Childless post 550, same question persists

Dear childless friends,

We seem to have discussed everything there is to discuss about being childless by marriage. This is my 550th post! How many times can we go over the “stay or go” dilemma? The mate, usually the man, doesn’t want kids; you do. Should you leave in the hope of finding someone else or stick around and hope that you can live with the decision or, better, change, his mind? The answer is always: Talk to your mate, be honest about how you feel, and decide which you want more, kids or this partner. Unless the relationship is already a mess or you’ve only been dating for a week and a half. Then the answer seems clear to me. Move on!

Funny nobody has written here about having an affair with someone who would be happy to make babies together. Should she leave to be with the potential baby daddy or get pregnant and tell her husband, “Oops, I guess some sperm slipped through all the layers of birth control”? Is nobody doing that, or does that only happen in fiction? You can tell us anonymously in the comments.

I did date someone who tempted me with the babies we could have. I wasn’t married at the time, but technically he was. The kids he had were gorgeous, and he really hated birth control. But no, he was not the right guy. And once I met Fred, I didn’t want any other man. I never considered leaving him to have babies.

It’s all a done deal for me now. My namesake niece, age 29, is going for the mommy job in a different way. She has just been approved to become a foster mother. A child could be arriving any day. She is not married. She works full-time. How she’s going to do this, I don’t know, but she’ll have plenty of help and advice. Her brother and his wife just had a baby last year, and her mom is over the moon with grandmotherhood. Her cousins and friends keep having babies. Being a strong, assertive young woman, she decided to go for it on her own. She is braver than I ever was.

My cousin and his wife just announced their pregnancy on Facebook. I’m glad for them. This will be their second child and it will be great for their daughter to have a little sister. I added my congratulations to the many congrats pouring in. But it’s all very far away, geographically and in terms of life experiences. I can hear the babies crying and the children playing in the distance, but I’m busy with other things. For the most part, I’m happy. Are there times when it hurts? Yes, especially when I see family photos of women my age surrounded by kids and grandkids. All I’ve got is myself and my dog, and she can’t work the camera. But what’s done is done. I curse for a minute and move on.

Speaking of moving on, I’m delighted that Halloween is over. Aren’t you? This morning, I saw my first TV Christmas ad for kids’ toys. Yikes.

So readers, what have we not talked about here? What concerns about your childless life would you like to see discussed? I’m here for you.

16 thoughts on “Childless post 550, same question persists

  1. Yes, I’m very glad Halloween is over too! In thinking about my biggest concerns as a childless woman that I’d love to discuss with other women who “get it”, I’d say it’s definitely the tension between feeling 100% childless and still having to reconcile the relationship with my stepkids. I’m not going to lie, I’m very resentful, and am trying to make my peace with it all. Sometimes I want to embrace having no children, and then there are my husband’s kids. I feel stuck between two worlds, and no matter how much I have given to them, tried to feel something parental towards them, I just don’t. But, I can’t say that. I have to put on a mask and pretend I feel like a certain way about them and my role, or lack of, in their lives. Some days it eats me alive. I have most, if not all, the responsibility of a parent, and none of the warm feelings. Like you, Sue, we are custodial. My husband expects that if/when the kids have kids I will feel like, or want to feel like, a grandparent, and that’s just not my truth. In the beginning of our relationship I thought I wanted a baby, but for some reason that changed and now I’m almost completely on the other side of the fence, though I still have some of those baby blues days. I feel more childless with my husband and his kids than I would otherwise. It’s constantly in my face. Anyone else feel this way?


    • Evil SM, I know how you feel. On Mother’s Day when the stepkids were younger, I would refuse to claim motherhood on Mother’s Day and my friends would insist that yes, I was a mom. But I didn’t feel like one. Ditto for grandparenting. We need to talk about this more. Great comment.


  2. You know I find it interesting to contemplate what ‘motherhood’ feels like. I too am a childless stepmother to five (average age 30) and don’t think I am a ‘mother’ but I feel very differently about one of them. I love him whatever he does – I don’t care how he feels about me even, I still love him. It’s made me ponder things – I’ve satisfied myself that it’s not unfair to the others. I’m not their parent. What I do does not have the same effect on them. But the fact I feel this way makes me wonder if this is what unconditional parental love is like. My other relationships, including with my husband, are much more deliberate and liable for disruption if I feel unloved back, but not this one. I’m very grateful for it actually.
    Interestingly, one daughter-in -law (what the hell, what else I would I call her?) has also acquired childlessness through her own marriage – I hope I can make her see how happy and contented I am – really


    • Deb, thank you for this comment. We hear so much about stepparents and stepchildren being enemies, about the resentment and even hate that happens. But sometimes there is love. Sometimes it really does feel like they’re yours, and it can be beautiful. Me, I had to honestly admit I did not like one of my stepchildren. I tried to love the other two, but they didn’t always let me in. Enjoy these young adults and don’t worry about qualifying what you feel.


  3. I’ve been wrestling with the decision to either remain in my current marriage with a woman whom I’m no longer physically or sexually attracted to.
    And I continually feel like chopped liver around HER grandsons. Or leave for a much younger, beautiful woman who can give me my own little family. Sue, as you know I’ve struggled with this. I’ve made my decision. For a change, I’m following my heart. I’ve decided to leave my wife for the
    younger woman and have my own children. No more feeling like an intruder and playing second best to kids and grandkids who aren’t mine. I care for her
    grandsons, but I don’t love them. And I never will. My wife always tells me about them and I am indifferent and could care less. They aren’t mine. So, after much emotional ups and downs, I’m leaving and finally going to have the happiness that I deserve. I’ve said some mean things here. Perhaps I could have been more diplomatic. But I’m not that way.
    Karma may bite me hard. I expect that. Many people, especially middle aged women, get all huffy when they hear this. But they haven’t a clue of what I’ve been through the last six years. My Baby will be here from Colombia around Christmas.


      • Sue,

        Thank you so very much for having this blog. This is the only setting where I can talk freely about this. I know that my decision will result in hurt feelings. I’ve started taking antidepressants and they’ve helped me with this. My soon to be ex wife admits that she needs them, but won’t go to the doctor. She admits that she should lose weight, but does nothing about it. She hasn’t worked much during our marriage and everything has been on my shoulders. And I can’t make her happy, regardless of what I do or don’t do. So it’s time to end it and be happy. It’s been a tough process. I just wish there were more men here who would express their feelings. Perhaps soon there will be.


  4. Thank you for having this blog. I need an area to vent, and since Facebook or other social media isn’t the proper place, I’ll use this, and seeing how you already covered this for 550 posts, please forgive me. The shoe is on other foot in my situation. I am the husband who wants kids with the wife who doesn’t. Every time one of my coworkers asks, “When are you going to have rugrats?” I just smile and walk away. It’s a painful question. All the while we were dating, we had talks of child names and a family. Asking her one day if she wanted kids she said, “yeah, with the right man.” At this time we had been dating for seven years and living together for five. That comment cut me to the bone and still does. Am I not the right man or am I not good enough. I still married her. It’s been a year and a half. I know I need to talk about this with her, but I have a hard time communicating my feelings with her. What do I do?


    • Wow, Unknown, that is such a hurtful thing for her to say. I would have been out the door, I think. Did you ask if she meant you were not the right man? If not, why did she marry you? You absolutely have to talk about this with her. Write a letter if you have to, but get the discussion going. I hope you can work it out.


  5. I’m really so so upset and confused right now, it literally is making me feel sick. Me and my partner of two years are talking about this issue right now. He has three kids from two women in the past. When we got together, he said he wanted a baby with me and would be willing to try to reverse the vasectomy he had five years ago.

    A year and half in, he changed his mind to now not wanting anymore kids at all, and he is convinced anyway that a reversal wouldn’t work, as he was told his was totally irreversible by his surgeon.

    I’ve always wanted and thought I’d have kids, have always been maternal. His kids love me, and I love them, but it hurts to know that he had that with two women but doesn’t want anymore with me.

    Always being just a stepmum, part of a family but not totally, always feeling there’s something missing, being on the outside, seeing him parenting with those two, what when his kids have kids and he’s a granddad, I’ll just be the woman he’d be married to and a step-grandparent.

    There is a part of me that likes not having kids, getting to do what I want when I want, not having some baby/child being totally dependent on me and all the hassle that goes with that and the neediness. I like just reading when I want, going where I want, sleeping in, staying up late, having just me and him time most of the time without anyone in between.

    So we really don’t know where to go from here. I’m so confused, he doesn’t know what to do either. Neither of us wants to break up, it’s a long distance relationship right now. Would it be worth going to stay with him again and seeing how we felt this time, knowing that he doesn’t want more kids, as last time I thought he did?

    I’m so scared as well of never having kids and ending up alone. If he and I broke up, I’d lose everything and be alone and that scares me so much. I don’t have any friends, and friends would never feel the love and care that a child would feel towards a parent.

    I really don’t know what to do. We don’t know what to do. It’s making me feel sick all the time. I don’t want to wake up just to start thinking of it all over again. I just want to be with him so much, but every time one of the ex’s messages us about the kids, it’s like our world bubble is popped and I’m slapped in the face once again like a knife to the heart.


    • I forgot to add: I’m 35 now just. And really do love my partner very much. We’ve talked about marriage and everything. What do I do, go and live with him and give it a year and see if I still feel as strongly about wanting kids of my own and see if I can live with being stepparent to his kids and all that? It kills me to think of breaking up with him. I love him so much and have invested so much into our relationship for the past two years.


  6. I am in such pain but pushing through it and FINALLY developing a plan for myself for pulling myself out of what I have (looking back) just allowed to happen.
    I began a diatribe here many many months ago but could not bring myself to post it. In looking at all the words posted I kept seeing ‘him’, ‘he feels’, he is (wounded, etc), he is hurt, he needs time to heal, etc. He had one child kidnapped years ago by a woman whose family decided he was not the right ‘kind’ of person (i.e. race) She went on to repeat this behavior four more times with different men throughout the country. Only on the death bed of her own father, did all involved learn this was a repeated behavior based on her mother doing the same thing to her as a child–removed her father from the picture until late in his life. This even involved taking children to other countries. My husband has experienced it all. Now I realize I have not ever heard directly and clearly a true answer, but his actions the one time I was pregnant and during many many other discussions have allowed me to see his love is truly conditional. I do not think he INTENDS it, but simply I see now that I have not provided any incentive for him to even choose to heal himself. I have stayed and that is wrong–for me. It has now been over twenty years, I am now past the time I could have child but have been revisiting adoption, something I have wanted to do since age five, and even if I had a baby via a pregnancy. Now I am off into the world of building COURAGE, and a very strategic plan to find/develop better work, a community of women and men who love and support me … and maybe … a baby whom I can love and guide, support and grow and learn with. I have never wanted to be a single mom, but I realize that my life and life in general often unfolds completely differently than we have expected or planned. I realize (as much as possible) that this will be the case going forward too, just allowing myself to dream and to DO in accordance with my own heart at last.
    ps. I do love him dearly and am interested in getting some very good counseling . This is at the top of my list so that if I do move on … I will have worked through enough of this to be as CLEAR as possible, Any suggestions?


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