Still Childless, Still Living with COVID-19

Dear friends,

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Today I’m getting my second COVID vaccine shot. I’m less nervous this time because I know the procedure, from where to park to what to do when I get into the big building at the fairgrounds. I know the shot itself won’t hurt much, although my arm will ache afterward. I am nervous about getting sick afterwards. Some do, some don’t. After my second shingles vaccine in February, I was flattened for three days. I have left my schedule open this week just in case.

Meanwhile, here in Lincoln County, Oregon, the number of COVID cases has gone up and we’re back in the “high risk” category, with all kinds of restrictions on where we can go and what we can do. Shots or no shots, it feels like it will never end.

Who knew we’d have a second Easter of pandemic shutdowns? Another spring break wearing masks, afraid to be with groups of people?

Meanwhile, I keep seeing everybody’s kids in their Facebook posts. Dyeing eggs. Hugging stuffed Easter bunnies. Playing together in the sun. This year on Easter Sunday, I had the courage to tell my brother when he sent photos of him with his adorable grandchildren—whom I have not seen since the pandemic started—that I am jealous of what he has. He needs to understand that while his photos give me joy and I don’t want them to stop coming, they also bring pain because I don’t have my own grandkids. Because COVID has lasted so long, these little nieces and nephew won’t even know who I am. I was so hoping for a relationship with them. Facetime, you say? So far, our family doesn’t do that.

As they get vaccinated, many of my grandparent friends are reuniting with their grandchildren. I am happy for them, but the photos make me feel more alone, here in the woods with my old dog.

Zoom meetings, classes, and church services have become all too familiar now. I am grateful that I don’t have children struggling to learn via computer screen and making it hard for me to get any work done. I see the advantages of not having children during this difficult time. But I’m lonely.

I thought I had nothing to say today, and I didn’t want to be depressing. Well, here we are. Please, tell me how you’re doing after a year of this? How has COVID affected your childless situation? Have you put everything on hold or worked it out? Does the closure of so many things make it impossible to move forward? How did your Easter go?

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9 thoughts on “Still Childless, Still Living with COVID-19

  1. Hello Sue. It’s always nice to see your blog in my inbox, even if you feel like you have nothing to say. I think we can all relate to how you’re feeling on the lonely front, and feeling even more isolated than usual due to covid. Having received my second vaccine on Sunday (thankfully I did not get sick like my husband did a month ago from his second shot), I do feel a sense of greater freedom now that I am fully vaccinated. But it still feels like this will never end, as we go about our day having to don masks and travel little or not at all. I too have grown distant from the ‘littles’ in my family and it makes me sad. My niece and her family will be moving halfway across the country in June, so I missed out on the last year of their lives and know I will continue to see less of them due to distance, even if not for the pandemic. And that makes me sad. To cap it off, my husband had to have a biopsy this morning and we’re now in for the one-to-two-week stressful wait and see. So yes, even though the vaccine is definitely good news in the scheme of things, life continues to throw us curve balls at what feels like an ever accelerating rate as we age.

    Please let us know how you did with your second shot. Fingers crossed you get through unscathed and are able to plan something happy in the not too distant future.

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  2. Oh, and as for holidays such as Easter, as our society has moved away from the religious reason for the season and has instead become focused on holidays as just another reason to gather families and celebrate with a gluttony of gifts and/or food, I’m turned off by them and do my best to get through them under the radar. I say that as a not particularly religious person, but as a person without children, I find them to be forced and unnatural gatherings that exclude my personal life dynamic.

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  3. Sue, thank you for always having something so valuable to post. I look forward to reading anything you have to say. I am (like most of us on here) childless by marriage. My husband is 20 years older than I am and had a vasectomy many years ago. He does not have any children. And he has no desire to have children with me. We always talked about adopting and then life got in the way, I guess. (Like it does for so many of us). You always find a way to discuss the problems that I’m dealing with. Whether it’s a lack of understanding from family. Or my severe fear of being alone someday. You show me that it can be done. And that’s really valuable at this point in my life. Unfortunately I still have about 10 years left of physically being able to have children, but I’m having to come to terms with it not happening now. Your book was so valuable to me, as I’m making similar choices to most of us. I’m choosing my husband, whom I love more than anything. Over my dreams of children. Please don’t get discouraged or down and feel like you have “nothing to say”. Anything you have to say is so valuable to me. Thank you and good luck.
    P.S. how is Annie??

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  4. Lynne, I forgot to answer your question about Annie. She is basically okay although she is old and arthritic and doesn’t hear well anymore. She’s frustrated today because I’m saying no to a walk. I am having a reaction to my COVID shot, so I’m spending the day lying around.

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    • Oh I’m so glad that she is doing as well as she can be. I completely understand doing anything for your pets. I wonder if that is escalated by those of who are childless? Or if it’s just that way for everyone. Regardless I think of her often. And hope she continues to have a long and happy life with you. I’m sorry to hear you are having a reaction to your Covid vaccination. I hope not too serious of a reaction. Thank you for responding to my comments. And please keep hanging in there. This time is so hard for all of us. But your words definitely make a difference.

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  5. It’s been fairly awful. I’ve had my first shot. DH didn’t make it – a heart attack took him at the beginning of the year.

    His kids didn’t come to the funeral ‘because of the pandemic’. I knew that one was shielding, but I’d thought that the other might make it – but that one is middle-aged and has adult-onset asthma so didn’t want to risk it.

    I still don’t know why my husband’s 20 yr old grandchild didn’t attend apart from ‘the pandemic’. They could have flown. Would have taken an hour. (They’d already travelled by plane for college purposes and all their lectures are currently online.) While I was in the middle of the funeral arrangements, I vaguely thought that maybe there were money problems.

    So…I’ve inadvertently broken all ties with them. Let’s just say that I was intemperate at the wrong time. I’m mortified at my behaviour and I’m sorry that I won’t see one of them again…but I’m almost relieved that it’s over now.

    DH and I made it past our Silver Wedding, but I was never allowed to be grandmother to his grandchild. So be it.

    They were going to visit me in the summer ‘once it was safer’. I guess I’m being unreasonable, but I needed them at the funeral. I don’t need them now. A fortnight after my husband’s funeral, one of them actually attended the funeral of their partner’s relative. Admittedly, it was a bit closer to their home, but even so…Looks like shielding went out the window when it mattered to them.

    Our friends and my cousins came to his funeral and it is they who have been supporting me. It’s not the same as having children and grandchildren but you know what? At least they don’t pretend.

    I was allowed to have 20 at the service and everyone said that it was a good funeral. I think it was. I was on my own the night before, I followed the hearse in a limousine that only contained me and the driver and I returned to an empty house.

    I’m no longer at the stage of screaming at my living room walls and staggering back to bed in grief. I almost feel normal at times, unless something sets me to blubbering again.

    I’ll make it.

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