I don’t have children, but I do have . . .

My dear friends,
I stayed up late last night reading and responding to a comment on one of my earliest posts, one that seems to strike a chord in so many people that it has more comments than any other. As you can read here (scroll up a couple to Anonymous Aug. 18), this commenter felt so depressed about her lack of children that she felt she couldn’t go on. She has a husband and three live-in stepchildren. Her husband is reluctantly willing to have more children, but her pregnancies have all ended in miscarriages. Now her doctor is telling her she’s too old.

It’s a sad situation. I get quite a few comments and emails like this, and I’m not sure how to help other than to offer condolences and prayers and suggest they seek counseling. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, just a childless writer who has lived through some hard things. I have also been in counseling for years. There is no shame in it. If the first person you see isn’t helping, find someone else.

I have days when I don’t want to go on either. Yesterday was one of them, but this morning, despite the drippy fog outside, I feel good again. I slept well and had a nice dream, it’s Saturday, and I have a cinnamon roll waiting for my breakfast. When all else fails, please count the big and little blessings in your life. Can you walk, talk, see, hear? Some people can’t, and they go on. Do you have a husband or partner who loves you? A home? Work? Enough money to buy groceries? Some don’t, and they go on. Even the smallest blessing can help: the taste of a cup of hot coffee or a sandwich or a piece of cake, the smell of a rose, a favorite TV show, a song, a new pair of shoes, sunset over the ocean . . .

A few days ago, I asked if you could say, “I’m never going to be a mother.” Some can, some can’t. But now I challenge you to finish this sentence: “I don’t have children, but I do have ____________________.