Are you grieving over your lack of children?

As many of us know, not having children can be painful. A terrific article in today’s Contra Costa Times talks about this and describes some of the agencies that are helping childless women deal with their grief through therapy. The piece, called “Childless by Fate, Choice,” was written by Jessica Yadegaran. It includes a forum to answer the question “Have you come to terms with not having children?” I would love to have people answer that question here, too.
I’m currently working on the chapter about grief in my Childless by Marriage book, and it is interesting how one’s feelings change over time. It’s also hard not to project my feelings onto other people.
So how do you feel about it? Do you regret your choice? Are you still trying to decide what to do? What advice would you give someone like the 35-year-old woman I interviewed this weekend who is dating a man who doesn’t want any more children?

Advertisements

268 thoughts on “Are you grieving over your lack of children?

  1. Danielle and Anonymous, you are definitely not alone. The circumstances vary, but the result is the same: no babies and a broken heart. I hope you can find peace as time goes on. Thank you for sharing your stories.

    Like

  2. The only thing that gives me peace in my husband wanting to have kids since he already has 2 of his own from a prior marriage is that if it hash;t happened its just not meant to be. It's hard to see the truth and logic in things when you are in the middle of it and some things may never be made clear. I feel that if God wanted me to have children then i would have them. There is something in this i need to learn. There is something in this that i have to gain from this. Just because i am a woman doesn't mean i MUST have children. I wish i did, and when i get depressed that don't i try to remind myself then :THERE MUST BE MORE FOR ME THAN JUST LOVING MY HUSBAND” why must he be the only recipient of my LOVE. We as woman are made to LOVE and be NURTURERS – we are not meant just to love a man/our husbands. Find a hobby or something you enjoy doing and take it to the next level. Birth a new purpose for yourself instead of wallowing in your emotions. WE all have good days and we will have bad days. But the worst days will be letting this RULE our every thought. When you see that other mom pushing that carriage around, SMILE instead or ENVY, when you see your husband's kids getting married…Say to yourself, I am STILL great. Be the best you can be! The same energy it will take to raise a child place the energy onto you. Notice i said YOU not your husband. This has NOTHING to do with them. GET in SHAPE, Start that Business you always wanted, Do charity, Helps others, Give back to the church! Whatever it is, give the love towards others in the universe and you will be AMAZED how you can TURN GRIEF into REWARD. There is a saying that says 10% of life is what happens to us and 90% is the attitude we have towards it! Ladies, lets turn this around…take control and redefine our lives. Before you know it…any woman with a child will look at you and quickly ENVY your LIFE and situation. At that time you let her know, She is blessed and You are equally blessed. Find the Ying in the Yang the Good in the not so good, the sun behind the clouds and CLAIM that! We will RISE!!!! – Carib Curls! Love you all!!!

    Like

  3. I am glad to have found this blog. I just turned 40 in September, and up until now I have been “okay” with not having children… or at least I told myself I was. I always said that if one person doesn't want kids then they shouldn't have kids, and I thought I was o'kay with that. I married at 30, and my husband didn't really want children, and still doesn't. But we went into the marriage with the “lets see how it goes” approach. I feel like I should have known better. Up until now I've been hoping that one day he will say so okay. But that day never came and now it's too late. I had no idea that I would be feeling these intense terrible emotions. My heart is breaking, and I can't stop crying. They really came out of nowhere, shortly after the death of my cat. I can relate to so many of the other posts here, the pain when you see others people babies, or hear them talk about their children. I feel like a failure… I have no children to talk to them about, or stories to share. I'm feeling so alone. I have two brothers, and one also has no children, and the other has two (which I'll admit was really hard to watch). I am grateful for that… but they do not live in the same city as me, so I don't see them often. And when I do see them I can't enjoy it due to their parents being scared that my two dogs will hurt them. I only have my mom left, and my husbands parents have both died. He has one estranged sibling, and the my two brothers are older. I'm really afraid of ending up all alone in life… like that I'll be the last one of my family alive, with no one to care or watch out for me. I'm trying not to resent my husband, but it is hard at times. I know I need to find other things in life to live for… but right now the pain is just so intense.
    Thanks so much for giving us a place to know that we are not alone, and to get some of these feelings off our chest.
    Sandra

    Like

  4. Ok, I think I've found a place to speak the full truth of my grief.
    I was emotionally abused growing up which left me almost unable to cope with the world but my spirit was always strong. I knew that when I had my children I would never treat them the way I was and I would give them all the love I never had. My mother didn't want me to have children young despite her having her children young and still going on to have an extremely successful career so she made sure I had the implant before going off to university. Unfortunately it failed, I fell pregnant and miscarried leading to menstrual problems. I was then given the pill to regulate my body, however, I developed near fatal blood clots on both lungs and the entirety of one leg. I recovered but was callously told in a 5 minute out-patients appointment that I now couldn't have children. I went through 3 years of extreme grief only to find out that it as not true at all – I could have children but would need meds. So I found the perfect guy – my one and only. 4 years later we're engaged and planning our first child – for September 2014
    So here's the real kick in the guts – when it came to it he changed his mind and now he doesn't want children at all despite picking names and making plans. Well my world fell apart – I lost my job, my ability to drive, my friends and my family (I moved to be with my partner in another town and now that I wont be having any children my family have turned their back on me).
    Oh wait it gets better – so his younger sister has gone and had her 2nd child – September 2014 and if that isn't enough she now says the baby looks so much like my partner that I can see what my little girl would have looked like!
    The thing is as well is that my partner wont tell his family that we wont have children so his mum is constantly making comments about when we will be having children – she has terminal cancer so is desperate to see her son have children before she dies
    Oh and finally, if you thought it couldn't get any worse my mother went through menopause at age 30 – I am 30 this year…

    Like

  5. Oh Mo, What a sad story. Everybody needs to get their secrets out in the open and you need to get a doctor who will give you the straight information about your chances of conceiving. Don't assume that you will menopause at 30 like your mother. I hope you can work it all out.

    Like

  6. Wow! Glad I found this site and read the comments! Lots of vulnerability on here and it's just what I needed. I've been with my husband for 9 years, I'm now 34. In the beginning he wanted kids but then we started a business and now all he craves is monetary success, we've been so fortunate which only further makes me want kids as we can financially afford them. Over the years he went from loving kids to now not wanting them at all. We are truly best friends and have an amazing love so I feel guilty wanting more but at the same time can only run so many marathons, baby my dogs and come up with new and exciting goals to pass the time. I want to be a mother but not a single mother to have a family. It's very sad and confusing. I pray to have faith in my life's purpose and recently became a youth coach for girls sports and that only magnifies my desire to parent. If I wasn't in this relationship there's no guarantee I'd find love and a potentially good Daddy. So it's like I must find resolve and grieve this feeling of motherhood. Maybe there's hope! Either way, this blog and readers are a blessing today!

    Like

  7. I feel like a worthless failure. I married a woman that said she wanted children. It was very important to me to have a family, so I talked at length about it with her. Six months after our marriage she became disabled. I was raised to put others needs before my own, so I spent the next 19 1/2 years as a caretaker in a loveless marriage. During that time she used having a child as a way to control my behavior. I knew with all of the medicines That she took, a healthy child would have been an impossibility. But I never cheated on her even though I knew it would be the only way to have my own child. Finally I got up the courage to leave her, but before I could she killed herself. In the aftermath I found that she had never intended to have my child anyway. I was upset, but I kept going. I reconnected with my childhood crush, and we began a very deeply satisfying relationship. She already had two grown children, but offered to have a third. Life being what it is gave her cancer instead of my child. For years she fought it and triumphed, but at the cost of her hair and her ability to get pregnant. Now at 47 years old I know my chances are gone. My own child was all I longed for. I have great genetics to pass on, and I know I would make an excellent father. I cannot donate to a sperm bank because of my age, and now all I hear are the echoes of my grandparents voices asking why I had never made them into great grandparents. I wanted to leave a small part of myself behind when I depart this world. I wanted to be a father, but all I am is a dead branch on my family tree. A disappointment. A life without purpose or meaning. An unworthy failure of a man…

    Like

  8. Anonymous 4/28, you are not a failure. You did the best you could under the circumstances. You took care of two women with awful health problems. You have lived your life. It sucks that you have not been able to have children, but never think those years were wasted. You are a good person who was dealt a lousy hand. Now you start fresh, knowing you did well with what you had.

    Like

  9. I have been married for 9 years, 7 of those, longing for a baby. We had unsuccessful treatment 5 years ago, and I haven't had the courage to go again – apart from the fact that it costs an arm and a leg. My husband was told he is a carrier of CF, so there are all kinds of complications are there. I have to hide my longing for a baby, as I cannot bear to see the hurt and guilt in his eyes! I do not place blame on him, and promise to always be by his side. But after “being strong” for all these years, I have found that the grief and mourning process has caught up on me. And where do I turn,who do you confide in? Infertility is such a lonely place…my comfort lies in the fact that we have a God that is so much bigger than all the things of this world.

    Like

  10. Anonymous May 8, 2015, I feel for you. Childlessness can be so painful. But I urge you not to hide your feelings from your husband. You are childless together and trying to hide it will only make it harder. I hope you can find peace.

    Like

  11. Anonymous May 8, 2015, I feel for you. Childlessness can be so painful. But I urge you not to hide your feelings from your husband. You are childless together and trying to hide it will only make it harder. I hope you can find peace.

    Like

  12. My god, I cried and cried reading your post as I sit here in the dark outside grieving for what will never be. I love my partner and I hate him a little too because he doesn't want children and I am left bound by that decision. I feel my time running out and wish every single day he would change his mind but he is unwavering in his decision. And at the same time I can barely acknowledge this pain and grief to myself because I am terrified of it consuming me. This is the first time I have ever really sat down and let it all wash over me. I can't stop crying. I don't know how I am going to walk inside and pretend I'm okay because he doesn't understand. I'm lost right now and I thank you all for your words because they are ports in the storm for me right now.

    Like

  13. Oh Anonymous June 7, I'm so sorry for your pain. Don't fight it too much, and don't hide it. This is a loss, like a death, the death of a dream, and not having children will affect your whole life. So let yourself feel it. But talk about it. If you can't talk about it with your partner, find a friend or a counselor to help you get through it. As you read through the comments here, you'll see that you are not alone. There are millions of people going through the same thing. Having company in this may help is suck a little less. You are in my prayers.

    Like

  14. I am at home alone tonight and thought that it would be a good opportunity to write down about how I feel about our impasse on the decision to have a child. But then I started crying and decided to look for similar stories instead. I will be 37 soon, and feel the clock ticking every day more. My story is the same as many others. The only difference, I think, is the reason why my husband does not want a child. He has a very strong social and political conscience and he is terrified about giving life to a child in this gloomy world. He is particularly concerned about climate change and the collapse in society that this could bring. He has also a terrible relationship with his father and he is aware that his resistance to be a father also comes from his fear to become like his dad. But he is adamant in saying that this is not the main reason, that climate change and the future of the world is what makes him more anxious about becoming a father. He never hide his fears from me and I married him aware of what I was going to. I love him a lot and cannot imagine a life without him. We have tried counselling and it helped at least in breaking the taboo of talking about the topic. I’ve also read about climate change and got involved in some activism in order to better understand his fears and hoping that this would reassure him in a way. But all this stopped a few months ago as we moved to another country because of my job. Now we are too focused on the new life to continue talking about the issue. And I feel bad, because I am alone again with my fears. I think I need to get used to the idea that most probably we won’t have a child but I am too afraid of the consequences of this choice for me and for our relationship. It hurts.

    Like

    • Anonymous Sept. 1, it does hurt. Nobody should have to make this choice, but once we do, we have to live wit it, and that isn’t easy. There will be times when you regret it, but it sounds like he might be worth it.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s