Six people I know have died in the last month. Six! None were family members, thank God, but still, they were people I knew and cared about. Also, my cousin gave birth to twins. Plus, I’ve got a new boss who is, how shall I put it, insane. And my neighbor has a new rooster who never stops crowing. All since July 1. What a month. Makes a girl think and reassess.
I’ve been whining a lot lately about being alone and childless. I won’t lie. It’s hard sometimes. Saturday, when I arrived at a funeral that was not held at my own church, I found myself alone in a sea of families. And when the folks in front of me told me all about their children and grandchildren, I felt awful. So alone. I went home and cried and only partly for my neighbor who died. But part of that is my own fault for being too shy to introduce myself to strangers and make them friends. I’d rather feel sorry for myself. My friend Pat talks to everyone. Within five minutes, she has new friends, so she’s never alone. Yes, she has children, but they all live far away. She has a husband, but he’s currently disabled and can’t do things with her. Her own health isn’t great. We’ve all got problems.
But you know what we also have? Blessings. One day last week when I just couldn’t face my work anymore, I got in my car and drove to the beach. I hung out on the sand until lunchtime, then treated myself to an expensive lunch at a posh restaurant with a fabulous view. Later I went shopping, and I drove down some roads I’d never tried before. I did not have to arrange childcare or consult with any other human being. I just went, and it was great.
I watched 13 episodes of “Orange is the New Black” in one week last month. I’m not sure that’s good for anybody’s brain, but again, no one to consult, no child or husband to feed, nobody whining that they wanted to watch something else.
My dog Annie and I walk almost every day through the woods or on the beach. Between us we have six good legs and we’re healthy. That, my friends, is a blessing.
I eat three delicious meals a day and have money left over. I am so lucky.
Many of you have partners whom you love. You might be making each other crazy over the baby issue, but stop for a minute. Set that aside. What do you love about this person? What does he or she give you? Sex? Love? Support? A hand to hold when you’re scared? That’s something a lot of people don’t have.
Do you have a home? Your health? Parents? Siblings? Cousins? Friends? Pets?
Do you have work that you enjoy?
I know. This baby thing has you all tied up in knots. You worry about the future. Will you regret not having children? Will you end up alone? Will your relationship last? Should you leave? Should you stay? It’s hard.
But today, right now, count your blessings. Life is short, and we never know when it will end. My fingers are getting tired of playing funeral songs. But I’m grateful that those fingers can still dance on the piano keys and I can still sing.
How about you? Perhaps you don’t have babies of your own, but what DO you have?
8 thoughts on “Maybe It’s Time to Reassess”
I have written before but not for a while. It’s funny when everything hits at once and can bring up a lot of mixed up feelings about family, loss, no babies, maybe babies. Like you were, I am involved with someone older with three children of his own. While he has been clear about his hesitancy to start all over again with a family, I’m the one who has been muddled and confused. He asked me the other day, “When you first got involved with me, what was your plan about children?” GOOD question. I explained that I always wanted a healthy relationship with a man first and foremost and children, I thought, would come later. I knew that when I met him he technically couldn’t have any more and didn’t want anymore, I just didn’t think it would matter that much. Well, it does, but at this point, I want both of us to be happy and so I think we are not going to pursue children together, which would need IVF intervention.
This realization makes me sad, and I can’t really see anything else but that. I’m being honest. What is good is that I am sharing more of my feelings about being childless with my partner and he has promised to be there for me when I need him. Before, like you did Sue, I hid behind my pain, refusing to show that it mattered.
What I do have is a wonderful honest relationship. I do have my health, I do have a job (but I’m not completely satisfied with that at the moment), and I do have a good relationship with my mother. However, these great relationships do not take away the honest pain I carry around that I did not become a mother. What I hope will happen is that the pain will come and go and that I will be able to come to terms with being childless. After all, I am the one who chose to walk down this road with a near impossible chance to conceive.
Your blog helps me tremendously and I do not feel so alone, so thank you for that
Danielle, Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story. Yes, our situations were very similar. And yes, some days, the sadness is all you see. Me too, but not as often as I used to. It’s good that you’re talking about it. To be honest, when I found Fred, I was just glad to have somebody. After my divorce and a few relationships, I thought I’d be alone for the rest of my life. He gave me so much, just not children.
Hi Sue, that’s how I felt when I first met him and that’s how I still feel. When I met him I had sworn off men altogether and told everyone I would be alone for the rest of my life! And suddenly there he was!
Besides the blog Sue, what other things do you do to help fill the void of not having children? I’m almost past childbearing years but not quite and since most of my friends have children or are married, I’m having trouble finding my niche.
Danielle, what do I do? Nothing fills the void in the same way as actually having children. For a while, my stepchildren kind of did it, but they’re not involved with me anymore. My dogs are certainly part of it. My books. The people I lead in my church choir and teach in my writing workshops. You do have to have something.
My partner’s kids are teens and young adults and I do not anticipate having a close relationship with them. Presently they are cordial and that’s okay with me. I understand their loyalty to their mother. What kind of freaks me out, to be honest, is how I will be involved when they have children themselves. I’m sure they will want their dad to spend time with their kids, but I’m worried about how I will be incorporated into their lives. Has this happened to you?
Hi Danielle. Of my husband’s three kids, only one of them had children. We were not very close, mainly because my husband was not involved. We got together occasionally, but I didn’t really feel like part of their lives. I think it depends on how their father/grandfather relates to them.
Sue, I recently read an article on character and a sense of well-being. The character qualities they list are inspiring and certainly attributes to strive for and improve on. I’ll list them here. But the one quality most important for well-being was gratitude–thought you’d like to know.
Transcendence: appreciation of beauty & excellence, spirituality, hope, gratitude, humor
Temperance: forgiveness & mercy, humility & modesty, prudence, self-regulation
Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
Wisdom: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective
Sandy, That sure gives us something to strive for. I’m working on it.