Did you resolve your childless dilemma?

Dear friends,

I have been working on compiling 12 years of Childless by Marriage blog posts and comments for an ebook containing the best of the blog, organized by topics. Being a longtime editor, I’m trying to fix all the typos, mine and yours, and check the links to make sure they still work. Don’t you hate it when you get excited about a link and then it doesn’t go anywhere? With almost 700 posts, it’s a slow process. But I think it’s a worthy endeavor. At least everything will be up-to-date.

Speaking of up-to-date, I am finding lots of comments from readers who were in the throes of figuring out what to do about their childless situation. Leave or stay? Try to get pregnant or not? How do they manage the unbearable grief? Now that years have passed, I really want to know what happened.

Here are a couple of examples from an Oct. 9, 2009 post titled “Is He Worth It?”

Anonymous

Nov 12, 2009

I left my homeland, a good job and great friends to be with my partner. I’ve known from the start that he will probably never want to have children. It never used to bother me, as I used to feel the same. But the older I get and in particular now that I’m living in a country where I have no family of my own and no close friends, I’m starting to feel slightly different about motherhood. I would never pressure him to have a child with me to satisfy my needs. But sometimes I wonder if I’ve made a mistake. I do love him. What are my options? Stay with him and hopefully have a good life with him, even if childless? Leave him, and perhaps find a man willing to have a family with me? How could I though, when my partner is the one I love. I really thought I was more or less decided against the idea of having children. So why am I starting to feel differently . . . ?

torn

Nov 30, 2009·

I am so glad to have found this website, as all the other blogs seem to tell me to leave my partner. I love him to pieces and he loves me, but he is not considering having other children. He had an unwanted child at a very young age and does not feel he is capable of truly feeling in his heart that he wants to have another child. He says he prefers to not have another child if it is not something he truly wants as he knows how hurtful this would be to the child. He also feels like he has given so much so young that he wants to become stable in life before engaging in such a hard decision. I understand and I never really had the pull to have children before I met him. I don’t know if I would have that desire with another man. So I am left with this dilemma within myself. What is more important, risking possibly wanting a baby with someone that I don’t know that I would want one with or staying with the man that I love? At present, I am happy, but I don’t know if that will change. I guess the question is do I live for the present or for the future. I have made the decision to see a psychologist on this issue before making a decision. I hope you will all find peace with your decision.

So what happened? Are they still with their partners? Have they found a way to be mothers? If you’re out there, Torn and Anonymous, and you recognize these comments as yours, please bring us up to date, either at the old post, this one, or tell me at sufalick@gmail.com.

If you did not comment on the subject at the time, you still can. Scroll down to the end of the comments on that post and add your thoughts.

If you commented on any previous post and would like to bring us up to date, please do so, whether everything or nothing has changed, whether you have several children now or none. Hearing how things turned out for others helps the rest of us decide what to do.

I look forward to reading the rest of your stories.

Sue

P.S. Reading the comments from the period before and after my husband died in 2011 touched my heart. You were all so kind. I thank you for that. I’m grateful for every one of you gathered here.

 

 

 

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Looking back at Childless by Marriage after 12 years

If I were to rewrite my Childless by Marriage book, what would I change? That’s the question I asked myself recently. That book, which I published in 2012, started long before it was published. I have interview notes and pre-Google research from the 1990s. Are the stories I told there still valid? I think they are. Would I write them differently now? Definitely. And that’s the reason I don’t plan to rewrite this book. I might change the cover and work harder on marketing, but I will not be rewriting it.

When I started working on Childless by Marriage, I was much younger. I was still fertile, still married, and actively trying to parent my stepchildren while wondering if I could/should try to have a baby of my own. I was where most of you are.

Years have passed. Now I’m widowed, living alone in the woods with my dog, and old enough for every senior discount that exists. I can deal with other people’s babies. What makes me cry and kick things is not having adult children and grandchildren. Would I want to be pregnant now? No. Too late. The dog and my 97-year-old father are enough to deal with. So no, I couldn’t write that book now, although I can tell you all about this phase.

On the other hand, I believe I’m a better writer, and I know a lot more about childlessness from reading, networking and doing this blog since August 2007. WordPress tells me this is my 671st post. I find it hard to believe. How could I come up with 670 different posts? Is there that much to say? Some days I think it has all been said. Then something else comes to mind. I believe not having children affects every bit of our lives, so maybe we’ll never run out of topics.

With so many published posts, I have an urge to arrange them by topic and put the best ones together in a book. There’s good stuff here. I have dug deeper and deeper to tell my stories, and you have enriched the blog with your stories. Would it be okay to publish your comments? Most readers use made-up names, so you would be anonymous. Shall we call it Childless by Marriage II? If it was a $5 ebook, would you buy a copy?

I have no plans to quit the blog, although it is getting more difficult. I hope people keep buying Childless by Marriage. I’m glad it’s not the only book on the subject now. So many good books have come out in the last five years (see resource list), most self-published because publishers don’t see the audience for such a book. They’re wrong. The number of people without children is large and growing. One out of five ain’t nothing. Maybe it’s time to put our voices out there again.

What do you think? I welcome your comments. And thank you for being here.

Childless by Marriage Needs Your Input

Dear friends,

I’ll be honest. I have published 607 posts on this Childless by Marriage blog, and I can’t think of anything I haven’t covered. Usually something comes to me, but it hasn’t so far this week. That doesn’t mean I have any intention of quitting. We need each other.

I have been going through old posts—I’m in 2012 right now—fixing dead links, typos and other problems. When I transferred this blog to WordPress from the Blogger platform, some weird stuff sneaked in. It feels good to fix the embarrassing errors. Please let me know when you find mistakes. I can usually repair them in a few keystrokes, but not if I don’t know about them.

I’m thinking I might want to put together a “Best of Childless by Marriage” book. I did that with my Unleashed in Oregon blog last year, and it’s nice to have everything in one place. Also, I worry that all of these posts will disappear someday if something goes awry with WordPress or the Internet. My work is my baby, so I stress over these things.

I need your help. I see this blog as more of a conversation than as a place for me to show off my writing. You readers are a critical part of the Childless by Marriage blog, and you are all in different places in your childless journeys. So today I’m asking you to join me in my brainstorming for 2018.

  • What do you want to talk about?
  • What have you not seen here that I should cover?
  • What kinds of posts do you hate? Be honest.
  • Would you like to see less about me and more about other people?
  • Do you like lots of links? Do you click on them?
  • Would you like to address the readers directly in a guest post?
  • Do you have specific ideas for future posts?
  • Do you have questions you want to ask me?

You are a great group of readers. I have had very little trouble with spam or people being mean to each other here. I’m grateful for that. I truly welcome your suggestions. I also hope you will tell me if a link doesn’t work or you can’t read a post on your computer, tablet, phone or other device. Please comment here. You can also reach me directly at sufalick@gmail.com.

Celebrating Childless by Marriage the book

7d455-childlessbymarriagecoversmallFirst you marry a man who does not want children. He cheats and you divorce him. Then you marry the love of your life and find out he does not want to have children with you either. Although you always wanted to be a mother, you decide he is worth the sacrifice, expecting to have a long, happy life together. But that’s not what happens. This is the story of how a woman becomes childless by marriage and how it affects every aspect of her life.

That’s the description of my book Childless by Marriage, which debuted five years ago this month. At that point, it had a different cover and was only an e-book. The paperback with the current cover came later in the year.

The book tells my story, but I also include interviews of many childless women, as well as things I learned in over a decade of studying childlessness. Chapters include “He Doesn’t Want Children,” “What Have I Done?” Who Knew It was a Sin?” “The Evil Stepmother,” “Exiled from the Mom Club,” “Why Don’t You Have Kids?” “Can a Woman Be a Dog’s Mother,” “Mothering Fred,” “Side Effects of Motherhood” and “What Will I Leave Behind?”

The book has not become the raging bestseller that I dreamed of. The many publishers who rejected it all warned that while it was well-written and covered an important topic, there might not be a big enough audience. Also, it might be depressing. Maybe they were right. But I published it anyway. You can buy it at Amazon.com. Or just send me a check for $15.95 at P.O. Box 755, South Beach, OR 97366, and I’d be happy to mail you a copy.

I hate advertising myself and my books, but that’s part of the writing game these days. You have to build a “platform” and promote, promote, promote. That’s part of why I started this blog, but it has turned into more than just a plank in my platform. We have built a community where we can share our thoughts and feelings freely. It has been almost 10 years since that first post! No wonder I struggle some weeks to find a new topic.

Another part of book promotion is giving talks. To that end, I will be one of the speakers at the NotMom Summit in Cleveland, Ohio the first weekend of October. The most exciting part of the conference for me will be meeting the many other childless/childfree authors whose books I have read, quoted and mentioned here. Anyone can attend. Check out the website for details.

Ten years, five years. So much has happened in all of our lives during those years, right? I feel like everything has changed, but I have no intention of quitting the blog or the book. You all are such a gift to me. Thank you so much for sharing your stories.

Keep coming back, dear readers, and let me know what you’d like to talk about here.

***

As I write this, my dog Annie is a hundred miles away having knee surgery. Over the next few weeks, I will be wrapped up in keeping her comfortable and quiet and preventing her from chewing on her stitches. I suspect I won’t get much sleep. I came home from the veterinary hospital covered in dog fur. Annie drooled all over my car seats. Motherhood, human or animal, is messy! I hope I’m up to the task. Our old dog Sadie had a similar surgery, twice, but my husband Fred was around to help. This time, it’s just me and Annie.

 

Childless by Marriage discussion rages on

Welcome! After several weeks of transition, Childless by Marriage now lives completely at this site. All of the old posts are here, along with most of the comments. In starting fresh at a new home, I thought it might be helpful to backtrack a little. Several posts have attracted far more comments than any of the others, and I don’t want anyone to miss a single comment or miss their chance to add their own thoughts. The old comments got a little scrambled in order when they were transferred to this WordPress site, but they’re there.

Most popular: Are You Grieving Over Your Lack of Children? Published Nov. 7, 2007, one of my first posts, this one has received 264 comments.

Coming in second: If You Disagree About Children, is Your Relationship Doomed? Since January 2013, I have received 241 comments. Click on the link to read what I said and how people responded. If you don’t see the comments at first, keep scrolling down. Clearly there is no good answer to the question I asked in my blog.

Third most popular: Can You Forgive Him or Her for Not Giving You Children? This one from January 2014 has gotten 105 comments. I think the most common answer has been, “No!” But read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Does one of these topics speak to you? Go ahead and join the discussion. If you commented before, how about an update?

As of this week, this blog has been going for eight years. I find it hard to believe, but it’s a topic that never ends. Every day, I hear from people who are in the midst of trying to figure out what to do? Break up? Stay together? Get pregnant? Give up on having children? How do you live with the grief? Will I regret not having children? How do I relate to my friends and family who are all having babies? Come back every Wednesday for a new post, and we’ll try to figure it out together.

People of any age and life situation are welcome here. I only ask that people who are childless by choice refrain from bashing those who don’t feel the same way. Comments that smack of “breeder bashing” will be deleted.

Thank you so much for coming.

Sue

Get Some Boxes–Childless by Marriage is Moving


Dear friends,
Next month, I will have been doing the Childless by Marriage blog for eight years. My first post was published on Aug. 27, 2007. Unbelievable. Eight years. Don’t panic. I have no intention of stopping. But I am working on moving the blog to a new site at WordPress.com. The address will be http://www.childlessbymarriageblog.com. The new site will offer features I can’t get with a “blogspot” blog and increase our community of childless-by-marriage friends. I already have two other blogs at WordPress, Unleashed in Oregon and Writer Aid. If all works smoothly, the previous posts and comments from this blog will be transferred to the new site. But I don’t want to take any chances, so until Aug. 26, 2015, I will publish the same posts at both sites.
I started the Childless by Marriage blog before I finished the Childless by Marriagebook, which came out in 2012. To be honest, the blog has been more successful than the book. At the heart of it is your comments, so much heartfelt sharing of joys, sorrows, successes and mistakes. You offer comfort to me and to one another. This has become a conversation, not just me talking into cyberspace.
You have been with me through my own pain and loss, including the death of my husband from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011. You have supported me as I adapt to my new status as a widow, a new age group, and a new life on my own without the usual kids and grandkids to support me.
Of course I want to sell my books and draw attention to my writing through my blogs and other activities. That’s why most of us start blogs in the first place, but you have become precious to me, and I’m happy to be here as your big sister or Aunt Sue to listen to what you need to say. Most of you comment as “Anonymous.” That’s fine. I’m glad I can provide a private space to say what we might not be able to say anywhere else. I feel like I know you anyway.
I’d like to make this blog more interactive, maybe add some guest posts, feature more of you in the main blog. I welcome your suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m here. I may be moving, but I’m taking you with me.
Hugs,
Sue

Don’t let people deny your childless grief

Dear readers,
Of my 406 posts here at Childless by Marriage, the one that has drawn the most attention over the years is the one titled, “Are you grieving over your lack of Children?” It was published in 2007, early in the blog’s life and has drawn 205 comments. Most come from women who are struggling with painful feelings about not having children. Many seek advice on what to do about reluctant husbands and how to cope with their sadness. Some can’t seem to find anything to live for if they don’t have children.

It’s hard for me to know how to respond. I offer sympathy and some advice, but I don’t have all the answers. Each of us has to decide for ourself whether we can live without children and how much we’re willing to sacrifice to have them.

Over the years, I feel that we have built a community, and I hope you readers will read each other’s comments help each other.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about this grief. It’s real. We have lost the children we would have had. It’s almost like a death. Our whole lives we will see other families with children and grandchildren and remember that we will never have what they have. It hurts bad. But people who are not in our situation don’t always understand.  They may tell us we’re better off without children, that we’re lucky to be free of kids, that all we have to do is adopt, that’s we’re exaggerating our feelings. They will unwittingly say and do things that cause us pain. Some of us choose to avoid people who have children, even staying home from activities with family or friends because we know we’ll be uncomfortable. People not in our shoes will tell us to get over it, to enjoy other people’s kids, enjoy the money we’re saving, and just move on. But it isn’t that easy, is it?

I have written here many times that it gets easier as you get older. It does, but the grief doesn’t go away. The loss is still there. Please support each other as much as you can. And don’t let anybody take away your right to grieve. The feelings are real. Be honest about them. As we work through this holiday season, let’s take care of each other as much as we can. Right now, let me wrap you in a big virtual hug. ((((((((((((( ))))))))))))). Thank you for being here. 

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