Still Childless, Still Living with COVID-19

Dear friends,

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Today I’m getting my second COVID vaccine shot. I’m less nervous this time because I know the procedure, from where to park to what to do when I get into the big building at the fairgrounds. I know the shot itself won’t hurt much, although my arm will ache afterward. I am nervous about getting sick afterwards. Some do, some don’t. After my second shingles vaccine in February, I was flattened for three days. I have left my schedule open this week just in case.

Meanwhile, here in Lincoln County, Oregon, the number of COVID cases has gone up and we’re back in the “high risk” category, with all kinds of restrictions on where we can go and what we can do. Shots or no shots, it feels like it will never end.

Who knew we’d have a second Easter of pandemic shutdowns? Another spring break wearing masks, afraid to be with groups of people?

Meanwhile, I keep seeing everybody’s kids in their Facebook posts. Dyeing eggs. Hugging stuffed Easter bunnies. Playing together in the sun. This year on Easter Sunday, I had the courage to tell my brother when he sent photos of him with his adorable grandchildren—whom I have not seen since the pandemic started—that I am jealous of what he has. He needs to understand that while his photos give me joy and I don’t want them to stop coming, they also bring pain because I don’t have my own grandkids. Because COVID has lasted so long, these little nieces and nephew won’t even know who I am. I was so hoping for a relationship with them. Facetime, you say? So far, our family doesn’t do that.

As they get vaccinated, many of my grandparent friends are reuniting with their grandchildren. I am happy for them, but the photos make me feel more alone, here in the woods with my old dog.

Zoom meetings, classes, and church services have become all too familiar now. I am grateful that I don’t have children struggling to learn via computer screen and making it hard for me to get any work done. I see the advantages of not having children during this difficult time. But I’m lonely.

I thought I had nothing to say today, and I didn’t want to be depressing. Well, here we are. Please, tell me how you’re doing after a year of this? How has COVID affected your childless situation? Have you put everything on hold or worked it out? Does the closure of so many things make it impossible to move forward? How did your Easter go?

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How Does Coronavirus relate to Childlessness?

Dear friends,

I can’t stop listening to the news, which is getting more frightening by the hour. The coronavirus/aka COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds. Events are being cancelled, schools shut down, and the stock market crashing. Last week, I decided on the way to the Portland airport not to go to my conference in Texas. The conference went on with greatly reduced attendance, but this week, everything is being cancelled. I have never typed the word “cancelled” so many times.

In Oregon, our governor is on the radio right now talking about the restrictions she is putting in place to prevent the spread of the disease—no large gatherings, no school events or field trips, no unnecessary visits to nursing homes . . . Store shelves have been stripped bare of hand sanitizer and toilet paper as people prepare to be quarantined indefinitely. This all sounds like a bad science fiction movie. I have never seen anything like this before in my life. I don’t know which frightens me more, the disease or people’s hysterical reaction to the disease, but everything else suddenly seems irrelevant.

How do I make this situation relevant on the Childless by Marriage blog? Maybe it doesn’t make much difference whether or not we have children. We are all in the same boat, except those of us without kids take up less room.

Some random thoughts I offer for discussion:

* If schools are closed, should we who don’t have children volunteer to help working parents take care of them? Is there a special role we might play because we are freer to do so?

* Are we less likely to get the coronavirus because we don’t have children bringing germs home from school?

* For those of us older childless people, who will take care of us if we get it? Because it’s so contagious, who will want to go near us? I have this image of friends leaving food at my front door and driving away as I crawl out to get it.

* Is it a relief to have only ourselves to worry about, especially if our jobs go belly up?

* Are we kind of glad we didn’t bring children into this insane world? Is your partner saying, “See? This is why we shouldn’t have kids.”

* Or do you feel like, in the face of this pandemic, you might lose your chance to ever have children?

It’s on all our minds, so we might as well talk about it. What changes have you made in your lives? Have you been forced to stay home from work or school? Are you cancelling trips, staying home, stocking up on TP and cleaning supplies? Are you worried about your older relatives and friends? What do you think will happen?

Stay healthy. Feel free to share your thoughts. We’re in this together.