Friday, December 9, 2011

Childless feel worse at Christmas

I debated about posting this. I don't want to bum people out with this blog, but I need some love tonight. As most of you know, my husband passed away earlier this year. And like you, I don't have any kids. Well, I got the Christmas boxes out to decorate the house and put up my fake tree and discovered I just couldn't do it this year. The whole Christmas thing just makes me feel more alone. It all speaks of a house full of people, and I don't have that.

Today I got one of those Christmas card photos from a friend who is posing with her husband, daughters and grandchildren. It's a beautiful picture, and it's fun to see how much they've changed since I saw them last. But it makes me sad. To think I could have had that just kills me. My picture would show me and a dog. Most of the time, that's fine, but today . . . it just hurts.

Maybe you're feeling down this time of year, too. We need to support each other. How are you doing?

I have been reading a childless blog by a woman called loribeth. It's called The Road Less Travelled. She talks about the holidays, too, plus a lot of other great posts. Check it out.

Thanks for letting me whine.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Im glad you posted this. My picture would too show my dog and husband. Im newly blue childless which is hopefully not definite. I decorate every year but no, not this year Im to sad because it reminds me there is no kids to enjoy the holiday with. I have learned to be more sensitive to others situations at Christmas because of my new blue sitaution. Not looking forward to shopping tomorrow.

Suelick said...

Thanks, Anonymous. Yes, shopping is tough, too, but with a smaller family, we don't have to buy as much. Try to enjoy it. I hope your blueness turns to a happier color soon.

ejs said...

I'm also glad you posted this. I'm struggling mightily right now. Had a full-blown meltdown last weekend, triggered by running into a friend whom I hadn't seen in a few months. She is 4 months pregnant. When I read Monday's post about counting my blessings I couldn't even do it. I honestly could not come up with any "advantage" that I currently have that I would not trade in a heartbeat for a family.

The most painful thing for me right now is facing and accepting the role I have played in the unfolding of my situation. I spent years blaming...my first husband, myself, then my current husband, and again myself ("if I really wanted it I would have made it happen"). Then I went into this whole phase of being a victim. What I came to realize only recently (like in the past few weeks) is that I did not assert myself. I did not allow myself to have a voice, let alone use it. Looking back at the many moments of clarity in which that deep inner desire to have children surfaced, I realize that despite the fact that I "knew" on a cellular level, I always deferred this "knowing" and made it appear outwardly as if I were waffling. I think I did this out of fear. Fear that I might have to make a change in order for it to happen. I did make this radical change, bailing out on my first marriage at age 42, rather blindly thinking that I'd just dive into a new relationship and instantly get pregnant. That didn't really work out. This will sound really cheesy, but I really do think I was waiting for "the perfect moment" when my husband and I would be on the same page and take the leap forward with joy and fear together. I guess I have watched too many chick flicks.

Anyway, yes. It is really hard right now. I am a teacher and I spend every day with middle school and high school kids. You'd think that would be enough. It is when I am at school, but then the emptiness kicks in once i leave the building. The energy of the holidays is in full force at school,and I do my best to put on my game face. It is exhausting to play the role of cheerful person when I actually dread having vacation because then it's all really in my face.

That said, when I feel myself sinking into the vortex, I try to bring myself into a place of curiosity, so I can at least wonder what the grand plan is and why my role in it does not include my own children or even my own nieces and nephews. It's overwhelming to be dangling out at tip of the very last branch of my family tree.

I guess my bigger fear is turning into a bitter grumpy old woman! Lately I'm trying to focus even more on my students, because even though I don't get to take them home at night I am deeply grateful for the joy and madness and even the angst they bring me!

It helps so much to have found this blog, because I literally have nobody to talk to about this. People with kids just don't get it, so I've withdrawn from many of my friends. It feels like here I can get some of my feelings out without being judged or pitied, and this is helping me to move forward.

THANK YOU ALL :)

Anonymous said...

{{{HUGS}}} for you Sue!!!

Suelick said...

Anon, thanks for the hugs. Here's some back to you: (((( )))))).
Ejs, except for the teaching part, you are singing my song. I have said so many of the same things you are saying. Why didn't I push harder, why did I let these men decide for me, blah, blah, blah. And boy, it's hard when your friend turns up pregnant, or in my case, when she announces the arrival of another grandchild. But we've got to try not to be victims. What is, is. We move on, preferably hand in hand. There's no point in wasting the life we do have mourning the life we don't have.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as ejs. I facing the music and seeing how my dysfunction has contributed to where I am in my life right now.

I divorced the first husband - a truly lovely man that I was not in love with. Of course his "issues" bothered me and I blamed him for the fact that we didn't own a home, had nothing of value and weren't happy.

I spent years playing the martyr to my current husband. To my credit he did have a lot of issues. Still, I have to take responsibility for knowing this and marrying him anyway.

Recently my marriage and my life blew up. By actions of my husband that I NEVER expected. The string of events was a huge wake up call for him and he begged my to stay. With much courage and strength we are rebuilding. I feel confident that I need to be here to see this thing through. I see the positive steps that my husband is making and it pleases me.

HOWEVER. He's working so hard at doing all the right things. He's become attentive, patient, accountable and wonderful. And it's driving me crazy. The man is finally behaving how an husband should and I don't know what to do with it. Part of me is still shell shocked from the blow up. The other part of me is waiting for his new personality to wear off.

But the inner most of me knows that I have finally lost my last excuse for why my life is in shambles. It was easy to do my best when I knew that I was the "better" one in the relationship. I knew I just had to appear to be better so I could put the blame on him. Poor me. It was easy to suffer in silence and fume about not having a child because I could blame the whole mess on him.

So life is looking good and I'm still finding it hard to control my eating, my spending, my balance between work and home. I'm angry, I'm nervous, I'm constantly irritated with my newly wonderful husband. At age 37 I'm finally realizing that ALL my actions have led to this point. For years I took the easy way and just endured what was handed to me. I should have been facing the music, working hard to improve my situation. I've finally reached that crossroad in life. I know which way to turn and I know what I have to do - I'm just too scared to do it.

I'm a woman of faith and I know that this will all work out in the end - I'm just . . . I don't know, still waiting for someone to do it for me.

Like EJS I feel so lucky to have this forum at this point in my life. Thank you Sue!

SPS

loribeth said...

Thank you for the shoutout, Sue. I actually found your blog a long time ago -- however, for some strange reason it won't update in my Google Reader -- it seems stuck in July 2009?? So I have to remember to check in here manually & sometimes it's awhile between visits -- but I am glad you are here, & I appreciate your presence & perspective, as well as your kind words! : )

Suelick said...

Thanks, Loribeth!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting a voice to the childless issue. I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I took a year off from Christmas after divorcing my first husband. I didn't decorate and I spent Christmas day alone. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to be sad. It helps me a lot. My arms will always ache for a baby and there are days that bring tears. However, I think I am happy most days because I allow myself to be sad occasionally. Thanks again for your voice. It is comforting to know others share my same feelings.

Suelick said...

Thank you, Anonymous. This is a tough time of year. Instead of skipping Christmas, I'm trying to do it my own way this year. I just do the parts that feel good and let the rest go. So far, it's working.
May you find peace in this holiday season.

Anonymous said...

I could have written ejs's post. I am childless because my husband doesn't want children and I have been too afraid to push it for all the years of our marriage. Now, at 43, it seems too late, and I grieve every day for the life I won't have. I do all the positive things you are supposed to do, counting my blessings, being busy and involved, doing volunteer work, etc, but I'm so bitter inside and so jealous of everyone with children that I have given up on many friendships because I just can't make the leap beyond my jealousy. I'm starting to blame my husband for not loving me enough to make me happy in this way, even though I know it is partially my fault for not being honest about my feelings in order to keep the peace in our marriage.

Sue- thanks for this site. It is the only thing I've found that isn't focused on infertility but on being childless because of life choices and who you happened to fall in love with. It does help to hear that I am not alone.

Suelick said...

Welcome, Anonymous. I'm glad we can help. It sounds like you need someone to talk to. Don't keep this bottled up inside; it doesn't help. May you find peace in the new year.