Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the Other Hand . . .

Last weekend I played piano at the funeral of a 44-year-old man who died suddenly of the flu. Apparently it was the Swine Flu. His mother, Johanna, sings in our church choir. It would be bad enough to lose one son, but this was the third son who had died. Her husband also passed away a few years ago. She does have three daughters and some grandchildren left, but she lives alone. I can't even imagine how anyone can bear so many losses. At least we who have never had children will not have to deal with losing them. That is a blessing of sorts.

Most people who don't have children band together with friends or family to be their companions and their support. Johanna is doing this. But her pain is immense. Let's remember her in our prayers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking care of "Mom"

My husband's nursing home invited families to a meeting Saturday to bring them up to date on what's been happening with the company and talk about issues such as security, finances and a new system for ordering adult diapers. The staff served a wonderful brunch in the cozy lobby. As I looked around the room, I noticed two things: I was the youngest spouse in the room, and half the people there were children of two of the residents. They came as teams, working together to make sure "Mom" has everything she needs. The residents didn't even know we were there. We were working behind the scenes. And I wondered, who will be on the outside advocating for me if, God forbid, I wind up in a care home without enough healthy brain cells to watch out for myself?

One can argue that people's children don't always step up when they're needed. They may live far away, be too busy or just not feel up to the task. I know that's true. Fred's children don't get involved in his care. You hope your spouse will be around, but it's all a roll of the dice. Who's going to make sure you have enough Depends in your drawer?

In modern Western society, we don't bear children for the purpose of taking care of us in our old age, but it sure is nice when they do. If you still have time to make the decision to have children or not have them, think about that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We'll never be chosen

Dear friends,
Thank you so much for the heartfelt comments you have been making at this site over the last couple weeks. I know it isn't always easy to share, but it helps all of us to know we're not alone.

Now, just for fun, last night as I was preparing to paint my den, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" came on TV. It's a pretty good show, except for all the yelling. But it occurred to me as I worked on my tired old house that I will never be chosen for an extreme home makeover. Why? No kids. Have you noticed that every single family on that show has children?

What other reality shows will we not be on? The "Supernanny," of course, although we could qualify for "The Dog Whisperer". "Wife Swap" is out. We may be wives, but again, all the people chosen have children. We could be on "American Idol". We could do "Survivor" or "The Amazing Race". If we're young and gorgeous and looking for fame, we could be on "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette", but no "Extreme Makeover", at least not the home edition. We might need personal beauty makeovers, but when you get to my age, it's usually the daughter who outs her mom, so I'm safe.

As I write this now, my den is gleaming with new "vanilla custard" paint. I feel proud, even though my back is killing me and I have paint in my hair. New carpet next. I can't imagine my mother doing anything like this when she was my age. Does that have anything to do with being childless? I wonder.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Did you know this?

Women who have not had children are more at risk for several health problems. Among them are osteoporosis and arthritis. Apparently the hormonal and cellular changes that come with pregnancy offer some protection against these ailments. Previous studies have shown that arthritis in particular affects more childless women. A new study just released backs that up. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle studied nearly 2,000 women and found that those who had had at least one child were 39 percent less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis. They're not sure why but suggest that fetal cells transmitted to the mother during pregnancy help lower the risk. Read Reuters' report on this study at

Before you panic, remember all the health problems that can occur with pregnancy and childbirth and count your blessings.

Have you noticed any physical differences between yourself and your friends or relatives who have children? Let's talk about it.