Once again, children are assumed

I spent yesterday in a writing workshop. Most of us were women trending toward middle age. The teacher, an Irish-Catholic man with three children, is a terrific writer and an amazing speaker. His goal for the class was to open up our minds to create lots of story starters we could work on later. That was great, until we got to the exercise about our children’s names. We were to make lists of our kids’ names and then list all the names we rejected when we were naming our kids.

Suddenly I was stuck. Like most of us, I had a few names in mind for the kids I might have had. A girl would have been Emily Elaine, after my aunt and my mom. I also like the name Sarah. For a boy, maybe Robert. I wrote those down, but I couldn’t list the names I had considered for my kids and rejected because I didn’t have any kids in the first place. I wished at that point that we could list our dogs’ names. That I can do. I was so relieved when he went on to the next exercise.

It’s amazing to me that in today’s world with so many people who don’t have kids, people still assume that everyone does. Have you experienced this?

6 thoughts on “Once again, children are assumed

  1. Hi Sue! I've been following along for some time now. Today is a rough day and I felt like commenting. After 8 years of marriage and several rough patches that required therapy, I came to a place where I felt safe and content and happy enough to have children with my husband. When I told him, he sputtered and gave me a list of lame reasons why we weren't ready yet – most of them involving my (minor in the grand scheme of things) flaws. So I sit here at age 37 (with the clock sort of ticking) wondering what to do. Stick with a man who may never come around (and deal with this growing resentment) or move on and try to find the magic with someone who might want to have children with me? This is the worse year. I've never been more aware of my childlessness. It surrounds me and I feel like I don't have a “place” anymore. However, it helps to come here. Thank you!


  2. Why are some men so dense? We keep coming back to the same question: At an age when we're running out of time, do we stick with the man who declines to have children with us or seek someone else? Arggh!
    My late 30s and early 40s were the absolutely worst time for dealing with childlessness. You have my sympathy and my hope that it works out happily.
    Thanks for coming here. I'm glad it helps.


  3. Situations like this happen a lot at church – I still have trouble dealing with the onslaught. I have at least learned not to alienate people during such events and discussions. (Counseling has helped) It also happens a lot when I attend my step-son's sporting events. It's assumed I have a child out on some field playing some sport. But, no…I am one of THOSE women who attend OTHER PEOPLE'S KIDS GAMES. I hate it. Again, counseling is helping me. And I agree with you Sue, my late thirties-early forties have been very difficult. Hence the counseling the day I turned 40. It truly is helping and I am learning to be at peace and laugh out loud again and actually mean it!


  4. My husband’s grandfather passed away, so on the prayer card they listed all the grandchildren with their spouses and children. There were no names listed behind our names. It hurt. I was thinking today that life could certainly be worse. Case in point, my friend just found out her mother has cancer. A simple gall bladder surgery ended up being much more. If I had the option of having the experience of many years of motherhood with the ending being cancer, would I take it? Or would I stick to a life without children and think that I'm luck to have my health?I guess nothing is promised. Some people get it all. Some get almost nothing of value. I think of the people who are given truly horrifying experiences, sometimes daily, for years. Let's take JC Duggard. Poor woman got both ends of the spectrum – horrifying daily life AND the beauty of motherhood. Would she give up her children if it meant she'd had a normal life? Or would she live it all over again in order to have them? Blows my mind how we're all given special lots in life. Nothing is promised and perils and blessings are absolutely everywhere. Frightening really. For me I just keep thinking, “I've been married for 9 years. I've been a good wife. We love children. I'm healthy and willing and able to have children. Why is this not working out?” I feel the need to MAKE something happen and the more I push the worse I feel. I guess it's simply not my lot in life to have children. I thought it would be. But it's not. I just wish I knew what God wanted me to do.


  5. I did experience the same situation. Recently my boss informed us that our company is going to found a trust – some money will be withdrawn from workers’ salaries and in a while the ones who have some meaningful occasions like wedding, childbirth or death – will be able to get some money – kind of support… I told him that I don’t think it’s good for me as I have already married and hopefully nobody will pass away. And he responded that soon I will have a child (the woman whom I replaced in this company left it as she delivered a baby). I felt hurt, as I knew I won’t have a baby at least for now but he was certain that I WILL – all women do.


  6. Because I am a teacher, the beginning on each year starts the same with meeting all my students’ parents, and almost every year I get the question, “Are you married?” followed by “Do you have kids?” At the beginning of this year, my answer was ” not yet,” but next year I don't know what I'm going to say, since my situation has changed.


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