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?

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

  1. I have been married for four years (together for almost 9) and I just cannot get over the fact that my husband does not want children. When I was younger I really didn't want children, but as I get older I can hear and feel my clock ticking. My husband has told me that if I really want a child then I need to look elsewhere. It breaks my heart because I feel like this is all my fault. I don't think he ever wanted to marry me. Every time I look at a friend or family member's child I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. It's getting really bad and I don't know how to cope.

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  2. Anon Dec. 1, I'm so sorry. What your husband said was very hurtful. I don't know why so many men are so set against having children, but if you read the previous 200 comments, you'll see it happens a lot. I know it's hard being around other people's kids, especially during the holidays. If you really want to have a child, you might have to consider finding another man. Can you find someone to talk to about this, someone who isn't biased one way or the other?
    This is a hard thing to deal with alone. I pray you find peace.

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  3. Thanks very much, Sue. I do appreciate your kind words. I haven't had any counselling for a while so I think you're right and I should talk to someone specifically about this issue. As for convincing my partner to have children, I really don't know. Until now I've always told him that I'd rather not have children than have them in a situation where both of us weren't equally on board, but I think this may be starting to change. The idea of not having them at all just feels so painful. I'd like to think he'd come round as the situation became a reality, as you say. But I'm worried about pushing him away by forcing the issue, as he becomes quite detached and uncommunicative when we discuss it and the relationship always takes a while to get back on its feet again afterwards. I'm worried if pushed too hard the damage could be permanent. But I think I need to try. Thanks again. Any other views would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

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  4. Sue thank you for your thoughts and prayers. The pain I am going through is almost unbearable. I just want to know if it will ever end. I am also seeking advice on how I explain my husband to my family and friends.

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  5. Anonymous Dec. 3, I wish I had all the answers. I do know that it has gotten much easier for me as time passed and menopause took away the choice of having children. As for explaining the husband, that's a hard one. If you tell everyone you don't have kids because he doesn't want them, they're going to hate him. If you defend him, they may not respect you. Ideally, this is something you present to the world as a couple, as a decision you have made together. I don't know. I'd just be honest, I think.
    Hey readers, how do you handle this?

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  6. I only found this site by googling 'childless blogs' tonight. My situation feels particularly tough at the moment… I'm 34 and my fiancé is 50. He has two daughters from his first marriage, who are 20 and 17. They refuse to see him, and if I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure why, it could be to do with his ex wife. I believe he has in some way managed to come to terms with this, but it wasn't easy. It seems to have created some kind if an emotional shift, if that makes sense. But he also had a vasectomy. Not completely his choice, he tells me. He also says he would be willing to try to have children through IVF (probably huge expense, and he's still paying for the divorce seven years on). But he does think we ought to try, for my sake.
    So I was just about able to cope with that, and I'd even started to get my head around other friends of ours getting married and having babies…and asking all the appropriate questions etc. But then… My Fiancé's Best Man – we're getting married 7th June 2014 – announces that his wife (of 13 weeks) is 12 weeks pregnant. So I checked the calendar, and she will be heavily pregnant on our big day. And now the issue is, that my Fiance doesn't seem to understand how I feel about any of this. I'm worried that I wont be able to cope with seeing her so pregnant on the day which is supposed to be ours. I know we are going to try, hopefully, the IVF, but my man is so pragmatic, that everything has to go one step at a time. So he wont acknowledge, let alone support me in, my hopes and fears for the future, ie whether we will be able to have kids or not, even though every new pregnancy within our circle of friends clearly brings up all of those feelings.
    It's like that man in the film said… its not the despair that I cant handle, its the hope that's killing me.
    I think what is really upsetting just now is just how differently we seem to feel about it, and the fact that he just will not discuss it. I'm really suffering and he doesn't seem to care. Is this normal?

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  7. “Oh Anon,
    Part of me just wants to grab hold of your partner and shake him for being an idiot. But you've got the classic dilemma: your man doesn't want kids, you do, and you're being forced to choose him or the children you wanted to have. Nobody wins in this situation. Might it be possible to convince him to have children even though he doesn't really want them? It sounds like that could happen. You could hope for a magical transformation once the baby is born, but there's no guarantee. I wish I knew the magic words.
    If you're not already getting help for your depression, you might want to do that. A counselor could help you figure things out.
    Help me out, readers. Any advice?”

    Yes, my advice is to go ahead and have a baby. Just have one child. Your husband should come around. If not, he's not worth it anyway. One baby is doable, not too loud and stressful. These men don't know what they want, they have no biological urge and just don't see the big picture.

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  8. Anonymous getting married next year, it is pretty common. Men and women don't see things differently, and people who are 50 seem things different from how people who are 34 see them. That's just how it is. At least he's willing to try, and I think that's a wonderful sign. Will it work out? Only God knows, but meanwhile, try not to focus on what everyone else is doing. Just be happy for your pregnant friend and enjoy getting ready for your wedding. I wish you all the best.

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  9. Hi, my name's Elizabeth and I posted on the 1st and 2nd Dec. I just wanted to let you know that I had a big talk with my partner a few nights ago (well, I talked – he just listened) explaining in detail and at length why I want to have children so much and how it makes me feel that he doesn't really want to. I tried to be calm and reasoned, and as positive as possible – eg, explaining that I wouldn't want a child with just anyone but it's because I love him so much and think we have a very good relationship apart from this issue – and also that I know he'd be a great dad, even if he doesn't. I explained too how I think his reasons for not wanting children are understandable but are things that most people worry about but many get over. He said he was really glad I'd told him everything and has a lot of thinking to do. I'm still waiting for a proper response and I don't hold much hope that he'll change his mind but at least I know I haven't left anything unsaid, and in the future won't regret not making my feelings known strongly enough. So I would urge other readers to do the same, if they haven't already.
    Thanks very much to the person who posted some advice for me on Dec 6th. I would love to have just one baby, and see if my partner came round. The problem is getting to the stage where he agrees to have one – but at least now I've made my best effort.
    To the lady wondering how to explain her partner to people – I personally think people have no business asking about why you don't have kids, unless they are close friends who ask sensitively and in private, in which case I'd tell them the truth. In any other situation, I would just look straight at the person and say in a friendly way, “I think I'd prefer to talk about something else – is that ok?” Then they'll think twice about asking these sorts of questions in future.
    Love and peace to all.

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  10. Hi, it's Elizabeth again. So I waited nearly two weeks for my partner's response to my big talk with him about how much it meant to me to have children, and with a lot of coaxing, I finally got a reply – he sees having children as the end of a person's life and in no way a positive thing to do with the person he loves. So we have now broken up, for the second time in two years. But this time it's permanent, because what he said was so final. My heart feels broken but I also know that I am now free to hopefully meet someone who actually wants to have children, before it's too late. As sad as I feel, there is also a sense of relief, and I would urge other people thinking of leaving a relationship to consider that. Love and peace to all.

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  11. Elizabeth, good for you. I know this is brutally hard, but you figured out what you wanted and acted on it. Not all of us would have the courage to do that. Now that you're free, I hope you find everything you dream of.

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  12. Thank you very much, Sue – you're very kind. I hope you realise how much comfort your blog gives to others. I wish you a happy Christmas. Elizabeth.

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  13. I am almost 65 and have never been able to have children. Does it get easier with age – I wish – but no. I see everyone else enjoying their children, grandchildren – creating memories together. I still cry often, because I will never know what it is to share that with a family of my own. I am on the outside looking in and it is so very painful and empty. My story is a long and painful one and I will not bore everyone with it. Many of the women on this blog are much younger than myself. I hope that they can come to some peace and resolution over there loss. It is not easy. I share their pain.

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  14. Anon, thank you for sharing this. I'm 61 and I know what you mean. This whole Christmas season has felt like I was being shoved through a cheese grater. In some ways it does get easier, but in other ways time multiplies the losses. That one baby you didn't have turns into the son or daughter-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren you didn't have. At least we have each other.

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  15. My situation is similar to many women – I married a lovely man in my 20s, who didn't want children. I reconciled myself that “just the two of us” would be enough. However, he then left me at 38 (I'm now 40 and single). I have to accept that my time has pretty much run out, but I reproach myself terribly for not having done something about it earlier in life. The guilt and grief at times is overwhelming. The unintentional insensitivity of others is salt in the wound.

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  16. Anon Jan. 1, It's a new year, but an old story. I'm so sorry this happened to you. My situation is not so different, and people just don't understand why it still bothers us. But the people here do. Hang in there.

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  17. I've just read through every post on this page and crying my eyes out as there are so many similiar situations..

    My partner has two children from his last marriage. Vasectomy after the youngest, about 10 years ago. I am 30 his is 39.. I had never met the right person to have kids with.. Until now. It's all I can think about with him. To me it seems a natural process to have our own baby that is a part of both of us that represents the love we have for each other. Someone that we created with our love ..

    His reasons for not wanting a baby with me is because his marriage became horrible when the children arrived and he doesn't want to risk that happening with me. I am going to spend the rest of my life with him. I love him and I won't let him go either. I've waited a long time for him too.. I just don't understand why I miss out? I won't ever know the joys of Xmas with your kids, the kind of worry a parent has, the feeling that you created another person and teaching them everything they need to know.

    He is very open to talking to me whenever I need it, it does make him feel inadequate which couldn't be further from the truth. He hasn't closed the door completely, so I still have some hope.. But so much fear of never having our baby..

    I am at the point where I can no longer be happy for parents, and will even get upset seeing strangers with their children .. I do hope it does get better or he will realise having our baby would be amazing and not at all like his last experience.

    Thanks for letting me vent. !!

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  18. Anonymous Jan. 10, This is so hard, isn't it? I was 31 when I married the man of my dreams. He had three kids, but otherwise the story is pretty much the same. He too was sympathetic but just didn't want another baby. I'm glad you are able to talk about it with your partner, that he knows and cares how hard it is for you. It will get easier, I promise. Try to create a good relationship with his children. It's not the same, but it does help a lot. I wish you all the best. Please know that you're not alone.

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  19. Not sure if I can leave a post on here as Im not a regular… but found some of the posts so relatable. Im in that grieving phase… I guess I have been here for sometime but felt inappropriate to show the emotion in front of anyone. I wanted kids, I waited to get married to my husband and moved closer to my parents to have kids…. but as time ticked over, and my health deteriorated it made it too risky to have kids. I go through good and bad phases. I feel sad for my husband as Im 40 now and diabetic and too risky to have kids, yet I feel sad for myself and for him as I know we would be awesome parents. I feel sad that I waited so long, and that we should have sorted things earlier but being catholic I had to do the right thing by everyone and wait until we were married, and now.. Its all too late. I have good days, and some really bad days. Today was a particularly bad day having seen my sister in laws baby who is just gorgeous and I just cried for the rest of the day realising we will never have this. I feel sad for me, but sometimes more for my husband as he would be an amazing father. I cant reverse time and sort my health and I have to live with that. Im just sad and tired of being around people with kids, and asking us when we are having kids. If only they realised that if we tried and I became pregnant my husband would have to chose between me and the baby. This is the reason we decided not to persue but Im still grieving and he doesn't understand?. when will I get over this pain??

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  20. Dear Anonymous Jan. 31, you are welcome to post here any time. I'm sorry you're in this situation. I can't tell you the pain will go away. I still feel it sometimes, but it will get easier. I think you should just be honest with people who ask nosy questions. The truth will shut them up in a hurry. Be honest with your husband too about how you feel. Someday you'll be able to enjoy other people's children. Hang in there.

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  21. I've read just about every post on here and feel I can relate to many people here. I hope its not too late to comment. My fiance is significantly older than me at 55 and has 2 older kids and a grandson. We weren't supposed to fall in love (he was always worried about the age difference) but we realized that we were more compatible than anyone else either of us had ever been with. When we started to get serious he made sure to tell me that he didn't want more kids. It wasn't that he didn't want them with me, he just felt that at his age he's too old to have a baby. I didn't mind this because I had never wanted children myself. I've been so incredibly happy with him the last 2 years and love him so very much, but recently I've begun to think of all the things I'm missing out on by not becoming a parent, the things he's already experienced. I'm worried that I'm giving up too much to be with him. I recently found pictures in his closet from his first marriage and of him holding his first daughter as a baby. I was so sad I cried all afternoon! Its stupid but I wish so much that it was me in that picture instead of his ex. Part of me can see myself spending many wonderful years with just him, but i worry that i will one day (especially after he's gone) regret not having my own children to love. I love him but I need to know that love is the right decision here. I'm really struggling with this decision its completely consumed my thoughts. How do I choose between the person I love more than anything and some life that doesn't even exist yet?

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    • I completely understand and have the exact situation… It’s incredibly hard to see anything from that time of his life and not get angry and jealous that it’s not me that gets to experience the greatest gift of children.. Wish you all the best.

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  22. Oh Anonymous 4/16, I feel your pain. My husband was 48 when we got married, and the situation was similar. I wish I'd had kids, but I don't regret marrying him. He was the best thing that ever happened to me and we had a love like most people don't get. If your guy is the one, then you should probably hang onto him. It might be worth it. I wish you all the best.
    And thank you for reading all these posts!

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  23. Google brought me here as well. I got married when I was 20 and got pregnant when I was around 27, but I decided to abort because my husband was on drug. I ended up staying with him for total 17 years. After that I was with someone for 4 years. Then some one year relationships after that. My parents were older when they had me, my mom was 33. And as I as growing up, I told myself I will have my baby when I am 25. Well, reality was, I put my selfish desire to have fun with my life after the abortion. I didn't want to give up because of the baby. WhenI was about 44, my best friend told me I should have at least one baby before too late. I was seeing someone back then and I thought about asking him to be sperm donor. But again, my selfish desire won over and I didn't want to get pregnant.

    Now, I am 51. I am in loving relationship with a man who is 14 years younger than me with 2 children, 6 and 4. Until I met him, I always used to say I don't want to get married again. He changed all that in me. And his children love me and always happy to see me. As I watched them play and as we lay in the same bed at night, I started to see what my friend were telling me. ( I should have at least one baby) The joy of children.

    I totally regret my selfishness and I am suffering from the consequences now. I know my life would been so much different if I am a mom now. The hobbies that I love so much now wouldn't came into my life . But I think I would been happy being a mom without those things.

    I will be alone and lonely even if I was married or not

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  24. I dated my husband for three years and we were engaged for three years before we got married almost eight years ago and he is a wonderful man. He is now 36 and I am 50. When we met he knew I could not have children and he said he didn't want any. Who knew that everything would change once his brother had a beautiful little girl, so out of a blessed event comes the demise of our marriage. I hear the pain in his voice, I see the disappointment in his eyes when he holds this precious little girl. My husband does not want to adopt and we can not afford a surrogate so he can have a biological child. My heart hurts and I feel as if the wind has been knocked out of me. His family was not happy when we married and thinks I have robbed him of his right to have children. I do not know what to do.

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  25. Lyda,
    I'm sorry it turned out this way. But you didn't ruin anything. You both knew what the situation was when you got married. His family probably knew it, too. His grief is natural, and yes, sometimes when you see somebody else's child, you start wanting one of your own, but I hope he can work through it and hold on to what you have together. Help him as much as you can but know that it's not your fault.

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  26. I feel relief to hear I'm not the only one….I'm 21 my fiance of four years will be 33 …neither one of us have kids…wish for a miracle day and night….my family starting to resent me Cuz I have no children.. my childhood was painful… my father well last time I saw him..he said to my fiance I have a bone to pick with you…my fiance goes what's the problem… father says where my grand kids… fiance replies we trying…father says alright goodbye…..That's all he had to say….never came to see me since…..I'm scared Cuz of all my trma that I might be damaged….my sister has so many health problems yet she has a four month old beautiful baby girl.. all my friends have children everything we talk.. it's always their joy…and babyies….don't get me wrong I'm very happy for them I never knock them…..but I always have aunts always pushing and nagging me about kids..and when y'all getting married..we have no set date yet…..I pray day and night for God to send me a bundle of joy…I know having children can be hard.. but I'm willing to take that challenge……

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  27. Anon June 12, Tell your family to BACK OFF. You're doing the best they can and if they're that desperate for more babies in the family, maybe they should get their own. Then change the subject.I hope you find a resolution to your problems soon.

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  28. I've always had a feeling that having children would be difficult. At 35, I finally had a baby. Then got divorced soon after. I have been dating someone for 3 years. He is 16 years older than I am and has an adult son. We broke up briefly a year ago. He had a vasectomy during that time. I was ok with letting nature take it's course as far as my fertility. Now all I want is a baby since he took the possibility away from me. Last month I had to have an ultrasound for an exam. I cried the entire time, wishing I was there for a baby. I'm 39. Will I really find anyone else, fall in love and have another child? I can't decide if the possibility of something that probably won't happen is worth leaving my current relationship. I want a family, my idea of a family.

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  29. Its really tough. I find it a real struggle – some days are worse then others and I feel like Im dragging myself through life a lot. No amount of yoga or meditation takes the pain away. My partner has kids and absolutely doesnt want any. I love him dearly and at the same time Im thoroughly empty and unhappy.

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  30. Its really tough and I feel for you. Im in the same boat and I don't suffer clinical depression. Im very sad most days too because my partner refuses to have kids. He already has two girls. I feel for you sweety….

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  31. I've just turned 35 and have been with my partner for 13 years. I always knew he didn't want children, and I always said that I did (although in practice I feel like i've never really decided either way, because my opinion has never mattered). We talked about it, on and off, for years, never finding a solution to our different wishes, but staying together anyway.

    Then last year I met a wonderful (but emotionally damaged) man who I fell in love with, much to my distress. I felt strongly that I wanted to have children with him (despite some really obvious, serious flaws in his suitability as a partner!) and although he says he couldn't have a relationship with me while he's so emotionally messed up, we did once have a quiet, nervous conversation about how we would both like to have children and… maybe… together.

    I haven't started a relationship with this man, although i still long to, however misguided i know it would be. But the feelings have overwhelmed me and the relationship I have with my partner. I've talked to my partner again this weekend about the long-term issues in our relationship, including children. He's adamant he doesn't want them and is prepared for me to leave him if I feel I have to. I'm left with trying to decide whether to stay in a good but definitely imperfect relationship with a man who I love, without children, for ever, whether to leave him and pursue the man I know will break my heart, but who *might* just give me children in the meantime, or whether to give up on all of it and live in a little house on my own with a cat. I have time left, but not much, and the pressure is making me insane. If anyone has tips on making childlessness feel like your own decision… those would be very welcome.

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  32. Anonymous June 15, it sounds like the relationship you have and the one you are considering are both unhealthy and destined to give you lots of heartache. I know you want children, but I wouldn't advise pursuing a relationship with a man who says himself that he's too messed just because you might have a child together. As for making childlessness feel like your own decision, you can't force that. Either it is your decision or you do your best to accept that circumstances didn't work out for you.
    I'm feeling old and cranky this morning. Anybody else have more encouraging advice?

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  33. Also feeling odl and cranky, at 31. My story is very similar to everyone else's; I'm 31, have been with my husband (the undisputable love of my life) since I was 20. My childhood was terrible and I insisted from a young age that I didn't want kids, but I see now that I was scared of the vulnerability. I started yearning for a child at 25 and at 28, drunkenly blurted out my wishes to my husband. He didn't talk to me for days. He insisted he still never wanted kids and was angry that I changed my mind and went against our agreement. Here we are, 3 years later, still in love but at a point that we're both depressed. I feel so confused about what I want- I ache for a child but I am horribly scared of losing the man I love. What do I pick? Will I ruin our marriage with resent ment if I forgo being a mother? Do I even want a child if it's not with my husband? Can I find a way to be happy without kids? Am I being dumb for ignoring my own wants and needs to live someone else's life? Feeling lonely and scared. Feeling like a bad wife and selfish for wanting something other than my marriage but also mad at my husband for feeling so differently than I do. Feeling like a failed, rejected woman. Reading these posts is comforting, though. I hope everyone out there can find some bit of peace.

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  34. Oh Anonymous July 11, rats. I hate that this is happening to you. You're right that you're not the only one going through this and wondering whether or not to stay with their guy. I wish I had the answers. All I can suggest is to give it a little more time. Right now both of you are feeling raw and hurt. Try to remember you love each other.

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  35. Ok I an 52 years old and no kids of my own. Currently married to a man who has two daughters. Thought and longed for kids especially after married the fist time younger and he did not want kids. Felt huge regrets even at marrying second time at 47. I am reading a book by Melanie Notkin about the name of book is Otherhood. There are soomany woman who do not have children by circumstances and there is no shame in it!

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  36. Thank you all for sharing your truth- I have so many confusing and distressing emotions around this…I keep them inside and carry much shame for having the feelings (like i am a wallowing victim or should just count my blessings). Reading all of your posts helps me feel I'm not alone and that my emotions are ok to have- even when I don't know what to do with them

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  37. Dear Sue,

    Thank you for starting this dialogue and continuing with the comments for all of these years. I am sitting at work on a very depressed Monday.

    This weekend my husband and I went to stay with some friends, they have a pair of almost 5 year old twins and a 2 year old. We had a wonderful time but ever since I woke up on my nap home yesterday, I have been completely and utterly depressed. …

    I am 30, my husband is also. We met at 24 and were married at 26. When we first started dating, we were on the same page when it came to kids – too scary to think about and absolutely not an option at the time or for a while, “we have time to think about that later” kind of attitude.

    Well, it's later. For the longest time I struggled internally to figure out weather or not becoming a mother is something I genuinely wanted. Safe to say I feel the answer is yes now. That is something I never thought I would say. My mother suffers greatly from mental illness, and I was convinced growing up that I would to. Well I don't. So much for that.

    Two years ago when I was 28 my grandmother died. It was two weeks after she passed, that I knew in my heart that I want a family. I love my husband so much, and I want us to have that wholeness that can come through the struggles and joys of having our own family. I want to have Sunday dinners and holiday traditions, and all the ups and downs, because I know in my heart that we would only grow more as a couple from it all.

    I am depressed after our lovely visit with our friends and family because my husband is so natural with kids. He is good with them, they gravitate to him. They make him smile. But, any time I try to bring it up it's never a good time to talk about it. I can't put that kind of pressure on him. He needs to feel willing all on his own. He needs more time. He wants us to buy our new house this winter, and maybe take a few more trips. He tells me how beautiful I am and that one day we'll have beautiful babies together, but then says to others “I want to have a new house, a boat, and a wife that drives a convertible.” “I can't imagine giving up my life without kids”… Meanwhile I'm already picking out kid friendly cars to pick from once the rag top dies (probably next year).

    I feel that I should mentally prepare myself for ours to become the story so many here have told. The story of too little too late. That he will only be ready once he's 45 and it will no longer be an option for me. Part of me deep down has this fear that he will leave me once he has his dream life put together, and then wants to add kids – with a younger, prettier wife.

    The rest of me is resolved not to hold what I want over his head. There are a lot of things in life I will whine about until I get my way, it's not right but I don't mind twisting arms from time to time. But having kids is a hard line. I would never feel right knowing he possibly resents me, our child or our marriage because he didn't feel 100% about it. Anytime things got rough I can imagine the words “well this is what you wanted” getting thrown around.

    I guess I am just trying to come to terms with the very real possibility that we may never have a family involving children. I feel like holding on to hope & the dream is just making it worse for me.

    All of our friends have one, if not 2. We have 7, soon to be 8, nieces & nephews. We love them all, and love to spend time with them. But I find that recently, after spending time with them I and up depressed for days. I just need to work through this, and face the music.

    Thank you for listening ❤

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  38. Dear Anonymous July 28,
    I'm so sorry you're feeling so bad about all this. First, I think it's too soon to give up and say you'll never have kids. He has not said no, right? Second, it's okay to “put this on him,” to talk about it and tell him how you feel. You might even want to show him what you wrote here. You might want to share some statistics about how the chances for pregnancy go down after 35. If he's not ready right now, get him to set a date and then do as many kidfree things before then as you can. I hope you can work this out. Let us know what happens, okay?

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  39. I am glad your blog is still here. I was married for 20 years to a man who would get angry whenever it looked as if we might talk about our childlessness. So we didn't. As time went on, I told myself that it was the man and the marriage that mattered. We never went for infertility investigations and he left me when we were 40 – he was having an affair and – I think coincidentally – I had just arranged an infertility clinic appointment. It was too late for me and I didn't conceive in two short later relationships. He remarried but hasn't had any children. During the time we were splitting up, he said – apparently casually – that he thought he was infertile. Childlessness is so poignant for me – I often feel very lonely. And I feel so stupid that I didn't confront the issue with my husband when I was in my twenties and thirties and there was still a chance. I was afraid of disturbing the relationship, I think. But in retrospect it would have been better to find out early on.

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  40. Anonymous Aug. 4, I'm so sorry this happened to you. It makes me almost want to recommend fertility testing for any couple who want to get married. I guess that wouldn't be right, but still . . . why didn't your husband confess 10 years earlier that he feared he might be infertile? This is a lesson for all of us. Don't wait, and don't avoid talking about important topics for fear of rocking the boat. Sooner or later, that boat is going to get rocked anyway. Anon, I hope you can find peace and happiness.

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  41. Hi all, Eve here. I have been with my guy 18 years. Didn't want kids in my 20's, was 'never the right time' in my 30s. The house needed to be fixed, we needed better finances etc etc. Always another hoop to jump through.

    I want to share my story with other women in hope it saves someone my pain. I started wanting kids at 33. And each year, I got more bitter, more angry, our relationship suffered. It was bad. One of us should have left. But we either fought or ignored each other. There were no calm talks, no joint baby goals. It was always ignore the issue or fight about it. Ladies, have the talk with your husbands, they can't read our minds. It's hard to be calm and rational about such an emotionally charged subject.

    That age old question? In hindsight, I wish I'd left. Found a man that wanted children.

    Now? I just turned 45 last week, he is 47. Now that our finances are straight and the house is fixed up, NOW he says he will have a child, 2 if possible with me. Lets start trying.

    Now?! Seriously?! At 45 after 18 years? UGH. I've been to the doctor, my numbers are all good, pregnancy should still be possible….but now I struggle with “How fair is it to the child, at this stage of our lives? What is the cut off point?” Just… -sigh-

    I do think, if I ultimately decide it is too late to be fair to the child, that our relationship will not last. I would probably look for a new relationship and look to adopt or foster. To me, having a family is more important than keeping the man, even at this late stage. He will not adopt or foster. So much sadness, so much waste, to be with someone with incompatible life goals…

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  42. it helps to read all the posts and to know that I am not the only one in this painful dilemma, so thank you for all of your honest comments.

    I was 35 when I met my partner who was 48 at the time and just getting out of a nasty divorce. Up until 35 I had gone on a lot of dates which went nowhere and had experiences several failed relationships. At the time that I met my partner, I was just so happy to meet someone with whom I felt so good happy. I knew children would be an issue, I don't have any and he has three from his previous relationship but somehow I managed to push that issue to the side and focused on us. As many of you can imagine that “issue” has come back to rear its head and I find myself constantly wondering if I made the right choice. I'm 38 now and while my partner has loved me whole heartedly, I still miss the children I will never have. It's a tough pill to swallow and I've recently decided to go into counseling to sort it out.
    I think what complicates my feelings is that I am adopted which comes with a whole other set of issues regarding intimacy and relationships. It has always been a challenge for me to trust people.

    But thank you again for reading….I do find comfort in hoe fact that I am not alone!

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  43. I just turned 36. I was married for 10years with no children. My husband had 4 and we adopted a pre teen I thought that would help my eptiness. at 32 I found out I had kidney cancer and thank God my life was spared by the removal of my right kidney but they also told me at that time that my fallopian tubes are scared and I likely will not have children. a short time later I was divorced. The daughter I adopted one month before her 18th birthday (which was 2 years ago this month) decided she no longer needed me and went to be with bio parents. My brothers and sisters and friends and cousins all have children and some grandchildren. I keep distance from them because it is too painful. I have nothing in common with them or nothing to share with them except my job which they are really not interested in. It hurts soo much being so alone and im such a loving person I don't know how I will ever get through another Christmas or thanksgiving alone. and I agree with a previous poster…mothers day is the absolute worst.

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