Thursday, December 1, 2011

Grieving over childlessness lasts a long time

Dear friends,
The holidays can be tough for a lot of reasons, but not having children--and wishing you had them--can make it especially difficult. Everywhere you turn, you see children. You attend family gatherings where everyone else seems to have kids, watch your friends going all out to make Christmas special for their children, and you get bombarded by child-centered TV shows and commercials.

If you are alone, it's even harder. Comments on a much earlier post about childless grief have increased lately. I'm sure the holidays have something to do it. Some of the comments are just heart-breaking. Martha wrote to me yesterday. She didn't marry until she was 40. She wanted children. Her husband said he didn't. She hoped he'd change his mind, but then, only five years after their marriage, he died of a heart attack at age 48. Now she's 45, still wanting children but beginning to doubt that it will ever happen. An only child, she has no nieces or nephews, and so many members of her birth family have died that she is in danger of being the last one left. It's hard to know what to say except to urge her to build a family of friends who can help her move on.

Others wrote to me after Thanksgiving. Ericka, for instance, found it really difficult to be around her nieces and nephews this year. They just reminded her of what didn't have.

The holidays are challenging, but if we can count our blessings and treasure the people we do have in our lives, we can get through this and maybe even enjoy it.

Don't sit home and stew. Get busy. If you're alone, call a friend. If you don't have a friend, make one. Volunteer somewhere. Reach out, and someone will reach back.

2 comments:

Kathy said...

I just found your blog and I'm glad I did. Now I don't feel so alone with my feelings. I call my pain of childlessness my personal grief. Holidays can be bad - Thanksgiving is the worst for me. The day before Thanksgiving I remember my own Mother making pies for the holiday dinner for our big family, and I think about the neighbors children being home for the holiday. I think about how old my children might have been and how the house might have been filled with loud music and 'attitude' from young teenagers and I look at the doors of the bedrooms of our house that my husband and I had hoped would be bedrooms for the kids. But there is silence. I'm not a career woman - I'm a stay at home wife and a "mommy-type" person who likes to bake pies and clip coupons, but there's just me and my hubby of 18 years and our cat.
And like Martha, I might be the last surviving member of my family. Most of my family have passed away, one nephew and a brother left the family many years ago never to be heard from again. It's just been me and my sister left for the past 15 years, and now she is very ill with breast cancer.
Menopause has put an end (barring a real miracle) to the idea of my hubby and I ever having kids and so we ask, "Now what?" I thought when I was young, that when I reached this age (48) that my focus would be on my family.
Thank you for this blog.

Suelick said...

Kathy,
We never know what life will bring, do we? I was raised to be a mommy, too. I never imagined I would end up alone at this age. If we hang together, we can deal with it one day at a time. May the new year be full of blessings for us all.