Are You Childless by Marriage Like Me?

Annie 9215A
Babies? What’s that?

Dear friends, I’ve hit a wall. After 11 years, I feel as if I have told you everything there is to tell. Because I’m childless, widowed and aging, spending my days with people well past menopause, I’m completely out of the baby/no baby loop. It’s just me and my dog Annie riding this spinning globe together. I can write endlessly about the neighborhood dogs and Annie’s upcoming knee surgery, but I rarely interact with children or young parents except on Facebook, with a “like” here and a “love” there.

Being childless means that while my friends are either visiting their children and grandchildren or hosting them at their homes this summer, it’s still just me and Annie. It would be different if I lived closer to my family or they were the kind of folks who actually got together. My father and I often have telephone conversations like this:

Dad: Have you heard from your brother?

Me: No. Have you?

Dad: No. He never calls. Have you heard from anybody else?

Me: No. In fact, I had to call myself to make sure my phone could still receive incoming calls.

Dad: Don’t your friends call?

Me: They text.

But my dysfunctional family is beside the point. I’m living in a  green forest bubble with  my dog. I have nothing new to say. But I have no intention of quitting this blog. So let’s talk about you. I surrendered my chance to have children before many of you were born. Times were different. I want to know how it is for you now. Let’s start with this:

What brought you to the Childless by Marriage blog? Do you consider yourself childless by marriage or fear that you will be? What’s going on? How can we help?

Please share in the comments. Let’s get this conversation going.

Thank you all for being here.

 

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Childless? You are not alone

NM wrote last week:

I just found your blog tonight for the first time because my grief blindsided me this evening. I was having a pretty good day then saw something on TV and out of nowhere BAM! I was looking online for anything that would let me know this will someday pass, that I will eventually ‘get over it’. I spent a long time reading your posts and the many precious yet painful responses. I had no idea this was such a widespread issue for so many, women and men alike.

Lara wrote earlier this month:

I love the honesty of this post; I love to read somebody else say what I am feeling; I am grateful to not feel like I am a bitter self centered b!+@# for what I am feeling/thinking simply by seeing someone understands it.

Candy wrote:

I have good days and not so good days… Today is a not so good day…. 😦

Thanks for letting me share here…. there is no one on the planet that I share this crap with.

And Dawnsey wrote:

From the depths of my heart, “THANK YOU” for starting this blog. Just being able to tell my story, without those who actually know me knowing my story, has helped relieve some pressure I’ve been holding inside.

This was all in October. I’m not sharing these quotes to give myself a pat on the back. It’s to show that we all think we’re alone in our childless dramas. These quotes are from women, but I get them from men, too. We feel like we can’t talk openly about it with our partners, parents or friends because they all jump on us with their own agendas. “I love you, but . . . ” “When are you going to give me grandchildren?” “Oh, just adopt.” “You’re lucky you aren’t tied down by kids.” Right? Or we’re afraid to mess up our relationships by being honest about how we feel. I know. I used to do my crying in the garage or the car, anyplace my husband wouldn’t hear me. I have never told my dad about my book or this blog.

I’m always coming across something that smacks me in the head with the realization that I’m different, that I didn’t have kids, don’t have grandkids, don’t have anybody to take care of me if I get Alzheimer’s like my husband did, will never have someone call to say, “Hi Mom, how are you?” And this week is Halloween, which has become such a child-oriented holiday. We get to endure the commercials, TV shows, parties and endless chatter about kids’ costumes. Yes, we can dress up, we can give out–or eat–lots of candy, but it’s not the same. And the rest of the world doesn’t get it.

But we do. And that’s why I keep this blog going. You can talk about your stuff here, and we get it. You can be anonymous. Nobody has to know who you are. Just say it. I love it when you respond to each other. We begin to feel like a community.

You are definitely not alone. The U.S. Census reported earlier this year that 47.6 percent of women aged 15 to 44 were without children in 2014. Around 18.5 percent of women 35 to 39 didn’t have children. They explained this by a trend toward delaying childbirth until fertility becomes iffy, conflicts between work and family, and more Americans choosing not to have children. The official report says nothing about the main reason we’re seeing here at Childless by Marriage, which is partners who are unable or unwilling to have children with you, often because they already had them with somebody else. I suppose that’s not on the census questionnaire, but it’s a big issue here.

I started today’s blog with nothing to say, and now I feel like there’s so much more, but this is enough to chew on for now. Keep those comments coming, read what other folks are writing in their comments, and know that you are not alone. You might be the only one in your family or among the people you hang out with, but there are lots of others going through the same thing. Including me. Thank you for being here.

Why Wouldn’t He/She Want to Have Children?

Here at Childless by Marriage, one reader after another reports the same problem: One partner wants kids and the other does not. Period. End of discussion. If infertility is an issue, there are ways to work around it, such as in vitro, surrogates, donors, or adoption, but no. They don’t want to talk about it. I always encourage readers to keep the conversation going, but I had a tight-lipped first husband who wouldn’t discuss it either, so I understand if you keep running into a dead end.

Why are some people so sure they don’t want children? Let’s look at possible reasons:

  1. ·They hate children–Kids are needy, whiny and sticky.
  2.  Money–Raising children is too darned expensive.
  3. Conflicts with existing kids–They already have children from a previous relationship. Between child support, dealing with the ex and taking care of these kids, they can’t imagine bringing more children into their lives.
  4. Fear–of pain, conflicts, cost, life changes, and passing on physical or emotional problems.
  5. Age—They don’t want to be the oldest parent on the soccer field.
  6. Career—Having kids will totally screw it up.
  7. Freedom—They want to do whatever they please whenever they please.
  8. Marriage—Will having children ruin their relationship? Will the wife focus all her attention on the kids? Will they fight over how to raise them? Will they never have sex again?
  9. Inadequacy—They’d be a lousy father or mother.
  10. Responsibility—Don’t want it.
  11. Overpopulation—The world has too many people already.
  12. Messed up world—Why subject a child to wars, terrorism, climate change and a culture gone to hell?

Do any of these sound familiar? Can you add anything to the list? Do you think it’s possible to change their minds? I look forward to reading your comments.