I don’t have children, but I do have . . .

My dear friends,
I stayed up late last night reading and responding to a comment on one of my earliest posts, one that seems to strike a chord in so many people that it has more comments than any other. As you can read here (scroll up a couple to Anonymous Aug. 18), this commenter felt so depressed about her lack of children that she felt she couldn’t go on. She has a husband and three live-in stepchildren. Her husband is reluctantly willing to have more children, but her pregnancies have all ended in miscarriages. Now her doctor is telling her she’s too old.

It’s a sad situation. I get quite a few comments and emails like this, and I’m not sure how to help other than to offer condolences and prayers and suggest they seek counseling. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, just a childless writer who has lived through some hard things. I have also been in counseling for years. There is no shame in it. If the first person you see isn’t helping, find someone else.

I have days when I don’t want to go on either. Yesterday was one of them, but this morning, despite the drippy fog outside, I feel good again. I slept well and had a nice dream, it’s Saturday, and I have a cinnamon roll waiting for my breakfast. When all else fails, please count the big and little blessings in your life. Can you walk, talk, see, hear? Some people can’t, and they go on. Do you have a husband or partner who loves you? A home? Work? Enough money to buy groceries? Some don’t, and they go on. Even the smallest blessing can help: the taste of a cup of hot coffee or a sandwich or a piece of cake, the smell of a rose, a favorite TV show, a song, a new pair of shoes, sunset over the ocean . . .

A few days ago, I asked if you could say, “I’m never going to be a mother.” Some can, some can’t. But now I challenge you to finish this sentence: “I don’t have children, but I do have ____________________.

4 thoughts on “I don’t have children, but I do have . . .

  1. I have hope. I know and understand what the Bible teaches,and I get to help others learn. That fills most of my days. It doesn't help at nights when I am alone. But I have a horrible and eventually crippling and slightly hereditary disease (Ankylosing spondydlitis). Some days that is my “blessing', because as much as my heart still aches when others have kids and I want them so much, coping with this disease is all I can do, so I am glad I am not dealing with a child, too. I am trying to sell our home so we can move into something smaller so I can let go of “wonderful fantastical dreams of a miracle,” usually of adoption. I no longer want to give birth but had wanted to adopt for 10 years. That hope is gone. we tried for 7 and it’s not going to happen, and even if we tried private adoption I don’t trust that the local CAS wouldn’t find away to muck it up for us. Looking through the comments from Grief, I think that If I had accepted that we could never get pregnant and not held onto hope of a miracle for the first 7 years of marriage, it would have been easier when adoption failed. I spent 14 years of my life preparing for kids, instead of just being a wife. Now I am trying to embrace that, but the emotional cost has caused huge cracks in our relationship. He is a truck driver and is not home 6 days of the week, and sometimes that is a blessing on its own, because he doesn’t handle my grief very well. I am encouraged to know that it will get better, but my advice to others is if everything points to a childless life–and this may be cynical but it’s my hindsight–ACCEPTANCE is the key. Learn to accept it now, sooner. I think it might make the pain of letting go easier. If you hold on so tight to something, when you finally let it go your hands hurt. Same thing.

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  2. Thank you so much for addressing my comment. I have been so lonely in my feelings and have felt ashamed to feel the craving to be a mother. My husband is a wonderful man but doesn't understand the pain and depression that I go through. I am under care with a doctor, but feel that it does nothing for me. I was told by one doctor that the feelings will pass in time and my medical doctor told me (after he said I was too old) that I should be thankful for what I have and not want things that I cannot have. Those words were a knife going through my heart and my husband even was shocked in what he said. I am thankful for my step-children, husband, dog–who adores me and my career.–Some days are harder; some nights are impossible.Thank you for allowing me write my feelings out without worry or judgment.

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  3. Certainly and Anonymous,
    Thank you for sharing these difficult facts and feelings. It helps us all feel less alone and maybe to feel grateful for the blessings we do have.
    Anon, you need to find a different doctor, one who understands better what you're going through.
    Certainly, you're so right about it being easier once you accept it, and it's important not to ignore the man or woman in your life because you're obsessing over babies.
    I wish you both health and peace.

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  4. Certainly, I feel for you and your pain. I too have hope from the Bible (JW)! but I have been drifting away in my pain. Thank you for sharing

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