Childless by Marriage is a blog, a book and a Facebook page for those of us who do not have children because our partners were unable or unwilling to have children with us. Some are infertile. Many already have children from a previous relationship and don’t want any more. Others just don’t want children. In a world of people whose lives revolve around their children and grandchildren, we feel left out and alone. But not here. We’re all in the same situation.
Note that this is not a “childfree” site for those people who never wanted kids and are perfectly happy without them. We are “childless.” There’s a difference.
For those of you visiting for the first time, this is not a new blog. It’s an old blog on a new site, and I’m excited to share it with you. The new WordPress site will offer features I couldn’t get at my old blog host. I already have two other blogs at WordPress, Unleashed in Oregon and Writer Aid, so I know it will work out well.
Next month, I will have been doing the Childless by Marriage blog for eight years. My first post was published on Aug. 27, 2007. Unbelievable. Eight years. If all works smoothly, the previous posts and comments from this blog will be transferred to the new site. But I’m still working on it, and I don’t want to take any chances, so until Aug. 26, 2015, I will publish the same posts at both sites.
I started the Childless by Marriage blog before I finished the Childless by Marriage book, which came out in 2012. So many people had contacted me and visited the “Childless resources” page on my web site that it seemed like a conversation that was dying to happen. People couldn’t wait until I got the book between covers. Plus I had things I wanted to share that wouldn’t fit into a book or an article. It needed to be a conversation.
Here’s my situation:
I was married twice. Husband number one didn’t want children, although he didn’t tell me that until a few years in. It was always wait till he finishes college, wait till he gets a good job, wait till we buy a house. Then there came a time when I thought I might be pregnant, and his tune changed to: if you have a baby, I’m leaving. Ouch. I wasn’t pregnant, but the marriage didn’t work out anyway.
Husband number two, a wonderful older man who already had three children, didn’t want any more kids. He had had a vasectomy. I thought he might change his mind, but he didn’t. Four years ago, he died of Alzheimer’s Disease. So now I have reached menopause with no husband, no kids of my own and three stepchildren I’m not close to. I live alone on the Oregon coast with my dog Annie. I regret not having children, but at the same time, I know that I have done a lot of things in my life that I could not have done if I were a mother.
So that’s the deal. Missed my chance, but maybe that’s what God had in mind for me. Or maybe I really screwed up.
Of course I want to sell my books and draw attention to my writing through my blogs and other activities. That’s why most of us start blogs in the first place, but you, my readers, have become precious to me, and I’m happy to be here as your big sister or Aunt Sue to try to answer your questions and listen to what you need to say. Most of you comment as “Anonymous.” That’s fine. Call yourself anything you want. I’m glad I can provide a private space to say what we might not be able to say anywhere else. I feel like I know you anyway.
I’d like to make this blog more interactive, maybe add some guest posts, feature more of you in the main blog. I welcome your suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m here fussing with the widgets and looking forward to your comments.
17 thoughts on “Welcome to the Childless by Marriage Blog”
Hi Sue, I have been following your blog for a number of years after I purchased your book Childless by Marriage. Your blog and other readers’ comments have made such a huge difference to my sadness and regret about not having children. So, a huge thank you for your blog and for everything that you share and for making my life without children a little easier to manage. You are a truly an amazing, talented and inspiring person, making a difference to people like myself. Thank you 😊 💌
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Oh Cheryl, Thank you so much. You make a big difference for me,too.
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Stumbled across your original blog yesterday. It helped a lot.
I was 25 when the doctor told me that I needed a hysterectomy or risk cervical cancer. I married a wonderful man 14 years my senior and found my self a stepmother to three teenage girls, 10, 13 and 15. I was 23. My husband told me when we were dating that he would never have anymore children, so if that was important to me, as much as it would hurt him to lose me, he would let me go. I loved him, and being that young, I never really considered how not having my own children would really affect me. Well, I am still happily married and am now 44. The pain of that decision, as well as the hysterectomy, has brought me into such emotional turmoil. My stepchildren now have children of their own. I fight feelings of jealousy and a lot of times distance myself from the people I love because I’m so ashamed of feeling the way I do. I had always as a young girl dreamed of having a big family. My husband tells me I am a mother and grandmother to his children, but I don’t feel that way. They have a mother. I don’t know what I am.
I hate Mother’s Day, even though the girls always call me or send me cards. It is still the one day of the year I dread the most. I want to get over this, but I think I have just held my emotions in for so long that now, they are exploding. I am cranky a lot , and that is not me. I don’t blame my husband. He was upfront with me from the beginning and I love him more now than the day we married. He is very loving and sympathetic. Any advice on how I can move on and actually start enjoying my life again?
Anonymous, I am so sorry for your pain. Your husband sounds like a good one. I too inherited three stepchildren, although I was a little older than you were. Being a stepmother and step-grandmother is definitely not the same as having your own children, but it’s something. What you’re feeling is perfectly natural, but you shouldn’t keep your feelings bottled up. Talk about them with your friends and family. If you can’t, counseling might help. It doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill, just that you need somebody to talk to. And remember, we’re always here for you.
And yes, Mother’s Day sucks. At least your stepdaughters remember you on that day. Most of us aren’t that lucky.
Hang in there.
Thank you Sue.
You’re right. I am lucky to have my stepdaughters and my grandkids. The best part is I’m Grammy, no step involved. I’m feeling better. Sometimes I just get emotional.
In some ways, my life situation is the same – and we are both 44! No fantastic advice on how to live with our feelings, but I suppose we just ‘do’. Re. Mother’s Day – I do not get or expect a card from my stepkids (who are both parents themselves now). They do not send a card to their dad on Father’s Day, so I know that it is not personal! Rambling now – just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Ali x
I thought for so long I was alone with my situation. That no one understood. My hateful view of it is this: Motherhood was ripped from me. Not by much of a choice, not by age or time, and there is absolutely nothing that can change that. At 26 I had a hysterectomy. My uterus and ovaries were covered in tumors. The likelihood of pregnancy, even with the organs intact, was slim to none, but at least there was a slight chance. Now it feels empty. And I feel like whenever I explain that feeling to someone, that it comes across like I’m fishing for sympathy or something along those lines. It’s so difficult for me to explain. So difficult to put on that fake smile when people say “happy Mother’s Day” because I’m now 36 and should have had kids by now.
My boyfriend has two kids from a previous marriage. They are young, and they are sweet. My boyfriend is incredibly patient and understanding. I’m not sure if he truly understands exactly how I feel. I’ve broken down in his arms crying after keeping everything bottled up for so long. He calls them “our kids” but they’ll never be mine. I’ll never have what he and his ex experienced.
I’ve been seeing a therapist for over three years now.
Nothing seems to help.
I need to know if it gets better, too.
I want to enjoy life. I honestly have nothing to complain about. I’m healthy now, thanks to having that surgery.
Thank you for listening. This is the first time I’ve opened up online.
Anon, 7/18, I’m so sorry. It doesn’t seem fair, and it must be so painful. I’m glad you have a loving guy and his kids and that you’re in counseling. It does get easier, I promise, but it never completely goes away. Hang in there. You are not alone.
Congratulations on the new digs, Sue! 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed your blog, but for whatever reason, I’ve never been able to add it to my blog reader… I think I’ve done it & then the posts never show up. I finally subbed by email, but sometimes it takes a few days for those posts to show up too. Perhaps the new platform will resolve some of these issues. Looking forward to many more posts from you here. 🙂
Thanks, Loribeth. I do think this platform will work better for all of us. That’s one of the reasons I’m switching.
I spoke to you a while back about the same dilemma many women who read your posts do — being with someone too old/doesn’t want/can’t have children. For me, the love of my life happens to be 63, 30 years my senior. Eventually, we realized me not having a child would be a dealbreaker, but he didn’t want to have any more as his son is now 19. But we love each other very much, so what do we do?
And after a lot of talking, tears, therapy and …life….we found a way.
It’s an unorthodox way, but we’re excited about it.
We’re in a custom polyamorous relationship with another man I also love very much and who is my age and pumped about having kids with me.
The two guys are on board to working with one another — it’s a complex plan, but one based on honesty, love and respect. They respect the connection each has with me, knowing that it doesn’t take away from the love/connection of their own they share with me.
So, I know it’s a rare instance, but you never know. Things sometimes just work out. And maybe it IS a matter of going back to the drawing board and being open to alternative relationship styles.
That’s an unusual solution, but if everybody’s happy, why not? Thanks for sharing this.
Just, wow! Not something I could ever have done. I wish you all the happiness for the future. Ali x
What an incredible compromise! I really hope it works out for all of you. That child is so lucky to have so many people who will love and care for him/her.
When I came across this blog, I thought it would cover the pros and cons of being childless. A good forum to help women making a choice. Instead, it implies that not having children leads to a lonely, shallow life. Fortunately, I married a man who was not sure he wanted children, but we forged a great life for ourselves. We travel the world, have a cozy vacation home, bike, work out together, and are truly each other’s best friends. Many of my married with children couples do not have the incredible relationship we enjoy. The women focus on the children, and the husbands focus on their extra activities (golf, hunting). I worried about waking up at 50 and wishing I had children. Instead, I woke up to that birthday and thanked God for the great partner in life he gave me. No regrets and no children.
Karen, Thank you for sharing this. We do have a lot of readers trying to decide what to do about having children. Your comments offer hope for those who are afraid of the regrets they might have later. Not having children does not necessarily lead to a shallow, lonely life. As you demonstrate, it’s a big world full of possibilities, and sometimes a life without offspring can be great.