Childless? You are not alone

NM wrote last week:

I just found your blog tonight for the first time because my grief blindsided me this evening. I was having a pretty good day then saw something on TV and out of nowhere BAM! I was looking online for anything that would let me know this will someday pass, that I will eventually ‘get over it’. I spent a long time reading your posts and the many precious yet painful responses. I had no idea this was such a widespread issue for so many, women and men alike.

Lara wrote earlier this month:

I love the honesty of this post; I love to read somebody else say what I am feeling; I am grateful to not feel like I am a bitter self centered b!+@# for what I am feeling/thinking simply by seeing someone understands it.

Candy wrote:

I have good days and not so good days… Today is a not so good day…. 😦

Thanks for letting me share here…. there is no one on the planet that I share this crap with.

And Dawnsey wrote:

From the depths of my heart, “THANK YOU” for starting this blog. Just being able to tell my story, without those who actually know me knowing my story, has helped relieve some pressure I’ve been holding inside.

This was all in October. I’m not sharing these quotes to give myself a pat on the back. It’s to show that we all think we’re alone in our childless dramas. These quotes are from women, but I get them from men, too. We feel like we can’t talk openly about it with our partners, parents or friends because they all jump on us with their own agendas. “I love you, but . . . ” “When are you going to give me grandchildren?” “Oh, just adopt.” “You’re lucky you aren’t tied down by kids.” Right? Or we’re afraid to mess up our relationships by being honest about how we feel. I know. I used to do my crying in the garage or the car, anyplace my husband wouldn’t hear me. I have never told my dad about my book or this blog.

I’m always coming across something that smacks me in the head with the realization that I’m different, that I didn’t have kids, don’t have grandkids, don’t have anybody to take care of me if I get Alzheimer’s like my husband did, will never have someone call to say, “Hi Mom, how are you?” And this week is Halloween, which has become such a child-oriented holiday. We get to endure the commercials, TV shows, parties and endless chatter about kids’ costumes. Yes, we can dress up, we can give out–or eat–lots of candy, but it’s not the same. And the rest of the world doesn’t get it.

But we do. And that’s why I keep this blog going. You can talk about your stuff here, and we get it. You can be anonymous. Nobody has to know who you are. Just say it. I love it when you respond to each other. We begin to feel like a community.

You are definitely not alone. The U.S. Census reported earlier this year that 47.6 percent of women aged 15 to 44 were without children in 2014. Around 18.5 percent of women 35 to 39 didn’t have children. They explained this by a trend toward delaying childbirth until fertility becomes iffy, conflicts between work and family, and more Americans choosing not to have children. The official report says nothing about the main reason we’re seeing here at Childless by Marriage, which is partners who are unable or unwilling to have children with you, often because they already had them with somebody else. I suppose that’s not on the census questionnaire, but it’s a big issue here.

I started today’s blog with nothing to say, and now I feel like there’s so much more, but this is enough to chew on for now. Keep those comments coming, read what other folks are writing in their comments, and know that you are not alone. You might be the only one in your family or among the people you hang out with, but there are lots of others going through the same thing. Including me. Thank you for being here.

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14 thoughts on “Childless? You are not alone

  1. Why must we be all spread out over the planet?? I think it would be just the most fun to go out to lunch with all of you! Just think about the amazing conversations we would have! Our jobs, our travels, our hobbies, our pets… It really would be endless!! I honestly think it would be the best lunch date ever as I know I wouldn’t spend most of my time sitting there in silence listening to every one else talk about their children as I normally do.

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  2. Jody Day, who wrote Rocking the Life Unexpected…which I think I found out about on here, has tried to start groups on meetup.com in cities all over the US for just this reason. I think she may have already done this in the UK where she lives but I’m not sure. She posts the place and time and leaves it there for people from that are to sign up for. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they are really getting off the ground at this point and most stay empty. I’m hoping that changes. It’s a really good idea. If anyone on here wants to look it up and see if there is one in their area maybe we can start filling up the spots!

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  3. Didn’t see any for Hawaii. Sometimes people start them themselves under gateway women on meetup if there isn’t already one in their area.

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  4. I am so glad to have found this blog. It comes at just the right time in my life. I’m 32, and my husband doesn’t want kids. I’m a pretty indecisive person, but always assumed I’d have kids someday. However I never pined for it or dreamed about it in the way some do, and I’ve never been all that good with kids. So when my husband made it clear his “maybe someday” had become “never,” and even said “If you want kids, maybe you should find someone else who does” I was upset at the time. But have spent several years thinking about it and decided that kids didn’t really feel right anyway, and I couldn’t imagine not being with my husband. I was starting to feel pretty secure in that decision, until recently when we had to put our beloved 8-year old dog to sleep. I knew I’d be grieving, but I didn’t expect to feel a gaping hole in my life. We always joked she was our kid, but I know now how very true that actually was. She was my companion whenever my husband wasn’t home, and I never really felt alone. Petting her, cuddling her, talking to her provided far more fulfillment then I realized. We’re trying not to get another dog, to enjoy the freedom of traveling without having to board them. But now I just feel so alone, empty and depressed. All my second-guessing about whether I want kids has come back with a vengeance. You might think we have tons of time to decide, but my husband is 39. Sue, your story has really hit home with me, because that age difference has always worried me that someday he’ll die and I’ll be all alone with no children or grandchildren. I so appreciate your story, but I have to say it hasn’t given me a lot of reassurance because it seems like you’re still coping with a lot of sadness. Honestly I’m afraid to bring up the topic, because I know his answer, and I’m still not sure what I even want! The way kids monopolize your time and money freaks me out, but I also get sad when I think of missing out on all those happy family moments. How do I get to a place where I’m more sure? Is this just temporary, because of this empty feeling? Or will I feel this way my entire life? That concept is terrifying. I know none of you can answer these questions, because everyone’s different. But hearing some positive remarks about how you’ve made peace and been happy would be immensely helpful. Thank you.

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    • Erin, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ m also sorry if I overdid the doom and gloom. Some days it is really hard. But I have to tell you I love my freedom. I really do. 90 percent of the time, I’m fine. I’m too busy to feel sorry for myself. It will be okay, honest.

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  5. I wanted to thank you for your blog. I have never thought i will end up facing this problem but i do 😦 I’m Ukrainian (so i’m sorry in advance if i make any mistakes), 29 years old, soon to be 30. I had two very serious relationships in my life. First guy dumped me after being together for 5 years and then married smn else in 6 months. Then after couple years of being on my own I’ve met an american guy, who i’m still in the process of figuring out what to do with. I’ve never heard of all these problems with divorce and child support in the US so i was overwhelmed … By the time i’ve figured out that he does not want kids at all i was so in love with him, but it tears me apart that i can only be a stepmother and never a real mom. Also i must admit i do not feel very much love towards his child, mostly because i feel that she is a threat to my future… I mean i know how that sounds, but it hurts me so much that he can be a dad and i’m not a mom. We’ve been together (long distance and occasional visits) for more than 3 years now and it’s time to decide what to do.And deep in my heart i feel i can’t marry a guy with whom i’m risking to never ever have a child. He loves her so much and when he says ‘it’s a joy of being a parent’ or smth else, or hears a child crying and says ‘never again’ , my heart just drops and breaks in little pieces. I feel so much pain. And i just can’t make that choice.

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    • Dear Sad, my gut instinct is to tell you to break up with this man and find yourself someone with whom you can have children and a better relationship, one that isn’t long distance. If you’re already feeling that you can’t marry him because you might never have a child, listen to that feeling. I hope you can find your way to happiness.

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      • Thank you, Sue! It’s so so difficult to move on and not think of everything that was done to be together. He is only 3 years older and i simply do not understand why he hates the idea of one more child so much. My sister married a guy who has two kids from previous marriage and they had a baby a year ago. So i thought i could change his attitude ,but not sure anymore if it’s possible.

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  6. Moreover, now that my best friend got married and got pregnant and only talks about her pregnancy it totally drives me crazy. And my partner see no dufference and says that i specifically would regret having kids.

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  7. I had always hoped my husband would change…. which he didn’t….. and recently he told me he thought I would grow out of it… Which I haven’t. Now I’m in menopause, so it’s a mute point, but boy would I do things differently if I could.

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