Last week, I put out call for submissions to the Childless by Marriage blog. This piece from a woman who prefers to called Anonymous arrived yesterday. I am happy to share it with you. I’m sure many of you can identify with her story.–Sue
Throughout my twenties, I always wanted children, but I wanted adventure first. Kids could wait.
Three years ago, at the age of 29, I decided to do something drastic. I sold my house, my car, gave up my job, said goodbye to my family and moved 10,000 miles across the world to explore Australia.
My intention of backpacking the country fell flat when I met my partner. He’s 50 now, separated, with two teenage children. He is the love of my life. We have a fantastic world together: we live in paradise, we have a sailing boat, we have plans to buy a family home, we share the same hobbies. I have never known love like this, and the 18-year age gap has never bothered us—he acts and looks younger than he is.
My love for this man is so intense that we applied successfully for a partner visa. I sacrificed being with my family to be with my partner, and I’ve had to watch my baby nephew grow through Whatsapp video calls and the odd Facebook photograph.
Two days ago, we were looking at houses on the internet. We began discussing how many bedrooms we would need. I suggested four—room to grow a family and still accommodate a guest room for his current children.
We’ve spoken about children often. I knew I wanted to have children, so I raised the subject early due to his age. I kept hauling the subject into conversation and would always ask him if he wanted more children. He always, always said he was “open to it.” While we looked at these houses, I asked him again. Again, he said he was open to it.
And then . . .
Silly, silly me. I asked him to really think about it. “When you turn 70, our first child might not even be a legal adult. This absolutely isn’t a deal breaker, but are you 100 percent positive that you are open to this idea?”
He said no, he hadn’t thought of it like that, and he didn’t want more children.
Since then, I have cried and cried. I will burst into tears at work. I have no one to speak to about it. There is a pit in my stomach, and I can’t eat, can’t sleep properly. I can’t concentrate at work. I’m drinking too much in the evenings just to numb the pain. I feel like I am coping with a death. I actually had names for my children, and now they are gone. I’ll never know what it’s like to be pregnant, to know a “mother’s love.” I have just started crying again as I type.
I was wrong. I think it may be a deal breaker. I knew before that we might not end up having children, but that is so very different from knowing that we will not.
I can barely speak to my partner. He doesn’t understand, didn’t realize how much it meant to me. I am so angry with him. I feel as if I have been betrayed, as if I’ve wasted two years of my waning fertile years with a man who never put enough thought into the implications of having children in his fifties. I’m offended that he didn’t spend any time considering something which, I feel, I had made quite clear was important to me.
I do not love his children, and they are too grown up to need anything from me. Why was his difficult ex good enough to have children with, but not me? Why do I get that gift taken away? It’s not fair. He has his legacy in his two kids, and I have, what? Not even a nephew that I can help take care of because, oh yeah, I gave up that part of my life to stay in this relationship.
I won’t be part of a yummy mummy’s club, I won’t get to make a photo album to embarrass my kids with later in life. Instead, I’ll have to watch families grow around me, friends fall pregnant . . . my partner gazing proudly at his boy and his girl.
I am so bitter and so lost. I do not know what to do.
Oh, Anonymous. As I told her privately, nothing she has done is irreversible. She can leave this man, go home, and start fresh. Would it be painful? Incredibly, but she would not have to give up her chance to be a mother.
Dear readers, what comments or advice do you have for Anonymous in Australia?
Do you want to tell your story at the Childless by Marriage 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. Or you could write about someone else. 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. Not all submissions will be accepted, and all are subject to editing. If interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.