I can’t stop listening to the news, which is getting more frightening by the hour. The coronavirus/aka COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds. Events are being cancelled, schools shut down, and the stock market crashing. Last week, I decided on the way to the Portland airport not to go to my conference in Texas. The conference went on with greatly reduced attendance, but this week, everything is being cancelled. I have never typed the word “cancelled” so many times.
In Oregon, our governor is on the radio right now talking about the restrictions she is putting in place to prevent the spread of the disease—no large gatherings, no school events or field trips, no unnecessary visits to nursing homes . . . Store shelves have been stripped bare of hand sanitizer and toilet paper as people prepare to be quarantined indefinitely. This all sounds like a bad science fiction movie. I have never seen anything like this before in my life. I don’t know which frightens me more, the disease or people’s hysterical reaction to the disease, but everything else suddenly seems irrelevant.
How do I make this situation relevant on the Childless by Marriage blog? Maybe it doesn’t make much difference whether or not we have children. We are all in the same boat, except those of us without kids take up less room.
Some random thoughts I offer for discussion:
* If schools are closed, should we who don’t have children volunteer to help working parents take care of them? Is there a special role we might play because we are freer to do so?
* Are we less likely to get the coronavirus because we don’t have children bringing germs home from school?
* For those of us older childless people, who will take care of us if we get it? Because it’s so contagious, who will want to go near us? I have this image of friends leaving food at my front door and driving away as I crawl out to get it.
* Is it a relief to have only ourselves to worry about, especially if our jobs go belly up?
* Are we kind of glad we didn’t bring children into this insane world? Is your partner saying, “See? This is why we shouldn’t have kids.”
* Or do you feel like, in the face of this pandemic, you might lose your chance to ever have children?
It’s on all our minds, so we might as well talk about it. What changes have you made in your lives? Have you been forced to stay home from work or school? Are you cancelling trips, staying home, stocking up on TP and cleaning supplies? Are you worried about your older relatives and friends? What do you think will happen?
Stay healthy. Feel free to share your thoughts. We’re in this together.
3 thoughts on “How Does Coronavirus relate to Childlessness?”
Sue, I really liked this post, because you got me thinking – especially about whether this is a time we could assist parents with children. And of course, there’s always the concern of who will be looking out for the childless elderly. I’ve already seen online a woman who lives in a different country from her mother, trying to arrange a supermarket delivery (and couldn’t get one for almost a week), and being fortunate to have people offering to help.
I guess for me it’s a case of trying to look out for people, and hoping they’ll look out for us too.
Your post was so inspiring… Even though I live far away, on the other side of the Atlantic, we’re all in the same boat, thinking of the exact same things, going through the exact same crazyness.
The funny thing with me was that, after 13 years of being with my partner and him postponing having kids because of the fragility of our work (we run a family business together, without much help) he suddenly realised just a few days before the coronavirus made its appearance that he wanted us to have kids, and we would find a way to work things out at work and everything. I must point out that I had been telling him for years that we weren’t getting any younger and that I wouldn’t have the courage to start a family after 35 (we are now 37 going to 38), so for years he didn’t budge at all, he didn’t even discuss it, it was too frightening for him, how we could make it happen since we already never have any free time with our work. His thoughts were rational, and I knew deep down that we just couldn’t do it. So I went through the grieving process of childlessness all by myself, I cried a lot over the years, I went through all the stages a childless women goes through, I was so bitter and felt the need to just be alone that I lost friends on the way since I kept pushing people away for years but eventually got over it by myself.
So when he told me that he finally wanted kids, instead of being happy I was horrified I would have to go through something after I had made peace with it never happening,. Not because I don’t like kids, because I love them , but because I feel I am now too old to go through all that. So I was scared and confused for a couple of days, trying to think how I felt about it, wondered if I wanted it or not. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I was unprepared and was unsure of my feelings. The few words I wanted to hear for so many years I was actually hearing now, but instead of jumping up and down out of joy, I was…confused. I was skeptical for a couple of days, trying to figure this one out and suddenly the coronavirus hit. That easy, it gave me some time… Probably all the time in the world….
Wow, Jojo, thank you for sharing this. I thought you ought to go for it anyway. You’re not too old. But that’s just my opinion. I wish you health and peace of mind.