What about those who are childless by un-marriage?

When I heard that MelanieNotkin, author of Savvy Auntie, was about to publish a new book called Otherhood (Seal Press, 2014),  I rushed to buy a copy. I was sure this book about women who never had children because they never married would be fascinating. But the book let me down.
Otherhood started well, but I found it hard to identify with the women Notkin was writing about. Her study of unmarried childless women is pretty much limited to attractive, successful women in their 30s and 40s living in New York City. They go to clubs, date a lot, and meet at swanky places to complain about the guys they date. It’s very Sex and the City. I love that show, and I sympathize with Notkin and her fabulous friends, but she leaves a world of never-married people out of the story. Where are the women who are shy, fat, disabled, poor, uneducated, ugly, awkward, or living in small towns without a lot of eligible men? Where are the people who haven’t had a date in decades, if ever?
Notkin is childless and so are most of her friends. They talk about their options as they approach 40 and beyond. Some are freezing their eggs. Some are considering getting pregnant with donor eggs. They debate over whether they should have a child on their own. All of these options are so expensive most of us can’t afford them, especially without husbands to share the cost. With all the new ways to get pregnant, Notkin says she sometimes she feels guilty for not wanting to have a baby by herself. Is that becoming the new norm, single parenthood? The latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show that in 40 percent of American births, the mothers are not married. So people are definitely having babies without husbands, but as Notkin notes, it’s not easy.
And then there are those who almost get married but break up over the having-kids issue. I get comments here all the time about couples who break up or are considering it because one of them is waffling about children. In fact, this morning I received a comment from a woman whose husband has left her because she can’t have children with him. I want to turn into my mother and shout “What’s wrong with these people?”
I’m alone now, but I have been married twice. I have known love and companionship and step-children. I really feel for those people who wanted the whole happy ending and never had a chance at it. And I am certain most of them are not living Sex-and-the-City lives drinking cosmopolitans with their girlfriends and complaining about the latest celebrity or Wall Street mogul they dated.
Otherhood is well-written and entertaining, but it only tells a small portion of the story. What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your thoughts on childlessness by way of never finding the right partner.
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‘Otherhood’ and Fifty Ways to Be Childless

Today’s post is a trio of goodies for you:
1. Jody Day at Gateway-Women.com has compiled a wonderful list called “50 Ways Not to Be a Mother—with Apologies to Paul Simon.” It’s amazing how many different ways a person can wind up not having children, a lot of them through absolutely no fault or choice of their own. Me, I seem to fit numbers 9 and 39. Check out the list and see what number fits your situation.
2. Some of those 50 ways deal with not having a suitable partner, which leads me to my second link. Melanie Notkin, author of Savvy Auntie and the accompanying blog, has written a new book called Otherhood: The Unrequited Love Story of Modern Women, which talks about how many of us never find the right partner. As a result, we don’t become parents. It’s due out in February, but you can pre-order it now. Melanie has also written about this at her Huffington Post blog. Read “The Truth About the Childless Life” there.
3. Marcia Drut-Davis, author of a new book titled Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream, has a blog called Childfree Reflections, which may offer some comfort to you. The site includes a free resource list, but I must warn you that you have to sign up for the newsletter to get it, and nearly all of the resources are for people who are childfree by choice.
Oh what the heck, I’ll plug my own site. I’ve got a ridiculously long resource list on my Childless by Marriage website, which you can access with no strings. If you’d like to buy my book, I’d be delighted, but the list is my gift to you.
Have a wonderful week.

New book Being Fruitful Without Multiplying is out now

A new book called Being Fruitful Without Multiplyinghas just been released in paperback and e-book formats. It’s a collaboration of several authors who write about their fulfilling lives without children. My copy is on the way. Help them out and order a copy. (While you’re at it, buy a copy of Childless by Marriage, too). They’ve got a Facebook group you might want to visit. Just look for “Being Fruitful without Multiplying.” I haven’t read the book yet, but I think it will help us all feel better about not having children.

 Here are a couple of other fun links to click on.
Try this new piece titled “Single and Childless: Can We Just Move On?” by “Savvy Auntie” Melanie Notkin at the Huffington Post.
The headline alone on this one cracked me up. “Never Marry an Older Man. You’ll End Up Childless, Sex-Starved and Cutting his Toenails.” I don’t want to insult my late husband, but um, yes, that might happen. 🙂 If you marry an older man, it might be fine when you’re both in the prime of life, but someday he might get old. On the other hand, there are benefits to marrying an actual grownup.
Enjoy.

Childless cheer-ups from the web

Feeling a little down about your situation? I think these posts will make you feel a lot better. Enjoy.

“What the hell am I going to do with my life if I don’t have a baby?” That’s the question posed in today’s Gateway-Woman post. I think you will enjoy reading the answers. And from me, the short answer is: a lot.

Try this Slate article, too. “Do We Secretly Envy the Childfree?”

Finally, here’s a beautiful post by “savvy auntie” Melanie Notkin called “Childless So Far: Why I Choose Love Over Motherhood.”

 

Our secret grief

A while back, I wrote a post about the Savvy Auntie, a book and blog by Melanie Notkin. She writes about the joys of being a childless aunt. I highly recommend you check her out. Even with the joys of aunthood, Melanie admits to grieving over the children she never had. Earlier this month, she published an article in Psychology Today titled, “My Secret Grief: Over 35, Single, and Childless.” It’s a touching piece about that grief that people with kids don’t always understand. After all, they think, we could have had children. If we didn’t, it’s our own fault. You and I know that’s not always true. Melanie tells it well.

Last week, I went to lunch with a bunch of church ladies. Inevitably, much of the conversation focused on their children. People talked about their latest escapades, compared their ages, remembered how they were growing up. A friend showed photos of her pregnant daughter-in-law’s sonogram. I didn’t have much to say. Finally, a woman across from me said, “You have kids, don’t you, Sue?” “No, I don’t,” I said. “I thought you did.” “Nope.” And then there was this silence. You know that silence? Oh yes.

A younger woman who arrived late took the seat beside me. I noticed her sparkling engagement ring, and she smilingly admitted that she and her fiance had finally set a date. They have been together off and on for seven years. She is anxious to have children, but now she’s in her 40s and doesn’t know if she can. “If it’s God’s will, I’ll get pregnant,” she said. I believe in God, but I wanted to wring her fiance’s neck. Does he not understand that if you wait too long, you lose the chance to have kids? Seven years. Grrr.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. You know what? It’s okay to grieve, but it’s also okay to just get mad. Then maybe we can do something about it.

Savvy Auntie offers comfort to the Childless

Although I miss being a mom, I love being Aunt Sue to my brother’s kids. How about you? Are you somebody’s aunt? (Or uncle?)A couple posts ago, I mentioned a site for Savvy Aunties, women who may not be mothers but who can be great aunts, godmothers and friends to the children in their lives. I just came across a video and a blog post by Savvy Auntie founder Melanie Notkin that you might be interested in.

Interviewed July 18 on CNN, she talked about “circumstantial infertility” and the challenges for women in their 30s or 40s who haven’t found that special someone to father their children.

Notkin also posted a great piece at http://www.blogher.com that you may find encouraging.

Notkin’s book is Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids. Visit the Savvy Auntie site at http://www.savvyauntie.com.