Childlessness by Marriage Gets Little Press

I have been racking my brain trying to find a subject for today’s blog, and I’m coming up dry. Plus I’m distracted. Why?

  • Four friends have died this month, and another is on his way out. Every phone call or text makes me jump.
  • I have been spending hours working on the “best of Childless by Marriage” book, which is getting close to finished. It feels like we have covered everything already, but I know there are more stories out there. (See below)
  • I’m getting ready for a writer’s conference I’m working at this weekend—all online, which requires multiple training sessions. My writerly Zoom schedule is busier than my pre-COVID schedule, and the hours, designed to accommodate all time zones, are worse.
  • I’m going crazy with something called Restless Legs Syndrome. I don’t usually talk about this, but it’s running my life these days. Do any of you have it? Basically, it’s an irresistible urge to move one’s legs, caused by a neurological problem. It’s not fatal but totally crazy-making. I finally tried medication for it; it made it worse instead of better. The doc kept raising the dose until I was too dizzy and nauseated to function. Now I’m tapering off because it’s so addictive you can’t just stop. For hours at a time, usually in the evening, I cannot sit still. Not for five minutes. This thing, also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, can be hereditary, so thank God I didn’t pass it down to my children.

In searching for good things to share with you, this podcast at “Remotely Relatable” sounded promising: “How Many Goldfish Equal a Child?” Once we get past the chit-chat and into the topic, we learn that neither Julie nor Stephanie, both in their 30s, ever wanted children. Julie had her tubes tied at age 30 to make sure she never got pregnant. Yes, her mother is still saving her stuffed animals for future grandchildren, but it’s not going to happen. Stephanie still has intact tubes, but she has never wanted children ever. So, these are not our people.

They did talk about how hard it is for millennials to fit children into their lives, what with student loans, careers, and the major events that have happened in their lifetimes—9/11, Recession, natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic . . . We need a village to raise children, they said, but they can’t seem to find that village. Lots of us can identify with all that, but still, they didn’t want kids.

Oh, here’s an article about writer dealing with the decision. Nope, this won’t work either. Another woman with no urge to be a mother, she cites childfree actress Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City as her role model. She says all these people who think women have to have children to be happy should just back off.

Where does that leave those of us who are childless by marriage, who actually wanted children? Those of us who are childless because our partners wouldn’t or couldn’t are still in that rarely-talked-about but oh-so-common situation that nobody seems to acknowledge except those of us who are in it. Do you see your situation mirrored anywhere in the media besides here? Who are our role models? Where is our podcast?

*****

Would you like to write a guest post for this blog? I’m looking for personal stories, 500-750 words long, that fit our childless-by-marriage theme. You could write about infertility, second marriages, partners who don’t want children, stepchildren, feeling left out when everyone around you has kids, fear of being childless in old age, birth control, and other related issues. Tell us how you how you came to be childless “by marriage” and how it has affected your life. We love stories about successful childless women. We do not want to hear about your lovely relationship with your children or how happy you are to be childfree. Nor will I accept posts that advertise a service or product. Not all submissions will be accepted, and all are subject to editing, but those that are published will receive a loving reception from our CBM readers. If interested, email me at sufalick@gmail.com.

 

7 thoughts on “Childlessness by Marriage Gets Little Press

  1. I don’t know of any podcasts specifically aimed at childless-by-marriage people, BUT have you ever listened to The Full Stop podcast? They cover a wide range of childless-not-by-choice topics, and they are always open to suggestions. You should suggest childless by marriage as a topic (& yourself as a guest!). Here’s the link: two of the three hosts are in Britain and one is in Australia. You can find the podcast on Spotify, etc., and they have a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but here’s their home page:

    https://www.thefullstoppod.com/

    I get restless legs sometimes at night in bed. I’m just drifting off to sleep, & then my leg twitches & I wake up. Sometimes I just have to get up and walk around & do some stretches to try to get it to work itself out. Hugely annoying. So sorry it’s been bothering you so much! And sorry about your friends as well. 😦

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  2. I also get RLS sometimes, usually in bed, but once annoyingly in economy class (coach) on a four hour flight when I was in the middle seat in a row. It was torture! My sister and nieces all seem to get it worse than I do – the hereditary thing makes sense. I’m off to read that resource you linked to. I never knew it had another name.

    A comment you’ve made there about partners who “couldn’t or wouldn’t” has made me think about my own situation and my husband’s, and how he views it. Does he think “we couldn’t have children” or “she couldn’t have children?” It’s an interesting distinction – one that I might explore.

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    • Mali, “we” vs. “she” is an interesting distinction, worth thinking about. I avoid flying as much as possible because even a one-hour flight can be torture. I always try to get an aisle seat.

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      • Not that anyone has ever asked me but it would be a different answer to the question “why don’t you and your partner have children?” than it would be to “why don’t you have children?” I suppose it doesn’t matter now as the outcome is the same but I wonder if other people, for example my partner’s parents, think that the reason they don’t have grandchildren is down to me and resent me for that?

        About five or so years ago my partner visited an old university friend he sees every few years. He has four children now but at that time he had two. They sat among the chaos and he said to my partner “all this could be yours too if it wasn’t for Jo malfunctioning”. It turned out that he thought the reason we didn’t have children was because he thought I was infertile. How he had reached this conclusion is anyone’s guess as it did not follow any discussion and (as far as I know) is totally untrue. My partner could and should have told him that the reason is because he didn’t want them and that he had refused to have them with me. Instead he told him that fertility wasn’t an issue but that I wasn’t well enough to have them anyway. When he told me this, I was wounded more by his response than by the terribly insensitive comment from his friend. So now his friend and his wife think I have robbed this man of the chance to be a father. A man who all children gravitate towards.

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