- 3 years ago
I want to start a dialog on something that is rarely talked about but causes many women heartache: childlessness by circumstance.
There are women who have children and the family they’ve always wanted. There are women who choose to be childree and live happy lives with no kids. But there are many, many women who have always wanted a child, who long to hold their baby in their arms and never got / never will get the chance to do so.
Women who are not childless by choice, this post is for you!
Who is Childless by Circumstance: Women who’s partners don’t want to have children or even adopt. Women who are infertile and can’t get pregnant. Single women who haven’t met the right man yet and time is running out. Women who are in relationships that are bad / abusive and not good environments for a child. Women who waited too long and can’t conceive anymore. Women with disabilities that prevent them from having a child or meeting someone who wants one. Women who have successfully gotten pregnant, only to lose their babies in miscarriage after miscarriage.
My Experience: My boyfriend is a divorced man with a 7 year old son. Seeing them interact with each other and how great he is as a father gives me a deep longing. I desire a family with him. Being a step-figure in a child’s life isn’t enough (you have no bond or motherly relationship with the step-child) and I feel like an outsider peeking in at some glorious family experince that I want to be a part of too. He knows how much I want to be a mommy, and has even talked about having a baby in the past.
Based on recent conversations however, it sounds like he’s changing his tune and may never want to have another child. This has set off a flurry of emotions in me. It feels like a knife has been stabbed deep into my soul and I feel almost like someone has died. I feel like I’ve lost my baby I will likely never have and am grieving.
I’m very young and obviously the possibility of having a baby is still open to me, BUT: I’m preparing for the worst (and most likely) situation of never being a mother, and it’s already affecting me enough that I’m seeking help now instead of later.<br />
What It Feels Like: For women like me, it truly feels like a death, and in fact, advice on dealing with this is similar advice given to people who just lost a loved one. It feels like they’ve always had a baby but just haven’t met it yet and now never will. They feel like they ARE a mother: a mother with no children. It hurts to see friends getting pregnant with their husbands. It hurts to walk past baby clothes in a store. It hurts to be around other people’s children. They long to feel a baby stir inside them, to have their partner kiss their belly as it grows.
Not being able to watch your child take their first steps, celebrate a birthday, bring home a card they made for Mother’s Day, say that they love you, ask you to read them their favorite story… so many missed opportunities. These are real feelings, and sometimes I feel intense fear that those are things I will never experience. I’ve even hidden some of my friends on facebook because they post pictures of their babies or announce pregnancies. It’s painful and brings forth a deep fear and sense of loss.
Other people never really understand what it’s like. They suggest you get a pet, or that your stepchild will fill that gap. They may think you’re childless by choice, or that you’re selfish and don’t want kids. They think you overreact if you share with them your grief.
Where Are These Women?: Everywhere! Odds are there are bees reading this right now that are going through this exact thing. It’s almost a taboo to talk about, and it’s rarely brought up. There are too many women going through this in silence. When a loved one dies, it’s normal to talk about it and share your feelings. But when you lose the child you don’t get to have, it’s kept secret.
Resources to Help: Googling “childless by circumstance” brings up great resources. Gateway Women is a great blog and resource for getting in touch with other women who are going through the same thing. I’m also reading a book called “Never to Be a Mother” by Linda Hunt Anton, which is pretty good so far. It’s better for me to deal with this now, that reach my thirties and forties and deal with it then. The point is: you are not alone!
Where That Leaves Us: For me, this is not something I can truly get over right now because the possibility is still open and I still have a teensy bit of hope, and the hope brings pain. I truly feel like it’s not going to happen. I’d like to hear from other women on these boards who are going through the same thing, or are experiencing this type of loss. Please share your feelings or anything you’ve learned that may help guide “mothers” who are childless by circumstance through this painful time in life. Thanks for reading.