Should I feel bad that I don’t feel bad about not having kids?

Okay, let me state that I did want children and if I could go back and change things, I would have  a house full of kids and grandkids yelling “Mom!” and “Grandma!” “I’d take over my mother-in-law’s title as “Grandma Lick.” Maybe even “GG” as she asked her great-grandchildren to call her. I could spend my days making things for them all, saving keepsakes and pictures and family stories—aw rats, I do feel bad.
But not always. That’s the thing I want to communicate. Most of the time, I enjoy my uncomplicated life. I don’t go to a store, restaurant, church or anywhere else, see people with their kids and feel pain or sadness. I used to, but I don’t anymore. I’m content most of the time. I know many of you hurt when people in your lives have babies. I do, too. I even cry when characters on TV shows have babies. But when a friend welcomed a new granddaughter recently, I felt only happiness for her.
My life now is about other things, my writing, my music, my dog, my friends, my family. It’s about food, books, travel, art, and faith in a God who had a reason for making me childless.
I did do some weeping during the holiday season, but it wasn’t over my lack of children. I miss my husband, who died 3 ½ years ago. I feel his loss in everything. I ache when I see other women with their husbands. I hurt bad when I see couples kissing or holding hands. I go to a concert alone and realize most of the audience is grouped in twos. I look under the Christmas tree and there isn’t much there because most of the gifts used to be the ones Fred and I gave to each other.
It hurt more this last Christmas because the friends I usually spend the holidays with were all busy with their kids and grandkids. I didn’t want to be them; I just missed being able to spend time with them.
Do I wish I had kids? Yes, but I don’t feel bad most of the time. I have moved on.
So many of you are stuck in the don’t-know-what-to-do place. Stay with the mate who doesn’t want children or look for someone else before it’s too late? It’s a decision no one should ever have to make. But consider this. When you’re in your 60s during the holidays, which would you miss more, the children you might have had or the partner/spouse who is with you right now? 
Congratulations on surviving the holiday season with all its many challenges. Now we move on. I promise it will get easier.

5 thoughts on “Should I feel bad that I don’t feel bad about not having kids?

  1. I totally get where you are coming from, Sue. Being married, I often forget what it's like to not have that “other half.” I was considering this recently when I was having a crap day. The only person I wanted to confide in was my husband. My mom would have stressed, my colleague would have probably thought less of me. Most of my friends are in tidy boxes. My “movie” friend isn't my “confide in” friend. My thrift store shopping group, while warm and fun, is a package deal and “one on ones” are not the norm. A few close “all-purpose” friends just weren't fitting the bill. I felt blessed to have my husband to serve this particular need. In bed that night I gave up my final gripes, kissed his hand and fell into a deep sleep, my mind clean of annoyance. Who would be that person for me – if not him?I thought of a good friend who is single and has lost her mother, a mother who was not only her housemate but her best friend. My friend struggles with so much and takes it all in stride. Doesn't complain. I know her well enough to know that she doesn't have a wide circle beyond our little group of girlfriends. I know she's close with people at work and I assume they are her closer friends these days. And I hope she uses them as a daily support system.It's tough out there. I remember the short days of being single (between divorce and the beginning of a new relationship). It's not easy or fun to fill up weekends, holidays or deal with those general life annoyances that we all have. I know I struggled.Remind yourself, Sue, that you are strong. Not only for enduring life with a first husband that wasn't the best but for continuing to live in hope and finding a joyful life with a second husband. And then, when that ended, you continue to hold it together to live that same life without him.I'm betting there are a few more chapters in store for a sassy woman such as yourself. Are you open to someone new in your life? Maybe it's time?It's so wonderful to pop in here. You are a blessing. THANK YOU!Anon S


  2. Anon S, you are so great. Thank you for your kind words and wisdom.
    I like being called “sassy.” I am strong, although I have my whiny moments. You are strong, too. We all deal with what comes to us. We have to.
    Am I open to someone new? I'm getting there. I have been seeing someone for a few months. Although that isn't going so well and needs to end soon, it has allowed me to see the possibilities. Will I ever get married again? I don't know. I'm liking my freedom, but with the right guy, who knows? Babies will definitely not be an issue. 🙂


  3. Hi Sue.I like that your posts have a lot of heart and wisdom. I came here because I suspect my brother (who takes after my mum and doesn't want kids) and SIL (who is Catholic and definitely wants kids) might need to read your blog in the not-so-distant future. It's their business but as a “support person” (for my brother, that is) I see it as my job to be at the ready for such an eventuality. It is an eventuality because barring a major epiphany/life crisis, people don't go from not wanting children to wanting children. My brother did promise my SIL one child when he married her, but he's my brother and I know it's a promise he will find hard to fulfill; he doesn't even connect with my kids, his own niece and nephew. He has sort of taken after our mum, whose great pearl of wisdom is “10 dogs are better than 1 child.” Unfortunately, even with four children (all over the globe), she considers herself “childless.” So if you asked her to make a choice, she'd say that if she were childless she'd prefer the spouse to the children she could have. But then again, she's never opened her heart to the parenting experience. Even as a parent, she kept us at arm's length. Now that we're all adults, she and I get along well enough, as girlfriends. I've reconciled within myself that she did not want children and we cannot have a typical mother-child relationship. Do I regret being born? No. Life is as beautiful as you choose to see it. Do I ever wish I had a mother who wanted me? Of course. But you take what you can get and make the most of it. I'm glad my mother has the sort of relationship with my children she and I never had. Out of the four kids she has, only one, the one she allowed in, has turned out like her, not wanting kids. But he has a distant relationship with my father, which I believe she intentionally fostered. And now she wonders why he won't have kids. Whatever one chooses, I believe, should be compatible with one's feeling of “wholeness” – be it choosing the spouse over the child or the child over a spouse. I wish you much happiness and fulfillment in this next phase of your life.


  4. God bless you, and I hope that the memory of your husband will provide you with more comfort than pain over time. Thank you so much for sharing.


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