5 Practical Ways to Cope With Childlessness


There are no quick tips for coping with childlessness and being happy. But, you can Blossom into a woman you didn’t expect to be! Here’s how my husband and I cope with being a childless couple – we didn’t choose not to have children, but we are living happily and peacefully.

Not being able to have kids is devastating. A reader recently emailed me and said: “We recently found out that we can’t have kids and have decided against fertility treatments. It hurts, but I am trying to learn to accept this. I want to be that happy, loving, cheerful wife I was before we became a ‘childless couple.’ I’m thinking I need to read a book about how to cope with childlessness, but where do I start?”

At the end of this article, I share a few books for women coping with childlessness – but first I want to describe the five ways I’ve learned how to Blossom without having kids. For example, one of the best ways to be happy as a childless couple is to connect with other couples who can’t have kids. My husband and I haven’t done a good job of doing this because we both tend to be introverts, but I always feel better when I spend time with people who are happy despite not having children. That’s not really a “secret” for coping with childlessness – but I do have a few other thoughts…





5 Ways to Cope With Childlessness

“I need to find my happiness,” says T. “I love my husband with my whole heart, but I just cry and cry every time I think about being a childless couple. I don’t want to see a counsellor but it may come to that. I just don’t know where to begin to accept it.”

I think seeing a counsellor is a great idea. A therapist – especially one who is experienced in infertility issues and finding ways to be happy for childless couples – will give you an objective, healthy perspective on your life.

Here’s a comment from a parent who says the grass is always greener on the other side:

Here’s a whole different perspective on having kids – a reader just wrote this a few hours ago…

“The grass is always greener,” says B. on How to Be Happy as a Childless Woman – Single or Married. “I love my kids but having kids makes your life suck. Enjoy your freedom. Kids have a way of zapping all the meaning out of life. You have to clean up poop all the time, your back hurts all the time, you can’t go anywhere, you lose intimacy, you go broke, they do stupid things, your house gets destroyed, they get you sick all the time, vacations are more stressful than your job…

One way to be happy as a childless couple is to focus on the positive. If it feels like something is missing in your marriage, take time to examine it. Kids won’t fill that void, only complete honesty can do that. Kids only make it worse. Parenting is different than people think it is before they have kids. Yes you love your children forever, but everything else in life ends up sucking. I’m not a jerk, I’m just honest. Hope this helps.”

1. Accept you’ll always struggle with childlessness

My husband and I can’t have kids naturally, unless God decides to miraculously create sperm in my husband’s body (he has azoospermia, which means he doesn’t produce swimmers). While I’d prefer to have kids and would love to get pregnant, I’m still okay with being a childless couple. I’m not thrilled or happy with it, but…who says life is always thrilling and happy?

The sadness of childlessness never, ever goes away for many women – including me. It’s like mourning my grandmother’s death or my sister’s choice to cut me out of her life – I’ll always be sad about the losses I’ve suffered. To be happy as a childless couple, you need to accept that you’ll always feel pangs of heartache, pain, sorrow, and even regret. Everyone has burdens to bear, crosses to carry. For some of us, childlessness is our biggest, heaviest burden.

“Growing up, I always dreamed of having them; being able to watch them grow and going to sport/school events,” says T. Being a childless woman isn’t easy for anyone – and it’s especially difficult for women who yearn for kids! But, happiness in life isn’t about getting what you want; it’s about figuring out what you can give others and how you can brighten their lives. That’s one of the most important tips for coping with childlessness.

If you need more out of your life, read 5 Ways to Create a Better Life.

2. Get emotionally and physically healthy

If you’re prone to the blues or depression – or if you’ve always wanted children – you may not find my “secrets” for women coping with childlessness helpful.

I’m one of those lucky people who is naturally happy, positive, and optimistic. But I work at it – I do yoga, pilates, strength training, and cardio almost every day. I eat healthy foods, and avoid sugar, fat, and anything that makes me feel heavy and sluggish. And, I try to get eight hours of sleep a night. You’d be amazed at how your health affects your mindset! And one benefit of childlessness is that I’m free to get as much sleep, exercise, and free time that I need.

3. Focus on the benefits of a childless couple (and there are lots!)

T. says, “I’m trying to see the positives of being a childless couple, yet I break down when I do. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time around family/friends who do have kids and I wish I could experience what they talk about.”

Yes, it would be awesome to experience the joys and pains of having kids! I would love it – I am not childless by choice. But, for some reason, I can easily and happily focus on how lucky and fortunate I am to experience aspects of life that I wouldn’t get with kids. I’m free to pursue whatever goals and activities I want, I love my job, and I love my freedom. That’s the biggest way to be happy as a childless couple: keep focusing on what brings you joy.

4. Stay connected with your spouse – and find joy together

Here’s what Deneice Arthurton said in Childless Couples – Living Happily Without Children:

Coping With Childlessness

5 Surprising Secrets for Coping With Childlessness

“One of the main reasons our childless state has turned out so successfully for us has been our strong relationship. Whenever something has come up we have talked about it no matter how uncomfortable this may have been for one or other of us. We still do this from time concerning not having kids, knowing that the demons of resentment get killed off if you bring them out into the open….What counts however is whether you can move on and build from these times. We did.”

One way to cope with childlessness is to reconnect with your spouse. Bruce and I travel, go boating, go on hikes with our dogs, and volunteer with the Big Sisters/Big Brothers organization. Those activities help us focus on the lighter, happier things in life.

5. Find your own “secrets” for coping with childlessness

Here’s where T. and I agree wholeheartedly. She says, “I need to remember that God does things for a reason. Maybe we aren’t meant to have kids; what if we did and they had medical problems, then it wouldn’t be like I dreamed it would either.”

If you believe God is watching our for you, you’ve found the most important way to be happy as a childless couple. My biggest “secret” for women coping with childlessness is that I believe God is protecting me from something. I think Bruce and I are a childless couple because God is saving us from something. Schizophrenia and mental illness runs in my family, so maybe we’re being protected from that? Or, maybe it’s not about God holding something back from us. Infertility has reared its ugly head in my husband’s siblings as well…so maybe childlessness isn’t something God has “given” to us.

Maybe the best tip on coping with childlessness is to accept that our infertility is just part of living in a fallen world, and all God’s children all got their messes. Another tip is to learn how to survive the grieving process after you find out you won’t have children.

Finding Words of Comfort When Your Heart is Broken is always helpful, too.

Books to help women cope with childlessness

women coping with childlessnessIn Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind of Happiness, Melanie Notkin reveals her own story of coping with childlessness as well as the honest, poignant, humorous, and occasionally heartbreaking stories of women in her generation. She shares the experiences of women who expected love, marriage, and parenthood, but instead found themselves facing a different reality. Notkin reassures women that they are not alone and encourages them to find happiness and fulfillment no matter what the future holds.

Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by clinical psychologist Ellen Walker is an examination of the often-ignored question of what it means to be childfree, by choice or by circumstance, in a family-focused society. Recognizing that there is no one childfree adult, Walker guides the reader through the positive and negative aspects of childfree living, taking into consideration the different issues faced by men or women, couples or singles, whether gay or straight.

coping with childlessness for womenThe authors of Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility offer a compassionate, gentle guide for women and couples coping with infertility. The book will help reduce your sense of helplessness and isolation, identify your husband’s coping styles to erase unfair expectations, and listen to your “unsung lullabies” (your conscious and unconscious dreams about having a family). This book will help you grieve the losses of infertility and move on.

If you have any thoughts on being happy as a childless couple, please comment below. I can’t offer advice…but I will pray for you. May you find peace and joy, faith and hope as learn how about coping with childlessness. May God bless you with acceptance and happiness, surrender and power.

“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.” – Hubert Humphrey.



Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


xo


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74 thoughts on “5 Practical Ways to Cope With Childlessness

  • Tracy

    Thanks so much. This is extremely useful advice. I am positive it will help me get through. My situation is a tiny bit different than the norm of a childless woman/wife. I am wondering if anyone else has experience anything similar and has some coping advice. My story is different because my mother father sisters and brother have all abandoned me disgarded me and tarnished my name and reputation throughout the extended family so I have no one left to support me or talk to. The children in the family do not know me and if they do they have been told terrible lies about me and are either afraid of me or just try and manipulate my feelings to embezzle money from me. I am not sure why it has happened this way. I was always real kind and genuine. I was always a fun loving and generous aunt. Up until I found out I couldn’t have children these same people flocked to me for babysitting services as well as overnight stays and events like fairs and gifts. Before I found out or should I say they found out I couldn’t have kids I actually felt like I belonged and was loved and valued. For 16 years now they have slowly turned on me and they won’t allow others to let be me either. Whenever I get close to a family member or friend they move in and all of the sudden that person is not available to me or I can feel a difference in the way they talk to me and behave around me. It’s quite disturbing and I am not exactly sure why the punishment is so harsh like I’m still the same loving kind helpful person. I just can’t have kids. I have my curiosities that my Mother and my Husband both have Narcissistic Personality disorder and I feel trapped. I want a better life. I have accepted that I will never be a mom but do I have to loose everything???My husband has a son from a previous relationship and up until I found out I couldn’t have kids he loved me too. I watched him every second weekend for almost 3 years. I bought him a bike and we went biking all the time. We played games and I would cook and clean for him and it was quite fulfilling and it played a big role in me deciding to have a hysterectomy as I felt we would have this relationship for life. Not so. Once his mother found out I couldn’t have children she decided to make him call us at 9 years old and say he had no interest in seeing us anymore. It broke our heart and I imagine it was hard for him too. He is 24 now and has requested a relationship with his father but has made it clear he doesn’t want me involved and he doesn’t want me there at Christmas and other holidays either. Talk about tear my heart ou. I asked him why and I stated that I would never and have never ever hurt him but with his red face and strange look he just said oh no and then he realized I hadn’t and that I had only been kind to him he just said I don’t know why I just want it. I am definitely confused. Anyone else go through this?

  • SIRA B. VICTOR

    of a truth, not having kids could be a way by which God saves us from some troubles. imagine having an imbecile child, just think of the embarrassment, or dying through child birth, that means the end of every other thing that could have given you joy apart from children. again, nobody goes to the grave with even the most loved child. neither can the dearly beloved children prevent the death of their dearly beloved mother when Mr. death arrives. so, whether you have children or not, it is inevitable that one day, you will leave this world and everything you ever owned behind and head to an eternal destination, either heaven or hell. therefore, I think it is better to be more concerned about our eternal destination than our achievements in this temporal world. I have seen women who had many children and yet suffered in life like they never had any because the children were not handy enough to take care themselves, let alone take good care of their mothers or parents. so it takes God’s grace to even enjoy the children you gave birth to and suffered to raise. am not against having children; it is a wonderful and joyful experience to have them. but before you kill yourself for not having them, just consider the few points above. thank you.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for your encouraging and inspirational ideas on how to cope with childlessness, Margo! I really appreciate everything you said – especially the courage it takes to let go of your dreams. Your honesty and authenticity is so inspiring. You are a beacon of light and hope to women who are coping with being childless, and your words will affect lives in ways we aren’t even aware of.

    Thank you.

  • Margo

    I’ll just jump right in. Sometimes you get through it as if nothing happened. Sometimes it’s hell. Sometimes you’re glad that you have all the time to be your own person. Sometimes you doubt everything about your life again. Sometimes you feel light as a feather and incredibly grateful. Sometimes you feel tired, depressed, worn out. Sometimes you’re bursting at the seams with energy to try new things. Sometimes it takes energy just to get up and go on. My twenties are gone, I wasted them trying to find myself with no luck. Spent most of my thirties getting over humps and learning to accept myself. I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve also come a long way. I never had such a strong relationship, that we would have a child together. Unfortunately my relationship pattern has been a mess. So it’s no wonder I have no child to show for it, there was never even one good relationship to begin with. Now I’m 40 and have decided that I’m going to let go of that dream. I don’t know how, because I’ve been building on this dream a very long time, and now I have to release it. I’ve cried harder than I’ve ever cried my entire life over this. Now I’m afraid I’m too numb to hold onto feelings of that magnitude.

    Although some things have died, some things are coming to life. For instance my new sense of self-worth! My God, I haven’t been very nice to myself and have consciously or unconsciously surrounded myself with people who do not support my healing. I have been learning to speak up for myself, even how to say No – yes at 40. And well I’ve also been learning how to say Yes. I haven began dating, and I’m not going to deprive myself from experiencing what a good relationship is, just because it is very possible that children won’t be a part of it. I’ve noticed that the men I am attracting in my life are starkly different from those I have dated in the past. They make me feel secure and taken care of. They don’t treat me as if I’m filth. The best part about relationships and circumstances that drain you is that you’re emptied out, is that when you’ve done the work for yourself, you become ready to be filled again with new strength for a stronger core.

    I recommend all the childless women here to release their anger; toward themselves, towards another, and especially towards God. There will always be that little thing that haunts you, but it doesn’t have to become a living nightmare. Remember God knows all things. He knows your deep suffering, and he especially knows the pain of losing a child, when he gave up His own Son to die on the cross for humanity. So when you think God doesn’t care about me, maybe we should be thinking. God loves me and I’m going to trust him even if I don’t understand his ways. Don’t let other people’s comments beat you down either, they don’t know you, or all you’ve been through all these years. Work on having a stronger relationship with God, “seek first the kingdom of God and the rest shall be added onto you”. I love this verse because there’s a hidden promise that when you put God first, everything else falls into place. I may never experience my own little baby to love and to hold, but I can experience love for humanity, and compassion for those who hurt (because I’m not the only one).

    Why should I wallow in this one thing, when there’s a bigger life out there. What if you don’t have children because he/she would have been born with an illness, or would have been one of those extremely rebellious teens, or would have died in an accident well into adulthood. Your heart would have been broken just as much or more! You just never know why things happen the way they do. I say go with God’s plan, and learn to accept what life gives you with dignity and courage. Peace and blessings to all my friends in this journey.

  • Kunle Oladejo

    I must confess I am most devastated not having even a child.I am finding it very difficult to cope because of my peculiarity, I am the only child of my mother and she is dead long time ago.I am lonely
    .

  • ray hazucka

    this is all bs crap. until you have actually experienced what it is to be 61 years old,
    and not ever having children, with nothing having to do with fertility, but being able to meet the right person even though you have been married twice, you have no idea what that is like to look back on your life and try and figure out where you went wrong. What good does trying to channel energy and thoughts when everyone around you has children or grand children, and you can’t even fit into the conversation because you feel inferior and like a failure in your own mind. How many people who have been in this position have actually done these studies? I’ll bet 0. Until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, you don’t have a clue!

  • DOREEN WANYONYI

    I am 28 years old and my husband is 31years. We have tried having children in vain. It is not easy to be childless.

  • Cecilia

    Thanks. Your tips have been completely helpful. I think God is saving us from raising an epileptic child since both I n my husband are epilepsy survivors. Your tips are timely. I think also that spouses ESP husband should be very supportive no matter how long the tears take coz its not easy being the one unable to do the one thing that comes naturally to a woman.

  • Patsy kissick

    I deal with depression occasionally because we are childless. My husband and I have a wonderful relationship and I know it would not be this wonderful if we had children. Discipline problems are total ends of the spectrum and I don’t handle stress very well. Our life has been full but I always wonder what if. Please pray that I can accept what I have and be grateful.

  • Gail

    My journey was different. I most ardently didn’t want to have children when I was young. I wanted to travel, live in London and have an exciting job. I assumed by the time I was 30 i would have met my dream man settled had two children, a dog maybe a cat. Live near mum and dad. Maybe go back to work or do a pt career. Whatever.
    Alas my mum had a mental breakdown and was in and out of hospital. Then my genius brother went the same way. My schooling went to pot. I ended up as a carer for my mum who was a bit zombified. I was very anxious and deeply shy by nature. I retrieved my education but eventually mum began to develop odd physical symptoms and, 2 years later, he And my mum were diagnosed as having Huntington’s Chorea, a neurologist degenerative disease genetically passed on and causing mental and physical disability and death. My brother was schizophrenic and mum psychoticly depressed. Very.ecxtreme. we looked after mum at home and visited my brother 3 times a week. I worked full time. I had a possessive and non empathitic boyfriend. It did not work.
    I could not see the point of being tested as there was nothing they could do but i was not going to pass it on to children most especially as it can develop in childhood.
    By the time i found a man to settle down with, a very new relationship, i also found fertility issues, was over 40 just, given to high anxiety and depression _ in which i think i have always been susceptible to i think, like my aunt, not very fit and still needed DNA screening. Pgd was not available if one of you were over 40 on the NHS and had not been successful on older women at that stage but it didn’t mean that you wouldn’t have the disease. Plus i worried if there would be other issues due to my age. I gave up at 43 ish.
    I do not feel normal. I somehow feel i have let my family down and beat myself up about it alot.
    That is my story. I have read the others.
    I am not allowed to foster or adopt.
    My best wishes to all of you.
    .

  • Tiffany

    I guess my story started when I was 18 and had my first miscarriage. I felt I was ready to have a child then but ended up not being that way. The doctor’s had to do a DNC on me. After the DNC months later I put myself on birth control because I didn’t want to go through that again. So, I was on birth control when I was 19 until 27 years old. Then I quit taking birth control to try to get pregnant with a man I got married to with and was with him for 4 and half years. We tried to to have kids, we tried for a year. Nothing happened. We went to the doctor to tell us he couldn’t have children. It was very devastating news. As we found out about the devastating news my husband and myself kept going apart. We grew so apart that he cheated on me with another girl and ended up getting her pregnant….knowing I wanted to have kids with him. Then he came to me one night told me of how he’s have having a child with someone else and asked me if I could deal with it and stay married to him. I couldn’t, so we got divorced.

    Three years later, I stated a new relationship with a new guy. Really great guy. We now have been together for 3 years and been trying to get pregnant. i have had many miscarriages with my fiancee. Every time I had a miscarriage my heart would break a little more. I went to 3 different special gynecologists for them to say I can’t have any children because I have a bad ovary and I am in the beginning of early menopause. We cannot afford fertility treatment or paying for using someone else’s eggs and adoption is not an option for us. The doctor said what caused for my ovary to go bad was birth control. I said are you serious? The gyno said that’s what made me have menopause at an early age. I am only 33 years old. So, since I found that out, it’s been very hard for me and my fiancee.

    Which he totally is here for me just as I am here for him. But I don’t feel like seeing all my friends with their kids on facebook or text me with their kids pictures. It’s very upsetting. I know it’s not my fault but I feel in a way it is. If I didn’t take birth control I could of had a baby and I wouldn’t have a bad ovary. Then I saw this website and read so many other couples who are in the same place we are and now I’m a little more upset that so many women have to experience this embarrassment. I am sorry for this to be so long. But in case there is other women trying to figure what’s wrong with them. It’s to show that your not alone and what I feeling is normal. At times I felt what’s the point of even being a girl if you can’t use all of your body parts???? I felt that way is because we got our periods and when we grow up the one thing we look forward to having is taken away!!!!!

  • HP

    I am working through trying to accept that my husband and I will likely not have children. I am 38, so “geriatric” in terms of reproduction. He is prone to clinical depression, and that affects his libido. (We all know how you make babies..) I agreed to do some bloodwork, and a Hysterosalpingogram, though I’m having second thoughts about that last one, just to see if it’s even possible for me to have a child. I’m not sure if there’s much of a point to that though. I have never had a strong desire to actually be pregnant, but I want a family now that I’m finally with the right man. For a while I was getting very hostile and weepy just seeing a happy family on TV, or a pregnant woman, or hearing that someone was pregnant. It doesn’t feel fair. I keep telling myself that I have to accept that my life is not the same as everyone else’s, that my story is my own and it won’t necessarily go the way I envisioned. But it’s really hard for me, to know that I’ll probably never meet the fantastic little person I think we’d make together.
    My desire to have a child was starting to affect my marriage. It didn’t help that my husband said some stupid things to me, like “well, at least you’re mom to the cats.” But we talked and now I’m working on my marriage and trying to get healthier. And the Facebook friends I have who only post pictures of their children and “mommy” memes have been taken off of my news feed. It seems petty, but the less I see of that, the less upset I can become.
    I wish all of you the best, and hope you find peace with your own situations.

  • Judy Cusick

    Due to our infertility issues, my husband and I adopted two children, a boy who is now 36 and a girl who is now 32. So, I had the children I wanted, but I didn’t get what I really, really wanted: the journey of pregnancy. My son and his wife are about to have a baby. Wonderful! But the other day my daughter told me that she was pregnant. I am very close to her and will hear all the details. One thing that surprised me was that all the strong sad feelings I had when I found out I would never be pregnant have returned, big-time! I want to be here for my daughter but now I actually feel jealous of her! Time to see a therapist, I think.

  • Audrey

    Hi there , over 4 years of dealing with infertility and the most difficut is not to imagine your Life without it but more to be systematically looked as : “the one who is not a mum” ; My friend all have kids now and I found it difficult to connect with them.Also wer live in the suburbs and all events are always family orientated …come on what about the rest of us ? don’t we owe the chance of just having another type of Life without being labelled as “non real adult with real responsibilities” ? I never wanted to be in the norm ; I just wanted to have a Family and be stereotyped by everyone is difficult not to care about.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Sue,

    What a great way to cope with childlessness! Thank you for sharing it. I love that not only is it practical and helpful for babies in the hospital, but it also gives you the experience of holding an infant.

    When I was 14 years old, I volunteered at a hospital as a candy striper. That’s what it was called back in those days! In fact, you might remember candy stripers in hospitals because were close to the same age. I think it’s a wonderful way to help families – and I even remember one of the babies I spent a lot of time with when I was volunteering at the hospital. And that was 40 years ago! Her name was Marley.

    Thanks again for sharing how your coping with childlessness, Sue. I really appreciate your comments. May you find joy, life, and love as a volunteer… And even though you may experience painful moments holding sick babies, know that God is using you to love and care for families who need you.

    Blessings,

    Laurie

  • Sue B

    At age 67, childless woman that I am, I have decided I would like to hold a child, or at least have the opportunity to learn how to hold a baby. I found a local hospital that has the opportunity for volunteering to be a “baby cuddler,” and I am pursuing that possibility–they offer training!!!! I feel the need to at least have that chance to hold a child and, if the volunteering works, perhaps to work up age-wise, learning how to run a “children’s playroom,” and who knows how else I might be able to help, all the while, getting at a mother’s experience.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Ruth,

    Thank you for your tips for coping with childlessness. I agree with everything you said; even though I am 90% – maybe even 95% – accepting of the fact that I will never have children, my heart still aches and sinks when I see a baby.

    Actually, last night I was at a group meeting and the leader is eight months pregnant. There is something so irresistible and beautiful about having a baby, and I am really sad that I don’t get to experience that. As you said, acceptance really is a process. I suspect I will be 95 years old, an old lady on her deathbed, and I will still have a twinge of sadness that I never had children.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings about coping with being childless. I do understand…but it does help to have a fulfilling life in other ways. I love my Blossom blogs, for instance, and could spend 20 hours a day writing and tweaking my blog posts!

    And for me there is something deep and incomparable about connecting with God – who I see as the energy that is sparking and running the whole universe – that consoles me. Maybe it’s Jesus’ pain-and-suffering, as well as his joy and freedom. I don’t know, but connecting with God fills me with that peace that surpasses all understanding and joy that overflows from my heart.

    What in your life brings you joy? Peace, freedom, love?

    xo
    Laurie

  • Ruth

    This week, I’ve been reminded that even acceptance is a process. It’s very discouraging to be knocked flat by these painful emotions after I had reached a mostly peaceful state. I’m having such a hard time, and unlike the author, I am prone to melancholy and clinical depression. A younger childless friend recently adopted a newborn after less than a year of being on a wait list, and while I am glad for them, it has caused me to spiral down very quickly. I’m struggling so much with feelings of worthlessness and uselessness. I just needed to write this down where someone might understand.

  • tired of stereotypes

    Hi I’m 44 and found out that have uterine fibroids and need to have a hysterectomy. I am so sad but dealing with this the best I can. Women nowdays are very unsympathetic and really have no empathy for a woman in my position. I really don’t have many girlfriend s to talk with me and people are so cruel. I think I will start traveling. The world is so unkind to women in my position. I think I would of been a great mom.

    • Lucie

      Hi, I had a similar surgery (more extensive) and various other treatments at the age of 27 when cancer was discovered. As I was so young, I was still in university and hadn’t had the chance to have children. It absolutely devestated me and still does. I have experienced the being left out and prejudiced against by friends, family and strangers and of course can never respond to defend myself, as I would be attacked more, last thing I need! I wanted to reply specifically to your comment as you’ve mentioned travelling. After a year of being battered by cancer treatment and the consequences, as soon as I could just about walk, I got up, bought a backpack and booked a flight to a country I could not have pointed to in a map, to volunteer in an orphanage. Talk about looking fear in the face! Well I looked at fear, tiny abandoned newborns as well as orphaned kids of all ages and oh my, fear looked back and it was, and still is, the most beautiful and blissful thing I’ve ever known. The children, as well as travelling that came with the volunteer work, healed me and allowed me to create a new me. I still get lost in life and always will, but that is more to do with the other losses and experiences of the unexpected illness, but when it comes to being a mother, regardless of what anyone else thinks (and honestly I don’t care!), I know what it is to be a mother, because of these children. I may not do the mundane things such as get overweight, be superior for unprotected you know what (seriously, what’s with the superiority lol, got to feel sorry for the small minds, nothing else we can do!), or complain about blessings (again oh please lol, but I know, maybe more than the more common way, what it is to be a mother! I’d sacrifice everything for these orphaned kids and their faces are etched on my soul. So, I would like to send you love first of all, but also encourage you to follow up on that little idea you have to travel, as you already have everything you need to do it, that being, the courage to have the idea! When you do, if you can find the courage to take yourself to kids who need you, trust me they don’t need just anyone, they need you, maybe you will find another life and path that brings you overwhelming joy and purpose. Good luck and lots of love ❤️

      • Ruth

        Lucie, that was beautifully written and very encouraging. Bless you for giving of yourself that way. Thank you for the reminder that childless women can be and are important in the lives of children.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Alyssa,

    I’m sorry for your loss. When you discover that you may be childless for the rest of your life, you are starting a grieving process that can last a long time. It’s a very difficult thing to cope with, especially if you had your heart set on having children.

    You’re reaching out for support and connection, which is awesome. That will help you cope with childlessness. I also encourage you to talk to women in person, such as by joining an infertility support group or some sort of group for women or couples without kids. I didn’t do this because I trust God, I really do have faith that He knows what’s best for me. For some reason, I believe I really am better off without children…but not every woman feels this way.

    I’ve written a couple of articles for women whose husbands had vasectomies:

    How to Cope With Your Husband’s Vasectomy
    http://www.theadventurouswriter.com/blogbaby/when-your-husband-had-a-vasectomy-without-your-knowledge/

    6 Ways to Deal With Your Husband’s Past Secrets
    http://howloveblossoms.com/how-to-deal-with-husbands-past-secrets-lies/

    I also wonder about your words “secret depression.” The more we keep things secret and hidden, the more power they have to hurt us. Are you keeping your feelings of depression about coping with childlessness a secret?

  • Alyssa

    I am a 28 year old female who is childless. My husband had a vasectomy in his last marriage and I find it difficult to cope. I always thought it could be easy to obtain a reversal but the procedure is costly and unstable. I had to reach out into the universe to find those like me who struggle with secret depression. My husband understands my needs but is unable to come through in this way. I just need to connect with someone who feels the way I do.

  • Jamie

    Thanks for sharing your tips for coping with childlessness. I’m slowly beginning to accept that I won’t have biological kids of my own, and this does help.

  • Ian

    I am a childless male and having children is all that I have wanted since the age of 20 and to learn that my wife an I can not have children has completely crushed us. I have no idea what to do, same as my wife, we are so depressed think about this all the time, I have no idea what to do or how to support my wife. She means the world to me. I’m just venting thank you you for reading, best regards, Ian

    • Angelique

      Hi ian,

      My husband and I can not have children too. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and unexplained infertility. My husband does not want to do Fertility treatments and I do. I have a hard time most days, feelings of depression and worthlessness. We decided to go through adoption and are waiting for a baby.

  • Elrese

    I just want to encourage anyone going through infertility. In November 2011 I found out I have stage 3 endometriosis, and was told that my chances of conceiving naturally is 1%. Our ttc journey of 6 years has been the most difficult yet beautiful experience. I went through anger, denial, I cried for the loss of a baby that never existed, depression, weight gain, self esteem issues as I felt like less of a woman – but we made it through that! Today I look back, childfree, and happier than I ever thought I could be. The stress of ttc’ing not only on myself, but my marriage, was not worth continuing on that path. We learned to reconnect as spouses and best friends, I started taking care of myself and my health, I realized passions in life, and today I’m at peace with the thought that I may never have children, and that’s okay. I’m a woman, strong and powerful, and with tenderness and love I give to others, because when you’ve been brought to the depths of despair, it creates a light within you, that you share with others. The turning point for me, was to look at the things I had, instead of the things I didn’t have. As corny as it sounds, count your blessings! It doesn’t come easy to reach this point, but once you do, you’ll find out that everything will be okay, in the end.

    • Grace

      Thank you for your comment. Having infertility is a struggle but looking at the positives in your life is crucial. I always think about life could be worse and that helps me snap out of sadness. As a nurse I see how people have it far worse. Sometimes I do feel isolated when I see what I’m missing out on so I decided to get off fb. I’m a very social person but I realized it’s much easier not seeing what I’m missing out on. Thank you again and God bless!

  • Dannie Sisco

    Excellent and well thought out article. I have the ability to bear children, so technically I’m not “forced” into childlessness. However, I suffer from an hereditary hearing disorder that makes spoken language very difficult to interpret, and I suffered as a child with attachment issues that exist to this day. I suffer with PMDD and will almost certainly suffer postnatal depression. I’m easily angered, easily depressed, easy to panic, and feel the happiest when I’m alone and away from triggers. I realized from working with mothers who suffer with depression that their depression worsen with each child they have. They had no time to cope with their illness and their poor children suffered greatly. I realized that just because I can, doesn’t mean that I should. There is reasonable proof that I would be a poor mother. I have to work very hard at my issues to just make myself happy, and I will forever have occasional emotional outburst. My reality hurts as I feel like the likelihood of having a positive parenting experience is poor. But the biggest positive to not having a child is that I will ensure that I do not create another difficult life with bad genes or let my troublesome behavior limit a poor child’s happiness. I feel like this is a true act of selflessness and personal sacrifice. Sometimes being the best parent, is not to be one.

    To cope with my “decision” I go through the list of positives in my head. The obvious one I already mention. That’s probably the best thing anyone can do is to force yourself to look at the positives. Read up on mother’s who regret having children. They are very convincing. And focus on health and happiness. I have options in my life that I would never have. More financial freedom and time are the top two!

  • Alvyn

    I do feel for those women who are childless mums.but sometimes not always women are responsible for their own destiny.most women are too fussy.we cant do anything about that now cos its too late for most women over 35 to have kids but what we can do is encourage the next generation to have kids first and careers second.to the fussy women i say ” when love beckons to you, follow him” Kahlil Gibran. May the divine mother Shakti bless all childless women to be strong and couragous.

  • Charlie Gilbert

    I am trying to understand why is it that there aren’t any books for the childless MAN! Or is it women are the only ones that have to deal with being childless?

  • Laurie

    Dear Michelle,

    I felt the same way – I didn’t want to undergo fertility treatments, and it was so difficult to cope with the idea of a childless life. It may have been a bit easier for me because I always put off having kids until I was in my late 30s…so the pull towards motherhood may not have been as strong as if I’d always wanted to have children.

    The bad news is that I don’t think you ever “move on.” Even me, even though I’m okay with being childless….I still see babies and pregnant women, and my heart does seize up. I’m totally at peace with not having kids, and yet I still feel sad when I see those reminders of babies and pregnancy.

    But there is good news! You learn to live with it, you learn to accept that there will be painful moments of grief. You surrender to your life as it is….and it DOES get easier and easier to cope with childlessness.

    The key is accepting that there is no “moving on”, and surrendering to those occasional bouts of pain and grief.

    I suspect I’ll still feel sad, even when I’m 80 years old and completely unable to even pick up a child, much less get pregnant! It’s just the way it is.

    Acceptance does bring peace.

    I will keep you in my prayers, for strength and healing and comfort. May you reach out and find support and love in your friends and family.

    You might be encouraged by my free weekly newsletter, called SheBlossoms. I help women look upwards to grow healthy and strong, emotionally and spiritually. You may find it helpful, and you can sign up here:
    http://blossom.subscribemenow.com/

    Take care of yourself, and stay open to God’s love, healing, power, and freedom.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Michelle

    Prayers would be appreciated. Thanks for the article. Facing 39. Have tried to conceive naturally for five years with no success. Not interested in infertility treatments. I feel like there is enough pressure with this where thousands of dollars on the line would push me over the edge. Husband is having a hard time seeing me impacted by this and for the last year has discussed the idea of moving on. I don’t know how to. Or when I think I make progress something happens to set me back again such as this week where I considered maybe we did it this time, but lo and behold no, and on top of that yesterday a young mother was sitting in front of us at church and I hardly heard a single word the pastor said because I could not help staring at this little girl and mother. How I wish I could understand God’s Will. But I am at a loss.

  • Laurie

    Thank you for sharing how you’re coping with childlessness…I really appreciate your honesty and courage!

    I’m choosing to believe I have more power than I think. I can’t change how I feel, but I can change what I think about and do in life. I won’t allow myself to continue feeling sad and depressed about something I can’t change! I’d rather choose life, light, and love.

    I just wrote this article about coping with depression:
    http://theadventurouswriter.com/she/what-does-depression-feel-like/

    Maybe it’ll help you cope with being childless, I don’t know. But it did help me to write it 🙂

    Wishing you peace, light, joy, and acceptance in your life,
    Laurie

  • manu

    i always feel like crying when see a pregnant lady or seeing couples pampering their babies.i am suffering from severe depression .i have no best friend even my husband didnt listen and care about my feeling ..i always ly on bed with thoughts of being childless always fluctuating ..i dont know how to cop up with it but actually even a single day didnt passed when i havent thought of being a mother.every day thoughts came to my mind why god make my life hell…i am feeling so devasted please friends help me..

    • kathy

      Hi Manu,
      I understand your feelings. I’m on the same boat.whenever I have a party with my family friends all the ladies started to talk about their kids.I can’t join with them and share my feelings or experiences. I just keep smiling.but underneath that smile a sharp knife tear my herat.Thanks god at least my husband could understand some.I always stay lonely.I try not to hang out with women has child.anyway that is our life.but everyone needs to understand baby is not a buying stuff that if I want I can buy any time.I didn’t choose not to have child.here us nothing I can do.hopefully we all find the way to live on.

    • Susan

      Dear Manu,
      As someone who has been in your shoes I encourage you to get counseling. Couples and on your own. My husband was unsupportive as well because he didn’t know how to be supportive. With counseling and really focusing on myself, we have finally turned things around.

  • Alison

    I’m grateful that I ran across this article today. I’m a 45 year old female and came to terms years ago with the fact that we probably wouldn’t be able to have a baby, but there are times when the hurt resurfaces, and this Mother’s Day weekend was one of those times.

    I was uncharacteristically devastated this Mother’s Day, and was at my Church receiving the usual “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings from people who don’t know us well enough to know that we don’t have kids. I was feeling pretty bitter at that point, but then our Pastor happened to come outside where I was standing (I was ushering outside one of the doors before Mass). He said, “Happy Woman’s Day!” and hugged me and made it a point to tell me that during his Masses, he never makes too big a deal about Mother’s Day because he knows how many women (and couples) out there want children and can’t have them. After a short conversation, I started to feel much more like my old self and was remembering the blessings I do have. That was Sunday.

    Then Monday (yesterday), everything came crashing down (I guess I was still sensitive) when I heard that some slightly younger friends of ours are having their first baby. They’re not such close friends that we talk and e-mail all the time, but it’s a couple we have fun with and see several times a year. It just so happens that we will be going to a baseball game with them this coming weekend. So I’ve been full of dread and have even told my husband that I’m not sure I can do it. There are just some times when a person can be so blah that she can’t even imagine plastering a smile on her face, asking all the required questions, and feigning animated interest in all the details. Well, that was me.

    But this article helped me today because it made me remember all the great things about our life, and how there are a lot of stresses and worries I don’t have to deal with when it comes to raising a kid. Yes, I would have preferred to have one (or six!), but it didn’t happen. And when I imagine how much worse people in this world have it, especially in countries where women are widely mistreated, oppressed and terrorized, it reminds me that I have it good and I have to make the best of it. My husband and I are best friends, and while we presume our relationship would have been good with a house full of kids, we know it would be different than what it is now, and we love what we’ve got.

    There’s still some sadness in me, and it will be tough hearing about all their excitement, but I’m going to pamper myself a little bit this week and not worry so much about the things I need to get done. I may also do some guilt-free shopping and treat myself to something nice to wear to the game Saturday that I can feel really good and attractive in. It’s definitely not a substitute, but a little TLC for oneself is necessary sometimes to help get through things like this.

    For me, I believe sacrifice on some level is required and/or inevitable in every life, and I see this as one of those sacrifices I have to live with. Better to try to keep in mind the positives than to wallow in self-pity (which I’ve been doing the last couple of days!) I feel for all who haven’t found their peace yet with being childless – I’ve been there and still regress sometimes – but I hope that if anyone here ends up not having kids, that you can find it. Despite what some people (usually with children) say, you don’t have to have kids to have and know true love; and you are just as special and worth just as much as anyone who does have kids. Your life is important regardless. We all have the same Father, and it’s what HE thinks that counts. And his love for all of us is equal and unconditional.

    • Anna

      Thank you for this response, it really spoke to me. We just found out we can’t have children two weeks ago after a year of surgeries, IUIs, IVFs. We’re 32, and our closest friends have babies and it feels unbearable being around them sometimes. I feel like we’re still in shock and denial about it, but the depression of the situation is really starting to set in. Something about your response really struck me that there is someone out there that completely understands. I hope we find our peace soon, I miss our old life of happiness, easiness and fun.

  • Modi

    Thank you for this blog!
    I have been struggling with childlessness for 5 years now and recently realized that I have to do something to try and feel better, otherwise I will lose my mind. Reading about other people’s feelings and similar experiences helps a bit. I am less alone.

    I feel that life played a big trick on me and my husband, we did not think we wanted children for the longest time, and in our early 40’s our minds changed completely. Now it is the biggest suffering and the biggest loss we have to endure every single day. We have had many professional hardships and it took many years and many sacrifices to have our careers, since we came from a different country, we spoke a different language, so in our 20’s and 30’s we had to focus on studying and working hard and establishing ourselves. And then in our early 40’s we realized that we wanted more from life.

    Only it was too late then and every single day we regret that we had such circumstances that children were not part of our plans. We even tried to adopt and nothing came out of that. We are not very religious persons, I wish we were, I think our pain would be easier to endure if we thought that God had a plan for us. Being in the medical field, I help people every day and try to make their lives easier or better, but there is nobody or nothing that could help us. I see pregnant women every day, and also extremely sad cases of child abuse or neglect, or drug addicted mothers who have child after child with no regard towards their babies’ health and well being. My husband is a teacher and puts a lot of effort in helping his students become better adults, more educated, more knowledgeable, more compassionate.
    We are content with our careers and happy that we can make a difference in other people’s lives, but would want nothing more than having our own child.

    Life is generally so sad, and as I said, I wish I believed there is a reason for this, it is extremely hard to accept that everything is arbitrary and being a good person does not mean anything.
    I cannot imagine living the rest of our lives with so much pain and sorrow, but likely this is the path that we will be travelling on and we have to accept it.

  • brian brown

    I am a single male that is writing to this blog. I never wanted children until I was blessed with a son. He was the joy of my life. There wasn’t a moment that I didn’t think about him. After my first born, I saw the miracle of life. All I wanted to do is to come home to see my baby. My whole world was consumed with my wife and the baby. But there was a catch. She was from the south and I am from the north.
    She was never comfortable in New York. After the baby was two years old she suddenly took the child and moved to Georgia. I agreed to the move because I thought that it would cure her of always wanting to be with her family. I did everything in my power to make the move successful. I hock everything I had so as she would not want for anything. I brought her a new car and turned in my 401k so she would have money. Everything was going well. Then she asked to come home. She took a flight to New York and left the car in Georgia. I took a stand that she should take the baby back to Georgia and try to settle there. She went back to Georgia and in the following months the baby died. I was heartbroken and couldn’t function. I started drugging and ended up losing everything that I worked for.
    We ended up in a divorce. She went on to another marriage and had two kids. I haven’t had much luck in the last twenty years. I haven’t gotten married nor have kids. It has depressed me to no end. Luckily I went on line to find help. I never resolved the conflict within myself on why I haven’t been married nor conceived another child. I wished death upon myself for twenty years. My existence has been torturous because I am the last of my family. When I die my lineage is over. I don’t do drugs or drink anymore. I attend 12-step fellowships. I share where I am at but no one seems to relate to my plight because 99% have kids. I tried starving myself to death. I tried to re-enter the womb by a million sexual affairs. Nothing has helped. Not until now! I have found people just like me. I am sixty four and lost my son at forty three. I have nothing to live for and no one to leave it to. I have been told that I need to think differently. They are right. I find that the people with the most acceptance and happiness are those who believe in God. There is something with increase faith and acceptance that brings about peace and serenity. I have been told to move on; God doesn’t have this in his plans; adopt kids; find someone with grandchildren. I am living against my will. I have no control on when I will leave this earth. I have been in a self-made prison. I have faith and hope that whatever my God has plan for me is in my own best interest.

  • Jo

    I’m happy to find this site today. A place I can say what I feel!
    My story is complex as to how I wound up childless- and extremely painful. The seeds of my own childlessness hark back to a coerced abortion in my 20’s that I never really got over. I couldn’t get on top of my grief and feelings of betrayal. Had to watch my ex partner get together with a friend and have children. I lost my trust in men in general. Women too now as I have been hurt by the many throwaway comments about my childlessness.
    My voice is silenced but I wanted to say here that abortion is another reason so many are childless these days – and not everyone who had an abortion made a “choice”. When I was young I was very naive and easily pushed around.
    I regret it bitterly. And I’m sure I’m not alone!
    The world doesn’t want to listen, it’s easier to judge.
    I’m so tired of being judged and misunderstood. My self esteem is minimal.
    I used to try really hard to speak up for the marginalised and the disempowered because I relate so strongly. But I’m tired now.
    i have become the stereotype of the bitter childless woman. It’s just another wound to my spirit and one I pray there is recovery from.
    Otherwise I can’t see the point in going on.
    Its hard to stuff down my anger and feelings of bitterness but if I dont I just get judged again. Meanwhile expected to listen endlessly to how hard it is to be a mother!
    No doubt there are many struggles involved but oh my god if I could choose those hardships over the ones I go through internally I would leap at the chance – to be seen, to be part of the community, to have a voice! To hold my own child.
    I struggle on alone as many do.
    My once good heart is very frayed and nowadays I avoid most people. They have become a source of pain.
    I have discovered how cruel the world can really be – one reason I sometimes think maybe it’s ok I don’t have children. I would not wish to subject my worst enemy to this kind of pain.
    I’m just spewing it out here as there is nowhere else. I’m sure I could recover if I was allowed to talk openly and receive understanding and human comfort, but that is very scarce upon the ground for women alone with no children.
    I was somebody’s child once. Mothers never think that their own children may end up with none of their own. Maybe that’s how some learn to be kinder.
    Ugh I’m so angry today!

  • Jan

    At first my childlessness was horrible. I obsessed about it 24/7. I prayed, and God answered. The peace u have felt in the last two months is, beyond measure. I have now realized that God’s plan is so much greater, his peace magnificent. His plan is beyond comprehension. I trust wholly….happiness either way!!

  • Stephanie

    I am also childless. I got pregnant when I was 39 from a previous relationship but miscarried at my 13th week. I got depressed and got better for a bit of time. Eventually I met someone better and it has been 4 years that we have been trying (I am 44 now) but has been unsuccessful. We tried IVF twice but failed. I am trying to cope but depression comes back and it has become worse that I just break down at the thought of kids or whenever I see my friends with thier babies. For the past two years, at least 30 of my friends got pregnant and have had babies except me. I am a Catholic and since Ive lost my baby and couldnt get pregnant I have lost my faith. I feel like I have been deprived of good things in life. Sometimes killing myself crosses my mind.
    I feel so worthless! I really don’t know what to do. My partner is okay with not having kids at all. But of course he is a man. He will never feel what women feels not having a child. Plus the fact that he is 6years younger than me. He still got heaps of chance to have a kid.
    Whatever people say about accepting the truth won’t erase the pain in my heaft. I guess I will die a very lonely woman. I really regret not having a child when I was younger. But I haven’t met a nice man before. Sometimes I also think I should have just had someone get me pregnant. Maybe now I am a lot happier.
    All the shoulda coulda woulda thoughts. I know I will never recover from this pain.

  • Laurie

    Josie, I’m sorry that you’re experiencing such pain and confusion. Coping with childlessness is very difficult — and it’s worse when you’re also dealing with terrible depression and a past pregnancy that you had to terminate. My heart goes out to you.

    Please talk to a counsellor in person. You need to get support from someone who can get you the right kind of sustained support.

    You WILL heal and be happy and healthy again! It’s just that first, you need to go through the process of grieving your loss. Childlessness is a huge loss, and it takes a long time to accept it. Some of us never fully accept it, while others can bounce back a little easier.

    Talk to a counsellor or your doctor. Learn ways to cope with the guilt so you can be happy again.

    Will you call a counsellor – or a distress line – for in-person support?

  • Laurie

    I realized today that I’m finally 100% okay with not having kids! It took about six years to get to this point, but I no longer feel like I’m “coping with childlessness.” I’m grateful for my life, my faith is stronger than it’s ever been, and I love my life.

    Take heart. Have faith that your life is unfolding this way for a reason. There’s a purpose, a plan, and a point for your life! You may not see it right now, but it is true.

    Trust. Believe that you will fall in love with your life…even if you never have children. Hold on tight to the things you love in this world…and the things out of this world.

  • Hannah

    I too understand what you are going thru. I have know I am infertile for about 7 years. I found out whIle married to my first husband who refused to go with me to Dr appointments as I discovered I had endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and possible thyroid cancer. It was a rough three years before I finally decided I’d had enough. I relied on a long time friend who I married two years after my divorce. He knew about the health problems and still wanted to find a way to have kids. We’ve now been married almost 4 years and he’s changed his mind completely – he doesn’t want to adopt, foster, or even talk about it. I’ve been content until two days ago when the depression I struggle with reared it’s ugly head after I found out a fellow infertile couple got pregnant and the following morning I found out my 19 year old sister who has been living with her boyfriend for a year, is also pregnant. I was able to be happy on the phone but now that it is sinking in, I feel like I’m drowning. I can’t stop crying, I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the heart, and I can’t lean on my husband for support. I am definitely going to be checking out these books for advice and would appreciate anything you might suggest. I have gone to yoga and loved it until it started effecting the endometriosis pains. I have gone to a counselor who was only so helpful. I even have a great job. My family lives in Colorado and my husband moved us to California 3 years ago so I don’t have any family nearby.

  • Kendra

    I wanted to hear from someone who wouldn’t judge me for how I’m feeling on this Christmas Eve. I am angry, full of grief and hopeless. All of which is taken to the highest degree because I’m also experiencing that time, which tells you and everyone else that you have not conceived. Christmas time also lets you & everyone else know who is the offspring. I can’t even bring myself to look into my husband’s eyes. My heart feels like it is breaking; it literally hurts. I have been encouraged by this post and now feel that there is a hope and future promised to me by the Creator.

    • Kathy

      I totally understand. Im almost bitter about it. Thank god and jesus they can help take the hurt away. I feel for you and all the others like us. May god bless us all. ❤

  • Kathy

    I am so sorry for all you have been thru Josie. If husband is abusive in any way, you should get away from him?Remember you are loved and you do matter. God Bless, Kathy

  • Josie

    Hi.
    I am unable to have children. I am 45 and found out 5 years ago that i have a VERY severe case of pcos, which apparently was on my notes since 1997, but i knew nothing about.
    I am still struggling to cope with being childless, and dont know which way to turn. My home is upside down as i suffer terrible depression, and my husband is struggling to cope too.
    I did get pregnant once with an ex who had 3 children,.and forced me to terminate my pregnancy. He sat and made sure i went through with it, and tgen told his children it was my choice!! I tgen became known as ‘ murderer!’ He abused me mentally and emotionally …so much so i lost friends and family because of him.
    I dont know how to get through the guilt of not being strong enough to walk away and keep my baby, which would be 19 now.
    Please advise on how to get my marriage back together as we dont talk about it as we dont know what to say so not to upset each other.
    PLEASE help :'( :'( :'(

  • Mpho

    Thanks laurie

    I am 31 and married for 10 years but I don’t have kids and this is so devastating, everytime a neighbour has a child or is pregnant I feel sick to my stomach, someone mentioned that if you have a happy marriage or a successful career maybe you have something positive to live for;

    For me my marriage is sour, I don’t have a career and I don’t even want one for I feel like I would be wasting my time if I have to wake up day and day out going to work and building empire for my husband’s daughter who is 18 and very ill mannered.

    My own mother is very not understanding sometimes you can see that she is praying for my marriage to fall apart as sometimes she would say to me” you are a good for nothing daughter in-law, women are designed to have kids its natural.

    Life for me is so sad sad sad, waking up alone its an effort and when this all happens to me I thought I was alone but seeing that I have my fellow mates who feel the ups and craps of nothing having children eases my pain.

    Mpho

  • Heather

    Doreen@houusehoneys -I’m pretty sure she was referring to infertile women who longed for a child not the women who proactively decided to not ever get pregnant or adopt children & lead a child-freee life. Wanting it and knowing there’s nothing you can do to change it is torture!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for acknowledging the pain some of us continually suffer.

    When my partner and I failed to conceive a biological child, I assumed that she would be open to adoption or at least fostering a child. I was wrong. My partner is the love of my life and I am committed to our life together, but her inflexibility was such a disappointment. I love our life together and we share so much joy, but I struggle with the reality that I will never be a mother. I know that it is best for the child NOT to force or coerce another person to adopt…so I have to accept this and move on.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Kathy,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re coping with childlessness. It really is a lifelong journey, isn’t it? The pain and disappointment never really goes away….and some days are worse than others.

    For me, it’s always worse when I meet babies. They’re so vulnerable and tiny, such miracles! That’s when I feel sad about not having children. But when I’m around exuberant, high-energy kids I feel grateful for my quiet life 🙂

    You are an inspiration. You’re a survivor, and you seem to have balanced your heartache at not having kids with acceptance and encouragement for other women who are coping with childlessness. Yes, I believe you are helping others cope – and I believe they’re grateful! I know I am.

    May you be filled with God’s peace, joy, and freedom. May you blossom into the woman He always intended you to be – children or no children! May you find meaning and joy in your life, and may you continue to let your light shine.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Kathy

      Thank you so much Laurie. You don’t know how much that means to me. I know what you mean that its hard when you meet babies. I was sitting in my monthly staff meeting and a co-worker who had just givin birth was there with her baby for the first time. And of coarse they started passing the baby down the row i was sitting in. I was praying i would be alright. When the baby got to me i didn’t want to say i don’t want to hold her. I also didn’t want want to cry. She was the most precious thing i ever saw. I usually can get thru something like that and then break down later. Well i held the baby quite a while wondering if mine would have looked like that and smiling and talking to her. Then i passed her on. That evening i told my husband about it and that how i was proud of myself for not getting upset. And he said why would you get upset? Not even husbands completely understand. Thanks for your kind words. Take care. May god bless you and all the others like us. Kathy

  • Kathy

    I went to the doctor when i was 20 to find out why i wasn’t pregnant and i am 52 now. I had fertility drugs and treatments, artificial insemination, surgery, adoptions that fell thru you name it. Then i pretty much gave up all that. 4 and 9 yrs later i got pregnant. Had early miscarriage both times even with progesterone shots. There isn’t any part of childlessness that i don’t understand. Is that something to be proud of. Maybe my purpose is to help others who are childless. The hurt is never gone. Thank you for listening again.

  • Kathy

    If you know someone who has just had a miscarriage do not say ” there must have been something wrong with it”. I can’t tell you how many times i heard that. Ok that makes it better. Don’t try to make it better. NOTHING makes it better. Just say “i am so sorry for your loss”. Nobody really sees that kind of a loss unless its further along in the pregnancy. But the mother always feels it. She knows what happened. I guess i forgot to pray that the 2 children i wanted had to be alive. Because technically i did have 2 children. They just died very very young. Thats all for now. Thanks for listening and hang in there everyone. Time helps a little.

    • MaryLou

      Kathy,
      It truly is astonishing (a huge shocker) to realize that unless have gone through child loss (the realization that it likely won’t ever happen for you, you may never get pregnant and give birth and to a live, healthy baby) women cannot possibly fully understand the depth and complete loss it is (to never be a mother or bear children.) I am finding this article very helpful but even more the comments, because finally (FINALLY) I realize I am not alone in these feelings. I am fine some days……other days it washes over me, pulls me under, and threatens to drown me. I have never experienced an inability to bring air into my lungs as this does figuratively. It completely knocks the wind out of my sails and then someone says something stupid and insensitive and how I would like to slap them in the face, just as they did me. (I’m not a violent person, I’m just explaining how the slap feels and how shocking it is to realize that my pain is not just totally irrelevant to them, but they are mocking me. This can come from men as well as women, but the women are worse because they have no idea what they have; they have no idea there is another story they have not experienced.)
      My favorite phrase? “There is nothing in this world like being a mother.”
      Well, haha…..I guess the rest of mankind needs to bail out. =) =) =)
      I WILL learn how to respond to all the different and varied comments/questioning my womanhood, because I have no doubt I will get them the rest of my life. And I likely have about 30-40 years to go….too long to allow this to blow me over and pull me under. Only I’m responsible for my food, a roof, and ability to make that happen. I can’t do that as a depressed, weakened, and sunk person.
      Besides, no person on this earth gets to define what life really is….as if any one person can set the standard for life for everyone and the rest falls short. We give too much of our identity to other people and they have no more power to define our worthiness or lack thereof.
      Remember: no one gets to keep anything. Not wives, not husbands, not mothers, not fathers, not any person gets to keep who or what they have. This is a short time, not the Real Thing, and beyond here is what really does matter. We just have to get through this the best we can; our abilities and what we do with them is really all we have.
      I’m 42 and while it still isn’t over and I believe God is a God of miracles, I have regular doubt in His plan for me, because He has let it get this far and hasn’t made it all work out.
      Blessings to you, thank you for sharing your thoughts. And I hope mine weren’t insensitive in any way.

  • Kathy

    I would like say a little more about my experiences. I am an introvert so i dont tell anyone in person except my husband. I have never fit in anywhere. When i went to a big church when i lived in a bigger city they had a group for everyone. Older people, the youth group, the young married group, the singles group. So i was a young married woman so my husband and i went. Guess what they talked about. Children of coarse! So my best friends were older people whose kids were grown up. Now that i’m older, everyone my age has grandkids. My mom has 4 kids and my sister had 4 kids.
    They are much closer than my mom and i are. Every time i’m them with it comes up. When i was pregnant with so and so…i cant go but and hour if that without reminders. I have pcos which can cause serious health conditions. I have had people with children say that childless people shouldn’t have children because there is a reason why they don’t have any. Another person said “i know why you don’t have children” then give a ridiculous reason. Why can’t people just shut up! If i don’t know why, i can guarantee you don’t know why. I know its just not whats best for me or something. But it still hurts. The bible says children are a gift from god. I feel like i am not good enough to receive that gift. Thats ok but then need something else. A purpose. Something i am good at.

    • MaryLou

      I wanted 4 kids: 2 boys and 2 girls. I wanted a little girl named Sarah. Guess what? Yep, my sister has all of that. God gave it to her, and not to me.
      Yes, I totally understand about needing a purpose. I say, God, if all You have for me is to knit socks, then for Pete’s sake, kill my desire for children (why did You give it to me in the first place?) and make me so happy knitting socks that I realize it is the best thing in the whole world, and I got the job!! =)
      If I had only known the only time I would be a mother was when I was 6 playing with dolls, I would have looked at it a whole lot differenly. So glad life is just a short trip. It goes faster the higher our numbers get. =) It doesn’t last forever, here on this earth.
      We *CAN get through this. Thanks for sharing your feelings! There ARE those who understand what I feel, and it is so very nice to be validated. No one in my scope of friends, family, or acquaintances even realizes this is a real life event that is equivalent to a death and an identity crises and that they contribute to my overall feelings about it often in our interactions. It is a loss and not just like “so you lost your coloring book, get over it.”
      Learning to accept is is not easy when you fight against accepting it yourself. But that is still a very real stage to it.

  • Kathy

    How dare someone who has kids tell me how to feel. I am 52. Had 2 miscarriages. I could write a book on what i have been thru. It sounds easy to adopt. NOT! It sounds easy to say make friends with another childless couple. NOT! I knew a childless couple when i lived in a bigger city. Look on the bright side. Whatever! Being childless affects every tiny bit of your whole life even your health. No one knows how i feel. I think i know what its like to have kids cuz you cant get thru one hour without someone talking about it. On the other hand i have never heard anyone talk about what its like to be childless. If your childless, don’t have a career or a happy marriage, life feels hopeless. If you have one of those 3 things i suppose life can be wonderful because you have a purpose. I still don’t know my purpose but i know i am where god wants me to be. Wish i could be happy here. I always thought eventually god would give me the child i so dearly wanted but i guess not.

  • Carol

    I always feel happy and cheerful until I’m watching a movie and all those commercial come on regarding parenting and children. What a bummer for a childless couple to see. Mother’s Day is always the worsts day of the year. I never turn on my TV or go outside my house. I use to have dreams of my children but that has stopped but the pain and hurt is always present and just below the surface of your mind. I truly hate to see pregnant woman. I will turn and go the other way if possible. I wish I could say something that’s great regarding not having kids but I can’t. The thought of growing old with no one there to maybe care for me and my husband is devastating. I weep sometime just thinking about first day of school or how I won’t ever, ever be able to hold their hand or sing them to sleep. It’s gut retching to even experience a life like the one I lead. I have to push myself everyday to save for a future I don’t want when I retire. How about going to work everyday and asking yourself why am I doing this? Who am I working for? No one to leave it to. I want you to know, I may sound unhappy but I’m just as happy as I can be right now. I’m just expressing what every person that post on this site leaves out.( “The Day to day struggle”) Know this my fellow childless people, we have God. It’s his reason that we can’t question so we will have to go on smiling when people with children tell us to adopt. When pregnant women want us to listen to their cries of how sick they feel, how their feet swells or how big their belly is getting. Do they really look fat. Will they lose the weight. Yes, we have truly heard it all.
    God bless you and keep you and may his light always shine the brightest when you feel ready to cry.

    • MaryLou

      Carol,
      Thank you for sharing.
      Does the envy ever go away?
      Do they ever quit rubbing it in your face?
      How do you answer all the stupid questions that forever come?
      I need to find my 20 answers to replay for every 20 questions…so they can’t catch me in the middle of my loss. Not canned answers….not even necessarily spiritual answers, but real and different answers that silences them and makes them realize they do not have all of life, but those who look like they don’t have all of life actually have something real that the “complete” women don’t have.
      I have to find a way to keep this from changing me into someone I don’t want to be….a way to keep myself intact. A way to fit into a world that I don’t fit into.
      We can put up a wall against the pink blankets, and swollen tummies, and bloody birthing talks, but invariably it sideswipes us from time to time………..there has to be a way to deal with that so that it doesn’t knock my socks off the rest of my life and I have to live in isolation. There has to be a way past this without giving in to it.
      Just because having children is in the majority doesn’t mean it’s the only normal.

  • tinkerbell

    Dear Laurie ,
    Thank you for being so truly understanding . I feel that you honestly are an angel for providing this forum . I have found it exceptionally positive at a time when I am indeed struggling to see the light .
    Last year I relentlessly saw the brighter side of life , running a marathon and raising hundreds of pounds for an animal charity , looking after my husband who had a heart attack , volunteered in an animal sanctuary in Belize , went on holidays … However just as my husband and I were starting the adoption process he got work that he couldn’t turn down and we had to post pone it . Feel horribly let down and daren’t get my hopes up again . Just where do you find the energy to keep bouncing back ?!!! x

  • Laurie

    Dear Tinkerbell,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing your thoughts. I don’t know why some of us aren’t blessed with children, but I really do believe there is a reason we are on this journey.

    If you had children of your own, you wouldn’t have been able to help as many babies as you have in your work as a nursery Nurse. You have help thousands of wee baby patients and their parents and other family members heal, and cope with the sadness that illness brings. This is a special and wonderful gift that you bring to the world!

    As sad as it is that you are childless right now, I hope you see how important and meaningful your life has been.

    And who knows what the future holds…God has a way of surprising us, if we’re open to accepting His blessings that come in forms we’re not expecting!

    Be well, my friend. Choose peace, happiness, and joy.

    In peace and passion,
    Laurie

  • tinkerbell

    I agree that there is an answer and I have found many extremely useful ones here .
    Being a nursery Nurse for the last 24 years of my life , I have found it heartbreaking to be told that I have a less than 4 per cent chance of having my own child . I still go into my school with my shiny happy face on each day to look after other people’s children but have found it invaluable to hear that God might actually be protecting me and looking out for me on this infertility road .
    Many thanks x

  • No kids for us

    Hi Laurie,

    We have been childless in our 17 year marriage, for whatever reason(s) we don’t know. We did do some fertility stuff, no luck. Thought about Foster care and adoption. Not a fit for us, but we do recommend it.

    We have been okay with this and feel that God has a different purpose for our lives and gets to use us in so many different ways that reach so many different age ranges of people. We let him direct our path and enjoy each and everyone person that crosses it.

    I believe that if we had children, we would not have been used in so many ways that have touched other people’s lives. Our time is not our own, we are laid back, business owners and Christian. I do know that lots of people share their opinions and comments to us about kids and are always surprised at our viewpoint.

    We are a family, we have animals, friends, family and God in our lives. I guess that is fulfilling enough for us, so we have Peace and contentment in accepting our lives as they are.

    I hope this can help someone else have Peace in their life knowing they are okay and can still be used in many different ways, each and every day. Blessings to those that read this.

  • Laurie

    Michelle,

    The pain of not having our own biological children may never go away. I was always “on the fence” about having kids — if we didn’t have them, I thought I’d be all right. But something happened a few days ago that changed how I see this idea of being happy as a childless couple.

    This Christmas (2 days ago), my mother-in-law brought out a Christmas stocking she bought when my husband and I were undergoing infertility treatments. It was a “Baby’s First Christmas” stocking, and she wanted to use it for another purpose. It was fine with me, I didn’t even know the stocking existed, but I did have a good cry later about the baby I’ll never have and the stocking I’ll never use.

    So, I think even when we’re okay with being childless, it’ll hit us fresh for some unexpected reason. We’ll never be “done” grieving.

    Counseling is an excellent – and often painful! – way to work through your feelings of grief, pain, disappointment, and loss.

    Thank you for being here.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Michelle

    After 4 years and six miscarriages, we have given up hope of having a child together.

    The holidays have been difficult the past two years. My husband has a daughter from a previous relationship and she is wonderful, but I’ve never quite gotten over the desire to have child of my own, or the emptiness I feel without one. I feel guilty and selfish for feeling this way, but I can’t help it.

    I am in counseling, but it’s a slow, painful process.

  • Doreen@househoneys

    I’m sorry you can’t realize your dream of having children, but you have the right attitude and I’m sure you will find happiness in other areas of your life.

    I would like to point out one thing I respectfully disagree with. You said ‘being a childless woman isn’t easy for anyone’. I’m sure if you think about that statement, you might agree that it’s not really true. Many, many, many women choose not to have children and are perfectly happy.