Childless or not, Easter comes again

Dear friends,

How do I make this blog relevant in these days when we’re all thinking about the coronavirus, COVID-19, and its effects on our health, our finances, and our whole lives? I mean John Prine died yesterday, they’re running out of places to put the bodies in New York, millions of people have suddenly lost their jobs, and we’re running around wearing masks. It’s a strange world. When I look around my community, it seems that the Rapture (all the good people taken up to heaven) has happened and we were left behind with no jobs, a massive recession, and constant fear that we or someone we love will catch this disease from a friend, off our groceries, or in the wind and die. How on earth can we even think about childlessness and whether or not to have a baby?

At least that’s how I feel—and that’s on the good days when I’m not so depressed I think about drinking my way through the liquor cabinet. (I’m not. There’s green tea in my cup.)

But it’s Easter. For Christians, this is Holy Week, celebrating the events leading up to Jesus’s death and resurrection. For Jews, today is Passover, when God saved his people from death. For all of us, it’s spring, the sun finally coming out, tulips and daffodils blooming, buds on trees and shrubs promising flowers and fruit. In spite of all the craziness, spring is still happening.

Spring is a time of fertility, of birth and rebirth. Easter is a time of families celebrating together. Last year, I watched my cousins’ kids hunt for Easter eggs as we gathered in the sun for a barbecue at my aunt’s house. There were at least 25 people there. This year, we’ll all be separated. We can’t even go to church.

You might see sheltering in place as a blessing for those of us who find family gatherings painful. This year, for once, you can stay home without excuses or guilt and do Easter your way–or ignore it altogether. Will you dye eggs, pig out on candy, put bunny ears on the dog, sip wine on the porch, make love, or watch videos? Will you “Facetime” or Skype with family, including the little ones? Me, I’m planning to attend church online and then have myself a picnic in the back yard. We can do whatever we want. We still have options; they’re just different.

I hope and pray that you and your loved ones are well. Whether you have COVID-19 or something else, it’s a terrible time to be sick, with access to health care so limited and people not allowed to bring anyone with them for support. I read online about a pregnant woman who is terrified to deliver her baby in the midst of this crisis. We’re all kind of scared. Most of us believe we would survive if we got the virus, but what if we don’t?

What is my point today? We all have to survive this time in our own way. When I told my brother it is difficult being alone, he replied that it is also difficult being at home with three grandchildren under age 5. I’m jealous that he and his kids and grandkids are together but grateful I can read and write and sleep in peace. Meanwhile, this is an opportunity to try new ways of being and thinking and doing.

How are you managing this Easter week? How are you feeling about being childless now? Has the COVID-19 affected your relationship with your mate? Has it changed your thoughts about having or not having children?

Please comment. I’m here. We’re all here. You are not alone.

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Childless or not, Easter comes again

  1. This whole “thing” has me thinking all kinds of things. On the surface it’s easy. We’re healthy, self employed and while money is a bit of a concern we don’t have any dependents. No children, no employees, no family members in a health crisis with financial concerns. I’m a homebody so again – easy. I love things like reading, movies, puttering in my yard – easy. I both love and LIKE my husband so again – easy.

    But deep down is a guilt. I don’t have to juggle a bunch of kids and I don’t have to navigate their study from home issues. I can run to the grocery anytime I want and I don’t have to feed a pack of hungry teenagers. I’m not really jealous of those who have full houses right now. I’m happy that I have my own little office to take care of. I’m not going to have to deal with a difficult in-law get-together on Easter. Even my faith. I was pulled away from my church and now I actually am not allowed to worship. For absolutely everything that I celebrate – I feel guilt. Guilt for having life exactly how I like it. Guilt for feeling like all this was handed to me, even though when I pause, I know I paid dearly. I have worked hard for my career, my home, my relationships, my marriage. I’ve worked hard to navigate difficult situations and I have EARNED the happiness that has resulted. I deserve it.

    But without a bit of suffering on my plate – I still hunger for that familiar sadness. And in writing all this today I, just now, realize that I have struggled at everything in my life – except for having a child. Not having a child is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve literally never TRIED to get pregnant. I’ve passively let nature take its course and I shrug when nothing happens. I’ve never looked into a medical reason why we haven’t conceived. I’ve never signed up to be a foster parent or even looked into adoption agencies, even when other people close to us have. Why have I tried so hard at everything else but gave up on the “obligation” to have a family of my own? Why does it bring me guilt? And furthermore, why have I not acted on that guilt and tried harder? But above everything else, why am I allowing this to keep me from being unapologetically happy?

    As always I feel like I’m such a downer. But I usually feel a bit of relief and gratitude for being able to express myself. Thank you Sue for being here and asking questions. It’s keeping me going and leading me to a happier existence.

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    • Anon S, thank you for this great comment. I understand that guilt. I feel some of that, too. My life appears on the surface to be easy compared to that of others. I do have my issues, but yes, the feeling is valid. Thank you for always being here. It helps me, too.

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  2. John and I are doing quite well. We have both decided it is a good time to lose the weight we gained on our last cruise and we can report success. As far as church in our lives, we have everything online and every day someone on the church staff has words of God’s love. On Easter Sunday, our congregation will drive to the church, remain in our cars and listen to the service over an FM station broadcast from a church office or maybe outside. God is good.

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    • Congrats for the weight loss. I am not succeeding at that so far. I’m attending church online, too. I love the idea of all going to church on Easter, even if you stay in your cars. Stay healthy, and happy Easter to you and John.

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  3. You got me right with the comment about being glad not to have to participate in any family get-togethers for Easter this year. I usually feel like it’s all a farce for us, as we are not religious, don’t have kids looking forward to the chocolate and don’t have the need of family time. This year I mostly feel that we are almost “normal”.

    Just the neighbours driving me NUTS with DIY noise and a grownup son home from travelling around the world with his girlfriend for lockdown. Grrr.

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    • You’re so right, Jenny. I am religious, but my family isn’t, so I could keep that part to myself this year. My neighbors were revving their motorcycle. Very noisy. I got them back by setting up my keyboard in the backyard and offering them a concert.

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  4. Fab idea on the concert. Perhaps I’ll go out and try to improve my dreadful singing.

    I’d like to clarify, the grown up son I referred to is the neighbour’s son, not mine, sadly. I suppose they are making use of his muscles whilst he is home to help with the DIY. Lucky them, though I guess his parents are paying for it in other ways.

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