Thinking beyond our childlessness I get tired of thinking about childlessness. I’ve got a million other things on my mind, including nonstop meetings and rehearsals this week, my ongoing struggle to put my water-damaged den back together (see my Unleashed in Oregon blog), my need to practice for two upcoming musical performances, my job playing the piano at church, my dog’s ongoing flea problem, my aging father’s ailments, my best friend’s close call with breast cancer and continuing fight with COPD, missing my dead husband, selling my novel, wondering when I should prune my hydrangeas, the floods in Colorado, the shootings in Washington D.C., the conflicts in the Middle East, why some fools are angry that our new Miss America is of Indian descent, what I’m going to wear to the church fundraiser on Friday night . . .
There’s so much to think about besides the fact that I never had children. I wish I had them. If I could go back and do things differently, I would. I think. I’m not 100 percent sure. Marrying Fred was the best thing that ever happened to me. Losing him was the worst. Not having children is barely a blip in comparison. I want kids. I want grandkids. I want sticky-fingered hugs and kid pictures all over my house. I want somebody to buy toys for and to teach and to love and to watch carry on our family heritage into the future. I want all that. I didn’t get it. It makes me so angry I want to throw things.
But I can’t change it now, and there’s no point in ruining the life I do have because I didn’t get the one I thought I’d have.
Some of these thoughts are coming up because I’m reading Jody Day’s new book Rocking the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfiling Life Without Children. It’s a wonderful book that can help women who wanted children and don’t have them to deal with their grief and move on. I will give you a full review as soon as I finish it, but you can order it now.
My dear friends, I hurt for you. I feel your deep pain as you struggle to deal with situations where you feel lost, where you don’t know what to do about your mate who can’t or won’t give you children, where you go nuts when people with children just don’t understand how you feel. I know. I’ve been there. It’s big. It’s huge. It affects your whole life. That’s one of the main things I tried to show in my Childless by Marriage book, that everything is different when you never have children. But there is more to life. And there’s more to you than just the fact that you don’t have children. Think about it.
Group hug?


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Longing for the Sleeping Child

As darkness descends over Highway 20 on my way home from Albany, it’s pretty, with soft gray and medium gray sky, gray-green trees and shrubs, people heading home in their cars. Annie is curled up sleeping in the back.

A warmth rushes through me. I have had this feeling before with a sleeping dog. I think how sweet it would have been to have a child like that. They would have been more energetic earlier, but how wonderful it would be to have them sleeping beside me now.

I could have watched them grow from babies to children to adolescents to teenagers to adults, watching the changes, watching them learn, teaching them everything I know about life. Finally they would be companions and helpers in my old age. They could carry on family traditions, keep the photo albums, take my name and my genes into the future.

All it takes is a sleeping dog to make me feel the pain of childlessness again. I missed something so huge, so vital. It’s like four part harmony was offered for the song of my life and I only played the alto and bass, with no melody.

It just kills me. I feel like I have to do something about it. I know there’s nothing I can do. It’s too late, but I can’t accept it. I wish this were a sleeping child in my back seat right now. My children would be adults, but my grandchildren could be riding with me through this gorgeous night. Instead, I reach back and pet Annie’s soft gold fur. Her tail flaps, and I see her eyes glowing at me in the dark. Thank God for dogs.