Miss these Childless by Marriage posts?

Dear friends:

Yesterday, I got a comment from someone who wondered if the discussion of Klinefelter’s Syndrome (males with two X chromosomes) was still going. He has it and was looking for someone to talk to. I got another query on the subject a few weeks ago from a woman in a relationship with KS. So let’s take another look at that post and see if there’s more to say. Men born with more than one X chromosome (along with the usual Y chromosome) have underdeveloped sexual organs, along with emotional and physical problems, including a tendency toward heart disease. Many struggle to establish and maintain relationships with women. Read more about it and the comments here.

Speaking of men, I often worry that I’m shorting the male side of the childless story. I’m a woman, most of the people in my book are women, and most of the readers who comment here are women, but childlessness by marriage is an issue for men, too. It might be even more difficult because they can’t bear children. I wrote about this a year ago and got some good comments. I’ve love to read some more about how it is for men when their women can’t or won’t make babies with them. Here’s the original post. 

Then there was Richa, whose husband told her on the second day of their marriage that he didn’t want to have children with her. So now what should she do? (Screaming comes to mind). You all responded to that one with a vengeance. Let’s take a look back and see what you all said. And Richa, if you’re out there somewhere, what happened after that?  Readers, what would you do? Here’s the link. 

That should keep you busy until my nose stops running and the first weekend of Lent is over. This feels like a lazy post, but I’m sick, plus the woman with whom I’ve been sharing my “day job” doing church music for the last 16 years just quit without notice, leaving a lot of undone work for me to do, including two Ash Wednesday services yesterday and planning all of the music for Lent and Easter. She had good reasons, and I sympathize, but yikes.

BTW, all those medical tests I had a while back showed nothing. The gastroenterologist has given up. Apparently I just have a wonky stomach. Luckily, I’m feeling better on that front. I thank all of you who expressed concern.

Oh, and it’s my birthday Saturday. It sure would be nice to have grown kids doing something special for “Mom.” Oh well. I’ve got you guys and Annie, my non-child-substitute (see last week’s post).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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His wife couldn’t have kids, but he stayed

Dear readers, 
Today I’m yielding my space to a reader who would really like you all to read, reflect and respond to his dilemma. Most of our comments come from women, but we need to hear the guy’s point of view, too. He asked me not to use his name, so let’s just call him Sam. 
I’m a 56 year old man, who’s been married 34 years last February.  My wife and I are both only children.  My wife is 7 years older than I am, and had been married once before.  We agreed before we were married that we both wanted children, though in hindsight I’m not sure she was as enthusiastic as I was. In any case she never expressed any reservations before we were married.


My father was a bit of a flake, and though he never abandoned my mother and me, he was constantly changing jobs.  I once counted that from the time I started to school until I left for college, we moved 15 times.  I consequently was determined that my own child(ren) would be provided with a stable homelife.  My wife and I waited 5 years after we were married, until we had purchased a house and were both fairly well established in our careers, before we started trying to have children.  I was 27 and she was 34.


The month after we closed on the house, she stopped birth control and made an appointment with an OB-Gyn.  Upon her first examination, he discovered that she had multiple large fibroid tumors.  I understand that there are now treatment options, but 29 years ago the only option we were offered was an immediate hysterectomy.  I was crushed, but I never seriously considered leaving her.  I loved (and love) my wife deeply.  I consider myself a very loyal person, and would never have abandoned my best friend for something that was never her fault.


I wish I could say that we pulled together in this tragedy, but she acted then as if it was a huge relief.  I tried to talk with her about it, but she always pushed it away, perhaps uncomfortable because of my difficulty in talking about it.  I realize that she may be covering her pain in flippancy (a common coping tactic for her), but she has often said how glad she was not to have had children.  I threw myself into my work and tried to cope that way.


I tried to talk to her a few times about adoption, but she always immediately changed the subject.  Recently, one of her friends from church adopted from the Child Protective Services program.  After a few years, it became clear that the child has severe emotional problems, and must undergo constant counseling and medication.  My wife’s comment is that she is so glad that we never seriously considered adoption.


I always assumed that my grief would diminish over time, like my grief over my father’s death.  But lately I find myself brooding over this constantly.  My friends’ children are leaving for college or graduating, and having children of their own. Every time I hear about another “happy event” I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the heart with an icepick,  I have tears in my eyes as I type this.


I wonder if my loyalty was misplaced, and if it would have been kinder to both of us had we split up and started new lives years ago.  I recognize that I may be going through mid-life depression, and have simply seized on this as a hook to hang it on. I beat myself up every day for wallowing in self-pity, but I don’t seem to be able to stop. I also realize how ridiculous it would be to consider leaving my wife and trying to have children with someone else now. I’d probably have to marry someone at least 20 years younger, and I’m no George Clooney, nor am I a millionaire. I’m past the point of caring about becoming the cliché, but I couldn’t bear to break her heart like that. 
And that’s how it ends, readers. Doesn’t it make you want to give Sam a big hug. Your comments are welcome. 
Next week: surviving Mother’s Day. 


Why are we watching ‘The Bachelorette?’

Has anybody else been glued to the TV watching “The Bachelorette?” on Monday nights? I have been completely hooked. I even turned off the phones and the computer for last night’s finale. I know, this does not sound like the intellectual fare that someone of my age and education should be watching, but dang it, I can’t help myself. We’ve got beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes in beautiful places doing beautiful things. Even the their meals are beautiful–although they rarely seem to actually eat. It’s a Cinderella story in which Cinderella aka Desiree does not lose her glass slipper but she does get the handsome prince. And he never says, “Oh by the way, I don’t want to have children.” The men always say they want kids, and some who already have children insist that they want more. They want two, three, five, eight, a whole dozen.

Last night, as Chris proposed to Des, he included children in his proposal. “Do you want to have kids with me?” I’m sitting on my couch in my nightgown screaming “Yes!” He says all the right things, plus he’s handsome and has a good job. Where was this guy when I was dating? Husband number one didn’t even bother with a real proposal. Number two had all the right qualities except that he didn’t want to have kids with me.

I know, The Bachelorette is a fairy tale. I know that the couples rarely stay together long enough to actually get married. And as far as I know, only one Bachelor/Bachelorette couple has had children together. But don’t spoil my dreams with the reality of reality TV. I want to believe they will live happily ever after in a house full of beautiful children and beautiful grandchildren.

In a Huffington Post article titled “What Could You Have Done With All The Hours You Spent Watching ‘The Bachelorette’?Jessica Goodman tallied up how many hours fans have spent watching “The Bachelorette” over the years: 6.54 days or 157 hours. She offers suggestions for other ways we might have used that time. Not one of those suggestions involves kids, but they might be fun. Check it out.

Is watching this show a waste of time? Or is it okay to seek comfort in fantasy when our own lives haven’t turned out quite the way we planned? And now what will we do on Monday nights?

I welcome your thoughts.

Say it, sister

One of the workers at the care home where Fred lives now has been reading my blog and finding it pertinent to her situation. Her situation is the opposite of ours. She’s 45 and has two sons. Recently divorced and stop-traffic gorgeous, she finds herself dating younger men or even men her own age who still want to have children. She believes she could get pregnant but worries about the risks of pregnancy so late in life. Plus, she has done the math. She’d be over 50 when the child started kindergarten, in her 60s when he graduated from high school, in her 70s when he finished college and/or married and had children . . . No. She doesn’t want to do that. Nor does she want to cheat her dates out of something they really want. So, she says, “I gently set them free.”

She wanted to know how I came to be childless. Fred was sitting there with me as I explained that I had married two husbands who wouldn’t or couldn’t father my children. “I was one of them,” Fred piped up. She turned to me. “How old were you when you got married?” “33.” And then she gave Fred such a look, a look that said, You dog, you bastard, how could you do that to her? I wanted to jump up and hug her.

Where was she when I was 33?