They don’t have kids either. Your reaction?

I’m still waiting for my ultrasound results from last week. The kind technician took a tour through my non-reproductive parts. This is your liver, your pancreas, your spleen, your gall bladder . . . We skipped the uterus and ovaries altogether because . . .  irrelevant. I will never hear, “This is your baby.”

While I wait to hear why my stomach is giving me a hard time, trying to join my dad in thinking that no news must be good news, I have some questions for you to ponder today. They’re sparked by the book I’m reading, Do You Have Kids: Life When the Answer is No by sister Oregonian Kate Kaufmann. This book, coming out April 2, is amazing. I’ll tell you more about it next week, and I’m hoping to bring Kate in for an interview and/or guest post.

Kate’s last chapter offers some great responses to the questions people ask. We have all dealt with nosy questions from people who have children, but I’m wondering how we react when we meet other people who don’t have children? Let’s talk about it.

1) How do you react when you meet others struggling with partners who are unwilling or unable to have children? Do you feel glad to have found someone caught in the same dilemma? Do you feel sorry for them? Do you urge them to get out of the relationship ASAP or to stick with their partner and enjoy the childless life?

2) How do you feel when you encounter someone who is militantly childfree with no regrets? Glad? Angry? Sorry for them? Do you feel tempted to hide the fact that you want/wanted children?

3) When you meet people who have lost their children to death, divorce or something else, do you think at least they had children or feel grateful you will never experience the pain of such a loss?

I could ask questions all day, but these should keep you busy for now. As they say in school, read and discuss. I look forward to your comments.

Do pre-order Kate’s book. It is jammed with great information.



7 thoughts on “They don’t have kids either. Your reaction?

  1. 1) Feel sorry for them. I wouldn’t presume to give advice, but would tell them (only if they asked) that the pain of being childless never goes away. Never.

    2) If the person doesn’t want children, then that’s fine – I don’t have an opinion about it. I wouldn’t hide my own feelings but doubt that it would ever come up.

    3) Losing a child to divorce is very different from losing a child to death. At least there’s hope of a reconnection at some point, when divorce has caused the separation.

    I’ve always thought that I’d rather be childless than lose a child to a fatal illness or accident. I can’t imagine what the pain of that must be.


  2. 1) If it’s a crowded party full of parents and I meet a non parent – SCORE! I don’t automatically assume we’ll click, but in certain circles I’ve been relieved to have a “new best friend” for a couple hours. I do find that other childless people seem more comfortable asking us what our deal is. I’m mostly “okay” with that. I don’t necessarily give them more info than I would any other stranger. But if our connection is good – I might.

    2) I’ve met people who are angry, glad they don’t have children. I feel sorry for those people because I feel like their passion to be “glad” means they are really a little bitter. About something. Other times I’ve been inspired by childfree couples who have a positive vibe about them. I always respect when people live life by their terms – even if it’s not the life I’d choose. For instance, priests. I used to feel sorry for them. They are usually the third wheel even if they are at a party of many, many couples. They go home to an empty house. Holidays must be lonely. But then I met a few really great priests who have passion for their calling and either enjoy being inserted into the lives of others or they relish solitude and find that a quiet religious life suits them. I no longer feel sorry for people who willingly choose their lives.

    3) Grateful. I have a cousin (who is my age) who lost a teenage child. Awful. I’ve been in church and witnessed the announcement of a fellow parishioner who had lost their 18-year-old in a freak accident. I still remember the way the congregation sucked in their breath in shock. The family planned the funeral and the beauty and pain of their whole family working together almost made me change my mind. But no, I believe people when they say that the love of a child is like no other. And I believe the loss of a child to be equally as epic. I’m a little sad in my world. But I’m safe from that awful pain. At least.


  3. Hope your test results came back okay, Sue. Those are such insightful questions. We are all in a different place on our journey. It’s rarely cut and dry.

    Staying self-aware is critical to self-growth and maturity in my opinion.


  4. I am in the category of women currently trying to decide whether to accept a childless relationship with someone I love or to leave.

    I can’t imagine responding to people asking if I want children. “Yes, but my partner doesn’t and it rips my heart out” doesn’t really feel like good party conversation >.<


    • If you cannot decide, then that is your answer. I had no doubts whatsoever to leave my first husband when he would not change his mind about starting a family. Things did not work out for me and sadly second hubby and I were not able to be parents, but at least I gave myself a chance.


    • Hi Becca. I’m Molly 39 years old and literally in the same boat. I’m struggling so hard with this. Would love to chat with you. Nice to know someone else out there going through the same stuff.


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