About Jody 82 Articles
Jody Day is a British author, trainee integrative psychotherapist and the founder of Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women. She’s a founding member at AWOC.org (Ageing without Children) and a former Fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School. She's the author of 2016’s 'Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children' (Bluebird/PanMacmillan). Gateway Women hosts online communities, workshops, retreats, courses, social events and private sessions for childless-not-by-choice women. Jody lives alone in London with her cat, a stereotype that she warmly and humorously subverts.
Contact: Website

181 Comments on Will I Ever Get Over Not Having Children?

  1. Mother’s Day is a day of sadness, for me. After a decade-plus journey through infertility, I conceived….and miscarried two months later. That was the same year I became a survivor of breast cancer…and divorced, not long after. By then, I had crossed the threshold into midlife, and
    accepted that riding the shiny bike of motherhood, was never going to happen. The searing grief of the lost pregnancy took years to temper. The depth of it surprises me, still. It’s one thing, to yearn for something you never had….but to lose your only & last chance to have a child
    through miscarriage, is a firewalk that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. So, when Mother’s Day rolls around, I just don’t want to be around it. It’s a reminder of loss, every time.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It helps me feel better about myself & acknowledge it’s a process of acceptance I’m going through, that patience & compassionate necessary towards myself. BW, Sarah-Jane

  3. Just like so many of us very good innocent men out there now that really had hoped to have met the right good woman for us but never did happen so far since the women of today have really changed from the past that made it very extremely difficult for us now. Many of us men really wanted a family as well and to find ourselves all alone now is certainly not fair at all when even God said that man should never be alone. And even though i was married at one time which i was a very good husband to my wife and loved her very much which i had a lot of respect for her as well as being very committed to her which it still wasn’t good enough for her at all since she cheated on me which ended my marriage. And i didn’t have any children either especially when i really did want that which i guess the way that she turned out to be since it worked out that i didn’t since she started to sleep around with so many different men all the time that i never knew. Now i find myself all alone at the age of 62 and it is no fun at all since i do hope that i could really meet a good woman to have a steady relationship again.

  4. I’d like advice from someone with your experience and feelings. Almost daily, even before I was lucky enough to conceive and have a baby, I mourn for my aunt. she will be 70 soon, and she lives her life as happily as she can, but the pain of being childless haunts her…and our family. She is a loving, wonderful, amazing human being…why she never could have children has made our family question life too many times. I feel it extra for her today and am looking for what someone in her shoes would like to hear or not hear on Mother’s Day- what I believe is the hardest holiday or time or year for her. Are aunt cards appreciated? Should we Skype with the baby (which when usually loves)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I came across your articles after trying to Google for advice- and there is little to advise on the matter.

    • As an childless aunt of 5 nephews and 2 nieces, an aunt card would most certainly be appreciated. Being told how awesome of an aunt I am would help me get through the day. Personally I would not want to skype with baby on Mother’s Day. Any other day of the year I would love it, but not on that day. Everyone is different though so maybe your aunt would love it. It would mean a lot to me to have someone; especially from my family, to even recognize how hard Mother’s Day is for me. To let her know you acknowledge her grief and tell her you love her is a wonderful thing. Kudos to you for being aware of her feelings.

    • I am childless not by choice and 49 years old. The one thing I don’t want on mother’s day is to be told”happy mother’s day”. Definitely Skype with her and your baby. Her relationship to your baby is a real blood relationship and that makes it special. It does for me. I feel like I can give a lot of love and attention to my nice and nephews. An aunt card is fine but about one that says happy mother’s day. I received one that just thanked me for being a positive influence. I liked that.
      Thank you for seeking out advice. This is a pain that no one wants to hear about. But it is real. Give your aunt a hug, tell her you love her and find a little time to spend with her.

    • I’m 55 yrs. old , been married almost 32 years to a wonderful man and I am an Aunt to many nieces and nephews. And to some kids who aren’t even related to us, they call us their Aunt and Uncle. =) I never have much cared for Mother’s Day, so for your Aunt you could give her a nice Thinking of You card, maybe put a special memory you have together with her, a nice plant for her to plant later or to have ?? Ask her in a nice friendly way how she never did have a baby, I tell people when they ask. Alot of them are shocked and surprised by what all we went thru and it never did work out for us. No one asks in my family or in my husbands family why we never had a baby, I’d love to share it with them. I feel like they think it’s taboo.

  5. I am a single man who will be 44 is just 4 days. My heart’s greatest desire is still after many years and probably will be for a long time is to be a father and husband. I have wanted a son of my own for so long and no matter what I just seem to get older with no prospects of my wish every becoming a reality. A wise person told me years ago that God gives us our desires, which I strongly believe, and that if we seek Him and His will for our lives first then it will happen in His time, again which I strongly believe. Nothing but failed relationships and attempts at such, though. I’m lonelier now more than ever and I’m not the kind of person that can just accept the possibility of lonelong singleness or just get over it. I see families of 2 or more all the time everywhere I go and it just makes me miserable. How can I want something so badly and not have it??? I don’t understand. My friends, tmthe few true ones that I have try to say things to make me feel better, but it never does. I want can wife and son (or more than one) so badly I don’t know how much longer I can tarry on. Any other single men feel this way??? I’m not ashamed to express my emotions. Single ladies feel free to chime in, too. Erik B., High Point, NC

    • Hi Erik – thanks for commenting and I’m so sorry to read and feel how much you are in pain over your longing for fatherhood. There is very little recognition of the male experience of involuntary childlessness. I wondered if you were aware that there is a private Facebook group for childless men, started by Kelly @ Dovecote? If you wanted to check it out, you’ll find it listed here, on the Gateway Women resources page: http://gateway-women.com/resources/resources-for-men/
      Hugs, Jody x

  6. And what about many of us very good single men out there that really wanted a good wife and family that we never had? And i never expected at all to be a single man since so many others were given that gift of life to meet the RIGHT GOOD WOMAN for them that i never met which makes me more very sad and depressed altogether since there are only men and women in this world since a straight good man like me would’ve certainly wanted the very same thing as well. But i know a couple of friends that are going through the very same thing which i really know for a fact that i am not alone having this problem as well since they really feel as bad as me. The real problem is that we keep meeting the very pathetic low life loser women all the time instead of one good one to make us very happy.

  7. what to do when you feel you can’t go on anymore? I am online searching for how to go on. I will never have children and I am not sure how to cope

    • To be without motherhood is absolutely heartbreaking😭😭😭It never leaves you xxxI send you the most best hugs and heartfelt similar feelings ❤️✨❤️✨I often wondered if anyone else was out there feeling hurt xIt maybe just walking into a room and seeing a child and just wishing you had that opportunity in life.I think if you have those yearnings inside you ,you are a true mother lost within her feelings ✨✨✨I also believe that you can give that feeling of love to so many other people and although it not the same it better than nothing ✨❤️I have friends with children who share their pressures of life and invite me to all their special birthdays and family times although it not the same xxxI totally understandxxxhow they are trying to involve me but deep down the sadness will never leave us we just have to deal with it the best way we know how✨✨✨🤔

  8. This article really struck a chord with me, even though I’m a man. I know it may seem odd to some that I can relate to a lot of these feelings, but I understand and empathize.
    My husband & I tried to have a baby with the help of an egg donor and a surrogate mother.
    After three failed IVF transfers we were both mentally, physically and financially drained.

    The process was difficult on us, but also difficult for the incredible woman who put their own lives on hold in the hopes to help my husband and I to grow our family with a child.
    Years before we had even though about IVF we had applied to become adoptive parents, but we quickly learned after years of waiting it would most likely not happen for us.

    I’ve always believed in fate and that everything happens for a reason, but after going through something like this, it’s so easy to question….
    “Why”?

    Often I do feel alone in my grief and it’s a journey, but time does help.

    I try and tell myself….”Never say never” as I don’t know what may happen someday.

    For anyone who took the time to read this thank you, and for all the woman and men who may struggle with not having that child or children you dreamed of my heart goes out to you.

    • Hi Will, I’m having a sad day, full of grief again (though I always feel sad about my childlessness, there are are some days when I feel more philosophical than others, but not today!) and so I clicked onto the Gateway site to feel some kinship. I just read your comment, and was very touched by it.

      All us childless-by-circumstance people have such different stories, as to how we got to where we are, and probably no two stories are identical; but many of the emotions we all feel are the same or similar. The Why? question is always with me. I used to be CERTAIN I was singled out for motherhood, and tragically didn’t have any alternative life plan. I definitely feel shocked that I’ve got to my current age without having born children.

      I also often feel alone in my grief, as most of my friends/family either have children, or chose to be childfree. I am one of very few in my close circle who are childless-by-circumstance.

      I also cling to the ‘never say Never’ thoughts. I’m still vaguely hoping, even though I’m getting ridiculously ancient, in reproductive terms! I don’t think I’ll be able to draw the line till after menopause. But my hope is fading more & more.

      My heart goes out to you too. Take care

  9. You would be surprised…. I lost my one and only fullterm at birth 3 years ago. I’m 43 and have had 3 other miscarriages. Everyone, expects me to move on without my son and without motherhood like it just is what it is. I don’t get mothers day cards or special “treatment” around the holidays. It really sucks

  10. Hi my sister (yes, sister) kicked the side of my pelvis/lower abdomen a few months ago. Since then I’ve felt a dull ache and it looks inflamed, it sticks out a bit on the side. There’s no marks on the skin though. There was never any bruising but I also have IBS. Do you think this is caused by her kicking me or IBS? I’m really worried.

    • Hi Kayla – this sounds serious and not something anyone other than a medical professional is qualified to comment on. Please go to your doctor and have the lump examined. I’m so sorry to hear the reason – how very distressing. Hugs, Jody x

  11. Thank you for this article. I was recently told by a friend that it is not a loss I feel in not being able to have a child, but a longing to have a child. I’ve always felt alone with how I feel and this is something I do not talk about. I had no idea there are groups I can talk to. Thank you.

  12. Hi. I have just come across this website while looking to see if there was anything on the internet like this. Looking to see if there was other people who feel like i do.
    I am unable to have children and evrn though the reasons o am unable to are not my fault I still feel some guilt over the fact that i am unable to have children.
    I was pregnant once, a long time ago. My boyfriend at that time when he found out i was pregnant flew into a rage and caused me to loose my baby by kicking me in the stomach and then stamping on it. I had been through a very dificult time becsuse i had been raped 3 months earlier. When i told my boyfriend he did not believe me. He thought i had just had a one night stand. So when i discovered i was pregnant i could not be sure who the baby belonged to. My boyfriends reaction however terrified me. I was beaten up so badly i not only lost the baby but learnt i was unable to have anymore because of the damage caused internally.
    I feel guilty however because when i found out i was pregnant i had anic attacks because i imagined looking down into my babys face and see my rapist looking bavk at me. So i did have thoughts of wishing it was not there. In that respect i feel guilty for having these feelings and thought i deserved to end up not being able to have children. I went though a mountain of emotion as well as the guilt. Afterwards i felt so empty. Abnormal. Angry. Lost. Feeling a part of me was missing.
    I still many years down the line feel emotional about my inability to have children. It makes me so angry when i see on the news yet anoyher story of abuse towards a helpless child. I boil inside about the unfairness of life. That thoses people who do not deserve to have children manage to have them. While i feel i would offer a child a loving happy home but am not able to.
    I still have lots of emotions run around in my head about all this. Not all the time but even after all this time i hear or see simething that triggers all my feelings again. It is something i feel i will never be able to come to terms with and it sometimes eats away. I feel like a bit of me is eaten away each time i feel like this.

  13. I recently had a hysterectomy at the age of 35, I have wanted children for a really low time. I had a miscarriage 10 years ago. I had a DNC and I was told then that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). So I knew it would be extremely hard for me to get pregnant again. I went through several different ways of trying to get pregnant with no success. I would have done anything to be able to have children but now that opportunity is gone forever and it hurts so much. I thought it was just something completely wrong with the way I have been feeling but I am so glad to know that I am not the only one feeling the way I am. I am sorry that anyone has to go through the pain of not being able to have children when they really want and deserve children. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone dealing with the same thing I am going through.

  14. I am not sure it is this easy. I am not a bold outspoken woman. I am quiet and content to be at home with a few children. But I have none and I don’t have any other dreams. I am educated but still feel out of place everywhere. Christmas is approaching and i am about to give up although I don’t want to die so probably won’t do anything. I really don’t see other options. Feeling like this forever is going to be torment.
    I do not want to be someone who becomes a cat woman and is made fun of for only having pets. Pets are great but if you are single with pets you are labelled strange.
    I’m afraid of so much, especially my feelings right now.

    • I find myself searching for adoptive children, volunteer opportunities…. but I never do anything with it because it’s just a distraction. I wanted children. I wanted a child with my husband. I feel I have let him down. Yes, Christmas is coming, children and presents everywhere. The anniversary of my nephew’s birth and my brother’s death… and me, here with no children. I don’t want to be around all the cheerful people. I don’t want to act happy. I don’t want to put on the show any more. I go on, I don’t want to die, like you, I don’t want to die, I just didn’t want to live like this. So I search for something I will never have. My sisters have children, yes they do. I don’t. I never will. I’ll never hand my husband his child.

  15. Jody, I’d like to thank you so much for this article. I’ve read it previously and thought on several occasions to join a group and gain the support that I needed but opt’d out. At times I think I’m doing pretty well dealing with being childless at 42 , and then there are times when I can’t get a hold of my tears and I’m a balled up mess. I’ve been in a pretty steady relationship here recently and he’s even talked marriage with me. Being that my medical history has prevented me from having children (mainly the medication) we’ve spoken on adoption or surrogacy. Both of which are not inexpensive. He’s younger than myself and already has a child [son] , but it really makes me feel worthless not being able to have a complete family with him once we are married.
    Surrogacy is my number one choice because it would have both of our DNA. I don’t have anything against adoption and very well know there are plenty of children that need a home, but having a child with my own DNA is something I’ve been longing for for quite some time. I know if it’s unsafe for me to carry it to term then someone else can. Again, these things aren’t cheap and when we’re discussing it I just end up breaking down and resenting myself.
    Then there are the moments I think about when I get even older and I wonder who’s going to take care of us. No children. No grandchildren. It just hurts to even think about it.

  16. I cant get pregnant due primary amenorrhea and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism / primary hypogonadism. I can go several months without thinking about it but whenever I start thinking about it hits me hard, I start drinking and crying, feeling less of a woman, since I was a little girl I have been told that when I am old enough I am gonna have children and be a mother, since I can’t i feel like I have disappointed the society bc I can’t become pregnant. I hate Facebook bc it looks like all my friends are either pregnant or expecting every one I have talked to is telling me that I can adopt or be a forster parent but thats not the point. Even if I spend hundred of thousand of money on a child the feeling isn’t gonna go away, the feeling of being less than a woman. The feeling of being different or that something is wrong with me.
    Sorry I have been looking for a place to vent, to people who understands this subject.

  17. this is great to know that I am not the only one but what about the anger and bitterness . I feel so much shame and tend to isolate myself for fear of being ridiculed and looked at differently because i have no children. I was doing a search on that when I found your article.
    I don’t want to be a witch for the rest of my life but right now I get so angry at anyone with babies or that is pregnant

  18. Nobody understands the pain. It make it difficult to cope. I am supposed to be so proud of everyone else but I feel devastated.
    There is nothing in life that will make this better.
    I don’t want to become a stereotyped cat woman so I live alone and that part hurts too.

  19. *deep breath*…. This is the first time I will have posted in a forum that wasn’t about my ridiculous garden! So, I have been childless, largely out of choice and circumstance, until now. And I’ve been more than OK with that. I am now in a wonderful relationship with a man I adore, who has 2 lovely girls of his own (and doesn’t want any more). We’ve been together over 2 years and children have not been something I’ve thought about, until now. When I was younger I think I assumed that one day it might happen but if it didn’t it wouldn’t be a problem. However, for the last few months, I have been asking myself a lot of questions. I don’t have that maternal yearning for a child but I’m looking at mothers and children in a way I never have before and every day, I have felt a real tugging sadness that I just don’t know what to do with. My partner is a great father and very paternal and every time he sees a cute kid he coos over them and I feel a little choked inside. And so I blurted out to my partner all of my confused thoughts and ramblings last night. It went as well as you might expect. He tried to be supportive but to me, came across as a bit cold. I hate confrontation and don’t articulate well when I feel backed into a corner, so I drove to the next town and walked along the cliff tops (not with “those” thoughts in mind) at midnight just so I could breathe, and try to figure out just what it is I want. And I know now I feel grief for something I have never known. I miss something I will never have and I don’t quite know how to process that. I still don’t know whether I want kids, especially at this age, but I’m terrified that the answer to why I feel this way is because somewhere, deep down, I might. I know I will make the choice not to have them, irrelevant of my feelings because I think that it will be the right decision for me. But I can’t shake this feeling of loss and fear, and right now, I don’t think I have ever felt so alone. It would be easier to understand, I think, if I wanted nothing more than to be a mother, but I have never felt that way. Which is why I’m struggling to know what to do with myself. And I feel terrible for feeling angry that I think that my partner should have a bit more sensitivity when it comes to other children. If I don’t want them and he doesn’t either then why gush over every sweet chubby little face you see and look at me with that “awwww” expression, and if I do and he doesn’t, then why gush over every sweet chubby little face and still look at me with that “awwww” expression. I’m so sorry for the rant but I feel so confused and today, my head and heart hurt with all of this. Is this forum the right place to be? I feel like a bit of a fraud amongst genuine grief to be honest. Hey ho… Thank you for reading

  20. Hi.
    I am 46 and at age 40 I was told I am unable to have children due to severe PCOS. I had only been married a year, and after being told this devastating new, my husband distanced away from me. He says he’s never blamed me, but the guilt I feel is enormous. We have not been intimate since then, and I have to ask for kisses or hugs. I am not the sort to cheat, but just want to feel wanted and loved by someone. How can we ever get that back? And how do I manage to live without a longed for child?

    • Hi Josie – your situation sounds very difficult indeed and I’m sorry to hear how hard this has impacted your intimate married life too. It’s not unusual, and it may be that your husband is grieving, and may not be able to access intimacy right now. My recommendation is that you join our private online community where you can share frankly and confidentially with other childless women going through similar (and other) relationship issues and get some support and understanding. Hugs, Jody x
      http://www.gateway-women.com/community

  21. Hi… Thank you so much for your post! My name is Cherish I am 31. I had cancer from the age of 10-16… I had a full hysterectomy at the age of 16. I was never given the choice to keep my womb as it was decided when I was on the operating table. It wasn’t until I turned 28 that I started to really feel the sadness. Now I’m a mess everything I see a newborn or see a pregnant woman. I never heard the term “grieving for your unborn child” an it’s giving me hope knowing other woman experience the same thing. I really hope one day that womb transplant will be up and running and successful! Thanks again For you post.

  22. Hi all,

    Finding this site has been a Blessed accident for me. I recently turned 44. Although everyone I love made my day a great one, I felt sad. Having a family of my own has always been something I’ve always known I’d have. Sadly it did not happen for me. I know I am so Blessed but I feel guity to have so much and still hurting because I so not have kids. Several years ago I was preparing my heart and home for a baby girl, through adoption. At the last minute the mom changed her mind. Not having her still pains me to this day. I am so glad I found this site. I love knowing others feel much the same way I do. I take comfort in knowing what I feel is real and others get me. I can have my feelings ans not be judged or told to get over it.

  23. Apologies in advance for a long answer to a big question “Do you ever get over not having children.” Wish I could say to my younger sisters “yes”, but can’t. I fist found Gateway Women in 2012, aged 40. I had run off to Spain, in the hope of finding some swarthy baby daddy, and having the much wanted late baby. I met my swarthy younger man within days of arriving in Spain, and I suspect there may have been a pregnancy but it didn’t go beyond being a very early late period/early miscarriage. Rather than giving myself more time in Spain (boyfriend turned out to be unreliable to say the least) and giving it another year, I stupidly came back my hometown London, where for most of my adult life I really hadn’t met the potential father of my kids. I am now 44. My Spanish lover turned up on my doorstep over here when I was 41 and 3!4, and I suspect we almost had a baby again. At 43 I met a delicious and fertile man, himself a dad of 3, and we have just broken up after a year in which I also suspect I had another couple of early losses. Devastated at not only reaching the end of my fertility but also the end of a relationship which I had put a lot of faith in. I thought I had “gotten over” not being able to be a mum at 40, 41, 42, when an NHS expert finally did all the tests and brutally told me my chances of successful conception were highly unlikely, even with IVF. Where there’s life, there’s hope is an old adage. If one good thing has come out of my recent heartbreak it is that that adage isn’t true. I am 44 and 4 months, but I now know I won’t be able to get pregnant and sustain a pregnancy. I also know that I will probably never “get over it”. Being with a man who was able to have kids with another woman just adds to the pain

    • Hi Claire, my name is Carol and I just read your post. I’m sorry your life is this way now. There are so many ways I went the wrong way in my life that it’s hard for me to believe! I COULD of had children with my present husband of 35 years, married for the third time. I did have one child with my ex but my son doesn’t talk to me. It was so difficult when I had him, physically and emotionally that I decided I would NEVER go through that pain again. Well I am now 63 and I realize that I could of and SHOULD of had children with Robert. It’s to late now and I don’t know how I will ever really get over not having children. I work at a bank and I do grieve every day when women come in who are pregnant or those who have children and seem so happy. Maybe I’m dreaming, I tend to idealize things. I do have 2 dogs, and 1 horse. my life is busy but I always think I’d be so much happier with children, maybe, maybe not? If only we women could all get together and live on the same block, or town, we’d have each other all the time. Well, that’s my story, there is a lot more but just know you’re not alone for sure. I’m right there with you. I know it’s silly but I still have hope. Also I volunteer at the daycare at church and it seems each time I get a baby who won’t stop crying! All the time, right in my ear. It seems God saying, here ya go, have at it! But I keep doing it! Take care girlfriend, in hope, Carol

  24. Hi, My search online for support groups, lead me twice to this website. So here goes nothing…

    I was feeling rather sad lately when I realized that this week makes a year since my full hysterectomy. I was diagnosed last year with endometrial cancer at age 35. As a little girl I dreamed of having a family of my own and imagined the kind of mother that I would’ve been. Unfortunately, fate took a nasty turn. People say things happen for a reason and you should be grateful that you are alive today. I am . I guess I’m still trying to figure out the reason why. I am my trying to heal. I have taken to prayer and counseling but find myself at times still getting sad and teary-eyed. I know that time heals and that this will not be a overnight process but I sure hope to someday feel less…. heartbreak.

    • Hi, My name is Janet, like you my search online for support got me here. I will be having hysterectomy August 1st the realization that I will never have children has crashed my soul. I cry every day, the pain is real and unbearable.

    • Today is the week anniversary of my hysterectomy. I am 40 and we discovered pre-cancerous cells as part of a polypectomy we did before starting IVF (irony). So we tried treatments for the precancer but essentially we kept watch until it turned to cancer and I had to have my hysterectomy. I am so raw and sad and my doctors are confused because we found the early! And it’s taken care of! It’s great news! They don’t understand that to me it feels like the end of my life.

  25. Having read this really did help I to am unable to have children and it feels like it just gets harder and harder every day.I get asked by my oldest sister why I don’t have children and my response is always I don’t need children to be happy besides I can always adopt.But not long ago we got in to an argument and one comment let to another AND HER response was WELL AT LEAST I CAN HAVE KIDS… the pain in my heart and my soul devastating. I JUST TURNED AROUND AND WALKED AWAY :'( How could she, but she did and didn’t care. And I just deal with that pain everyday. My fiance and I both feel sad because of this as he knows what I’ve been through but reading all this is helping me understand what I feel a bit better.Sorry but it’s just something NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT IN MY FAMILY or FRIENDS I FEEL EMBARRASSED ASHAMED AND LOW.

    • Hi Yaya – I’m so sorry that you and your sister had such a difficult exchange. It’s often those closest to us who find it the hardest to understand or support us it seems. Our pain is often too much for them to witness. I really recommend joining our online community where you can experience more empathic connections – especially as you are not sharing this with other family or friends right now. The shame keeps us silent, and thus the pain gets locked in. Hugs, Jody x
      http://www.gateway-women.com/community

  26. After trying for chidren for years with polycystic ovaries, I’d never lost hope that it would happen someday. That is, until recently I feel as if my emotions have begun the grieving process without me even knowing it. Then I read this article and it started making sense. I don’t want to ‘give up’ but perhaps this (and not a baby) is what I need in order to grow as a person. I don’t know, but this past Mother’s Day was the worst and well meaning people keep posting things about my ‘fur-baby’ (my dog) and I just do not know how to respond without going off on them, so I guess I’m doing it on here instead. So thank you for the forum because this is the first time I’ve ever said any of this to anyone.

    • Hi CJ – I’m glad you found us – Mother’s Day is SO hard whilst we’re still grieving (I’ve been absolutely OK with it the last couple of years, and now feel more focused on the many ways I ‘mother’ as a verb in my life, and my own dear Mother). The whole ‘furbaby’ thing can be very distressing as people (mostly) mean well by it and can’t imagine that such a comment could be painful to us. There was quite a big chat going on about in our private online community – you might want to come and join us! Hugs, Jody x
      http://www.gateway-women.com/community

  27. I identify fully with much of the pain described here. But does anyone also feel like they are scorned by others? I know we shouldn’t care but I feel like this, genuinely. I find it very humiliating when people squirm awkwardly when they can’t fit you into a convenient box. When they find out you are childless/unmmarried/without a glittering career as an alternative and you know full well you are gossip fodder for later. You can see/feel how perplexed people can be and see the flashes of pity at best, superiority and sometimes contempt the rest of the time. The hardest thing too is when people start agreeing that you don’t have any more time and the ol’ adoption suggestion rears its head (was anyone else reassured all through their 30s that they ‘still have plenty of time’?). I just wish we didn’t always have to classify ourselves by whether or not we have borne children! Sorry, just having a hard morning. I don’t have a husband or much in the way of financial prospects and I am lonely. I have been called ‘washed up’ and ‘a crazy cat lady’ (I don’t even have those!), both in jest but we all know people mean it. My older siblings (who are much wealthier than me) have partners but no children and it hurts me my mum will never be a grandma. I feel all I have to look forward to is the loss of my parents, old age and financial struggle. 🙁 Sorry for being so depressing.

    • Ling I can sympathize with how your feel. At 51, childless, and now jobless I too find that people look at me with pity/contempt. Even though I have contributed to society by working as an engineer and volunteering in my community they don’t count me as equal. I don’t have any advice other than to be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to express sad feelings. To bottle them up inside is to slowly die a little every day. The people that will be your friend even when you are honest about how your feel are your TRUE FRIENDS. And having true friends is priceless.

      • Julie I like what you said, yes we must be good to ourselves. The other day a lady asked me if I had any children, I said yes, which I do, but my son does not speak to anyone in our family including me, which I told her. She has many children and grandchildren so I said well I do have children and they are my animals 2 dogs and 1 horse, and when I see their faces I feel happy and that I do have a reason to live another day, for them and for me. I have a deep hurt inside for not having children. I say I’m childless and I have deep grief but one day only at a time is all I can handle. In heaven we’ll have many children. For sure!

      • Thanks Julie, you should be congratulated for what you have contributed in your career and your spare time. It is amazing. I wish I had a career with the kudos and standing of engineer but maybe it makes little difference when we feel truly sad. One thing I do believe is that things do balance themselves. Yes we do not have children, but we are also spared the stress and sadness this sometimes brings. We have time (and money?) for ourselves and our pets and – as you so rightly point out – our friends. But it is an ache that won’t be filled exactly – but something to learn to live with. My biggest dread is losing my parents and having nothing else to focus on though and their not having grandchildren. Thinking of you.

    • Yes, I relate to what you’re saying about people not being able to put you into a convenient box.
      I’m not career-minded in the least. My identity for years was ‘future mother’. Now at aged 42 I’m accepting it probably won’t happen (long story as to how I reached the here & now). Also not married, so my only identity now is, well, me! Just me.
      I try to pour my maternal instinct into animals (I’m a huge animal lover) and to my niece & nephew, and friends children etc.
      I’m having to re-think life, grieve my losses, and try to do as much good for the world as I can. I went on a demo to ban lion hunting last Saturday, which was v.important; and I’m wondering if my love of wildlife coupled with my maternal instinct may be leading me to more conservation volunteering.
      But some people will always seem awkward at my answer if they ask me about husband and kids. It’s making me grow stronger, and I’m having to work at not being offended by people’s reactions, as I know the truth of ‘me’ which they can’t.
      I’m very aware now how incredibly unfair life is. Things often don’t turn out as we plan, and it’s so hard to come to terms with.
      Yes, we must be kind to ourselves and to each other.
      Take care, and know that you are not alone xx

      • Thanks Katie, your post is so encouraging. I also have a passion for wildlife and often think this is where the future lies for me 🙂 In fact, we really are not alone. There are more women in this situation than before, as I understand it. There are undeniable advantages to being in our situation too. I am inspired by your attitude – that is everything. X

        • Thank you Ling. Really appreciate your reply. Good to know there are fellow wildlife lovers on here too 🙂

          Take care x

      • I really like your view that coming up with responses has made you stronger. Before, when asked about children, I would always just smile and say ‘one day,’ but now it’s getting harder. One thing I realized though, and you may have too, is that if I open up a little and am honest about how hard it is, I have found kindness in the most unlikely places. Also, by you sharing here it has helped me know there are women going through the same thing and I just want you to know that I am glad you are Just You, because there is no other. 🙂

        • Thank you Cj, it’s so encouraging to read about the unexpected kindness you’ve received. You’re right, people are often far less judgemental than we expect. I’m careful who I reveal my vulnerabilities to, but when I do, I usually see the best of people in response.
          Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
          Take care x

        • When someone asks how many children I have, I usually respond that we were unable to have them. But sometimes I ignore the questions and change the subject. I have given myself permission to keep somethings private at times. So if I’m having a bad day or talking to someone I barely know, I keep my privacy.
          I feel isolated when in a room with other women. They all seem to be in”the club”. One on one is easier than group settings.
          My best friend has 4 grown children and 11 grandchildren. I finally stopped sharing my infertility heartaches with her. All she could ever say to me was that she didn’t know what to tell me. I would have preferred a hug and for her to cry with me. But women with children tend to want us to get over it, be happy for them.
          I have made and purchased so many baby shower, birthday, graduation, wedding gifts for my friends children over the years. I always thought the gifts would be reciprocated when I had children. I now feel that there is a “gift deficit” that will never be balanced. Sounds petty, I know. But you are expected to give gift after gift, especially since you are”rich” since you have no children. Yes, I have actually had people tell me that! Sometimes I’d like’ my friends to just give me a little something.

  28. I’m 19 and when i was 16 i found out that i had a problem with my ovaries and that they didn’t produce eggs. Therefore I can’t have kids. I know I’m young and i was young when i found out but nevertheless it killed me. For as long as i can remember the one thing that i wanted when i grow up is have kids. But that was taken away from me at a young age and it destroyed me. It also kills me when i talk about it with my mum and see sadness in her eyes because i can never give her a grandchild.

  29. I’ve just found out today, at 18 that I can never have children. This scares me more than everything, I feel so alone.

  30. Even for us Good single men out there that were very unlucky in love which we always had hoped that we would’ve eventually meet a good woman to settle down with to have a family which most of us are Not single by choice which makes it very sad for us too.

  31. it is mothers day today in the UK, 6th March 2016 and I don’t, as usual, go out today. Anyone you meet in a restaurant/out walking etc, will smile at you, as a woman and sometimes ask if you’re being taken out by children etc or at least tell you about their plans for today. I have just had my 62nd birthday, I am fit and well and love my husband to bits, but we lost 3 babies in our early thirties after years of treatments. Two were twins as a result of IVF, the last one was a pregnancy not as a result of treatments, out of the blue, after we had stopped, which made it even more painful. I was told “this one would be alright” as it was conceived naturally, but it was not. No heartbeat on the scan at 16 weeks and an immediate operation to remove to prevent septicemia, I was 37 and knew I would never be pregnant again, two years later I started menopause. Do you ever get over? Well no, its not the first thing I think of every morning on waking, as it used to be. One day in my fifties, I just realized I no longer did that. But then friends and some work colleagues were expecting grandchildren around that time – lots of comments about it being the best thing ever to be a grandparent etc, and the pain started again in a different way. We are a very small family, I don’t have any nieces or nephews or god children (ironically my only brother and his partner and my husband only sister and her husband were all childless by choice). I had wanted children since being a toddler myself and also felt that I let down my parents and parents in law (all now dead) as all their hopes for continuing genes on both sides of family, rested on me alone. But when I look around now, so many women on my age group seem to be divorced or separated or widowed in their sixties and their children just use them as unpaid baby sitters, and never see them otherwise, that I think I have a better quality of life. Not everyone is going to agree with me here, but although I don’t go to church or anything, I do have deeply spiritual beliefs (which are the same as before I even married, not due to whats happened) and I honestly believe that on my death I will be reunited with those three children who are just as much mine, even though they have gone before me.

  32. Hi, I am new here and I guess right at the beginning of the journey. I just found out this week that I won’t be able to have kids. Given my financial situation I don’t adoption will ever be on the cards either. I knew things weren’t quite right but I wasn’t ready for that. I’ve just been trying to find some comfort and calm and came across this website. I am 32, single and have literally no one else to talk too so I hope you don’t mind me posting here.
    At the moment I’m drowning a bit in panic but its good to hear stories where others have got past this. It’s just it’s its pretty much the only thing I’ve ever wanted in life and even more I know I’d be flippin brilliant at it. I feel I have been isolated and alone for so long that this feels even more I unfair. I tried speaking to my mum but she is fatalistic and just says ‘it’ll be the way its going to be’. She’s the only family i have but i know she finds it tricky when I’m really struggling and hurting. I’m just baffled as to what life is all about at the moment.
    Xx

    • Hi Sunbeam – I’m so glad you’ve found us and I’m so sorry to hear the devastating news that brought you here. Indeed, adoption isn’t an option for a lot of us single women, but you’ll get a lot of people suggesting it for the next few decades! I’m sorry that your Mum hasn’t been able to be a support – it’s often the case that our mothers aren’t able to empathise with us over this issue and it’s something I write about in my book. You might find that joining our online community is a great way to get some support. You’re definitely not on your own with this hon. Hugs, Jody x

  33. Today is a WONDERFUL and simultaneously painful day for me. I was dressing for work and received a phone call from my mother. “We are going to have a baby today!” she exclaimed. I had genuine excitement and anxiously asked for details. She said my niece had just gone in for an OB appointment this morning and her water broke during the examination. We have all been waiting for this news. I felt excitement and wanted to share it with someone so I texted my husband. Then out of the blue I felt so sorry for myself. I also felt shameful of the envious thoughts that crept into my mind. I should be able to handle these things by now. Goodness knows there have been so many babies in our family ever since I can remember. I come from a large family. My parents just celebrated their 65th anniversary. I have three brothers, all older than I, each with large families of their own that include children and grandchildren. I am the only female sibling. I am 46. I am married to a wonderful man. He is also from a large family and he turned 50 last year. We will share our 25th wedding anniversary in August. We always wanted to create a family together. Because we have not done this it sometimes feels like we are still treated like kids without responsibilities. We feel like we failed sometimes. We feel like the family doesn’t get it. That they don’t always seem sensitive to the emptiness that comes with wanting a family and not being able to create one together. I have been told so many times that we should just adopt instead of waste time and money on trying to having a baby…as if it is the sole responsibility of infertile couples to adopt when actually everyone should consider adoption…not just infertile couples. But I love my huge family and I am familiar with exciting news of pregnancies, births and all the “firsts” that come along with an extremely prolific family…first words, first steps, first haircuts, first communions…and I have enjoyed them all. I have been blessed to be a “Godmother” to many of my brothers’ children, to be an important and available component in many of their lives to date. But I find myself shying away from these milestones, these events and conversations more and more. I feel like an outsider. I have a tendency to be emotional and that can be a “downer” and I don’t want to be that person. But I always had hope that a treatment would work, the missed period would be because I was pregnant, that we always have next month, etc… I would cry when I got my cycle. I would feel worthless. Tell myself I was being punished and wonder why my husband was being punished too. He is such a good person why was he saddled with a woman that can’t give him children. People tell us God has “other” plans for us and that we aren’t listening to his plan. I guess that is sinful in itself. But the months and years kept passing by. And now it is too late. A complete hysterectomy last year saw to that. So even though I try to act like I am over it (I have actually heard myself tell people “I don’t think I would have been a good mother anyway”, “I was too old to have children anyway”, “I don’t have the patience for babies or kids anymore”) privately, I would and still do cry, sometimes feel like I need to stay to myself because my emotions can be raw and that isn’t fair to anyone else. I have waken from dreams where I am pregnant or have a family. It seems so unfair to have that this creep into my sleep too. I should be at peace while sleeping don’t you think? I laugh off inconsiderate and insensitive input like “well having kids isn’t all it is cracked up to be anyway”, “you are so lucky, you can take a nap anytime you want to”, “you can come get my kids anytime you are feeling maternal and you will get over it fast”, “I can’t see you changing diapers anyway”, but it stings. I displace my maternal part of me. I have a close and “apron string” tight relationship with my parents. They are in their 80’s and live down the street. So I devote time and effort with them. It gives me pleasure to have such a good relationship with them. My husband’s parents aren’t well. His mother is living in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s chipping away at her memory and his father spends every day with her then goes home to an empty house at night so we devote time and effort with them too. They are wonderful people. We have cats. we treat them like babies. They ARE our babies even though my husband says he prefers dogs. lol Boy we are messed up!

    On a happier note. My husband and I share a beautiful relationship. We are both healthy. We have good jobs. We have many of the same interests. I think our struggle has fused us together instead pushing us apart. I don’t know if that is the norm but it is ours. We are a great team and I know in time we will find peace. We are re-direct our energy toward planning the next phase of our lives together. I can totally see us living out our elder years in a “happening” retirement village in Florida. Life is pretty good all things considered!

    By the Way…Ruby was born a little while ago this morning and she weighs 7 lbs 14 oz and is 21″ long. Both mama and Ruby are doing well!

    Andria

    • Hi Andria – thank you for sharing the complexity that comes with being childlessness – the mixture of joy for others and sadness for ourselves – of peace and joy in our situation and days when it all feels wrong! Women without children are outsiders in our culture and on some days that really hurts me, and other days I feel liberated and free. Depends on how much sleep I’ve had and, in particular, how much mainstream media I consume… We are reluctant pioneers, and we are changing the world for the generations of childless / childfree women who will come after us; just not our own daughters. Hugs, Jody xxx

  34. I am not having a good day today…. put on social media that I hate not being a mum…and hate the emptiness. …. should not do that but sometimes I do these random things ….. usual comments from mothers …’have u thought about fostering or adoption’ …… I would really love to answer in a really sarcastic way..’really… I have known I can’t have my own children for 14 years and I had not even thought about those options’!!!!!!!! Feeling like ripping my hair out!!!!

    • Hi Adelle – I’m not sure where you live, but in the UK there are about 7000 children available for adoption yet 1.5 million childless women aged 40 and 50. And fostering is a full-time paid job, which means you can’t also work outside the home. Perhaps you might like to offer some of this info to the mothers and others who imagine that it’s a really ‘easy’ option next time! Hugs, Jody x

  35. I am happy to have found you. I need more of this. I feel so very sad I am at the edge. Not sure how else to describe it. Children were all I ever wanted and now at 43 it didn’t happen. Tried on my own but with no partner it isn’t easy to keep trying and finances don’t help. I have no family whatsoever so alone forever. Lost and still hurting. Will it ever end? I love children but seeing them now just hurts. All I feel lately is hurt. I am tired of comments saying it just didn’t happen and to move on. I am tired and hurting.

    • Hi Lina – I’m afraid that those ‘get over it’ comments can only come from those who’ve never had to try – and have no idea what depth of feeling and loss you are experiencing. I REALLY recommend you join our private online community ASAP – there you will find the solace, compassion and generosity of spirit that will greatly more helpful to you! Hugs, Jody x

  36. Thankyou so much for writing this. I didn’t know I wasn’t alone with this terrrible grief and never talked to other women in the same situation as me. It’s new for me to be allowed to grieve for this and to know of your gateway women webpage which I’ve only just found. I can not tell you how much it means to be able to read your article and to let this terrible loss of what was once my hope and dreams be recognised for what it is.

    • Dear Kim – I’m so glad you’ve found us too! When I was in the depths of my own despair, 7 years ago, there was NOTHING out there, even on the internet that spoke back to me of the pain I was experiencing. When I wrote my first blog and women starting writing back in the comments, I cried with relief, with recognition. To know that I wasn’t alone was the most profound relief. I am so very happy that I have provided that relief for you in turn. Jody x

  37. I’ll be 45 this year, my darling partner will be 71.

    We got through my cervical cancer and hysterectomy relatively easily when I was 30! There was the relief that the poor prognosis was followed by survival. We had been together for less than a year and my partner had made it clear from the start that he didn’t want children….I loved him, so that was fine! Just like that!

    Throughout the last 15 years I keep expecting to reach a point where I have “got over” or at least “come to terms” with being unable to have children, although to be honest, I never wanted them more since that the precious choice was taken from me. It’s almost ridiculous how the smallest thing can trigger the loss and despair of this void left by someone who never existed..tonight it was a movie where a desperate childless woman adopts thus making her life complete and happy! Yesterday it was when I was making decisions regarding my childless Aunt’s affairs (as her power of attorney) and realising how lucky she is at least to have me…..my parents and partner are in their 70’s, I lost a beloved sister this year aged 40 to ill health and my remaining sister (a childless divorcee who has adopted her two foster children) may not be around when I am in my Aunt’s situation. Selfishly I ask, who will be there for me, who will take care of my affairs, who will arrange my funeral, who do I leave anything to…? Depressing for someone only 45, what will I be like in my 70’s I wonder.

    You’re words have really touched me, your writing is beautiful and you’ve opened my eyes to looking at childlessness from another angle. Grief? Yes, I do grieve, but in the quiet of the night, and alone….I really don’t feel anyone is going to understand me grieving something I have never had. Right now I am staring across the table and imagining the child I never had looking up from their drawing…..

    Thanks for reading.

  38. I was looking for some support and comfort for my feelings. This has been very helpful. The comments help remind me im not alone. Thank you

  39. Dear Jody

    I used to visit this site called Childfreedom Don’t Worry, Be Happy
    every time I felt down about trying to get over not having a baby, it helped me and just like you wrote It really isn’t always a ‘better’ life than ours, just a different one. parents who regret having kids.

    http://childfreedom.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/dont-worry-be-happy.html

    it made me see the two side’s of the coin its taken from a blog search for “I hate being a mom”

    • I suppose this makes a person feel better if they are on a certain wave length. …Unfortunately I read some and thought ‘ungrateful bitches they have no idea!!!’ But this is me being honest at my own level x

  40. I thought I moved on and was done with all this. I’ve made so many changes trying to do things for myself to make my life happy again. It’s been several years since my last IVF when we decided to stop trying and almost two years since I had a hysterectomy. Will I ever be that happy, confident woman I once was?

    • Hi Josie – it sounds like you’re really fed up with not feeling you’re through this, and boy, I do understand! My experience, and that of the many women I’ve worked with, is that making ‘changes’ doesn’t really do much, unless you’ve done your grief work. And to do that, we need the support of other women like us. You might like to read Chapter 4 in my new book (out Feb 25), or in the old version if you have it. I’d also recommend reading the ‘How to do your grief work’ I wrote and perhaps consider joining our private online community? Grief can hang around for a lifetime if we don’t actively ‘grieve’, and seeing as our loss is one that is not culturally recognised or supported, finding ways to ‘grieve’ has to be created by us. Hope this helps, hugs, Jody x

      • Thank you so much for your response Jodi. I am going to take your suggestion and get the books you recommended. It’s nice not to be on this never ending roller coaster all alone!

    • Hi Adelle – yes, I remember that feeling. I’m not sure I would have believed anyone who told me I would ever feel whole again and, if anything, even more at peace with my life that I was before the nightmare. You’ve found us, you’re in the right place. Hugs, Jody x

      • Thanks Jody. It is such a relief to hear about and from others in a similar situation. …. I have felt all alone for ten years…x

  41. Sometimes I think it’s all been just a horrible nightmare, and sometime I’ll wake up with my husband and children around me, and my kids will say “Mommy, don’t cry! We love you so much!” And we’ll all have a laugh at my silly dream. But that will never happen. Of all the crappy things God could have planned to befall me in this life, I think I could have managed anything else better than this. I’ll never get over it. It hurts so much to be around babies, or pregnant women. Sometimes I don’t know how I’ll live the rest of my life. I know you’ll say to join your community, and I know you would mean it kindly but it would just be another reminder. Better to just distract myself as best as I can. Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Kathy – I’m so sorry to hear how hard it is for you right now. I’m so glad you’ve found us and we’re here when you need us. Distractions are great, when they work! And when they don’t any more, you know what I’d say, and perhaps I’ll see you there one day. Or maybe you’d like to join a free local Gateway Women meetup group in your area? Having other friends around us who ‘get’ what we’re going through can make a HUGE difference! http://www.gateway-women.com/meetup Jody x

    • Dear Kathy

      I felt the same to be around baby’s and the mother’s, I felt bitter and jealous
      and that is perfectly ok to be that way, its just going through the motions to be able to cope and then as Jody said to grieve, it is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. what helped me was to stay away for awhile from the crowd and be around people that didn’t have children. I found different things to keep me busy and also with the help of my animals to love and spoil and knowing I’m blessed with a wonderful husband. and knowing there is someone all way’s worse of than me. I hope in the end you find peace of mind. take care <3

    • Hi Kathy, read your message and I want you to know I understand how you feel. I feel that way to. I work at a bank and people come in all the time with little babies, pregnant, twins, etc. and there is no escape from it. I HAD a chance to have a baby with my husband and I was to afraid now it’s to late. I pray every day about it and every day I try to figure out what to do with myself about it. Keep praying and the door will be opened to us, one door, or many. There are many children out there that need love but I’m working now. I want to hold suffering babies. That’s my desire. Something will open up don’t know when or how. My heart hurts every day. There’s a huge empty place. I pray but live one day at a time. I couldn’t wait till today, my day off so I could type this to you,. You and I are women in pain together. love, Carol

  42. Wow! This site is amazing… I don’t feel so alone,being without children… It just never happened for us, and I started my menopause way earlier than the “norm”. I have a niece and nephew as well, but it is and never will be the same as having your own… Adoption,maybe… but I work split shifts, so it wouldn’t be fair to a child. At almost 47, it’s tough… I can relate to each and every comment on here – thank you for being here!

    • Hi Debby – great that you don’t feel so alone any more! I found that one of the hardest aspects of coming to terms with my own childlessness – the sense of utter isolation. Unlike some women, I didn’t know (or know of) a single other women amongst my friends, families, peers, colleagues, media, etc, who’d wanted to be a mother and it hadn’t worked out. I knew women who wanted to remain childfree, women who had (successful) fertility treatment, women who conceived after many years of trying against the odds – but no-one who had to come to terms with an unchosen childless life. If I had, I probably wouldn’t have started this blog and all that’s come from it! Hugs, Jody x

      • Hugs to you and thank you!!! Some days are better than others.Now I know that I can turn here for comfort and just a little bit of peace,if that makes sense…xxx debby

  43. At 19 years old I had a ectopic pregnancy. I married at 21 and for years me and my ex-husband tried to have children. my sister had 2 girls and would pick on me and they all would laugh in my face how I couldn’t have kids that used to destroy me inside. He had a low count and I was infertile, at around 27 my husband then was never with me he had a free life I was always on my own. I knew he was having affairs but at that stage I didn’t care, I ended up having a affair myself.
    After 8 months into the affair I feel pregnant, it was such a shock I never get pregnant and this might be my only chance, I wanted to keep the baby so badly. But I didn’t know how to tell my husband and how to leave and how he would feel as man that he couldn’t have a baby and someone else did it. I cried all day knowing I had to do the right thing and abort. it still kills me inside when I think about it. After I aborted I told my husband I did not love him anymore and I had a affair. he was willing to forgive me, but I knew he just wanted someone to pay half the bills and cook and clean for him. I left him but I never told him about falling pregnant after 12 months I got with a lovely man he had 2 girls. I told him everything no secrets he said what I did in my past is non of his business. I had a overactive thyroid that didn’t show till I was 32 and that was making me infertile.
    I’m now 42 I have been married to this man now for 14 years. I have never fell pregnant, I have had some overdue moments. I now feel I do not want kids at this age, I can still get IVF if I really wanted to but I’m over it I have come to terms with it, and I just feel I couldn’t be bothered to look after a child at this age my husband is 13 years older than me and I want him to enjoy his golden years without all the hassles, my parents had me when my dad was 63 and my mum 45 and I couldn’t do that to a child, I had a wonderful dad but he died when I was 11 years old and I never got over that.
    I have a wonderful marriage and love being with my husband and I feel complete and I’m happy just to have him and do not feel the need for children
    I do have 6 sisters they all have kids and they are grown up and the troubles they have had with them. one of my sister daughters has had 4 kids and is a ice addict and my sister has got them little ones all under the age of 4 years – my sister is so exhausted she said to me. I bought up my kids already, I feel sorry for her, she is too old and in bad health. And my other sister that used to laugh at me. well one of her daughters is having the same fertility problem as me. I really love my niece and hope she does have a beautiful child in the end.

    • Hello JustMe – I’m so sorry for your pain and thank you for being open about your abortion. I had an abortion at 20 and it was the right thing to do (I wouldn’t have been a good mother at that age) but it added another layer to my childless grief later. Abortion is part of the story for so many of us, yet such is the shame/guilt that still very few of us are able to open up about it. I’m so happy you found a good man and I’m sorry for the struggles and sadnesses that your sisters are experiencing with motherhood. It really isn’t always a ‘better’ life than ours, just a different one. When we can begin to see that, it helps a lot. And I hope your niece who wants to be a mother can make it happen for her. Hugs to all of you and your big heart for being empathetic to their pain, when it doesn’t sound like they’ve returned the kindness! Hugs, Jody x

  44. all of you! reading all of your comments helps me a lot. I am 62 and I don’t know when the light went on that I didn’t have children, maybe 10 years ago but I am still grieving. You know what it’s like seeing pregnant women, smiling, rubbing their tummies, growing a life that will grow more life. Maybe, one never knows. I still ache to hold a baby, not theirs, MINE! SO, I have 2 dogs, and1 horse that I hug and hug! my dogs are my babies too. I still dream of a future with children. One never knows. Foster children, not sure. Still my heart hurts and aches like something is missing in my life but I read your comments, hug my animals, hug my husband, and keep my ears open for anything to do with children. Maybe I’ll have a dozen in heaven! thank all of you for being real and open and there, for me
    Caroliine

  45. I don’t think I will ever get over it. I am reading your words and trying to gather strength. My thoughts go so low that I am afraid sometimes of the result. I don’t know how to live in a world where I don’t have children. It is all I ever wanted in life and something I am drawn to, the natural mother. I now have difficulty being around children at all whether it be when out for groceries or driving past a school. My heart is broken in so many pieces.

  46. thank you for writing this. You don’t know me but I appreciate it so very much. I am single and no children. It’s all I ever wanted in life and it’s not happening. I have tried and lost them in the process. My losses are my own and nobody understands. I am 43 and my heart is broken. I have no family to fill the void. I too am told I would have made a great mother but this means what? I’m not one. And then I am reminded about situations when people say that I couldn’t understand because I don’t have kids. It’s painful. I don’t know how to stop the hurt and I don’t know how to live anymore. It was my only dream.

    • Hi Jenn, I’m so glad that you found this post and that it spoke to you. I know that heartbroken place so very, very well. The ‘helpful’ things that people say can be so very hurtful too. I would really recommend that you join our private online community – there are so many of us there helping each through the pain of unchosen childlessness and onto whatever turns out to be our next ‘dream’. There’s no need to no what that is; first you must grieve the heartbreaking losing of the dream of motherhood. And get support for it because it can hurt like hell. Hugs, Jody x
      http://www.gateway-women.com/community

    • Hi Jenn, I just read your post and I just wrote one of my own. I am 62 and without children. I feel your pain. Looking back that was my dream too. I don’t know how I go on but I try and live only one day at a time but I think, not sure, but think I will grieve all my life. If we lived close you and I could open a daycare together and have a lot of fun. you aren’t alone I grieve with you. Caroline

      • Hi Carol
        Thanks for saying this. I’m in North America. Are you close? We’ll figure it out! 🙂 It sucks doesn’t it? I don’t know sometimes if I will make it through this. I want my own baby to hold to love..no holds barred…

        • Hi Jenn, just got your reply, this is Carol. I know just how you feel! I don’t think I will ever get over not having a baby to hold of my own. I pray and pray and search and keep knocking on God’s door about this. I live in California. It is so beautiful here. I do love that part of my life., I wish you were here. Where are you? Where is north America? You and I aren’t alone with these feelings. I am very comforted to hear from you. My heart aches with yours! Thank God for Jody Day! and this website.

        • HI Carol & Jenn
          I have your email addresses if you’d like me to e-introduce to each other without publishing your address here on the website?
          Hugs, Jody x

        • Jody, you are truly amazing! and very thoughtful. that would be nice I think you mentioned giving Jenn and my email addresses, that would be fine.How caring of you to think to do that. I love your site. As you know it is hard without children and grandchildren too. But we do have each other. God’s blessings to you always.Carol

        • Carol – I will be in California to run 2 Gateway Women workshops next summer – hope to meet you then maybe? Make sure you’re on my mailing list so that you’ll get all the details when the bookings open. I think they’ll fill up fast!
          http://eepurl.com/kKC7v
          Jody x

        • Hi Jody, you are an angel! Thank you for everything you have done! And thank you for putting me in touch with Jenn! I just emailed her. I am interested in when you are going to be in CA so please send me the info when you know. THANK YOU for your courage and care!,

  47. As I reach my 44th birthday, I have to accept fact I will never have children. I am in tears as I write this. This article so describes my situation. I am lucky as I have nieces and nephew, which I love deeply and see every week. I also am fortunate to have been chosen to be a godmother to 5 children. It hurts when people tell me I would make a great mother. I know they say it as a compliment. I know things happen for a reason, and life goes on. Circumstances were just not in my favour. I have thought of adopting, but being single it seems like such a daunting task.

    • Hi Rita – I am so very sorry how things have worked out for you. Yes, it does hurt when people tell us we would have been a good mother, because it seems that’s not a criteria for having children! You’d get a lot of comfort being part of our online community – 44 is a tough age; I was 44 when I accepted (cognitively) I wan’t going to be a mother – but the process of accepting that emotionally took a few years more and a powerful grieving process. I’m in a good place now; it is possible, with support. Hugs to you, Jody xxxx

    • Dearest Barbie – I’m so sorry that it hasn’t worked out for you. Accepting the fact ‘logically’ and accepting the fact ’emotionally’ are two different things, and the second is required in order to move on. I would really recommend joining our online community to get the support you need. Hugs, Jody x

  48. I am glad to have found this site. Thanks jody. I am 38 now .. but I wanted to be a mother all my life. I love kids and would take up every little chance to baby sit my friends kids or my cousins..or neighbours. I always imagined the sounds of my little one calling out to me. But after years of trying n yearning I finally came to terms with it. It was hard but I have to live on.
    It hurts the most when my own sister would shut me down and would say stop feeling sorry for yourself and that I didn’t do enough to get pregnant or probably I don’t deserve to be a mom. I was so depressed at a point that I questioned my purpose to live. Luckily by gods grace my husband has been a blessing. he stood by me in all times and let me grieve. And this process of grieving for me transformed me. It took a few months and now i have moved on.
    To find women who understand my pain , feels to be normal amongst them and not an outcast.
    Thanks again Jody.

    • Hi Priya – thanks for your comment and I’m so glad you found us. Sometimes the harsh and unempathetic comments of family and friends can be the hardest to cope with. It’s also very, very, common… You might want to check out our fabulous private online community full of great women like us – a bunch of brave, funny, kind, understanding ‘outcasts’ supporting each other to find our way again in a world that often views our pain as trivial and self-indulgent. If only it was! Hugs, Jody x

  49. Such a relief to come across this article and these posts – I have been feeling like the only person in the world to have the feelings that I’ve been having, but now I find a community. I have been reflecting recently on the challenges of being a single, childless woman. For so many other ‘minority groups’ there is so much support. It feels like for ‘our’ minority group, there is very little. It has made me feel like we don’t deserve the support 🙁 I am grateful to have come across this community and to have watched your video Jody – you’re my new role model! Thanks x

    • Hi Patrice – and welcome! It is indeed the case, that at this time in our society’s development, the needs and experiences of single, childless women are indeed not recognised, but rather are ridiculed collectively and shamed individually. It will change, but it’ll take a generation, and it’ll take women like us to realise that we are no longer prepared to accept this! Welcome to your Tribe. Hugs, Jody x

  50. New to this site….am 52 with 2 stepchildren in their 30s and 2 grandchildren 4 yrs & 17 months. I’ve always been very maternal but ny husband didn’t want any more children after his divorce. I thought i had accepted this situation in my 40s but everything has come back to bite me over the last couple of years. Catalyst is definitely the grandchildren but combined with the menopause and losing a close friend to cancer. The whole thing of time funning out is making me panic, plus feeling very isolated in my childlessness, i don’t know anyone in the same circumstances as me. I see my stepdaughter as a mother now and its even clearer what i’ve missed. I’m finding the hardest part forgiving myself for the decisions i’ve made, i don’t blame my husband for not wanting more children but i know now i was wrong to agree with it, i was wrong to to the right thing for everyone else and the wrong thing for me as a person and as a woman, its a hard place to be.

    • Dear Polly you are not alone! I am 52 as well and have 2 step children 31 and 29 with two grandchildren 4 and 7. this is my second husband and he too didn’t want kids. I did. as time went on I thought I would get pregnant. anyway but that didn’t happen and I was never able to conceive. at 38 I had to have a partial hest. All hope gone. I gave all my love to the step children and in return have been hurt over and over again. They didn’t trusting me with their children because I never had my own .Not because I was a bad person but because I never had any baby’s. The other major problem was their mother always saying she’s not your mother and she’s not their real grand mother.

      Now there has been a big rift between father and daughter and I’m being blamed ( I had nothing to do about this, Really!).

      anyway what I am trying to learn and understand is that being childless is not a bad thing and that my husband loves me. the holidays are the hardest and my birthday. that’s because I want to have children and not be consider an afterthought.

      I’m learning (trying)to believe that there is more to this life then what has been given.

  51. Just found out 5 days ago that my possibility of having children is almost none….i can get pregnant but not for a healthy, all my embryos have defects that are not sustainable with life….
    That was a huge blow to me….
    I cry every time i think about it, i feel i stop breathing, or cannot breath… I cannot believe whats happening to me…
    All started as a child sexual abuse from a family member, other emotional and some minor physical abuse in my life . Some health issues that resolved. I made it
    Now i am above 40, have been trying to have kids for 2 years which all my dreams crushed.
    I want to try again, what did i do to deserve that….?

    • Just don’t kill yourself. You’ll get through this. Join this community. Go for therapy. Cry a lot. Grieve. Be a mess. Just don’t harm yourself. I thought I was going to DIE because I couldn’t have children ten years ago. Now I have a life I love, and that I never DREAMED I’d have, and I feel at peace.

      The main thing is, don’t do anything to harm your health, like starting drinking, or taking drugs, or smoking, or eating badly. Your good health is vital. Change your job if you hate it, study, read self-help books, pray, work on your trauma issues, teach English abroad, ANYTHING, but never surrender.

      • Dear Ms. Fradet:

        Your message is my Christmas miracle. I have felt so awful these few days that the unspeakable has begun to appear like a real option.

        But here you are suddenly, offering a light in this terrible darkness. Thank you so much for your compassion and your truth and for giving fellow childless women hope.

        I normally would not believe a stranger’s words on the internet could reach me so deeply, but yours have.

        Wishing you and all readers of this column health, peace, and light in the coming year.

        Thank you once again.

  52. Thankyou for writing your post. It gives me the opportunity to vent my hurt confusion and frustration out loud to try and make sense of why I feel the way I do. I have yet to meet the right partner yet. And im surrounded my friends with children,;going on and on about their eating bathing habits, the stories make me smile and I feel happy for them but my heart is crying out in total despair no words can describe the agony im in while I see my sister and her first born. I have dreamt of being a mother since young girl. I am in pain im 35 but I feel time is ticking away. The yearning is so intense for a child. Seeing pregnant women fills me with a bitterness and anger that has got worse and worse. How can I be understood. I so lonely it hurts like hell but feel like I carry the grief alone just me and god.

  53. Thank you for writing this article. I’m 30 and have been married for almost six years. my marriage has been hard and my husband is far from what he vowed to be. Because of this awful marriage I have not had kids. I can’t bring them into this situation, yet want them so badly. I just found out my little sisters (seven years younger and married for under a year) is pregnant. I’ve wept solidly for four hours. Its not jealousy, honestly, its more the understand that I won’t have that and its more like grieving a loss of all my dreams, desires and hopes. both my brothers have kids and now I’m that random 30 year old in the family with no kids planning my 10th baby shower behind a plastered on smile. I do think I would be a great mother and have SO much love to give, yet because I choose to stay married I will never have that joy 🙁

  54. Just found your post. Was looking for comfort and I found it. I am in a committed relationship with my boyfriend who is near fifty years of age. I am in my early thirties. We have mutually decided not to have children, although I dreamt of having children my whole life. I always thought I would, always saw myself with kids. He has scheduled a vasectomy and as it is nearing, I find myself in tears every time I think about that door shutting forever. I can’t even look my boyfriend in the eyes when he brings it up. I too feel like I am in mourning although I am certain of my decision. I worry that I will go into deep depression afterwards. It’s like everything you said, all your words, were all my thoughts that I could not put into words myself.

  55. It is a source of comfort to know that I’m not alone in feeling grief over not being a mother myself.Sadly due to a longterm illness,it has ‘robbed’ me the chance of being a mother.Coupled with the fact that the right partner never came along for me .
    Whilst in my 20’s and 30’s,family members and friends started having their own families.I found it heartbraking that being a mother wasn’t going to happen for me.Knowing that I would never be called ‘mum’ and I was missing out on something so precious at times is difficult and heartbraking.
    I put on a ‘brave face’ and try to be strong.I’ve come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t meant to be,and probably just ‘fate’.I believe that everything in life is often ‘mapped’ out however hard this sometimes is to deal with.
    My thoughts go out to all those in a similar position.

  56. I found out a few weeks ago that I can’t have kids. I had suspected before, and avoided seeing a doctor about it because I didn’t think I could handle it if it was true.

    I know that it’s sad, and probably sets feminism back a ton, but all I ever wanted from my life was marriage and kids. I got married, that blew up in my face.. but I thought there was still hope for kids. And I was wrong.

    Finding out for sure, ripped my heart out. I feel like my soul died. I lost everything I ever wanted, and this is going to sound bad too, but I don’t feel like I just can’t get pregnant.. I feel like there was already a child there, and she’s gone. I say she, because I used to have dreams, about the same little girl and she was mine. I protected her, and I loved her. I’d wake up crying because I wanted so badly to get to meet her in real life. And now she’s gone. I’m 26. I have so much time left (probably, ugh)… and all my hope is gone. I feel so empty. I can’t even see someone else’s kids or even a pregnant woman without bursting into tears. I don’t know what to do with myself now. I had hoped, the timing just wasn’t right before, maybe nothing was really wrong it was just a timing issue. Now I wish I hadn’t found out, because I feel like I have nothing left.

    I loved this article. Mostly because it felt… relate able. It isn’t just me who feels totally destroyed. But I still feel alone, simply because no one around me seems to get it. My friends with kids are incredibly insensitive. Talking about how they have baby fever, even though they have 4 kids already. I just, can’t deal with that. I’m sorry you want another one and you can’t because you got fixed… but at least you have the ones you have. I can’t even have one. It feels selfish to me, that I would feel that way, I just do. It isn’t fair. There are people who should NEVER have had kids, people who don’t even want them, who are cruel to them.. and then there are people who want them so badly, who would be good parents, but will never be. It’s unfair. I don’t understand. My life, has always been really hard. Really horrible bad things have happened to me, as they have to so many other people… and now I’ve lost this too. How much can I be expected to handle? When will it stop? It’s just one thing after another and it has been since I was a child.. and now this? I’m so tired of everyone always telling me that things get better… they might, but they don’t for me.

    I don’t know what to do now. I feel so broken and empty and completely hopeless.

    • Hi Brandi

      Thanks so much for your comment on the website and I’m sorry you’re feeling so sad right now. This is hard.

      A great way to connect with other women who ‘get’ our situation is in the Gateway Women Private Online Community – it’s a safe and friendly space where you can share the daily reality of being a childless-by-circumstance woman. All applications are carefully vetted by me and I’m doing my best to make it a safe place for us in a world that is currently pretty hostile or dismissive to our experience. Go to http://www.gateway-women.com/community to find out more and apply for free membership.

      Hugs, Jody x

    • Wow you sound exactly like me as if i even wrote that for you. Except i dont know yet whether or not i can have children and i too suspect something may be wrong with me and i am scared to see the doctor. I believe i may have had a miscarriage several months back. Im emotional about that and it lingers in the back of my mind. My current love of two years who i desperately would love to mother a child for already has a 5yr old daughter. It sounds selfish maybe it is i dont know but i tend to feel like im on the back burner because im not the biological mom. I want the mom control and some respect and say. To be the woman of the family taking care of everyone. Momma goose! I try very hard to express how deeply sad and hurt i feel on the issue and am treated like “too bad get over it”. Its easy for him to be hard on that issue because he already has a beautiful child and other family for support. I have nothing and everyday is emotionally painful for me the longer i go without my own family. Should i wait along time til he can finally give me a family or move on to someone who may be more supportive?? Im not sure…. Its a very deep damaging awfully painful hurt thats all i know.

    • Sorry for your loss. By loss I mean the loss u feel not having the little girl you have always dreamt of. I understand how you feel more than you know. I’m 35 (now). I never just “got” pregnant. We went to a infertility Dr and after d&cs and drugs finally got pregnant but we lost it after 2 mts. Then they said I had precancer n another d&c . Again after drugs I was finally able to get pregnant but again we lost her. I felt it was a girl. This past November, the same mth my baby would h born , I had to have a hysterectomy BC my chances of cancer were so high(50%) n the dr said that even if I was to have invetro I would have almost no chance of carrying it past a few MTS bc my uterus was bad. Now all hopes are lost. I can’t tell you things will ever get better because I don’t feel they will but I’m sure that they can always get worse. The pain u feel is soooo real and ppl are so insensitive maybe even unaware of our feelings. All I can say is that u will find ways to cope. Even if all do is hide behind a fake smile And cut yourself off from the world

  57. I am at that age of “time running out”. It is extremely stressful to have always believed in love and fate then due to circumstances of no relationship working out to feel rushed to settle when settling with whomever “will do” was never an option to me. I feel so naive. I had an abortion for reasons of a sociopath father, no personal family or funds to support it. Since then I have never before wanted a child as much as I do now. But time is running out. If it’s not already too late. I am completely depressed because of this reality. and yes I feel very shunned and looked down upon by all my friends who were blessed with stable mates, helpful family’s, funds and free time. I feel I have so much love to give. The peace with my abortion at the time not too long ago was to save the child from a life of poverty and dysfunction due to the father and my lack of funds. I felt very incapable of providing the child a healthy life. Today I feel so conflicted by the same reality. I want a child but can I really raise one alone as I am in this world? Time is running out. there is no man in sight and it’s just me working to make ends meet. I smile and go out with the few friends I have. Whom are all mostly 10 years younger then me. Being friends my age are tending their children. Thank you for your site. I’ve had moments of planning my 40th birthday to be the day I end my life. I really thought I would be a wonderful mother in this lifetime. But I guess it’s not my “fate”.

  58. I want to say a few things. I lost my son to a stillbirth at 38.5 weeks but I have a vibrant 8 year old daughter. I also have had 2 miscarriages. I consider myself lucky to have that one child despite the intense grief I have gone through. I now have a different perspective on life that I never would have had. So many of my friends who have children just don’t “get” that. I have thought about what it might be like to be motherless (for after an event like the loss of my son, one is petrified of losing the other child). I have thought about all the motherless people out there and wondered how they survived such devastation…for it is indeed that…when you want something so badly but cannot have it. I look up to these people for they have a perspective all mothers do not. I think you all should revel in that fact. You have lived through and survived despite such difficulties. The ones who have lost children at any stage of pregnancy and still have no living child, yes! yes! you are a mother! You held that child inside you – you loved that child from the moment of conception! You are a mother! And for those who have not had that experience, it takes incredible courage and strength to readily admit that life has been cruel but do not give up! Take all the wonderfulness that you are and give to the community, give to life for we only have one life to live and it is short. Spend your life happy and not regretful! You deserve it! Yes, I will never get over the loss of my son but I will enjoy my life regardless if I have another child or not!

  59. Cried my whole way through your article. I am not coping at all and slowly destroying both mine and my husbands lives. Went to the Dr but they tried to send me to relate! Just sad all the time and life is colourless.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m so sorry to hear you’re having such a tough time right now.

      I’d really like to encourage you to join our GW+ Community – it’s a safe and friendly space where you can share the daily reality of being a childless-by-circumstance woman. All applications are carefully vetted by me and I’m doing my best to make it a safe place for us in a world that is currently pretty hostile or dismissive to our experience.

      Click here to find out more apply for free membership

      Our situation gets so much easier when we have supportive, intelligent, empathic women around us who don’t think we’re weird for finding our situation challenging, and don’t close us down with endless miracle baby stories when we try to discuss it!

    • This is how i am starting to feel i am 25. All i long for is a child and to start a family. Getting up everyday just to support myself got old years ago. I need to have that void filled or life does not seem worth it. Its especially difficult when your significant other doesnt understand how bad this makes one feel and how deep it goes.

      • Ashley, I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. I hear all the time at my Childless by Marriage about husbands/partners who don’t seem to understand how the woman feels when she wants children and can’t have them. They toss it off as no big deal, and we know it is a big deal. I hope someday soon your man really gets it.

  60. Loved the article on whether you ever get over not having children. At present, I am thinking I will never get over it completely. There will always be reminders. I hate the loneliness I feel. I don’t even like to admit I am lonely. Saying that, I am someone who likes space – I always have, even as a child according to my mother. I need space to be able to re-centre myself. Not having children, I have sort of lost my friends and my sister to marriage and children (which I get). I also don’t want to be reminded all the time of what I don’t have. Like everyone I want to be loved. To be hugged. Someone to care for me. I know it should start with me but at times I feel like the child who thinks that there is something wrong with them, that I am unloveable. I want to stop wasting my life, move forwards (what ever that means) and make the most of the time I have left. I am stuck. How to grieve without falling apart.

  61. I just read this blog having posted “Do you ever get over not having children” and i’m so glad I found it! Thank you, Jody.
    I googled that because I had just spent some time with a friend who is really struggling to come to terms with it, as I have also struggled to come to terms with it.
    It wasn’t infertility that caused this situation for me, but circumstance – too involved to write about here.
    At 40 when I realised I probably was never going to have children, I fell into a blur of misery and addiction. I could not cope with the amount of grief I felt, combined with the often thoughtless comments or assumptions of others. My heart was physically hurting, I really didn’t think I would live through it. But I did.
    I am addiction free now (10 years later) and the wound is more of a scar now, but the pain can still come alive again if I’m with the wrong people or the wrong situation. Thankfully that is not often now as I am a lot more careful about who I associate with. As a result I feel blessed with the friendships I have around me.
    I work in the welfare field now because I too strongly identify with the disenfranchised people of the world and all my pain comes in handy these days because empathy comes naturally to me, and it helps me to think it wasn’t all for nothing because I really can help – not all the time, but often.
    I do get angry at the way women who don’t have children are treated by the world, but maybe I don’t regret what I’ve learned because my life is meaningful now in a way I didn’t expect it to be, and I have a respect for myself for surviving all that pain.
    Not many understand, and I don’t expect them to, but it’s really nice to read this.
    May we all find happiness and healing in whatever ways we can xxx

  62. My wife and I have went through different procedures but have miscarried on more than one occasion. I try to get on with things but my heart is broken and I can’t seem to fix it.

  63. Many people think that if you are childless it is for a medical reason or lifestyle choice. For me it is neither. I spent 9 years in an abusive, manipulative relationship with someone I later found out had NPD and my life was one of trying to escape and survive.There was no way I could inflict such a life on another human being. I was then on my own for years. Living in a village it wasn’t easy to meet people. Then I met and fell in love with a wonderful man, but he didn’t want any more children. I totally understood why. He had married at 19 and took on a 2 year old as his own. He then had 2 more children. They split up and he remarried, but his 2nd wife died and he also brought up her three children on his own. When we met they were in their early teens. He was looking forward to a bit of me time and why shouldn’t he. His whole adult life had been spent bring up children, mainly other peoples. I stayed with him because I loved him and loved being with him. It really hit home when I was diagnosed with fibroids. I was very aware that my operation could result in hysterectomy, but I was so ill I had to go through with it. I was in turmoil. I had to attend the same department as all the expectant mums. It was my vision of hell.I wanted my body clock to say it was too late, not an operation. It went well but they came back. I have now had 3 operations which all went well and was told i could still technically have children if i had a cesarean. 3 years ago i was diagnosed with 6 more tumors, but the aren’t causing me too many problems so I have left them. Although I am no longer in a relationship with this wonderful guy, we are still best friends. I am single again at 46 years old. Although I can potentially still have children I am fully aware that it is highly improbable. I never chose to be childless; to not have a family. People make many assumptions about me and none of them are ever correct. Christmas used to be difficult, but i learnt to live with it and now it has become easy to just ignore it. I live over the road to a primary school and when i here the 5 year olds playing i realize my heart still brakes and i also remember that when i was 5 i thought i would grow up to be like everybody else. But like many other people, i bury my feelings deep inside and ignore them as best i can and try to concentrate on what is positive in my life and what i do have rather than what i don;t have. This is the first time i have ever shared this with anyone. I know there will be other women and i dare say men who will relate to this. It is a pain that goes unseen, but is very real indeed.

    • How amazing that you are telling your story at last. You will find lots of support on the Gateway Women google community page, email Jody or contact Gateway Women through facebook to find out more.

      • Hi Joolz

        My father was a psychopath. My amazing Mum protected us both, but there were some difficult times. He nearly killed me once when I was just a few months old, he was in a rage and swung the bassinet too fast when coming in the front door. I was catapulted across the room, bounced off the wall and fell onto the floor. There were other times when I wasn’t properly supervised and nearly drowned. My Mum put up with him for 10 years, leaving him when I was 4. I’m now 36 and we only recently figured out that he fits the classic psychopath/narcissist profile.

        He was never able to empathise with me as a child, and our relationship was non-existent by the time I was 15. I spent a long time in counselling trying to understand why he was constantly rejecting me and why I was making such bad relationship choices.

        Your ex sounds more violent than my father was, and I’m guessing he would never have been able to bond with his child and would at least have caused irreparable psychological damage. What happened to you was awful and it angers me that women’s friends and family don’t step in to save them from these men. I am so sorry that this man robbed you of the chance to have children. You had no choice at the time, any kindhearted woman would have done the same.

        I also feel annoyed at men who have children and think it’s ok to start a relationship with a younger woman and make her choose between the relationship and her ambitions of motherhood. This puts a woman who is in love, in an impossible situation. Relationships don’t always last, but the grief of not having children stays with you forever. This may sound unfair, but I have a friend in Australia in this situation and it makes me very angry that men do this.

        Sending love your way.

        Tya

      • Thank you for your understanding Tya. (Regarding the first guy I mentioned) Don’t be too hard on people who don’t help in these situations as they aren’t always aware of what is happening to their friend or family member. I’m also sorry to hear about your friend. I myself have never been in the position where I have been pressured into making that choice between a relationship and children; for me it was just bad timing and this isn’t the reason why I’m no longer in relationship with the second guy who had children. I also think that men have just as much right to choice as women. Unless there has been deliberate deceit then it is sad but unfortunately sometimes we do have to make upsetting choices in life. I think honesty about wanting, not wanting, can’t have, should be dealt with in a sincere and sensitive manner from the start from both parties really.

  64. My house is full of the sounds of my neighbours raising their child. There was an advert for a children’s clothes sale on the doormat when I got home. I have one of those counter things that tell you how much electricity you’re using and it’s next to nothing but the momentary feeling of smugness doesn’t make me feel any better. There was nothing special about today, it was a day just like every other day and there is absolutely nowhere to go to forget. There’s always someone with a pregnancy or a pushchair or a whining teenager. Every person in the street has a mother. It’s so easy and yet so f….g impossible to live with if it doesn’t work. It would be better to come here and say it’ll be all right, I suppose, because that’s what everyone does. But it isn’t all right, it’s ongoing agony. Thank you for letting me say that x

  65. I lost a triplet pregnancy last year, at 19 weeks gestation. My grief has been far from easy to understand. Am I a mother? Did I ‘know’ my children enough to grieve for them? Were they even real people or just a cluster of cells with the potential to become real? Am I a bad person because I know I’d be even more devastated if one of my babies had been a girl, instead of 3 boys? I didn’t expect the confusion, and I didn’t expect to be SO ANGRY with the whole world.

    Only 2 friends asked to see me after the miscarriage. Many sent short messages, but no-one knocked on my door. Very few people recognised my experience as a real loss, except my ex-colleagues who sent me a big bunch of flowers. This recognition made me feel better, at least for a day or two. Most people treat miscarriage as if your distant cousin had died (your’e allowed to be sad for a day or two but you didn’t know them well enough to grieve, and therefore a one sentence email is all you need from them in the way of support). Or they simply treat you like a leper.

    My partner’s sister committed suicide when she was 19. My partner’s mother has treated my loss as the loss of a child. She told me “losing a child is losing a child”. She also told me people would cross the street when they saw her, for fear of being confronted with her grief. People just don’t know what to say, and they don’t realise that saying nothing is worse than saying the ‘wrong’ thing.

    I believe the loss of a child is painful whether or not that child has been conceived, and whether or not that child was brought to term. I have 4 children through 2 miscarried pregnancies. I never met any of them, but I felt them grow inside me and I will always love them. I’m still hopeful of another pregnancy, and I already love the child I hope I will one day hold, and I know it will be painful as hell if this child is never conceived.

    The grief we feel is unique to each of us. But we have one thing in common – the lack of a living child. And it hurts.

    • Hi Tya,
      I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your babies. I lost my daughter at 37 weeks of gestation. She to date is my only child, but like you I still hope for one that I can take home. It is so hurtful when people don’t acknowledge the loss and expect you to move on and return to normal “as if it hadn’t happened” when this is just not possible. My daughter would be 14 now and I have never forgotten her though over the years it has become easier to bear. I do consider myself to be a mother, but sadly not a parent. Sometimes it can feel very lonely. Sending you a big hug over cyberspace.
      Emily x

    • This sounds very much like my experience 30 years ago when I miscarried. I thought I was going mad for a year afterwards – and the lack of sympathy (never mind empathy!) was just extraordinary! Even from my own family. And I have lost many friends whose lives moved on with their children. I have now come to the conclusion that I am no longer interested in other people’s children and have very little in common with people who have them!!!

      I am now 65 years old and have been experiencing everything that is described on these pages since my 30’s having never found a partner to live with, whilst experiencing redundancies, unemployment and simply surviving. Since retiring (my working life eventually settled down) I have been trying very hard to ensure that I bring interest and joy into my life, but the loneliness sometimes can be unbearable. I am in therapy to try and help me deal with everything that has happened and ensure that I do not end up completely embittered.

  66. I know I found this site at just the right time.. I thought I was doing well with the fact that my husband and I do not have children. As a teacher, I have worked with many, many children over the years and somehow I thought that was helping me deal with my life, etc.,
    Today at church I was in a small group of women, all are great people and one is a close friend,… however, when they start sharing pictures and talking about their children I feel like they are making me invisible and I had this roller coaster of emotions, that I wanted to be mad and then remind them that no one should idolize their child…this was of course all going on inside my head… The odd thing is one friend is in a terrible situation with an abusive husband and I know that I am truly blessed to have a dear husband. Will I ever handle this exclusion of “lets talk about out children” and I am on the outside?

  67. I have a friend who had a baby that died six hours after birth, she told me once that she didn’t know what to say when people asked her if she had children. I told her to tell them “yes I had a daughter, but she died”. I felt it was important to allow herself to acknowledge her child and to express her loss, since they asked. I have been struggling with infertility issues and have been unable to conceive since a miscarraige over three years ago. I once burst into tears at work when a client asked me when I was going to have children. I felt guilty for my emotional outpouring, but I also think people deserve a personal answer when they ask a personal question. I have been told this is selfish, but I feel we should speak honestly about our experiences so others will understand the debth of the questions they are asking. There is so much fluff surrounding the childbearing/birthing process, and we mostly hear athe good news about happy healthy babies. In reality there are so many women who experience loss through miscarriage, death, or the inability to conceive. I think that by talking about these real life experiences we raise awareness and create compassion for those whose lives may not have turned out as they had hoped. I thank you for creating this space for sharing, as the world is there are far too resources for women struggling with the childless by choice/chance delimma.

  68. Oh Jody, you’ve done it again. To be honest, I didn’t want to think about this today. When I started reading, I thought, oh no, I can’t handle this, but then as I read on, I felt the healing that you describe. With the multiple losses in my life, not only children, but my husband and my mother, too, I have grieved hard but also gained strength and understanding. I can’t wait to share this post with my Childless by Marriage readers.

  69. I was crying reading this post. I am 45 and first found out that it would be extremely difficult for us to ever have children when I was 34. One of the first things that I did to try to cope was to read as many different books on the subject as possible. I congratulated myself on how well I was handling things. The women in the books talked about never completely getting over the many losses of infertility. I thought that seemed odd. Don’t all feelings of pain & loss lessen over time? Well, unfortunately for me, I think the opposite is true. Every time I think that I am in a good place and have moved on – wham it all comes at me again. Trying to get through the grieving process but it feels never ending.

  70. “The fact is that if you were to have had children, and by some tragic event, they had died, nobody would ever expect you to be ‘over it’. Indeed, if you ever were, you’d be considered heartless – that terrible fairytale nasty: a bad mother. Every Christmas or Mother’s Day, people would be sensitive towards how hard those celebrations must be for you. And if they forgot your loss, they’d feel terrible about it. Your loss would be considered life-changing.”

    I read this part, as a woman who lost a baby half an hour after his birth, and thought “No. That’s not even close to what happens. People are not sensitive about your loss, they do not feel terrible when they forget it. That’s not even close to what happens.”

    I have been told that I could just have another one – as if one baby is replaced by another as simply as buying a new pair of socks. I have been told “well, at least you didn’t take him home and get used to him.” Friends who have lost older children were told “well, at least you got a chance to know them”.

    I have learned that as a race, a people, a kin we are simply bad at confronting the “other”. We do not manage well when someone has a different experience, when someone doesn’t match up to the way we expect the world to be. The unfortunate reality is that we ask others to “simply get over it” because we are uncomfortable about their situation, their loss, their circumstances. We are unable to handle their sorrow, it makes us uncomfortable.

    Asking someone to find closure and become happy, just like us, is nothing more than our inability to manage sorrow and tragedy in any coherent or collective sense. It says much about them and virtually nothing about us.

    And so we find communities where we can be who we really are – moments of happiness and pockets of sorrow. We find places that accept us, affirm our journeys and show us the multitude of ways we will find happiness on our different paths, and people who will stay with us in the moments of sadness.

    This post broke my heart, a little bit. As a woman who was unable to have more children after the death of my son, I belong here. I am a childless woman. And yet, it separated those of us who in some sense ought to be natural allies. It broken a small group into smaller groups – it made me feel like my road wasn’t as difficult as someone else, rather than simply saying my road was different, and different is not less.

    We are such a small community, those of us who wanted children and didn’t have them. It seems to me that we are better served by drawing the circle wider and asking careful questions of our erstwhile companions, seeking to understand all of our collective experiences and bearing witness to each other’s sorrow and pain, regardless of how we found ourselves here.

    I have found more comfort in those who, for whatever reason, did not find themselves living the lives they expected to, planned to, hoped for, dreamed of. All of them have taught me and continue to teach me how to make peace and sense of this world I live in. And I am thankful for all of them – the woman who was widowed at 30 and gave up a life of long marriage and happiness, the mother who lost her daughter when that girl was 20, the man who had the stroke at the age of 40. All of them have spoken words to help me reconcile the life I have with the life I wanted, have whispered truth and helped me heal.

    All of them were there and willing to help, when I simply listened to what it was like to be them, without insisting that my own journey was more painful and more difficult than theirs.

    • Dear Mrs Split,

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and moving response to my article. Reading your comment also broke my heart a little. I am so sorry that, in my ignorance, I made you feel like an outsider from our little community. I totally agree with you that I too find comfort with others who do “not find themselves living the lives expected”. There is a humility to those who have had their hearts broken by life – and I can hear it in the tone of your comment too. Thank you for caring enough to write.

      I am one women, attempting to speaking on behalf of many. Sometimes I don’t get it quite right, but each time I learn a little more. And I grow a little more too.

      I too do not believe there are ‘levels’ of loss – and I certainly do not wish to divide us from each other. I think your point of asking “questions” is absolutely valid, and I hope that you can perhaps see this post as a kind of “question” and your response as a kind of “answer”. I believe that greif is a dialogue, but I coming to understand that it doesn’t mean it’s always going to be a comfortable one!

      I am so sorry for your loss; for all our losses. And in that, I trust there is more in common than can divide us. My work is a drop in the ocean of compassion that the world needs to help us understand our own, and each other’s pain. My dream is that Gateway Women will become a community and network of healing and understanding to support us all, contain us all. I do hope that you will continue to feel included in that.

      Once again, many thanks for taking the time to share your point of view and experience with me, with us.

      Jody x

  71. I’m a 39 year old woman and am currently in the inbetween stage. I do not know for sure if I can’t have children, so do not feel appropiate to move on. We have explored adoption but we have to to be free from all infertility issues first before out Local Authority will allow us to go forward. In fact at a recent meeting we were told we had to wait six months after we had completed our fertility journey and this is because we would have grieved then and enough time has passed.

    I’ve pondered this the last week or so and wondered if a woman can go through the ‘normal’ grieving process, when you have not lost an actual being. There is no face to remember, no familular smell to recall etc.. So how can you move on?

    This group means so much to me, when I am completely lost and it is always reassuring and warming that you are not alone.

  72. I am just at the very start of what feels like the next phase of my life – accepting and coming to terms with a life without children. There was a point a few months ago when I came to realise that it was the end of that particular road for me as and I am slowly beginning to think of my future without children (something that I wouldn’t have even considered for many years). Over the past few weeks I have been struggling with a question that has been doing a merry dance round and round my head – “this grieving thing – how do I do it?”. So, I have come to realise I will not be a mum. Now I was an expert in all things to do with trying to conceive (although not successfully so I guess there is some room for debate), ask me any question related to trying to have a child and I reckon I could win Mastermind. But not being a mother, trying to work out what I’m meant to do now, grieving…….no idea…… After reading this post though it seems I am making an okay start. Finding this group, taking part in the webinar and going to the talk last month has been hugely beneficial. It has shown me there are so many of us in similar circumstances who have all found ourselves in this place for varying reasons. I am so grateful to have found this group and although I don’t really feel like I know what I am doing and I’m only at the beginning of walking out of this tunnel I am determined to feel good about my life again.

    • Hi Helen

      I’m sure that so many can identify with you “this grieving this – how do I do it?” point! I guess, we don’t “do” grief – it “does” us! But we need to create a space for it, and find others who can help us hold that space. And you’re doing both. If you accept my idea that grief is a form of love, perhaps you can see that grief is something you “do” but something you “experience” or “are in”. It will unfold within and without, and not to a timetable that we can set, or which is convenient or predictable.

      We live in a culture that does not understand or accept grief and loss, so we’re going against the grain here. But if my experience is anything to go by, the gift of grief is a healing that makes the past acceptable, the present available and the future possible again.

      Hugs, Jody x

  73. Thank you for this article. I am far from over my grieving process but I hope with time the grieving for what I always wanted will pass.
    Thank you again x

  74. Thoughtful article Jody, thanks. I’m sorry to say that I find myself disagreeing quite strongly with your sentence: “The fact is that if you were to have had children, and by some tragic event, they had died, nobody would ever expect you to be ‘over it’ “. I know parents in this situation and after a while they are expected to get over it. I’m sorry because I wish it wasn’t like that, I wish we were all much more compassionate to one another (me included!) I think it points to a problem in our society of a lack of acknowledging and having meaningful rites of passage for all sorts of grief and losses. We’re so caught up in our own lives, stories, busyness that I do think we expect people to get other the most difficult of things. What a shame. Great that your work is bringing about greater empathy and sharing of lives.

    • Hi Kamalamani

      Thanks so much for commenting and I really appreciate you disagreeing with me! I cannot learn and grow in understanding unless others care enough to reach out and share their wisdom with me when I’m missing the point. However, much I appreciate those who let me know when my work ‘hits the spot’ for them, I also value deeply knowing when I’ve missed it too.

      Yours is one of a few comments today from women who have told me that the simplistic mother-vs-nomo (not mother) divide I described does NOT create the empathy and understanding from others that I imagined. I am so sad to think that even giving birth to a child and losing it is still not enough to create the space and understanding that grief deserves. I did understand that losing a child in miscarriage or still birth gets little sympathy, but I presumed (erroneously it seems) that losing a child would be different. I am so sad that this is often not the case.

      I’m absolutely with you that, as a culture, we have lost so many of the rituals and acknowledgements that would create and hold the space for transitioning through such losses. I believe that apart fromt the rituals of marriage, parenthood and death there’s really very little else. Even a ‘coming of age’ party (at 18 or 21) seems to be more about getting drunk than acknowledging the passage to adulthood. I believe that we are a much poorer society because of the loss of our rituals to help us make manifest our internal transitions.

      Thank you for commenting, and for supporting my work. And thank you for illuminating me further on how a loss which I have not experienced is often experienced by those that have.

      Jody x

  75. This is a wonderful article, I’m not at the end of the grieving process yet and it seems like I never will be. It’s comforting to know that there are others out there coping well with their grief.

  76. Thank you Jidy, I am going to send this to my friends with kids as well as those without. More and more I am realising that grief heals.

  77. Are you a mother if you have gone through labour and delivered a dead baby? Or had a late miscarriage? I was called a mother both times by the obstetrician dealing with me. I lost a few friends after both incidents. I don’t tell people now. I consider myself a mother without children. I am often asked why I don’t have children and I just say I wasn’t lucky enough.

    • Dear Cate,
      Thank you for your comment. What you have been through is heartbreaking, and I’m so sorry that you also lost friends. I’m sad that you can’t share your experiences with people either. From the comments I’ve received on this blog today, I can see that my simplistic either/or breakdown of mothers/not-mothers is far from the full story. I hope that my ignorance about this, as compared to your experience, has not given you further pain.
      With love,
      Jody x

    • Cate, have you consulted any groups for support, like Compassionate Friends (www.compassionatefriends.org)? I know that most bereaved parents feel that only another bereaved parent can truly “understand” their pain (and even then, sometimes). We as childless women feel pain too, but it really isn’t acknowledged. I know that for a bereaved parent, they don’t always find the sensitivity that you need, either, though, and I can’t imagine your pain. I guess you can’t understand ours necessarily either, through your own. I am so sorry that you lost friends and that you feel that you cannot tell people. I say, tell people, your pain is valid.

    • Dear Cate,

      What you have been through is so absolutely awful, and makes me so very sad. Having been called ‘a mother’ and lost both of your babies… I can only imagine the pain and sadness you must carry in your heart. And then to lose friends too, and to feel that you have to ‘not’ tell people.

      I wanted to let you know about some very important work being done by http://www.sayinggoodbye.org they are organising services of remembrance for lost babies at Cathedrals around Britain, and this year, they hope to do so in the US as well. I went to the service in St Paul’s Cathedral last November and it was one of the most beautiful and healing things I have experienced. To be amongst other women (and couples) who have lost babies (at all stages of pregnancy) in birth and in infancy was very special indeed.

      In my experience, until I had done my grief work around my childlessness, it wasn’t really possible for me to find a way to talk about with others that didn’t make them uncomforable. I say this because it may not ALWAYS be the case that you feel you can’t say the truth of your experience – but it may be that to get to that place, you may need to find women who you can talk to freely. And that’s women like us here on Gateway Women.

      We have a wonderful Private Gateway Women Community over on G+ where a lot of support and understanding is being given and received. Do please come and join us:

      To join the Private Gateway Women Community on G+
      1. Join G+ (Google Plus) using your Gmail address (other email addresses won’t work, so you might need to set up a Gmail email address first – go to http://www.gmail.com).
      2. Search the “Communities” tab (on the vertical bar on the left hand side of the screen) for “Gateway Women”
      3. Request an invite.

      Also, in time, you might like to consider setting up a Gateway Women Meetup in your area, or come to one that already exists.
      http://www.meetup.com/Gateway-Women/

      With my warmest wishes

      Jody x

      • Hi Jody, thanks for the article which I feel resonates with what am going through. Am a believer who has prayed for a Godly husband since I was 19. I just turned 40 with no answer from God. My feelings are all over the place. Am angry and disappointed with God for making me wait this long especially as I watch my fertile years pass by helplessly. I have been sad & depressed for sometime without understanding what is going on with me. I even stopped praying – what’s the use? Feels like my prayers are not important.
        I have began to understand that the sadness & depression I have been feeling is grieving. Grieving for I will never be a young mother & my life will never be as I thought it would. Grieving for being single @ my age & completely alone as most of my friends or pple my age are married. I just don’t fit in anywhere. Grieving as I face the reality that I may never be a mother.
        Yesterday I had my annual health check up & the gynecologist scolded me for being childless at my age. She thinks am reckless. She advised me to hurry up & have a child before fibroids take over my uterus. I have always wanted to have children in the confines of a Godly marriage. I didn’t share my beliefs with her as she may not understand. I don’t know what to do. Kindly advice

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