Childless readers seek comfort in their grief

“Are You Grieving Over Your Lack of Children?” is the headline of the blog I posted here on Nov. 7, 2007. Since August 2007, I have published 366 other posts at this site, but that is the one that has drawn the most views–6873–and the most comments–152. Most people get to it by a Google search. I’m thinking they’re searching through tears because the key word is “grief.” It hurts to want children and not be able to have them, especially when it seems to be a normal part of life for everyone around you. You see other people cuddling babies and it hurts. You see your friends and sisters getting pregnant and it hurts. You see a child laboring over a Mother’s Day card for his mom, and it hurts. You see an older woman going out to lunch with her daughter and granddaughter, and it hurts. I know. I feel that pain, too.

The comments keep coming in for that post, as well as for many others. People, mostly women, write to me in crisis. In so many cases, they thought they would have children with their spouse or partner, but now he/she is saying no, they don’t want to do it. Maybe they already have children from a previous marriage and feel that’s enough. Maybe they’ve had a vasectomy. Maybe one or both people have fertility issues. Maybe they just didn’t get serious about it until they were in their 40s and now it’s too late. Often, the writer, again usually a woman, is having to make an impossible choice: the man she loves or the children she’s always wanted.

I’m not a psychologist or marriage counselor; I’m a writer. I know a lot about this subject because of my own experiences and a boatload of research. I include much of that research as well as my own story in my Childess by Marriage book. I continue to collect all the information I can about all aspects of life without children and will share as much as I can. I offer my love and prayers in the hope that we can all find peace with what feels like a hole in our lives. If we can help dry each other’s tears and ease each other’s grief, then this blog is worthwhile.

Thank you all for being here. Keep coming back.

3 thoughts on “Childless readers seek comfort in their grief

  1. Hi Sue – thanks for your blog. I've been coming here for a long time now and I often find myself seeking the words from you and the others when I seem to have a 'set-back' in my grief. It really helps to know I am not alone.

    I am currently raging about a mother I know. I'm so loathe to call her a friend right now. I'm absolutely infuriated with the nonchanlance that some women have over their kids. They just don't realise how lucky they are and how much it hurts to be jealous of them.

    This person became pregnant after a very brief relationship with a man who loved the bones of her, but she rejected him once the baby was born. She has returned to work and complains non-stop about how tough her life is. She has just gone part-time and when I congratulated her on taking the financial plunge to lose paid work in favour of her child and to save some childcare costs, she said she is not going to spend the time with the child and is only doing it for 'me time'. She will continue to leave her baby in full-time nursery. The baby has been in nursery since 10 months and is now coming up 2 and is in nursery from 8am to 6pm 5 days a week. She is put to bed at 7pm and it just makes me so mad I want to scream. It's not fair that she gets this beautiful child that she just doesn't want to spend time with when there are so many women who give their teeth for it. I am absolutely fuming with anger and grief at the moment.


  2. Lily, I know what you mean. It doesn't seem fair. That poor kid will barely know her mother at this rate. But we can't control other people. We can only control how we react to what they do.
    I went to our church ladies' monthly lunch yesterday and it was “my daughter this” and my “grandson that” while I smiled and gazed out at the gorgeous ocean view. The woman beside me was quieter than most. I asked if she had children. “Oh yes,” she said as if of course everybody has children. I nodded and said something vague like “Oh.”
    Hang in there. The baby will grow up and you'll both be empty nesters someday.


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