The sorrow of a childless ultrasound test

Dear friends,

This morning, I’m going to the hospital for an ultrasound test. It’s the same kind of test women look forward to having to see their babies growing in the womb. Oh look, there’s his fingers. I can hear his heartbeat! They go home with a picture to show everyone. Of course sometimes, the test turns tragic, showing no baby or a baby that is deformed or has died. To me that’s worse than never having a baby.

But it’s not that kind of ultrasound. Whatever else might be inside me, there is no baby. The technicians will be seeking the cause of my persistent stomach problems. I’m torn between hoping they find something—finally an answer!—and hoping they don’t. At least I’m pretty sure this will not be the kind where they stick a wand up your vagina. Been there, hated that. Let’s keep it all on the outside, please.

It’s not my first ultrasound, but I’m always a little sad that I’ll never have the one where I see my baby. Not that I’d know what it was. In my experience, it’s all a bunch of fuzzy dots that don’t make any sense to me. When I did this three years ago for basically the same problem, it was a fascinating tour through my parts. There’s your liver, there’s your gall bladder, there’s your kidneys . . .

Anyway. I’ll be going alone. I won’t be anesthetized, so there’s no reason I can’t drive myself. But this morning, hungry from fasting, headachy from lack of caffeine, and a bit scared of what they might find, I wish I had someone to hold my hand. I wish my late husband Fred was still here.

Lately I’ve been getting a taste of what it’s like to be single and childless at 66. I drove myself to the ER when this started with incredible pain one night in December. A friend took me for my colonoscopy/endoscopy three weeks ago. Afterward, I was back to being alone, even though the instructions said to have someone with you for 24 hours. There is no family member nearby to whom it would naturally fall to take care of me.

Would having children solve this? Not really. My friends’ grown children live far away, work full-time and are busy with their own children. Besides, I’m not sure I’d want a grown-up child treating me like an old person and telling me what to do. In fact, I’m sure I don’t want that.

So what am I saying? Having an ultrasound for something other than a baby makes me sad. And build up your support network, whether it be family or friends. No matter how independent you think you are, you’re going to need it.

I’m confident that whatever they find, I’ll be okay. If I can survive my daily speed walks with Annie up and down the hills here, I’m pretty healthy. We both are.

As always, I cherish your comments.

 

Advertisements

Welcome to the Childless by Marriage Blog

Dear friends,

Childless by Marriage is a blog, a book and a Facebook page for those of us who do not have children because our partners were unable or unwilling to have children with us. Some are infertile. Many already have children from a previous relationship and don’t want anymore. Others just don’t want children. In a world of people whose lives revolve around their children and grandchildren, we feel left out and alone. But not here. We’re all in the same situation.

Note that this is not a “childfree” site for those people who never wanted kids and are perfectly happy without them. We are “childless.” There’s a difference.

For those of you visiting for the first time, this is not a new blog. It’s an old blog on a new site, and I’m excited to share it with you. The new WordPress site will offer features I couldn’t get at my old blog host. I already have two other blogs at WordPress, Unleashed in Oregon and Writer Aid, so I know it will work out well.

Next month, I will have been doing the Childless by Marriage blog for eight years. My first post was published on Aug. 27, 2007. Unbelievable. Eight years. If all works smoothly, the previous posts and comments from this blog will be transferred to the new site. But I’m still working on it, and I don’t want to take any chances, so until Aug. 26, 2015, I will publish the same posts at both sites.

I started the Childless by Marriage blog before I finished the Childless by Marriage book, which came out in 2012. So many people had contacted me and visited the “Childless resources” page on my web site that it seemed like a conversation that was dying to happen. People couldn’t wait until I got the book between covers. Plus I had things I wanted to share that wouldn’t fit into a book or an article. It needed to be a conversation.

Here’s my situation:

I was married twice. Husband number one didn’t want children, although he didn’t tell me that until a few years in. It was always wait till he finishes college, wait till he gets a good job, wait till we buy a house. Then there came a time when I thought I might be pregnant, and his tune changed to: if you have a baby, I’m leaving. Ouch. I wasn’t pregnant, but the marriage didn’t work out anyway.

Husband number two, a wonderful older man who already had three children, didn’t want any more kids. He had had a vasectomy. I thought he might change his mind, but he didn’t. Four years ago, he died of Alzheimer’s Disease. So now I have reached menopause with no husband, no kids of my own and three stepchildren I’m not close to. I live alone on the Oregon coast with my dog Annie. I regret not having children, but at the same time I know that I have done a lot of things in my life that I could not have done if I were a mother.

So that’s the deal. Missed my chance, but maybe that’s what God had in mind for me. Or maybe I really screwed up.

Of course I want to sell my books and draw attention to my writing through my blogs and other activities. That’s why most of us start blogs in the first place, but you, my readers, have become precious to me, and I’m happy to be here as your big sister or Aunt Sue to try to answer your questions and listen to what you need to say. Most of you comment as “Anonymous.” That’s fine. Call yourself anything you want. I’m glad I can provide a private space to say what we might not be able to say anywhere else. I feel like I know you anyway.

I’d like to make this blog more interactive, maybe add some guest posts, feature more of you in the main blog. I welcome your suggestions. Meanwhile, I’m here fussing with the widgets and looking forward to your comments.

Hugs,

Sue

D