Being childless around other people’s kids


We may not have our own kids, but the world is full of other people’s children. Does it make you feel better or worse to be around them?

There was a time when I avoided children. If someone brought a baby to the office, I suddenly got very busy at my desk. I just couldn’t share in the admiration and baby talk or in all the sharing of motherhood experiences. “When my xxx was that age . . .” I didn’t feel that I belonged, and it hurt too much to know I’d never have a baby. During church baptisms, I couldn’t join in the benevolent smiles of all the moms and dads remembering when their own little one was christened. I could only think, “That will never happen for me.” Know what I mean?
It was the same with older kids. I didn’t feel as if I knew how to relate. I couldn’t be one of those grownups who talks to the kids or gets involved in their lives.
But I have learned a couple things along the way. It’s not the children that make me uncomfortable. Even if I never gave birth to a child, I WAS a child myself. We all were, and we can relate to kids on that basis. No, it’s the gloating parents and grandparents that make me squirm.
I still don’t exactly surround myself with other people’s children, but I do talk to them now. I sing with the kids in our religious education program and I have discovered that kids are pretty great. It’s amazing to watch them grow and learn and turn into people. And sometimes, wonderful times, I can channel my inner child and laugh and play and sing with them and not worry about the fact that all I have at home is a dog.
In the thick of grieving about the children you may never have, it may be painful, but try to enjoy the children around you if you can. They’re pretty cool. If you can’t, I understand. It will get easier.
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