A Safe Place for the Childless Not by Choice

Dear friends,

Lately in the comments, a few people have been sniping at each other. That’s not good. We get enough of that in the rest of the world. As childless people, we face questions, disapproval, accusations, and folks who can’t resist giving you unwanted advice. Right? Let’s not do that here.

Last week we talked about how some of us—maybe all of us—sometimes keep quiet about our childless status because we don’t want to deal with the reactions. We’d rather blend in and let the parent people think we’re just like them. We don’t want them coming at us with why, what’s wrong with you, etc. Most of us don’t know how  to explain or justify our situation because we’re not sure how it happened or what to do about it. We’re still trying to figure it out. There aren’t any easy answers.

Of course, I’m talking about those of us who have not chosen to be childless, who are hurting over their childless status. The childless-by-choice crowd sometimes gets pretty militant about their choice: Never wanted kids, happy about the situation, feel sorry for you breeders who want to waste your bodies, money and time adding to the world’s overpopulation. Get over it, and enjoy your childfree life. But how can you when you feel a gaping emptiness inside?

In an ideal world, we would all accept each other’s choices, but the world is not ideal. We feel left out, guilty, ashamed, angry, and hurt. We need a safe place. Let this be one. If someone asks for advice—and many readers do—chime in, but we need to support each other’s decisions once they’re made. Don’t add to the hurt. And if a certain gentleman wants to leave his childless older wife for a young, fertile woman who will give him a family, ease up on him. We women might resent some of his sexist comments, but we don’t know what it’s like for him. He’s aching for children just like we are. And sir, don’t be knocking older women. Some of us take that personally. 🙂

Let’s try to be kind here. I am grateful for every one of you. Hang in there.

P.S. Easter was brutal for me. All those kids in Easter outfits. All those happy families while I was alone. Luckily I spent so much time playing music at church that I was too tired to care by Sunday afternoon. How was it for you?

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We Made It Through Another Mother’s Day!


We survived Mother’s Day. Congratulations to all of us. I was all set to cruise through this one by keeping busy and not thinking about it. But I don’t live in the desert or alone on an island, and neither do you. All the prayers for moms at church, the moms being taken out to brunch by their loving families, the Facebook posts, the TV shows, and the friends talking about visiting their mothers and bragging about what their children had done for them took their toll. I didn’t weep. I wished a few friends happy Mother’s Day, and I had a good time playing music with friends in the afternoon, but by bedtime, I felt profoundly sad. I missed my mother, my husband, my stepchildren and the biological children I never had. I lay awake in bed, watching the digital clock tick through the numbers until midnight, then breathed a sigh of relief. Mother’s Day was over. Thank God.
I don’t think other people understand how we feel, especially on days like Mother’s Day or at baby showers or when our friends obsess about their children. It’s like we come from another country and speak another language. The thing to try to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with our country and our language. They’re different but just as good.Our lives just took a different path.
I need your help with something. In the last week, several people have posted comments about situations where one partner wants children and the other doesn’t, and they’re considering breaking up. They love each other and don’t know if they’ll ever find someone else as good, but the baby issue has come between them. It’s hard to know what to say except I’m sorry and I hope they make the right decision. If you have a minute, visit the post If You Disagree About Children, Is Your Relationship Doomed? and add your two cents.
How did you do on Mother’s Day? Tell us how it went.  

 

Faking It in Momland at the mall

When we went shopping yesterday, I’m sure my friend had no idea she was taking me places I had never been before. I’m used to her chatting with everyone she meets and showing them all pictures of her grandchildren. I’m happy for her. At the clothing store where she talked me into a new Easter outfit, I smiled and nodded as she talked about childbirth with the store manager whose second child is due next month. It was hard not to stare at the woman’s “baby bump” in her snug knit ensemble and to wonder who would take care of the store when she left on maternity leave. But hey, whatever.

Then my friend took me someplace that hadn’t been on our agenda. Suddenly she had to buy her grandsons Easter outfits. We entered something called The Children’s Place. Oh my gosh. Miniature clothing everywhere. Tiny shirts, tiny argyle vests, tiny bow ties, onesies, twosies, threesies, I don’t know. If I had a child to shop for, this would be Disneyland. The sales prices were amazing. The merchandise was in disarray, as if a herd of rabid monkeys had come through, but my friend quickly hit it off with the clerk. Out came the baby pictures again as they compared babies and sizes and family situations while I wandered around feeling like a visitor from another planet. I have never seen so many children’s things in one place. For me, it was like a whole store full of doll clothes and I wasn’t allowed to play. Not only will I never have children or grandchildren, but nobody in my life is having babies these days. They’re either too old or they have put off marriage so long they may never get around to it. My friends’ grandchildren all live far away, so I’m not likely to ever see them except in photos on the smart phone or iPad.

I didn’t say much at that store. I let them talk while I looked at things and made color suggestions. As they continued to talk while my friend signed up for their rewards club, saying she would definitely be back, I rested on a chair near the cash register. I couldn’t say anything about my own children or grandchildren, and there seemed no point in telling them I didn’t have any kids. I just waited until they were through and we could go on to the Nike store.

I love my friend, and I’m grateful she includes me in her life, but when I mentioned that I had never been in a store like that before, it just didn’t register. Her mind was busy thinking about her babies. So I pretended I belonged, just like the other women.

Have you had an experience like this?