Being childless around other people’s kids

We may not have our own kids, but the world is full of other people’s children. Does it make you feel better or worse to be around them?

There was a time when I avoided children. If someone brought a baby to the office, I suddenly got very busy at my desk. I just couldn’t share in the admiration and baby talk or in all the sharing of motherhood experiences. “When my xxx was that age . . .” I didn’t feel that I belonged, and it hurt too much to know I’d never have a baby. During church baptisms, I couldn’t join in the benevolent smiles of all the moms and dads remembering when their own little one was christened. I could only think, “That will never happen for me.” Know what I mean?
It was the same with older kids. I didn’t feel as if I knew how to relate. I couldn’t be one of those grownups who talks to the kids or gets involved in their lives.
But I have learned a couple things along the way. It’s not the children that make me uncomfortable. Even if I never gave birth to a child, I WAS a child myself. We all were, and we can relate to kids on that basis. No, it’s the gloating parents and grandparents that make me squirm.
I still don’t exactly surround myself with other people’s children, but I do talk to them now. I sing with the kids in our religious education program and I have discovered that kids are pretty great. It’s amazing to watch them grow and learn and turn into people. And sometimes, wonderful times, I can channel my inner child and laugh and play and sing with them and not worry about the fact that all I have at home is a dog.
In the thick of grieving about the children you may never have, it may be painful, but try to enjoy the children around you if you can. They’re pretty cool. If you can’t, I understand. It will get easier.
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14 thoughts on “Being childless around other people’s kids

  1. I enjoy being around the children. It’s being around the children when they're around their parents/grandparents that is frequently difficult, such as the “Look, the childless woman is holding a baby. Let’s ask her if she wished she'd had one”, etc. moments.


  2. This is one of my hardest things. I have an extremely hard time dealing with my own infertility issues, then seeing my friends who I love and adore have their own children. Their smiling faces and comments about their babies or children kill me. I am very happy for them, but hate always being “Auntie” to these children. When I expressed my desire to have a child, one of my co-workers said, “I thought you disliked children!” I wanted to scream “I am a Kindergarten teacher. I love children!”So, yes it is difficultfor me. I cry inside every time.


  3. Myself, I enjoy being around a screaming child and then being able to smile, turn and walk away. But seriously – it can be tough for me to be around groups of children. At church the children return from the Bible study lesson, glowing and excited to return to the pew to snuggle in the crook of their parents’ arms. Gulp.I can't handle First Communion day with all those little ladies in their white dresses and little gloves. Little boys in slick hair and ties. And don't get me started on the children’s choir. Those sweet voices and proud faces can make me blink real hard.I get terribly annoyed and uneasy being around a group of mothers, all chatting about their children, trading stories, sharing info, giving each other the comfort that only one mother can give another. It's a club I don't belong to – no matter how many dogs I have in my yard.Sometimes I overcompensate and say stupid things like, “Well, you know me. I'm terrible with children.” And then I get angry with myself for saying it. I know that those comments do not help the “childless” cause and it's not true. I'm pretty good at engaging a child. But sometimes it makes me feel better. Like I'm owning the fact that I do not have children.When I encounter an annoying parent person I amp up the fact that I'm FREE and can do as I like. Even though I'm not really free at all. This cool, collected, smug person doesn't need to know how I struggle. I do not want their pity.s


  4. I can agree with everyone about going to a religious service. It is extremely hard. Parents and smiling babies/children hurt when we don't have any. The neglect of being left out and the lack of friends because I don’t have little ones makes it unbearable.


  5. I think after so many years of taunting about “stealing” other peoples’ kids from my closest circle of friends and family (who all have children now) I am nervous around kids, and feel that people think I am going to steal their kid if I show affection for them and interact with them.


  6. Hi. This the first time I’m in this blog. To be honest, I can be around kids. I can handle it, but yes I do agree that the parents drive me crazy. I always wonder why can't we have our own. It’s sad coming home to no one from work. and sitting around waiting for the husband to get home. and do the same thing all over. I’m tired of just being the best auntie. I really want to be a mommy.


  7. Anonymous,Thank you for sharing this. It is hard being around other people who have kids, and I know all about the empty house. Is there some way you can keep busy so you're not sitting around waiting? I hope things get easier for you soon.Sue


  8. Thanks. Well I work, so I stay busy during work. And when I’m home, I clean, cook do things as a regular wife would do. But the house is always empty. I’m glad I found this blog and I know now I’m not alone :). Past days have been hard since everyone around me seem to be getting pregnant and I always wonder why I haven’t had kids. It’s hard to tell people that we can't, plus hurtful.


  9. Hi Sue, I like being around children, when the children belong to good parents. I'm truly happy for those people, that they are blessed with children. But those who have kids way too young, and bring them into this world in a bad situation? I feel that is irresponsible, not something to be admired that's for sure. Again, not trying to judge, but I can't help noticing–and feeling a sense of injustice–that some people can have kids but don't love and appreciate them the way I would.


  10. Oh, and I also can't stand the way some people assume that I must hate kids. Get real, I love kids MORE because I didn't irresponsibly have them (which probably led to me not having them, but still).


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