With Childlessness, the Related Losses Multiply

When you don’t have children, what else do you lose?

A lot, according to Tanya Hubbard, one of the speakers at last weekend’s online Childless Collective Summit. Hubbard, a counselor from Vancouver, Canada, specializes in working with people who are childless not by choice, a group that includes most of us here at Childless by Marriage.

She spoke about secondary losses, the often unacknowledged losses that come along with a primary loss. If someone you love dies, for example, you grieve the loss of that person, but there are other losses that come with it. After my father died, his house was sold. The new owners tore it down, ripped out everything in the yard, and built a new, much larger, house. One might say it was just a house, but it broke my heart. For 67 years, it was home to me.

For people who have dreamed of having children and now realize they never will, there are many secondary losses. Your identity in the world and your role in the family change. You lose friendships, the pleasure of giving your parents grandchildren, your sense of creating the next branch on the family tree, someone to inherit your memories and prized possessions, and someone to care for you in old age. At church, at work, and wherever you go, you will be different from most people. If you struggled with infertility, there are physical losses, such as hysterectomies, scars and trauma from IVF failures and miscarriages, financial losses, and a feeling that you can’t trust your body to do what it’s supposed to do.

However you end up childless, your dream of what your life was going to be goes out the window. Sure, you can dream a new dream. It’s possible to have a terrific life without children, but there are losses. As with everything in life, when you come to a fork in the road, you have to choose one way or the other. You can’t have both.

Hubbard suggested we draw a diagram shaped like a daisy. Write “childlessness” in the middle and then fill in the petals with other things you lose because you don’t have children. Some of us are going to need more petals. When you finish with that, I suggest you draw a second daisy, write “me” in the center and fill in the petals with everything else you are besides childless. I hope you need more petals for that, too.

We need to acknowledge and give ourselves permission to grieve our losses. Other people, particularly parents, may not understand, but the losses are real and you have a right to be sad. It’s okay to talk about it and to even seek therapy if you can’t manage it on your own. Some therapists will question what you’re so upset about. Find another one.

If you are childless by marriage, I pray that your partner acknowledges what you are giving up by choosing him or her and then helps you create a new life plan that will work for both of you.

You can find Hubbard on Instagram at @tanyahubbardcounseling.

I welcome your comments.

Would He Divorce You If You Got Pregnant?

Newsweek: “Woman Accepts Divorce after Twelve Years over Unexpected Pregnancy”

Twelve years ago, this couple agreed they would not have children. Neither of them wanted kids. They were happy being just the two of them, and that’s the end of that discussion. Except that the 40-year-old wife somehow got pregnant in spite of his vasectomy.

Surgical error? Immaculate Conception? Was she cheating on him? We don’t know. She says, “It’s like a miracle.” She wants to keep the baby. The husband has declared that he will divorce her. When he said he didn’t want kids, he meant it. In general, she doesn’t like kids either, but she wants this baby, even if she has to raise it alone.

The article goes on to talk about the impact having children has on a marriage, how things change dramatically and how couples with children are more likely to divorce than couples without. I don’t know how much truth is in this piece, which is annoying to read with its overdose of ads and pop-ups, but what do you think?

Can having a baby ruin a marriage? Is that one of the reasons you’re not pushing to get pregnant? Is the guy in the article a jerk for rejecting his wife when she gets pregnant despite efforts to prevent it? Or is he sticking to what he has always said, that he absolutely does not want to be a father?

The article quotes smartmarriages.com, which says one factor more likely to lead to divorce is the situation where a woman wants a child more than her spouse. “Couples who do not agree on how much they do or don’t want to have children are twice as likely to end their marriage.”

So I ask, because disagreement about having children is the essence of being childless by marriage, if both parties are not 100 percent sure they are not going to have children, no matter what happens, is the possibility of divorce always hanging over their heads?

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Katy Seppi’s online Childless Collective Summit starts tomorrow morning at 8:30 PST, 11:30 EST, and runs July 14-17. It includes four days of talks, stories, workshops, and networking with others who are childless. Registration is free. Your anonymity is guaranteed. All sessions are recorded and available for free for 24 hours. By purchasing a Pace Yourself Pass, you can watch them at your convenience. Click here for more information or to register.

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Innocent Question Creates Awkward Childless Moment

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

“Did your family have a good Fourth of July?”

It was just a friendly question as I turned in my rental car and we worked out how much I had to pay after insurance (too much). It had been a difficult week. I had traveled to Ohio for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies convention, which was wonderful. But the trip home was exhausting, with delayed planes, incredible crowds, and no time for a decent meal. When I finally got into my own car in Portland, Oregon, I was looking forward to a relaxed three-hour drive back to the coast. But it was not to be.

While I was in Ohio, thieves stole the catalytic converter from the bottom of my Honda Element, which I had left in a “park and fly” lot at a Portland hotel. The converters, which filter the toxic chemicals from the car’s exhaust, are easy pickings for criminals, who sell them for the precious metals they contain. It’s such a common crime in Portland the police don’t have time to talk to the victims. Read about it here.

I used my premium AAA coverage to get towed to Corvallis, a smaller city where I at least knew my way around, but it took all day to work things out with University Honda, State Farm, and Hertz. I was jet-lagged and still 60 miles from home, with no husband or children I could call to rescue me, although my dog-sitter did offer to come get me. I declined because I would need a car for however long it took to get mine fixed. Parts are scarce these days. I hear horror stories of people waiting months for auto repairs.

I was lucky it only took a week to get my car fixed. Maybe it’s because I cried in the waiting room. Everyone was very nice to me. Meanwhile, I drove a red Ford Escape to watch fireworks with friends on July 3 in Waldport, 10 miles south of where I live. It was all grownups this year because their kids have grown up and moved away.

On the actual Fourth, the friend I had hoped to hang out with was sick, so I spent the day mostly alone. I played a lot of guitar, walked with Annie, visited a neighbor, and watched several old episodes of “Sex and the City.” I danced to the music of Lyle Lovett while making eggplant Parmesan from my Cooking for One cookbook for my dinner. I was so glad to be home.

Toward the end of the day, I got my usual holiday-alone blues. I could hear but not see the firework show in Newport. I pictured everyone else gathered for barbecues, fireworks, and fun on the beach with their families while here I was all by my lonesome self. Woe is me. I wrote it all out in a terrible poem, watched some more “Sex and the City,” and went to bed.

“Did your family have a good Fourth of July?”

I could respond in so many ways. “What family?” “It’s just me and my dog.” “I don’t know. They’re all far away. Why don’t you call them and ask?”

But I didn’t. This pretty young woman and I were getting along so well. Why spoil it with reality? I just said, “Yeah.”

“That’s good,” she said, and we moved on.

How was your Fourth of July? Was your childlessness a factor? Please share in the comments. Non-U.S. readers, substitute any holiday. The assumptions are the same.

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How Does Abortion Ruling Affect Childless-by-Marriage Couples?

If abortion had been illegal 10, 20, or 30 years ago, would you be a mother or father now? 

Abortion rights are tumbling across the United States in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Roe was the 1973 decision that gave women a constitutional right to have an abortion. It’s going to be a lot more difficult to get a legal abortion now. Some states have already outlawed it completely and made it a crime to have an abortion or to help someone else to have the procedure. Those who are able may travel to other, more liberal states, such as Oregon where I live, but many women will find themselves in the same situation that trapped women into unwanted pregnancies before Roe v. Wade. 

Abortion was illegal when I was a kid. I didn’t know anything about it because people didn’t talk about such things. For an embarrassingly long time, I thought God gave you a baby when you got married; it came out of your belly button. I’m so grateful for the book my childless step-grandmother gave me that cleared things up. 

While no one talked about abortion, I did hear plenty about girls “getting in trouble.” Two of my high school classmates “had to” drop out because they were pregnant. For girls who got pregnant “out of wedlock,” their lives were considered ruined. 

Later, my ideas about abortion came from movies where young women went to houses in bad neighborhoods to have the fetus removed by quacks under terrible conditions. Some nearly died and/or lost their ability to bear children. Their lives were pretty much ruined, too.

Many years later, I do know people who have had abortions, including some friends and family members. People say it out loud now. Got pregnant at 15, had an abortion. Something was wrong with the baby, had an abortion. My boyfriend wasn’t ready to be a father, so I had an abortion. It was legal and could be done safely in a clinic or hospital. 

For most readers here, abortion has always been an option. Not any more.

What does this have to do with being childless by marriage? Over the years, quite a few childless women have told me they had abortions because their partners did not want them to have the baby. To save the relationship, they agreed to terminate the pregnancy. Maybe, in some cases, the increased difficulty of getting an abortion will mean that they keep the baby. The guy will stick around or not, but they won’t be childless. In other cases, the woman may put herself in danger to have an abortion at any cost.

Maybe, just maybe, fewer women will be childless by marriage because the abortion option is off the table. Or maybe it’s irrelevant because they won’t get pregnant in the first place.

Abortion is a difficult subject. I try to avoid it here, but we do need to look at this decision and what it means for us. What do you think about the loss of Roe v. Wade? Has abortion, legal or illegal, affected your childless-by-marriage situation? 

I welcome your comments. 

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Airplane Journey Raises Thoughts of Children I Never Had

When the women with the wailing baby paused at Row 29 and waited for me to rise from my aisle seat to let them in, one would think my first thought would be horror. I already hated flying. I had already noticed these were the narrowest airplane seats I had ever seen. And now I had to sit with a screaming infant? 

Then again, it was better than sitting with the two very large, very rude men who had been near me in the waiting area. 

My seatmates were skinny young red-haired Spanish-speaking women, mother and aunt, and the baby. Once they were seated, the baby hushed and was an angel the rest of the flight. He slept most of the time. When awake, he cooed and smiled as Mama and Tia gave him lots of love. What was not to love? From his chubby cheeks to his tiny toes, this baby was adorable. 

Did I ache to have one of my own? Not really? Nor did I want to be one of the many parents I saw wrangling small children. Between the multiple boarding passes, multiple backpacks, toys, snacks, and the kids themselves, they were clearly overwhelmed. Some of those kids, although cute, would not be quiet. One little girl standing in the aisle of the plane insisted on showing everyone her pink backpack. She must have said “backpack” a hundred times. 

Yeah, I was too old and tired for that. I had gotten up at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time to catch my flight from Portland to Dallas to Columbus, Ohio for a poetry convention. By the time I’d gotten on the plane, I had already sworn off flying, and then the flight was delayed for an hour while they checked out a problem with the air-conditioning system. So I was not ready for squeaky-voiced kids with no filter. But that baby and mama sleeping cheek to cheek was a work of art. 

On my second flight, I shared my row with a little girl about 6 years old and her “abuela,” grandmother. They didn’t speak English either. They spoke quietly to each other and slept a lot. It was fine, even if Abuela did hog the armrest.

What really got to me was departing and arriving alone. While other passengers had people waiting for them, I landed in Columbus after dark so exhausted I wanted to weep and with no idea how I would get to the convention hotel. I would have given anything for a grown person to step up at that point, wrap me in a big hug, and say, “Hi Grandma, let me take your bags.” That’s what killed me, not having anyone call me “Abuela” and welcome me. Alone, I lifted my heavy bags, joined the crowd outside and took a taxi. I’m past the mother-of-small-children stage in life and ready for the benevolent grandmother stage, but you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes that hurts a lot.

At home in an area loaded with retired people, I rarely see small children, but go to an airport in the summer, and you will see lots and lots of families and good and bad examples of what we might be missing. 

Are you traveling this summer? Seeing lots of kids? How are you coping with that? Are you questioning your situation and your decisions about children? Or relieved to be on your own? I welcome your comments. 

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If I’m going to get Covid, this would be the time. The airports were packed, the planes were 100 percent full, people were close together, unmasked, and no one asked about anyone’s vaccination status. That’s a little scary. 


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‘You can just adopt’ and other childless ‘bingos’

I have just returned from the land of many babies, where I heard so many childless “bingos,” I need a new card. “Bingos,” if you haven’t heard, are the clueless comments people make about childlessness. If you’d like a good list of the typical ones, visit https://bingobaker.com/view/496736, where you will find a full bingo card of remarks such as “Don’t you like kids?” “Who will take care of you when you’re old?” and “Children are a woman’s greatest achievement.” We have heard a few of those, right?

Last weekend, I was in San Jose, California, for the Dia de Portugal festival, the first one since the pandemic began. I was there to see friends and family and sell books. It was incredibly hot, noisy, and crowded. The most popular booths were the ones selling beer and water.

At my table in the Portuguese authors section, I spread out my books: two on Portuguese Americans, two books of poetry, and my two books about childlessness, Childless by Marriage and Love or Children: When You Can’t Have Both.

People walked by. Some paused to flip through the pages of my Portuguese books, then walked on. Some bought copies. Some said, “Oh, I have that book. It’s good.”

We traded a few words in my limited Portuguese. “Bom dia” (Good day), “Obrigada” (Thank you), “Faz calor.” (It’s hot). A parade circled the plaza at the History Park San Jose where the festival was held. Singers sang, and folkloric dancers in red, green and yellow costumes danced. People passed by wearing the Portuguese flag design on shirts, scarves, hats, and even Covid masks. I said hello to Portuguese people I hadn’t seen in years.

Here’s the thing. I knew it was a Portuguese festival and most interest would be in the Portuguese books, but I didn’t expect some of the reactions I got to my childless books. Most who looked at them didn’t understand the concept of being childless by marriage. When I tried to explain, a woman early on responded, “Well, that’s no problem. You just adopt.”

“It’s not that easy,” I began, but she was gone.

A couple of the men snickered at my Love or Children title. “I choose love,” said one well into his beer ration. “Children?” He made a disgusted face.

The younger women all seemed to have children and/or be pregnant. The woman sharing my table, Higina da Guia, a nice writer originally from the Portuguese island of Madeira, was selling children’s books. Most of the books were bilingual, in Portuguese and English, intended for parents wanting to teach their little ones whichever language they didn’t know. Swell. But time after time, a woman would be looking at my books, and then her husband or friend would nudge her to look at the children’s books. They totally forgot about my grownup books.

I should note they showed no interest in my poetry either. Oh well. When I try to sell my Portuguese books in Oregon, people pass right by them. It’s all about context.

Higina’s daughter and granddaughter joined her. I watched as Higina wrapped the little girl in a red, white and black costume from Madeira. She was so excited to see the little girl in the skirt and vest passed through the generations of her family. “She will remember this forever,” she told me as the child posed for pictures. It was sweet, but it made me sad. I will never get to do that.

My brother came with his daughter and granddaughter, my niece and great-niece. I was so glad to see them and to have the validation of family sitting with me for a while. I love being Aunt Sue. It’s not the same as being a mom, but it helps. I don’t see them often enough. I shed a few tears when they left.

Helping me in my booth was my sister-friend Pat, a mother and grandmother whose claims to anything Portuguese are that she grew up in Massachusetts with lots of Portuguese people and that she once dated a Portuguese guy. She had a great time talking to everyone and people-watching. I noticed she reacts to children the way I react to dogs, as if they are magic and she has a special connection with them. It’s one of many things I love about her.

But I learned a lesson. When I take my childlessness and my childless books out into the world, I can expect many bingos, especially in an old-country culture where not having children does not seem to be a “thing.”

Living in a retirement community where I don’t see many kids, I forget how it might be for you where you live, especially if you’re at an age where your friends and family are busy with babies and growing children.

Where do you hear the most bingos? Is there a situation where it’s especially hard to not have children? Let’s talk about it. I welcome your comments.

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Childless Author’s Novels were Full of Children

I just finished reading Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott. I didn’t know until after I finished reading it that it’s actually the second half of Little Women, first published in the UK as a separate book. I found it in an antique store and was thrilled to get it. This copy could be a hundred years old. There’s nothing printed in its pages to tell me, but it is definitely older than my mother’s 1930s editions of Little Women and Little Men

Today, when we hear “Good Wives,” we think of the American TV show “The Good Wife,” starring Juliana Margulies, but that’s a whole other story. Alcott’s tale is about Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March in their teens and early 20s when they were looking for husbands and preparing to start their own families. Jo, if you recall, wanted to be a writer and was stubbornly independent. For a while it looked as if she would never marry. She turned down her friend Laurie, saying she didn’t love him in a romantic way. He took his disappointment to Europe, where he ran into Jo’s sister Amy. Romance ensued and they were married. 

Back home, Meg had married John and produced twins, a boy and a girl named Demi and Daisy. Amy had a girl she named Beth after her sister who died. Jo, seeking adventure, went off to be a governess in New York. There, she met Professor Fritz Baehr, who was a bit old and had no money but was so darned loveable. After much back and forthing, they married, started a school for boys, and had two sons of their own. As for her writing, Jo might get back to it later. As the book ends, the family is all together, the March parents surrounded by their wonderful grandchildren. 

Did anyone ever say, “Nope, I’d rather not have children”? Not a hint of it. Did anyone suffer from infertility? If so, no one spoke of it. There was a line that may have been trying to subtly indicate that after the twins, Meg had a miscarriage. But one did not even use the word pregnant in those days, so it’s not clear. Also, we don’t know why Amy and Laurie only have one child.

Alcott was writing in Massachusetts shortly after the Civil War. Was it a simpler time, or was it just a time when more was hidden? Birth control and abortion were not something families like the Marches discussed or considered using. Papa March was a preacher after all. We have to assume that these fictional characters did not have sex outside of marriage, although people in the 1800s had the same biological urges as we do. 

I suspect the challenges we deal with now were the same then except no one was allowed to talk about it. What if Laurie or John or Fritz said, no, I really don’t want to be bothered with children? What if Jo had stuck to her writing and said I don’t have time be a mom

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Jo so bad. I tried to dress like her and speak like her, or at least how I imagined she would dress or speak. I hadn’t seen any of the Little Women movies. I walked around with my little notebook scribbling stories and poems all day long. As for my future as a possible wife and mother, a “good wife,” I wasn’t there yet. A few years on, I discovered the attraction of boys and assumed the rest would follow. Ha. Here I am by myself in a motel in Yreka, California with no companion, no children left behind or to visit when I arrive in the Bay Area, no grandchildren to swarm around me as they did around Marmee. 

I used birth control throughout my first marriage because my husband wasn’t ready. My second husband had had a vasectomy because he had already had his children. Again, what if Fritz had said no to Jo? What if he had his own children and insisted those would have to be enough? 

What is a good wife? In the world of Little Women, it was a woman who devoted herself to husband, home, and children while the husband provided financial support. And sperm. Today, there are many other variations of the husband-wife relationship that can also be called good. It should be noted that Louisa May Alcott herself never married or had children.

Think about how very recent our childless-by-marriage situation really is. Birth control was not available to everyone until the 1970s. Abortion was illegal in most of the U.S. until 1973. Back then, out-of-wedlock pregnancies were a huge scandal. Pregnant girls were hidden away and forced to give their babies up for adoption.  Things have changed over the last 50 years, which is not so long a span of time, a time when women like me grew up reading Little Women and grew old streaming “Sex and the City” over HBOMax. I think we are still figuring it all out. In the future, perhaps a whole new definition of family, marriage and “good wives” or “good husbands” will develop. Community parenting perhaps or more people not getting married? What do you think it will be like in 2070?

Meanwhile, what do we do now? How do we balance our varying wants and needs? If this were a church blog, I’d say pray. But I know we all have different beliefs. Search your hearts and minds to find the answer to “What should I do about marriage and children?” and ask yourself, “Can I live with things the way they are? If not, what should I do?”

When you read old books or watch shows set in earlier times, do you think about their views about marriage and children? Does it look easier or not so easy at all? 

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A reader emailed me recently suggesting that we host a Zoom meeting so we can talk about childlessness more spontaneously and get to know each other. I know many of you need to be anonymous, but what do you think? Would you like to Zoom with us sometime this summer? 

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Do School Shootings Hurt Any Less Because We Don’t Have Children?

Another school shooting has happened, this time in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen kids, two adults killed, more injured. Horrible. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a parent wondering if his or her child is dead or hurt so badly they’ll never get over it? Do you feel what it would be like to be the teachers, either the ones who were killed or the ones who were not and have to live with the aftermath? Do you think about what it would be like if you were one of those children trying to hide while a teenager shot people dead all around them?

Do you think about what it would be like to send your children to school every day and wonder if they’ll still be alive when it’s time for them to come home? Maybe, like me, you have nieces or nephews that you worry about. Just because we don’t have children of our own doesn’t mean we don’t worry about all the children.

Or do you think: Thank God I don’t have children, so I don’t have to worry about this? It’s okay to admit it. Whenever we love someone, we take on the fear of losing them. If you never have them, you can’t lose them.

It’s not the same, but yesterday Annie was attacked by another dog. It was terrifying. I screamed and sobbed, even though she was mostly okay, just a little cut next to her eye. It scared me so much. How much worse it would be if someone attacked my child.

The children who died in Uvalde were young, around 10 years old. Remember when you were 10? So young. Why would anyone want to shoot them? Heck, the shooter, 18 years old, was just a kid himself.

I fear young people growing up watching movies and games where the heroes get into battles and shoot all the enemies, pow, pow, pow. They grow desensitized to the pain and blood and grief that comes when real people die. Just the other day, I watched a movie, “The Adam Project,” in which a kid teamed up with his time-traveling older self in one battle after another. The kid, well-trained with his video games, got right in there, attacking the enemy until only our heroes were left standing. High fives all round. No! It’s actually a good movie, except for the battle scenes.  

I have strayed off the subject of being childless by marriage. When children are killed, is it any easier for us because we don’t have any of our own? Or do we feel the pain, too, because all the children are our children, too? Do our partners feel the same way?

I welcome your comments.

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Yesterday, I visited a new shop in town and bought a children’s book. “For your grandchild?” asked the friendly woman at the counter. I can see how she would assume that. “Nieces and nephews,” I said and changed the subject.

I had just come from the beauty salon. Luckily this time my stylist didn’t spend the whole time talking about her kids with the hairdresser at the next chair. We were quiet. It was nice. I like my haircut.

Wherever we go, we are the ones who don’t have children.

Hugs to one and all.

When you don’t have kids and they ask . . .

Why don’t you have children? Sometimes you want to scream, “F-off! It’s none of your business.” I totally get it. But wait. For today’s post, I offer some responses for those times when people come at you with those questions.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1. How many kids do you have?

DIPLOMATIC: I don’t have any children. How about you?

SMART ALECK: Kids? I knew I forgot to do something.

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: Why do you assume I have children?

2. So you don’t like kids?

DIPLOMATIC: I love kids. I just don’t have any of my own.

SMART ALECK: That’s irrelevant, isn’t it?

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: Why do you assume I don’t like kids?

3. Why don’t you have children?

DIPLOMATIC: Things just didn’t work out for us.

SMART ALECK: Why did you have them? Did you stop and think before you did it or just let it happen?

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: That is personal and private, and it hurts to talk about it.

4. Why don’t you just adopt?

DIPLOMATIC: Adoption is difficult, expensive, and not what we wanted to do.

SMART ALECK: Why don’t you?

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: If he/she didn’t want kids of our own, why would he/she agree to adopt? Why do people assume that’s an option for everyone?

5. Won’t you regret growing old without children and grandchildren?

DIPLOMATIC: Probably, but there will be times when I’m relieved, too.

SMART ALECK: I don’t know. Will you regret having them?

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: I regret having to have this conversation again. Why do you assume I’ll have more regrets than you will?

6. Who will take care of you in your old age?

DIPLOMATIC: I worry about that, but I believe my family and friends will be there for me.

SMART ALECK: I don’t know. Do you want to take care of me? We can start the paperwork right now.

CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN: Why do you assume your kids will be around when you need them?  

Your turn: Does this stir up some of your own ideas about how to answer these questions or other questions that drive you crazy? Please share in the comments. Let’s get a good list going.

This is post #800 at the Childless by Marriage blog. Good Lord, that’s a lot of posts. If you keep coming, I’ll keep writing. If you feel the urge to write a guest post, please see the instructions to the right on this page and do it.

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Here comes another clueless question about childlessness

I received an email last week from a radio person who wondered if I would be available to comment in a little over an hour on the pros and cons of grandchildren.

Say what? It was early. I wasn’t even dressed yet. Maybe I could squeeze it in before I had to take my car to the shop, but what would I say? Without preparation, I’d sound like an idiot. I declined.

Curious, I listened to that station until I got to the Honda dealer. Not a word about grandchildren. It was all about Covid and the war in Ukraine. Maybe someone decided there were more valid questions to ask.

For the heck of it, I tried making a list of pros and cons.

Pros: Little ones to love, continuation of the family, someone to call in good times and bad, someone to call me “grandma,” photos to treasure and show off to my friends, someone to receive the family keepsakes.

Cons: Babysitting, more responsibility, someone else to worry about, gifts and cards to buy, and the risk they’ll turn out badly.

Now that I’ve had a few days, I’m thinking it’s a pointless question to ask of anyone who is childless not by choice. Grandchildren are not like cars or jobs where you weigh the pros and cons and decide yes or no. Even if we had children, it would not be up to us to determine whether grandchildren would follow. It’s not really something we can control.

I’m wondering now if this radio person was looking for someone to expand the joys of being childfree to being grandchild-free. As with the frequent offers I receive for guest posts on how to be a better parent, she doesn’t quite get it. I don’t need a list of pros and cons to tell me I wish I had grandchildren.

Either way, I’m glad the car needed a new battery.

In an interesting coincidence, the waiting room at the Honda dealership was full of people, including two children who were not shy at all. They marched right up and said, “Hi” and demanded my attention. I decided to go with it. (You can read about that at my Unleashed in Oregon blog.) Kids don’t care who has or has not given birth. If you look like a grandma, they’ll assume you’re qualified to love them.

Since we’re talking about grandchildren, it’s another factor to consider if you’re coupled with someone who is unwilling or unable to have children. No kids=no grandkids. The “survived by” section of your obituary will be very short. Can you live with that?

Your turn. Do you think about grandchildren and how you won’t have them if you don’t have kids? Do you talk about it with your mate? If someone put you on the radio with an hour’s notice, how would you answer the question?

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Next week’s Childless by Marriage post will be #800. Hard to believe. I’m planning something special to celebrate. Don’t miss it. If you aren’t already subscribed to the blog, why not sign up? It’s free.

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