Childless post 550, same question persists

Dear childless friends,

We seem to have discussed everything there is to discuss about being childless by marriage. This is my 550th post! How many times can we go over the “stay or go” dilemma? The mate, usually the man, doesn’t want kids; you do. Should you leave in the hope of finding someone else or stick around and hope that you can live with the decision or, better, change, his mind? The answer is always: Talk to your mate, be honest about how you feel, and decide which you want more, kids or this partner. Unless the relationship is already a mess or you’ve only been dating for a week and a half. Then the answer seems clear to me. Move on!

Funny nobody has written here about having an affair with someone who would be happy to make babies together. Should she leave to be with the potential baby daddy or get pregnant and tell her husband, “Oops, I guess some sperm slipped through all the layers of birth control”? Is nobody doing that, or does that only happen in fiction? You can tell us anonymously in the comments.

I did date someone who tempted me with the babies we could have. I wasn’t married at the time, but technically he was. The kids he had were gorgeous, and he really hated birth control. But no, he was not the right guy. And once I met Fred, I didn’t want any other man. I never considered leaving him to have babies.

It’s all a done deal for me now. My namesake niece, age 29, is going for the mommy job in a different way. She has just been approved to become a foster mother. A child could be arriving any day. She is not married. She works full-time. How she’s going to do this, I don’t know, but she’ll have plenty of help and advice. Her brother and his wife just had a baby last year, and her mom is over the moon with grandmotherhood. Her cousins and friends keep having babies. Being a strong, assertive young woman, she decided to go for it on her own. She is braver than I ever was.

My cousin and his wife just announced their pregnancy on Facebook. I’m glad for them. This will be their second child and it will be great for their daughter to have a little sister. I added my congratulations to the many congrats pouring in. But it’s all very far away, geographically and in terms of life experiences. I can hear the babies crying and the children playing in the distance, but I’m busy with other things. For the most part, I’m happy. Are there times when it hurts? Yes, especially when I see family photos of women my age surrounded by kids and grandkids. All I’ve got is myself and my dog, and she can’t work the camera. But what’s done is done. I curse for a minute and move on.

Speaking of moving on, I’m delighted that Halloween is over. Aren’t you? This morning, I saw my first TV Christmas ad for kids’ toys. Yikes.

So readers, what have we not talked about here? What concerns about your childless life would you like to see discussed? I’m here for you.

Kids, kids, kids, they’re everywhere!

I’ve been on the road this week, which is why my posting schedule has turned erratic, but I’m on my way home now.

 I’d like to write about a run-in I had with a grown stepchild that makes me wonder if I would have been the worst mother ever, but the kids read the blog and are easily offended, so I’ll change the subject–for now.

I’ve never seen so many babies and pregnant women in my life. I sold books at a Portuguese festival in San Jose last weekend and was flabbergasted by the population explosion happening there. Where I live on the Oregon coast, the population is older, so I don’t see so many babies; I just hear a lot of grandma talk. But out in the world, babies are happening.

It wasn’t just at the festival. I stayed with my dad, and whenever we went out to a restaurant, there were bound to be babies or toddlers at the next table. At church, he introduced me to his “girlfriend,” a four-year-old who came running in and gave him a big hug. She sits next to him every Sunday. If only that was my little girl. The child has a one-year-old brother, and the mom is expecting again.

Then there’s me and my dad, both single and living alone. At a party with my brother’s friends, someone actually asked me if that was my husband. Is it that he looks young for his age, or that I look old?

Eventually someone asked me about my children. I had to tell him I didn’t have any. Not one person at that party said, “Oh, I don’t have any either.”

We visited my sister-in-law’s mom, who recently sold her home of 50 years to move closer to her kids. Her house is filled with pictures of her children and grandchildren, and they were the only things we had in common to talk about.

You can’t get away from it. It takes a strong person to feel comfortable being childless in this world where everyone else seems to have a life filled with children. I’m working on it. I think the only thing we can do is enjoy all the children of the world and accept the freedom that comes with not having our own.

How’s that going for you?