We’ve got to talk about it

I wound up childless because I didn’t have THE CONVERSATION with my husbands-to-be before we got married. I did not tell them I definitely wanted children and make sure they wanted them, too. I just assumed. It’s always a bad idea to assume anything. You might be wrong.

I get lots of e-mails these days from women, and a few men, who are in the same position. They thought they’d have children. They married or entered long-time partnerships, discovering later that their mates did not share their desire for offspring. I have heard stories of hidden vasectomies, forced abortions, and, most often, partners who just refused to discuss having children. My friends, if they refuse to talk about it, they are probably also going to refuse to parent–or maybe they have concerns that can be worked out. You’ll never know for sure if you don’t put it in words.

In my own situation, I have come to realize that if I had communicated how important it was for me to have children, my husband would have cooperated. Yes, he said he didn’t want more children, and I know he meant it, but I also know after all these years, that he loved me enough to do it to make me happy. I didn’t say the words. I was afraid I’d lose him.

We also need to talk about it with our friends and relatives. One man recently told me he’s afraid to say anything to his childless friends about the fact that he has children and they don’t. That’s how friendships end and the world divides into parents and non-parents. Sometimes it hurts not to have children. Let your friends know that, but know they don’t have to hide their kids from you either. Talk about it. It will make life a lot easier.

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3 thoughts on “We’ve got to talk about it

  1. We had to take a test with the minister before we married and my husband answered that he would like 1 child in 5 yrs. Surpise to me that he didn't follow through with his answer. I know he stopped wanting a child when his then teenage daughter started her down her dark path.

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  2. I talked with friends and family about my husband not wanting kids and they were very unsupportive. I think because I was the auntie and a babysitter to my friend's child. Being that close to my friend's child was wonderful and sad. After I divorced my husband, I was too afraid to contact my friend because she did not agree with my wanting to leave. It took me 4 years to contact her. She didn't bother to contact me. It is funny how others who have children can judge a women for wanting to leave a marriage because of wanting children. My own sister told me I should just be happy and I probably want to be childless in order to keep my figure. She didn't have a clue, nor did she care at the time.

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  3. It's hard to talk to friends about this. Most of my friends have small children (I'm 38, and most of my circle are academics, so the women friends started to have babys about 6 years ago).
    I told some of my friends about the difficulties with my boyfriend about having babies and later about us splitting up. they were very supportive, listening to me, comforting, encouraging…. but now? the “stop” decision about baby-making is over a year ago. The split up is about 4 months ago. What can I talk to them about? I'm still childless. I'm still grieving. They have said everything they can say…. it doesn't change anything! No-one can help me. that is just a fact. they can support and so on, but not solve the problem…
    A few weeks ago a friend came by for brunch. She brought her 1-year-old who is really cute. We ended up going to the playground with him and had a nice time in the sun. But it made me sad at the same time as being happy about being with my friend. eventually she said “it was a nice day, but you know, it makes me feel melancholy that you don't have a child yourself”
    .
    I said: “yes, me too”.
    What else could I say?

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