told that children weren’t a possibility, which was incorrect. We grieved anyway, because we both wanted children and we believed a senile doctor. We went through various other family issues that are far too personal to discuss. My husband never actually proposed. He bought me a ring one day and that was it. I got pregnant and nearly lost our child three times in the first two trimesters.

        Did we feel married? Hell yes. Were we? No. We still never referred to each other as husband or wife until we were legally married. It annoys me when other people do, because if you’re not legally married, it doesn’t really matter how you feel. The law does not recognize feelings. Only 9 states in the US recognize common law marriage.

        I have friends who refer to their significant others as “husband” and “wife” on FB, and it’s confusing as hell, because I’d like to know if you’re just referring to each other, or if I need to send an actual wedding gift.

      • Gangle

        Of COURSE referring to someone as your husband/wife does not legally make them so. If I called my husband a cream-puff it wouldn’t mean that he was a delicious pastry. But people reserve the right to call each other what they want. It never created confusion with anyone, as everyone who knew us understood the nature of our relationship, and those who didn’t, well, there was no reason why it should cause confusion, unless they were seriously interested in nosing into our business. I didn’t try to claim marital status on any paper work or any other official way. I don’t have crazy fb friends that I barely know in real life to get worried or confused about it, if you were my biology partner in highschool then I’m most probably not going to ‘friend’ you. Not ONCE did anybody ask if they needed to send me a wedding gift because they were confused.

        I have had friends who have referred to to each other as husband/wife when they are not, and I have not once felt confused, offended or otherwise. I also call two close friends ‘sis’ and ‘brother’ and another as ‘nan’, even though I am not related to them in any way, and therefore they are not legally or biologically related to me. It is absolutely true and correct that I am not a sister or granddaughter to these people, but yet we refer to each other as such. I don’t really see what is so confusing or offensive to other people about it.

      • whiteroses

        I’m glad it never created confusion for you or the people you know. It did and has for at least thirty people I can think of when speaking to my best friend from high school. There’s a lot of “wait…. you guys got married?” and “congrats!” Then she came online and said, “Oh, teehee, we aren’t actually married yet.” In fairness, they’ve been on again off again for years and the FB drama is like a soap opera, but a lot of people commented a variant of “WTH”. Just for the record, I don’t friend people I don’t know or that I’m not currently friends with.

        I don’t feel offended. It annoys me always and confuses me on occasion. Confusion and annoyance are not the same thing. I get offended when people call my son a bastard. I get offended by DudeBro. I get offended by homophobia and racism. I get annoyed (which is a completely different thing) when people refer to their significant other as “husband” or “wife” for reasons I have already mentioned. I also get annoyed when I can hear someone else’s music in my car. It annoys me, it passes, and then I’m cool. It’s not as if I’m lurking in my secret lair trying to figure out a way to get you to stop saying it. If that’s what floats your boat, who am I to stop you? And what do you care what a random internet stranger thinks anyway?

        But it still annoys me. That’s my opinion, and I’m entitled to it, the same way you’re entitled to call your husband a bear claw if you want. Far stupider, sadder, and much more terrible stuff happens in this world every day. I’m able to keep it in perspective- but I’m also allowed to say that it annoys me.

      • hillbilleter

        A marriage certificate is a legal document, a contract recorded in a courthouse, like a deed or a will. Saying you are married, even if only by referring to each other as husband or wife, is lying about the existence of a legal document and all the legal rights and responsibilities that go with that document. A marriage license isn’t a social document. A deed to a property doesn’t mean you have legal rights and responsibilities toward that property; it’s a legal piece of paper with legal implications. Giving people the impression that you have the right to sign documents, buy and sell property, make medical decisions or burial arrangements when you don’t – that’s just a lie for the sake of projecting a social image. If you want those rights and responsibilities, get a marriage certificate. If you don’t, you don’t have to. But why lie about it? That’s just not even necessary in this day and age.

      • Spiderpigmom

        I don’t mind at all other people calling their boyfriend/girlfriend husband or wife if they like it. But before I got married (which I did because it made my immigration case more compelling) it really irked me to hear people call my life partner and father of my child “your husband”, especially coming from someone who knew very well we were not married. I couldn’t help thinking: people, if we wanted to be husband and wife, we would have gotten married!

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      What kind of asshole calls children these names. My partner (who I also call my husband so I don’t have to explain myself to people all the time) got into a dispute with his former business partner and the guy went around on the internet calling my kids bastards. I was furious. I hate the sanctimony. Meanwhile it’s fine for these same people to get married and divorced 4 or 5 times (which is fine with me, but don’t judge my choices). Don’t listen to the asshats, you’re better than that.

      • Molly

        “What kind of asshole calls children these names.” Uhm… Eckler.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I’ve never seen Eckler call a kid some mean name to get back at a parent. I mean, I know she’s controversial or whatever but she doesn’t do this type of crap.

      • Molly

        She called her own child a cranky little fuck in her last article. Mommy of the year. I don’t care what her reasoning was behind it, she still said it. Period.

      • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

        Thank. You.

      • Psych Student

        I appreciate that you pointed out that sometimes using more common language “husband” instead of “in a long-term committed relationship that involves living together but we’re not getting married for x, y, and z, reason, our families are fine, our children are safe and taken care of, etc., etc.” is helpful to allow things to just keep moving. Those who need to know the details of the relationship will know, and those who can hear the simple term “husband” and then move on.

      • hillbilleter

        Your living arrangements are your own business, but how do you explain this lie to your children. That sometimes it’s
        okay to lie about a legal document? What’s wrong with “partner?” When they follow suit and lie for convenience, how will you correct them and not lose face with them?

    • Kate

      Blah blah blah name drop Kate Hudson blah blah blah.

    • CaneCorsoMom

      Illegitimate: Born to an unmarried couple. Which is what you’re kids are, right? Not trying to be nasty, but hey, people judge you for your choices (just like you think people who get married are so 2006), and unfortunately they judge your kids too. I’d be way more upset about people calling my kids “bastards” but that’s just me.

      • CaneCorsoMom

        Oh dammit, “your” not “you’re.”

      • ChopChick

        As much as I criticize Rebecca–you’re dead wrong. Using the term “illegitimate,” whether you recognize it as such or not, is essentially degrading to the children, just as much as bastards is. Can’t we agree that regardless of how enraging Rebecca is at times that calling the children offensive and degrading names is out of line and off limits?

      • Andrea

        Probably illegitimate is crossing the line.

        But she does tend to bring out the worst in her reader with her asinine writing. No excuse. But still.

      • canecorsomom

        That’s the definition. I’m not saying that makes it ok, but that is what it is. Facts are what they are. Author has two children with two different men that she was not wed to in any legal or religious way. And there are still people who feel very strongly about that.

        Furthermore, author doesn’t get to be all offended when she makes her living judging the SHIT out of her boyfriend’s kids, and his wife, and publicly blasts them.

      • Andrea

        Yes there is that.

        What was it that she said last time? If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck?

      • Psych Student

        It *sounds* like you’re saying it’s ok. Just because words have a definition that may apply doesn’t make them nice words or acceptable words to use in the context. If a person is diagnosed with mental retardation calling them a “r-word” (sorry, I can’t even bring myself to type the slur – it hurts) doesn’t make ok.

      • CaneCorsoMom

        You just used the word. Mental retardation. I use the word “retard” all the time as it applies to have slow growth, or to delaying the growth. As in, “My tomato plants are retarded – they’re refusing to grow or bear fruit.” Again, the word MEANS what it MEANS. Would I call a kid illegitimate? No. Do I understand that other people have different feelings on it? Yes.

        Again, anyone who refers to their own child on the INTERNET as a “fuck” doesn’t deserve an ounce of my sympathy. I think calling your kid a fuck is WAY worse than some random person saying that your kid is illegitimate (which they ARE, if I could point that out again – 1 being the product of an adulterous relationship).

      • Lisa

        1000x thumbs up.

      • Psych Student

        I actually think we are saying the same thing. That is – that words have clinical/technical definitons that are appropriate and then there is the slang/colloquial use of the words which aren’t necessarily nice. So, it is different to say “I’m gay” vs. “that’s so gay”. Just as there is a difference between saying “my tomato plants have retarted growth” and saying “that person is a retard” (my apologies for that example). The same goes for discussing “illegitiment”. If it is used to refer to a definitional state of being, then it’s not so bad, as opposed to using the term “illegitiment” as an insult to means somewhat less than or unworthy. And I think that you and I can agree on this being true.

      • Chloe R.

        You still think it’s okay to call a child a fuck. And that’s sad.

      • Psych Student

        Yes I do. And I respect your opinion that it’s sad. I’ll talk to a therapist about it to make sure I’ve worked out any anger issues I have with children before having them, because then, when I become a mother, I won’t ever feel the need to use foul language to express my feelings about my children.

      • Chloe R.

        Actually I would suggest just not having children.

      • Psych Student

        Let me make sure I’m understanding you. You think that a I shouldn’t have children because: I’ve planned for them, my wife and I are lesbians (who studies say produce good children (and you never mentioned that at all and I’m not saying that’s what you object to)), we are waiting to have children until we can afford them, our children won’t be accidents (happy or otherwise), we both have an understanding of how children will impact our relationship as a couple and are prepared to handle it, we have very supportive family around to help us out, we have a well established relationship that we think can handle children, I have spent time with young children (though clearly not my own) and understand that they can be frustrating and exhausting, I know that children can cause stress, as I have suffered from anxiety and depression, I expect to experience some PPD (and my wife and I are prepared to look for it and treat it ASAP), I expect that there will be times in which I find a baby (or toddler, or teenager, or adult child) trying, frustrating, stressful, or just generally distressing and am prepared to vent my frustrations in a healthy way – by venting to my wife away from the child, venting to a shrink, venting to a fellow mom who understands, etc., by walking away from the child who is placed in a safe/secure location for a minute if I need to calm down, by passing off the baby to a friend or family member if I need to take a break.

        You’re saying that – because I know children will be stressful, anxiety provoking and perhaps depression inducing, and knowing that I won’t love every single moment of being a mother, that there will be times I dislike my children, that there will be times I want to scream and will be sure to scream away from them, and that there will be times I want to call them names, and will be sure to be in a different house than them when I do so and because I know that children will be both more wonderful and horrible than I can even begin to imagine – that I shouldn’t have children.

      • True Disbeliever

        Sorry Psych Student, but as the mother of two (both of whom had colic) and grandmother of three, I think your anticipation of how bad or stressful kids can be is monstrously exaggerated. Check it out. You NEVER mention that there might be some positives in having children. All you talk about are the negatives: frustrating, distressful, need to calm down. If that’s what you’re anticipating, I don’t think you should have children either. At least not before you get a lot of counseling.

        P.S. How do lesbians have children who are “accidents”? Truly weird. I would think you’d need a lot of preparation. You talk about your “wife,” but you seem to be the one who will carry the baby. Are you both wives?

        P.P.S. I have never, at any time, wanted to call my children “names.” How childish can you be?

      • Chloe R.

        Thank You!! Lol I couldn’t have said it better.

      • Psych Student

        Wow, True Disbeliever, I think some of your comments are . . . interesting to say the least. I may be inclined to see the potential struggles of motherhood considering the facts that 1. I have suffered (and still deal with) severe depression and so thinking about the negatives is somewhat natural, and 2. I’m a psychology student – people don’t come to see therapists when everything is happy and fine, they come to see a therapist when they are distressed and having a difficult time dealing with their lives or a particular part of their lives. As someone who lives with depression and anxiety (and I am far from being alone in that), I understand that motherhood may hit me harder than it hits others (For an example of the struggles of someone with depression, see the gal who writes the Baby Blues column for this site). However, if I prepare myself for the struggles and work to amend them or head them off at the pass, then perhaps I will be better equipped to deal with the problems as they arise.

        I did, actually, mentions some of the positives about having children – I know there are good things. Why do I want to have a baby? Because I want to hold a child in my arms and look into her/his beautiful eyes and fall in love. I want to hold a baby who wraps her tiny fingers around one of my fingers and sucks on it. I want my wife to pick up our two little girls, hand them foam tools and bring them over to me when I’m feeling crazy and have them hit me in the head and say “fix Mama Cori! Fix Mama Cori! Fix Mama Cori!”. I want to sit with my wife with our baby on our lap and our cat next to us and sigh with utter contentment while she reads to all of us. I want to help my children walk as they go through the toddle, toddle stage and we coo over every minute. I want to teach my kids how to respect all people. I want to raise my *fingers crossed* hopefully gay son to be wonderful and loving and our daughters (hopefully lesbians, but we accept that it’s not a choice) to be strong, confident women. We want to pass on to our children our very best traits and keep from them our flaws. I want to watch our children grow up, leave the nest, and keep coming back to visit because they love us as much as we love them. You don’t have any idea how much I want to have a baby and how hard it is to be at the stage in my life where my friends are all having babies and we don’t have the money yet and won’t have a baby without the resources.

        But to pretend that motherhood is painless is a fairytale that sets people up for failure. When we present expectations that everything that happens with a child should be happy and joyous and magical, then when it’s not, people (women *and* men) fall even harder. If I expect to struggle, then I am prepared to struggle. I won’t feel like such a failure if I can’t breastfeed my baby because I might have to go back on anti-depressants as soon as she’s born. If I prepare myself for a time when I won’t be able to sooth the baby but my wife can, I will be ready to say that that’s just what babies do and not take it so personally. Maybe if we didn’t tell mothers, fathers, grandparents, birth parents and adoptive parents that they have to be perfect and enjoy every minute of every day, maybe then, those poor people who occasionally roll their eyes at their teenagers or call their toddler a dumb dumb because she keeps running into walls (then bouncing off them and continuing on), wouldn’t think they were failing, but instead were human and were struggling just like everyone else. I am ready to struggle and experience failure as a mother. Overall I expect the experience to be magical, but from what I have heard, every minute of every day isn’t going to be good. And it’s not just going to be good days and bad days, it’s going to be good minutes and bad minutes. In the end, it’s all going to be great and each year, I’ll look back and think that that was the best year ever. But that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed ever minute of the year and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t get frustrated, stressed out, struggled and cried a few times.

        P.S. I said that lesbians (who aren’t having sex with men) *don’t * have children by accident (or at least I meant to, I may have mistyped) and used that as a plus for my having children because we have to plan them and can thus be prepared for them, as compared to people who just end up with an “oops” baby (not that that is always bad).

        I talk about my wife because I have a wife (it’s legal according to Washington state and everything). I am her wife and she is mine because we are both women. I will be carrying the babies because my wife can’t. We are hoping that we might be able to get her a uterine transplant so that she can carry one of our babies as well, but if not, I’ll just carry them all. It doesn’t make either of us less of a wife or less of a mother (you *didn’t* say that either of us were, I’m just making sure it’s clear).
        P.P.S. In frustration, I have called my wife names (not to her face), I’ve called my cat names (to his face, in a sing-song voice), my parents names (not to their face), my brother names (to his face and not), etc. And I have most certainly called Ann Coulter a raving she-bitch who shouldn’t talk because she’s crazier than I am. You can bet that I’ve had many a harsh name/word for people against gay marriage. Perhaps you release your frustrations in a non-verbal way. Or you don’t have any. But usually, when I call people names (except for my cat), I do it out of frustration and venting. When I think mean things about my wife – I apologize to her even if she doesn’t know why I’m apologizing. I haven’t apologized to Ann Coulter or conservatives who want to strip me of my right to marry, and I never will. I will continue to call my cat a whiny little brat when he whines because he wants to go outside even though we just took him outside for an hour. Then I will give him a big hug, tell him how much I love him and put him down for a nap so he shuts up. If that’s childish, then it’s childish. That doesn’t make it uncommon, but just because something is common, doesn’t make it mature. I apologize if my immature ways of dealing with my frustration distress you. Perhaps you should see a shrink about what are probably control issues.

      • True Disbeliever

        OMG. Over react much? Parenthood isn’t all peaches and cream, but your expectations, both good and bad, are off the wall. I’ve been depressed most of my life… I’ve also raised two wonderful productive children. I might call other drivers, salespeople, etc. names, but never my children. I think that’s sick. You have over-analyzed the parenthood thing to death. You’re actually setting yourself up for failure. Parenthood for you will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if the prophecy is not fulfilled, you will be totally lost.

        AND… your expection that your baby will be a she is weird. Do you really hate males that much? Your hope that a son will be gay and your TWO DAUGHTERS will be lesbians feeds right into the fears of homophobes. You aren’t helping yourself or your cause by saying that. I’d keep my mouth shut if I were you. You need a new therapist/medications.

        What if you have a special needs child or a handicapped child. What a stresser that will be! How would you cope then?

      • Psych Student

        Wow, I don’t think I’m the only one who over-reacted. Yes, I did over-react. It turns out you and Chloe R. hit a nerve. I didn’t realize that was going to happen, so before you suggest I stay away from such conversations in which I may get my feelings hurt – I didn’t see that one coming (people telling me I shouldn’t have children or my reaction to it). Can you really blame me though for getting a bit defensive when people are telling me I shouldn’t have children. I think I’ll take some of your advice and try to have a more positive outlook on life. I will however, set myself up for success by not putting so much pressure on myself to be the “perfect parent” that my world will end when I fail to do so. Because, as a depression-prone person, my world ends a lot and I’m seeing myself up for success by thinking through scenarios and thinking about what my reaction might be so that I can choose the most appropriate reaction (we teach this sort of thing in therapy – it’s helpful).

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with the fact that I jump to use female pronouns when talking about my future children. I can’t imagine you (or others) would be happy if I referred to my future children as “it”, so I picked a pronoun. Would you have been equally upset if I had assumed I was going to have a male child? If not, then I think *you* need to examine yourself. Did you only notice that I chose a gender because I said “she”? If so, you’re in the majority. Because it turns out that when people read something about women/men, they are more likely to pause than if it is written men/women because we assume that it is natural for the word “men” to come first.

        I don’t hate men. I assume you are implying that because I’m a lesbian that I hate men or chose women to get away from men. Actually, I feel in love with a woman and just never stopped being with her. My desire for men faded over time (I am not the standard case as to how lesbians form, though female sexuality is fairly fluid).

        People – not just me – dream about what their future family will look like all the time. My wife and I would *love* to have two girls and a boy. Are we going to get that? I don’t know. With the technology out there now, and the fact that we’ll be doing IVF anyway, we can probably pick the gender of our baby. Or,
        since we live in America, we can abort if we keep getting boys. Or we can implant several eggs into me on each round and drop down the number until we have only girls. So all of that was a bit over-dramatic and I’m not saying I’m seriously considering those options – just that they exist (I wish to repeat, that I have not place moral values on these options, so please, no one, accuse me of being a huge baby murder for making a list). I want a little girl because I want to dress her up in pink and purple and frills and lace. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do the same thing to my little boy because I like pink and purple and frills and lace and I think tiny baby dresses are *adorable*. But, I hear tell, that society doesn’t look kindly on little boys dressed in dresses, so I’d be better off if I manage to get a little girl or two. Plus, after not too long, babies are able to express their opinion and then I won’t get to pick out their outfits any more. There’s nothing wrong with hoping – people do it all the time.

        As for the “I’d keep my mouth shut if I were you [about my desire for gay children]“, you’re right – it does play RIGHT into the fears of the homophobes. That the gays are going to produce gay children. Well, science tells us that that the gays are no more likely to produce gay children than the straights. Do you know why I want my kids to be gay? Because I think being gay is awesome! I think that falling in love with a woman was the best thing that ever could have happened to me. Even before my sexual attraction lined up with my romantic attraction, I decided that if anything happened to my wife I’d go
        back out there and date women because a woman dating a woman just makes sense to me and feels right. I want my son (or sons) to be gay because I think that being gay is fun. I think that men are great to date and I think that gay men, especially flamboyant ones, are a special kind of great. I don’t see anything wrong with having gay children, and it concerns me that you are so quick to tear down my desire for gay children. I’ve lived a wonderful life with a woman, why wouldn’t I want my daughter(s) to do the same. I’ve also had positive experiences dating men and would love my son(s) to date them as well. My wife and I joke that the kids will come to use one day, head hung low and “confess” that they are all straight. But that’s ok. And besides, we will raise them to believe that being gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, asexual, etc. are all equally acceptable and they don’t ever have to settle
        into one identification if they don’t want to. They can be whoever they are. Just as I hope that I have two girls and a boy and I hope they are all gay. Statistically speaking, I *might* get one gay kid, but maybe not. And if we have all girls, all boys, or all straight children, we’ll love them.

        And truth be told – I don’t think I’m hurting my cause at all. I think being gay is so awesome that I think more people should try it. I also think more people should be atheists, in open relationships, kinky, and relaxed about sex. And in order to proudly represent the groups I am a part of, I live a good
        life, helping others where I can, enjoying myself, and being a fairly good (though highly imperfect) person. I respectfully share my opinions, and respectfully accept the opinions of others.

        I am a bit worried that you think that my desire for gay/female children means I need more therapy and meds. I think maybe you’ve got some deep seeded concerns that perhaps *you* need to address with a therapist. And the meds won’t change my opinions, they just help me function. But thanks for your

        Oh, and if I have a child with special needs or a handicap, then I will be stressed out and then learn to deal with it, just like every other parent out there does. I might even have an advantage of being more likely to catch things like learning disabilities, depression, or anxiety early on and be more prepared to send my child/children to get the help they need. My wife and I have the additional benefit (state of privilege) of being white women from a middle class family with a college educations (an MS, for her and eventually a PsyD. for me), so we have (unfair) levels of access to services and are more likely to be able to find them and get our children to them. So perhaps we would be well served to have a special needs child. Perhaps we should adopt one from the straight people who weren’t prepared for the challenges having a child (with our without special needs) brought who didn’t overthink anything and just got pregnant because they could, didn’t think they could, or they thought a child might fix their relationship. Such a child would probably be much better off with someone who overthinks everything than she/he would in the foster care system. And maybe we’ll adopt an older child so we can find the gay ones!

      • Lisa

        She call her own children nasty names, so I have no sympathy for her.

      • Molly

        Glad someone agrees.

    • Mary

      I think you open yourself up for these attack because you’re an arrogant and smug bitch.

      • Lisa

        Perfect. Bravo.

      • Ashley

        Gendered slurs are so edgy and effective. Go you!

      • Molly

        …because that was so edgy and effective. Go you.

      • Simone

        WTF? So don’t read the articles! Didn’t your kindergarten teacher ever instruct you that we do not call others rude names? I don’t get it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

        Umm…. Can I just say that I love this? You win the comments game today. :)

    • Julie

      Do people seriously go around calling children bastards or illegitimate? For real? I know many people who had children unmarried and none of them seem to face this issue. They are rather outdated rude terms for sure. So I agree with you on that front.

      That being said, I do not get your whole perspective on marriage. Don’t want to get married? Cool. Whatever. Your relationship is your business. I really don’t care. But I do not understand the whole engaged but not getting married thing. Being engaged means being engaged to be married. So don’t be surprised when people expect there to be a wedding. If you don’t want to get married just let him buy you a nice ring and just be together. Don’t run around using the terms and acting out the traditions of something you want no part of. It makes absolutely no sense to trash marriage and then go around calling your partner your husband (which he is not… you can “feel” as married as you want it does not make it so). And if marriage is something you are not interested in and do not want and feel is archaic why on earth would you pretend like you’re buying into the whole business (ie calling him your husband). It makes no sense at all.

      • katia

        we’re not married and have 3 and have never had the issue once. ive never heard the term about other kids either. (i know the term but never hear it).
        i would like to get married but im procrastinating because of the work and decisions and money to make the day what i want. i also say my kid’s dad is my husband sometimes to avoid an explanation. i dont feel different treatment after revealing we are not married, comapred to how people treat me assuming we are married. one of my friend’s once said that people treat her much much differently after being officially married instead of common law,(knowing that we werent official) thats about the rudest comment i’ve had.
        this article would have been a lot more interesting to me if there were some actual examples!

    • Sara

      I strongly dislike the term “illegitimate” to describe anyone. All people are legitimate.

      However, I don’t understand your position on marriage. If you don’t want to get married–fine. That’s a viable choice and a personal decision, and you’re far from unique. But make your decision and then own it. Don’t complain when people don’t agree with it, or when they fail to validate it to your satisfaction. You may “feel” married, but you’re not married.

      Marriage is a legal status, and you’re either married or you’re not, in a legal sense.

      I think the problem most people have with your position on marriage is that a) it’s inconsistent–you both state that marriage is “so 2006″ and you “don’t want to f-ing get married”, and then say that you “feel” married and complain when others don’t agree; and b) you tend to voice your opinions in a matter that is quite frankly adolescent. As Tea says, it’s very “look how controversial I am, and you can’t do anything about it, so there!” It’s like you’re daring people to disapprove of your choices, and then you complain when they fail to validate said choices. If you’re really so comfortable and secure in your decisions, why not just go about living your life and not make such a big deal out of it? What does it matter what anyone else thinks of your relationship? It’s really no one’s business. It is–or should be–a private matter between you and your significant other.

      • once upon a time

        I was going to say this, but you said it better.

        Don’t call your partner you’re husband if you’re not actually married. I’m also in an engaged-with-no-desire-to-get-married relationship and I accept that refusing to actually sign those documents means that I miss out on some of the stuff associated with traditional marriage.

      • whiteroses

        Thank you for this.

      • george

        Wrong, some people are not fully human. Like bastards.

    • Page

      What’s the point in getting engaged if you never plan on getting married?

    • Catherine

      Rebecca, it’s technically the correct term. I don’t know what circles you run in where you are having it thrown at you like that, other than online, and I would guess that has more to do with your smug, holier-than-thou attitude about your relationship status and the greatness of just about everything you do that rubs people the wrong way, rather than people judging your children’s existence or taking stabs at them.
      I have 4 illegitimate children, they are not ‘illegitimate’ people, that is silly, but they were conceived and born out of wedlock and that is the traditional term for a child born out of wedlock. No we don’t NEED to stick with traditional terms for everything, it is a very dated term (and frankly, does anyone use it? Including comments on here) but the term still exists and if it is, then it is.

      You cannot change language just because you don’t like it, you can, however, change how you react to language, the term ‘illegitimate children’ does not bother me because I know that it is meaningless, it doesn’t mean, at all, that my children are not legitimate human beings, that’s warping the meaning, it doesn’t mean that they are not loved or cared for and it does not mean that their lives will be any less, so what’s the point in getting frustrated or upset at the existence of the word and it’s meaning? Water off a duck’s back.

      • Andrea

        Well (not that I will be defending Eckler here) it does have negative connotations. To me, it means the children were not conceived in a “legitimate” (i.e. within wedlock) way. But I don’t think that it is not legitimate to conceive children out of marriage.

        I think the problem most people have with Eckler is that she is such a conceited bitch. It brings the worst out in people. And when you post articles designed to offend and piss people off, well, you are just gonna have to expect that people are gonna take it right out on you. Sometimes in hurtful ways. NO ONE would know a thing about her if she didn’t chose to air all her private business on the internet. SPECIALLY they way she does it.

        But I don’t think it’s right to call anyone illegitimate.

      • Simone

        If you don’t like the writer’s articles, stop reading them. Being an anonymous reader doesn’t give you the right to call anyone a conceited bitch. You are very discourteous and ill-mannered.

      • jessica

        Yeah, it has always been kind of odd to me that so many people seem to despise this lady and all that she stands for with all of their heart and soul yet continue to read every article and then spend the rest of the day insulting her and calling her names. It’s like being in middle school all over again. You can dislike someone and just leave him or her alone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

        It’s because we make a drinking game out of her articles. Several, actually.

        There’s “Guess Eckler’s articles by the title.”

        “Take a shot for every time she uses ‘I’ or ‘me’.”

        And “Take a shot for every time she name drops (BMW, iPad, Prada, Kate Hudson, etc.) or plugs her own book.”

        Disclaimer: You will be shitfaced before you finish one article while playing either of the last two.

      • Simone

        Petty. But if that’s your special interest, whatever.

      • proxy8

        You call it petty, I call it genius.

      • hillbilleter

        The terms legitimate and illegitimate are legal terms for the legal status of children, not a social statement in any way in today’s society. All to do with heirship, the passing along of properties, rights of caretakers and survivors, hospital visitation, funeral planning, the right to commit insane family members, and a plethora of other things that a marriage certificate would solve, but may not be what the couple wants. The term “illegitimate” means nothing socially anymore and I don’t know why the author is all wrought up about it. Adults make their decisions and the entire family lives their lives according to those decisions, regardless of legal or archaic word usages.

      • whiteroses

        Yes. If my husband and I felt we had to “legitimize” our relationship by getting married, we never would have actually done it. We wanted to get married so that we could be together. With our circumstances being what they were, marriage made sense. Then, once I got pregnant, it took on a whole new meaning. It became about protecting our son and his interests, because if something happened to one of us we wanted the other to have full legal rights over our child.

        Like it or not, if I hadn’t gotten married my husband would not be my next of kin.

    • CK

      And Kate Hudson’s name was in bold type, why??

    • Psych Student

      Good for you Rebecca! I know that you seem to get a lot of flack, but I actually enjoy your articles and like hearing from a variety of different viewpoints. It is sad to read comments where people call your children “illegitimate”. I imagine you’d join me in being annoyed when people say that you “can’t be engaged” because your sweetie is still married. You aren’t asking for legal status by using terms. You aren’t hurting anything. Just keep ignoring the (I’m trying to come up with a term that won’t be considered name calling) people who say mean things, they just like to be angry. Perhaps they are using you as an available source for venting anger because they can’t get to the real source of their anger (I’ve done that – it happens).

    • M.

      I’m pretty sure this entire article was an excuse to name drop Kate Hudson.

      • hillbilleter

        That was my impression too. As someone who has known for decades that not all children are the product of a marriage, I wondered what vault this woman has been held captive in that she complains about the legal term “illegitimate” and brags about riding an elevator with Kate Hudson in the same article. I thought there was going to be some sort of legal advice in there and actually read it to the end. Won’t make that mistake again.

    • BlueBelle

      Illegitimate or not (which, yes, is rude and unacceptable, but…), why is this even here? What straw man are we attacking? These ‘readers’, who are they? Every single one of Eckler’s posts are whinging and defensive and belong on a personal blog or in a diary. There isn’t even a conversation starter in this, nor any articulate ideas, suggestions, analysis, et al. Just trite ramblings about mama bears and whatever other nonsense Eckler typically espouses and expects to get accolades for… why is this even here?

      Why incite wrath against an invisible populace? This is akin to Fox News style rambling.

      • hillbilleter

        This isn’t a personal blog? I thought it was, really. It reads like one. “Riding the Elevator With Famous People & Bellyaching About My Special Life.”

    • TaiDollWave

      It’s horrible and nasty that people would speak of a child like that at all. I don’t care if they say “illegitimate” or “bastard”, even if those are the “proper” terms. They are being used to be hurtful, and I don’t believe in deliberate cruelty.

      Sorry people are nasty about your kids.

    • Ana

      Is anyone else kinda surprised that Eckler would pass up an opportunity to wear a ridiculously expensive dress, be showered in gifts & attention, and have a bunch of people tell her how beautiful she looks? I bet there will at least be a wedding some day.

      • Jess

        I’m surprised she hasn’t gushed about her engagement ring, if there is one. Perhaps she’s one of those that says she’s engaged, but doesn’t wear a ring? Nah… There’s gotta be one. I mean, she wants a Prada purse for Mothers Day. No way she would pass up a diamond. As much as she goes on about material things and private schools and vacations, I anxiously await the day she posts an article about planning her wedding.

      • Mel

        Who wants to play “What will Rebecca Eckler Title Her Wedding Article”? I’ll go first. “I don’t want my kids at my wedding because they’ll take the attention off of me.”

    • Carm

      No one has the right to decide what kids are “legitimate.” That’s cold and I have no tolerance for it. Not because of how it offends the parents (although it should) but mainly because that small person is still a very real person with feelings. No one should be made to feel like they’re second-class.

      But in looking at this from a kid’s perspective, I question this part:

      “My children are as happy as the child whose parents got divorced and the child with the gay father or the child whose dad has been married three times — and of course — as a child whose parents are married.”

      I can’t judge how happy your kids are, but at least initially, your family breaking up in any of those situations shakes you to your core as a child.

      • Stanley Rodgers

        It’s just a legal term.

      • Daphne

        But in looking at this from a kid’s perspective, I question this part:

        “My children are as happy as the child whose parents got divorced and the child with the gay father or the child whose dad has been married three times — and of course — as a child whose parents are married.”
        This is proof that the author isn’t a logical thinker.

    • http://twitter.com/witavorr AE Vorro

      YES. THIS.

      I don’t have children, but when I hear people, especially of older generations, refer to any child as “illegitimate” it makes me SCREAMING mad. No child is less than simply because of the contractual relationship their parents happen to maintain (or not maintain). It’s out-dated, inhumane, Puritanical bulls&#@ that needs to stop, period.

      • Daphne

        We in the older generations have every right to believe as we see fit! Get screaming mad all you want. One of these days, if you live long enough, you, too, will bear the brunt of criticism for your opinions.

    • Stanley Rogers

      Unfortunately, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child is a legal concept.
      It typically comes up in child support/paternity cases when there is a
      dispute over who the father is. For example, suppose a woman cheats on
      her husband and gives birth to another mans son. The husband is led to
      believe that the child is his. The law considers a child born in an
      intact marriage to have been fathered by the husband and legitimate.
      This gives that husband rights as well as an obligation to support the
      Now suppose the husband finds out that the child is not his and files
      for divorce. He will now be required to pay child support. So what the
      husband does is attempts to get a DNA test to show he is not the father
      and demonstrate that another man is and that other man should be
      required to pay child support instead of him.


      her husband makes more money than the other guy she has no interest in
      letting him off the hook for child support so she doesn’t consent to the
      DNA test or moves the court to dismiss any evidence that her husband is
      not the father.

      She will argue and win, by and through her
      attorney, that a determination that her husband is not the father, is
      not in the child’s best interests because it will “illegitimize” the

      The husband will have to continue to pay child support for another mans baby.

      That’s why the illegitimacy of a child is really just a legal thing.

    • Stanley Rodgers
    • CK

      I think it’s a weird sort of hypocrisy that has a woman bound to a man through a child, but then thinks that a piece of paper isn’t worth it.

      And, the truth is, according to the definition of the word, “illegitimate”, your children are. That doesn’t mean you love them less, though some may wonder if you call them, “little fucks”. Maybe the problem here is that you care too much about what others think. I think that’s very evident through many of your articles.

      Just as an aside, when your kids are older, can they you a, “big tw*at”?

    • True Disbeliever

      I think the “onus” of illegitimacy is on the parents, NOT the child! The child really had nothing to do with the circumstances. However, if you’d like your children to be heirs to their father(s) estates, you’d better marry the father or make sure the father’s name is on the birth certificate. The real father. Otherwise, the poor kid could be up a creek. Or you’re condemning the child to a lot of messy, legal, heartache, proving parentage.

    • True Disbeliever

      The “onus” of being illegitimate (how about “born out of wedlock”?) is NOT on the child, it is on the parents. The child had nothing to do with the situation and does not deserve to be labeled as anything. The parents are another story. There are lots of words that can be used to refer to the parents.

      To mother: If you’d like your child to, perhaps, receive child care payments or be considered as an heir or have more security than you alone can provide, it is to the child’s benefit to have the father’s name on the birth certificate. The real father. This might save the poor kid lots of anguish some day, trying to prove paternity.

    • hillbilleter

      In today’s elastic, ever changing society, there’s no reason to differentiate between the children of married and unmarried parents if you aren’t an attorney trying to figure out who is inheriting an estate. The word “illegitimate” literally means not of legitimate (legally acknowledged) parentage. Just means there’s a lack of legal promises to support the child(ren). But anymore, with the advances in science that can pinpoint parentage, legal support and the rights of heirs is changing with society. A biological child can prove their right to inherit with a DNA test, if there’s no will. Legitimate and illegitimate labels evolved to protect property rights with legal proof of lineage, which isn’t as complicated as it used to be. So, yeah, it’s a passe term in any social setting; the only time I can see that it would be useful would be if there’s an heirship contingency based on which children are recognized by courts & which must be proven to the courts by science. Making a will takes care of all those problems, though.

    • Theo

      You can get pissed all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that your children are illegitimate. Yelling, ranting and raving won’t change it. Wishing it away won’t change it. “Not believing” it won’t either. They are, people will continue to to call them illegitimate because, wait for it! THEY ARE!!!!

      • drinkpepsi

        You can get pissed all you want, but when someone calls you (Ms. Eckler) a bad writer it’s because, wait for it…YOU ARE!!!!

    • drinkpepsi

      Ladies, ladies. We should not be so harsh with Ms. Eckler.
      In her defense, she could not marry baby daddy #2 even if she wanted to.
      He is still married.

      So that would make Eckler a _________.

      • drinkpepsi

        1. How many people have ever gone up to Eckler or her kids and called them illegitimate? I’m guessing zero.

        2 At most, some strangers will post the term here to remind Eckler that her husband/fiance is really neither. Words have meaning. As an author, you should understand that. You are neither married to your baby daddy or truly engaged (since you have no intention of marrying). You have a ring…which I suspect is what you wanted anyway.

        3. You want others to respect your decision never to marry, yet you choose to call our decision to marry “archaic”…very classy.

        4. Marriage may not mean much to you, but it does to most kids. Having parents who are married is actually comforting to most kids. But this wouldn’t be the first time you’ve put your needs ahead of your kids.

        5. Any chance you don’t want to tie the knot with #2 because #1 is loaded and you would relinquish support from #1? More support = more Prada, honey.

      • True Disbeliever

        Unfortunately, I don’t think marrying #2 would affect child support (I assume that’s all she gets) from #1. She certainly can’t be collecting “alimony.” The child would still be his daughter. UNLESS, #2 decides to adopt #1′s daughter. HAHAHAHAHA…. I do not see either one ever marrying her. Let’s face it. The woman is a flake and unfit to be anyone’s mother.

      • drinkpepsi

        Child support would not change. But Eckler likely is receiving spousal support because in Canada, if you live with someone for a certain period of time (it varies by province) you are considered common-law. So, he would be on the hook for support.

        I doubt she can afford her house in Forest Hill, monthly vacations and Prada purses on a blogger’s salary.

      • True Disbeliever

        Of course I’m not familiar with Canadian laws, but in the U.S., common law marriage is only recognized in 9 states and the District of Columbia. And each state has its own “requirements,” some even requiring a legal statement declaring that you are, indeed, in such a relationship. (You might as well get a marriage license.) This is usually good in the event that one partner dies, so the other can inherit. That’s about it. I can’t believe that would entitle you to spousal support if you break up. You could really make quite a living off a situation like that. You could keep going from partner to partner, staying the minimum period of time, and moving on to the next victim.

        I doubt that Eckler stayed with any SO for any extended period of time. Perhaps she’s living high on the hog from the child support she receives. If she can collect spousal support from a baby daddy AND ask for a Mother’s Day gift, more power to her!!! That’s mind boggling.

      • drinkpepsi

        In Canada it is usually one or two years of co-habitation that would be required, or sooner if a child is borne into the union.

        These couples are still not afforded the same degree of rights or responsibilities as married couple, but given Fiance #1′s considerable wealth, and the fact that they share a child, some kind of spousal support would not be unheard of.

        More likely, the fiance willingly offered support in order to avoid an embarrassing trial. He knows who he is dealing with. This is a woman who expects Prada bags from broke children. If he didn’t support her well, it would not be a surprise to anyone if Eckler trashed him online and aired his dirty laundry until she got what she wanted.

        A marriage with the new guy would still allow for child support payments, but any spousal support would likely end at that point.

      • Sostrange

        Again, how do you know where she lives, how many vacations she takes? Weird.

      • drinkpepsi

        Because Eckler writes about it. Then she complains when people know personal stuff about her.

      • Mel

        You must be new here.

      • Sostrange

        I have to say that I’m going to take Eckler at her word that she does not want to get married. Perhaps she wanted the ring, who knows? Who cares? But drinkpepsi, you DO seem a little obsessed with her life, based on other posts you have commented on and seem to know much more about her life than she has divulged. For example, how do you know her ex is loaded, where she lives, what her partner’s ex-wife looks like? I’m assuming you’re a woman and it’s depressing to me that you couldn’t assume the other. Perhaps – oh my! – she bought her own house. I highly doubt she only blogs as a way of making a living. It’s just…strange that you know so much. Stalkerish almost, which makes me feel for Eckler, no matter how controversial she writes or how annoying it can be for some.

      • drinkpepsi

        You’re kidding, right? Eckler writes in detail about her sex life, keeps us updated on the state of her bikini line and regularly brags about how rich Fiance #1 and his parents are….it’s not like Eckler protects her privacy in the slightest.

      • Monica

        Drinkpepsi is absolutely right on this one. Eckler goes on and on about how much money her daughter’s father has, how she gets waxed and wears lingerie to bed to please her lover (who is still someone else’s husband), and on and on it goes. I’m sorry, but exactly how much information do you think Eckler withholds after writing an article about how she made her married lover reverse his vasectomy so she could have his baby and now wants him to un-reverse it?

      • True Disbeliever

        Oh my aching ass. The vasectomy thing? This gets sicker and sicker. Current baby daddy seems to definitely deserve the woman! He’s as big a nut job, if not a complete moron, as she is.

    • LS

      People who don’t want to get “fucking” married shoud be fucking with some birth control. Nice try!

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    • John Meyers

      You’d assault someone, setting a terrible example for your children and possibly resulting in your removal from their lives for months or even years*, for calling them what children like them have been called for centuries?

      Mother of the year right here, folks

      *Assuming that they fell back and hit their heads on a hard surface, possibly seriously injuring or killing them

      • Daphne

        I totally agree with you, and her language leaves much to be desired also.

    • Chantelle Moore

      Enjoyed your article. And you know what I hate? When people tell me that because I’m not married and black my son will wind up in jail despite the fact his father and I are together (just not married) and most people in my family have college degrees.

    • 123 itsmee

      IMHO, I don’t see why you are surprised either. I have 3 legitimate children and my male friend says thats rare, since I am divorced. So, I definitely understand that things don’t workout sometimes. Even though feminists wants to assert their rights, the truth remains that if you aren’t married and you only require a live -in boyfriend to have benefits of marriage, the children are illegitimate. No matter how you phrase it, they just are. Everyone knows it but they don’t say it. When a woman has children with more than one man, she’s judged harshly by men and women. I really don’ t think ranting will help and its your right to choose, but don’t get huffy about the truth. I usually won’t say anything because I don’t think its my place, but most ladies really sell yourselves short by conforming to a man’s ways by spreading them way too soon. My kids don’t explain who is half or step or whatever. So now the kids have to uncomfortably explain to their friends. I def don’t want that, so just try to grow a tough skin and move on.

    • george

      Illegitimate children should not be allowed to own property or vote. The schools should separate then from the rest of the kids and make them wear coned shaped hats. Also their single parent should be put in stocks for one week every year to show their stupidity. How can you trust a member of your community when they are so pathetic they cant figure out who a proper mate is.

    • motherof1

      Ugh thank you for this rant about the term “illegitimate child” …I’ve NEVER been married…my daughter is the result of a drunken bender followed by trust in the wrong person and let me tell you…. I love her with every piece of me. I dont consider her “illegitimate” whatsoever. She’s a legitimate child…. she cries she talks she laughs…. she exists….therefore…. she’s a legit child. Only time I would EVER allow someone to tell me she’s not a legitimate child…. to everyone who feels calling a child born outside of marriage “illegitimate” ….. suck it. Every child is legitimate so long as their breathing speaking…. walking….crying….. you know…. REAL. How they came to be is none of your business….. only explanation anyone needs as to how a child came to be is “well when two people have unprotected sex and a woman’s egg meets a man’s sperm…. and the mother chooses the RESPONSIBLE way to deal with that….. a child is 100 percent of the time…. the end result of said situation.”

    • katyll

      Just out of curiosity, does the author of this screed support her two kids? Or am I on the hook for that?

    • george

      No, its the truth bastards should be shipped off out of shame. No man wants to marry a woman with a bastard child, it’s just not worth it. Why should any man pay for another mans bastard. They should either be killed or denied property rights.

    • shameonu@aol.com

      i spat on you. Shame on a women who raise children without the father figure they deserve, All because you wanted sex/children. Spat.

    • Serena

      Being an illegitimate child myself, the term does not really bother me. To me, it is not a label, but a legal term. My parents were not married when I was conceived or born, so I am illegitimate. I do not believe in sugar coating that scenario. Just because my 17 yo parents “felt” in love enough to be married does not mean that they were. It does not make me more or less of a person. I just don’t see the problem. Illegitimate is not a derogatory term, it is just a legal description. It does not mean anything. Why make such a big deal about it?

    • Oxford Dictionary

      Yes your children are illegitimate by definition. You call your boyfriend/baby daddy a “husband” because you know deep down inside it makes ur children look legitimate. Ur feelings and love for ur children doesn`t affect the Truth.

    • Yousuck

      Your not raising children alone. Id bet my life savings that you are hitting up those father’s for child support… so you can get off your high horse. Its women like you that traumatize men. You have their babies but yet you can’t commit to them and settle down because its all about you right? So now their forced to at best partial custody. This might sound like a funny idea to you, but some men actually want to live with their children so they can play a proper role in their lives. Your a whore.

      • yousuck

        Marriage isn’t about you. Its obviously never ideal to have the same sex partner the rest of your life among other things. Craving variety and new stimulation is normal. For teenagers and punks. Marriage is about a CHILD. So his MOM AND DAD can live with him or her and raise them. But your just too good for that right?

    • Jane

      f’ing this and f’ing that….very classy….im surprised you had any proposals. Call me old fashioned but your children are illegitimate and despite how much you hate that word, it will not change the fact that you had children out of wedlock, therefore they are bastards and in christianity they will never go to heaven, even in their 10th generation! (deuteronomy). Its about time the church told the truth instead of beating around the bush scared of these pathetic individuals who think the world revolves around them.

    • Pink

      awesome article… We give our kids same life with loads of love!!

    • Debo

      I was browsing the words, ‘illegitimate grandma’ when I found this page. My daughter-un-law is just like you. She has 2 boys by 2 fathers, neither of which she is with. One is my son. My son is deceased.
      But this isn’t about them this time.
      This time it is about me. What I think, how I feel about all this.
      Did anyone ever ask me, or any other DNA contributor in this situation? No.
      They/you don’t think about the lives they effect as they carry on the DNA of a randomly selected family.
      You stole from me and millions of women like you are stealing from millions of women like me. The least you can do is help my grandson cultivate a relationship with me. You owe me that much since you decided to make me a grandma.
      BUT, you will never see this from anyone elses view point other then yours. you have a point to make and you are so selfish that you really think this is all about you.
      Well it’s not. You have hurt and keep hurting our/your family by the way you are leaving us out. Do you ever consider that, even though you aren’t thinking about me and the rest of the family, we are here, we do exist. He is 8 and we have never even been invited to a birthday party. Please quit breaking our hearts.
      Then there is the brother. We sincerely love your other child, how could we not, after all he is our grandsons brother by the same mother. He is a lovable little guy.
      I hope that some day I will be a legitimate grandma to my grandson, and it seems to lie in your hands. I wonder, are you generous enough in spirit to make it happen? LOL
      No, of course you aren’t – I almost forgot, this is all about you!

    • Adam

      Sorry, but the truth is you are an incredibly immoral woman that has two BASTARD illegitimate children. You have abandoned your natural role and should be ashamed for the choices you have made. The only acceptable family unit consists of a loving mother and father that are MARRIED and monogomous. These alternative lifestyles that you cite as some sort of high ideal are actually perverse and detrimental to a child’s mental and emotional health. How is this not just common sense.