Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tempted by the wrong guy

Once upon a time, between marriages, I dated this guy I'll call T.J. He was brilliant, charming, loving and sexy, but he was also verbally and physically abusive and a little insane. I completely fell for him. I still feel the attraction to him many years later, even though I know it's dangerous to even think about it. Anybody who has ever been with an abusive guy will understand.

I bring him up because T.J., unlike the men I married who didn't want to have kids with me, frequently offered to father my children. He urged me to get rid of my birth control, saying things like, "I know you want to have my baby" and "We would make beautiful children together."

It was so tempting, but he was a scary guy, and we were not married. This was back a while when pregnancy out of wedlock was still a scandal. My parents would never have forgiven me, and I probably would have lost a job that I loved, with no guarantee that T.J. would stick with me. I gambled with the "rhythm method" for a while, but really tried not to get pregnant. Wrong time, wrong guy. Apparently it was my only chance.

Have you had a situation in your life where you could have had a baby, but the situation was just wrong? What happened? How do you feel about it now?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Read my guest post at Life Without Baby

Dear friends,
Lisa at the Life Without Baby blog was kind enough to display my guest post "That He Would Do This for Her" today, Friday, March 23. I think you will relate and enjoy many of the posts at that site. Lisa Manterfield is the author of a fine book, I'm Taking My Eggs and Going Home,which I have discussed here before. Her circumstances are a little different, but we have a lot in common. In addition to her own posts, she invites other writers to join the discussion.

I have been informed that people are having trouble subscribing to my Childless by Marriage blog. Try clicking "follow" and then "posts" and use the Google interface. It seems the most user-friendly. Please let me know if this doesn't work. I'm thinking about moving to a different blog host and this would be a good reason to do it. I don't want to lose any of you.

My book is coming soon. A childless friend told me yesterday that my books are my babies. She may be right. What do you think? Are some of us destined to produce things other than human children?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Visiting the family

Hi. I haven't posted because I've been on the road for the last week.It was time to visit the family in California.

I imagine this sort of visit would have been much different if I had kids. As it was, I traveled alone, stayed with my father and went almost everywhere with him as my companion. The only difference between now and thirty years ago is that we're both much older.

I left Dad home to have lunch with my stepdaughter. I really enjoyed that lunch. Now that we are both adults and her father is gone, it's more of a "friend" relationship than any kind of mother-daughter thing. It's two people with some shared history, memories of the same man, and a lot of affection for each other. We talked about school, work, money, men, food. . . She has two grown children and a granddaughter, but she's single, and her kids are off on their own. It's amazing to me that I have this smart, gorgeous woman in my life.
Unfortunately my father doesn't feel any desire or obligation to connect with her anymore now that Fred is gone.

We visited my brother and his wife, who live about three hours away from Dad. Their daughter, my niece, came for a couple hours, but I spent more time with their dogs. With them, there is no awkwardness, just instant adoration.

Saying goodbye to my father just killed me. He's very old, and I'm always afraid I won't see him again.

If I had kids and grandkids, I imagine that would we would be one of those big groups going out to eat together, hanging out at one of their houses, talking, playing games, cooking, doing dishes, looking at old photos . . . Dad would be absorbed into this group.

Instead, we both travel solo. Last night, I got seated in the farther corner of a restaurant where nobody else was eating alone. The jolly waitress called me "Hon." I sipped chardonnay and read a book called "Going Solo."

I should be home and reunited with my dog today. Talk to you soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Childlessness by marriage: It's a question of timing

A friend told me about a family member of hers who is dating a man who wants to have children. He's not interested in adoption, only in having a biological child of his own. But she's 42. She has already had children from her first marriage, and she has had her tubes tied. It's the reverse of the situation many of us women face. I don't know these people, but I feel for them. There's no happy solution, is there?

It comes down to a matter of timing. In the days when most people only got married once and stayed married for life, they would have their children together. Now, with divorce being so common and people delaying marriage into their 30s and 40s, we have men and women who didn't have children marrying people who have already had them and don't want any more. Sometimes there's an age difference, but it's more often a difference in life experience. Those who are parents lived through the baby-making stage of their lives with other people. If you weren't doing the same thing, you missed your chance. Maybe you can convince your partner to start over, but he or she would probably rather not. It's a tough situation.

Your thoughts?


Thank you for your birthday wishes yesterday. It was a good birthday. It was a little light on the family side, but a wonderful group of woman friends treated me to lunch and showered me with music, cards and gifts. Afterwards, Annie and I took a long walk on the beach. I treated myself to raviolis for dinner and talked to a friend on the phone for over an hour, the way we used to do when we were kids.

I really didn't miss having children yesterday. I was surrounded by women approximately my age. Most do have children and there was some talk of them, but I have known their children since they were little and I care about them. Now that the kids are grown, their mothers have lots of other things to talk about. In some ways, this was easier than celebrating with children and grandchildren, with whom I would have less in common--and whom I would probably have to feed and entertain. I feel as if I have made a good start on building a community of sisters with whom I can spend the important occasions of my life.


And the winner is: Now, to the important matter of my birthday book giveaway. The winning commenter is (drum roll) Anonymous Childless by Female Parts. Anon, please email me at to give me your mailing information and which book you would like: Azorean Dreams (a novel), Stories Grandma Never Told: Portuguese Women in California, Freelancing for Newspapers or Shoes Full of Sand (a memoir).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Don't miss my birthday book giveaway!

Tomorrow is my birthday. To celebrate, I am offering free books. Yes, free. I have a giveaway for my latest book, Shoes Full of Sand, going on at For tomorrow, March 9, only, I will offer the ebook versions of Shoes Full of Sand and Azorean Dreams for free. And I will give a free copy of any one of my four in-print books to one lucky person who comments on any of my blogs on March 9. I will collect the names and draw the winner on March 10.

The books are Stories Grandma Never Told, Azorean Dreams, Freelancing for Newspapers, and Shoes Full of Sand. Read about them at

The blogs are: Childless by Marriage, Unleashed in Oregon, Portuguese Grandma Stories, Writer Aid, and Everything But Writing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flattened by a Film

Remember that Steve Martin movie "Father of the Bride, Part II," where his wife and daughter are both having babies at the same time? When they showed the movie on TV, I sat on the floor watching it alone and sobbed.

It's supposed to be a comedy. I had seen it before. It has appealing actors, delightful dialogue and a happy ending. So what's my problem?

The usual. I don't have a baby. I won't have a baby. I'm never going to have a baby. I don't have a grandchild, I won't have a grandchild, I'm never going to have a grandchild. My father will never look at me with the kind of pride that Steve Martin gave his pregnant daughter or the adoration he showed his pregnant wife. I will never have an excuse to run around wth stretchy clothes, an unrestrained appetite and that "glow" pregnant women are supposed to have. I will never have a little girl or boy to throw her or his skinny arms around my neck and hug me. I won't have a child to teach how to read, how to knit or how to bake cookies. I won't--

Stop. What kills me most of all is that I could have had children. And I didn't. What have I done? Why did I marry men who didn't want children? Why did I let them take this away from me? So I watch this comedy about having babies and I cry, cry, cry. I close the door so my husband won't hear me. I told him I was over it.

This is a passage from my Childless by Marriage book. The ebook will be online by Mother's Day. Meanwhile, have you felt this way? Two weeks ago, I saw a mother and baby at church while I was playing the piano. It was all I could do to hang on. I saw the same mother and baby last Sunday and felt nothing. I just never know.

What gets you crying when you think you're managing your childlessness and the tears come out of nowhere?

Copyright 2012 Sue Fagalde Lick

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Silent Sorority book offers insights for all childless people

I just finished reading Silent Sorority by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos. This is a story about infertility and its effects on a couple’s life. Like so many people, Mahoney assumed that when the time was right, she would conceive as easily as most of her friends and family had. But it didn’t happen. She takes us through her decade-long struggle to get pregnant, which ended after their second attempt at in vitro fertilization failed. That’s about halfway through the book. After that, she shares her grief and depression, anger, and attempts to find other “infertiles” like her. Eventually, she found a sisterhood with her blog,, and then this book.

Those of us who are not infertile, just childless by marriage or circumstance or even choice, might wonder why we should read this book, but it’s well-told story that carries the reader along, and it gives an excellent picture of what it’s like not to have children in a world where no one else seems to understand what you’re going through. Visit Pamela’s website and new blog at

So what does this have to do with those of us who are childless by marriage? It's a good question. I loved this book. For some reason, I lap up tales of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as stories of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy and childbirth. When a character in a novel is pregnant, I suddenly get very interested. Is this because I'm curious? Jealous? Wanting to live vicariously?

Tsigdinos talk a lot about "fertiles" and "infertiles." That kind of puts us "childless by marriage" people in a weird place. As far as I know, I would fall in the "fertiles" group. I don't know of any physical reason why I couldn't have had a baby. Fred's vasectomy made it impossible. So I guess he was infertile. Did that make us infertile as a couple? I suppose so.

Anyway, we may or may not identify with all the medical machinations of Tsigdinos' attempts to get pregnant, but I bet we can identify with her grief at not being able to have kids and her anger at the stupid questions people ask, the insensitivity of people who flaunt their pregnancies and their children in our faces, and the feeling of not fitting in.

Our situation is tough, but I think people dealing with infertility, miscarriages,and stillbirths, people who spend years unsuccessfully trying to have a baby, have a much harder time and deserve our compassion.

I have added this book to the list of books and resources at my Childless web page, You might want to take a look.

I'd love to hear what you think about all this.