The holidays can be tough for a lot of reasons, but not having children–and wishing you had them–can make it especially difficult. Everywhere you turn, you see children. You attend family gatherings where everyone else seems to have kids, watch your friends going all out to make Christmas special for their children, and you get bombarded by child-centered TV shows and commercials.
If you are alone, it’s even harder. Comments on a much earlier post about childless grief have increased lately. I’m sure the holidays have something to do it. Some of the comments are just heart-breaking. Martha wrote to me yesterday. She didn’t marry until she was 40. She wanted children. Her husband said he didn’t. She hoped he’d change his mind, but then, only five years after their marriage, he died of a heart attack at age 48. Now she’s 45, still wanting children but beginning to doubt that it will ever happen. An only child, she has no nieces or nephews, and so many members of her birth family have died that she is in danger of being the last one left. It’s hard to know what to say except to urge her to build a family of friends who can help her move on.
Others wrote to me after Thanksgiving. Ericka, for instance, found it really difficult to be around her nieces and nephews this year. They just reminded her of what she didn’t have.
The holidays are challenging, but if we can count our blessings and treasure the people we do have in our lives, we can get through this and maybe even enjoy it.
Don’t sit home and stew. Get busy. If you’re alone, call a friend. If you don’t have a friend, make one. Volunteer somewhere. Reach out, and someone will reach back.