There, it’s said. Weekends can be absolute hell as a single, childless woman. “They creep up on you,” said one friend recently.
Many of us are so busy with work commitments and after-work activities Monday-to-Friday that we can’t wait for the peace and quiet of the weekend in order to recover. And then, when we wake up on Saturday morning to an empty bed, an empty house and an empty weekend, it doesn’t feel relaxing; it feels hideously oppressive.
Alternatively, we pack our weekend schedule to the gunnels with activities and appointments only to feel burnt out and resentful and end up having to cancel half of them in order to get some downtime. Possibly the burnout is in part caused by the fact that as single, childless women almost all our activities are self-organised, self-attended and usually require a good deal of social and emotional resilience to cope with, let alone enjoy. Activities with old friends can be pretty thin on the ground as so many of their lives now revolve around their own families, and so we often find ourselves in a room full of people we hardly know, doing our best to ‘make an effort’.
For example, a (now quiet) blog that I used to a big fan of The Bitter Babe (tagline: Never Married, Over Forty, Slightly Bitter) shared the author’s exhausting schedule of full-on job, theatre groups, dance classes, gym and internet dating… Just reading it used to make me want to lie down in a dark room with a damp cloth on my forehead!
There was a period in my life several years ago when I found myself living alone, working alone, not in a relationship, childless and pet-less. I didn’t plan it but, rather like the perfect storm, the circumstances crept up on me to form a tsunami of isolation. Of loneliness. (There, loneliness, another word we’re not allowed to say out loud).
I had chosen to live alone after several years of renting bedrooms in other people’s homes after my divorce. I also chose not to be in a relationship having been in one almost continuously since I was a teenager (including being with my ex-husband for sixteen years). But I didn’t choose to be childless, pet-less or to be working alone at home. Things collided: a business partnership went sour, my landlord wouldn’t allow pets, my infertility and unwise choices in partners post-divorce left me childless, most of my friends were wrapped up with partners and/or children.
It was possibly the toughest period of my adult life, and I thought my divorce was as bad as things could get. But nothing prepared me for the sense of dissolving into oblivion that I experienced in that isolation. It made me understand why solitary confinement is used as a form of punishment.
I was haunted by what I called ‘the void’ – a visceral sense of being engulfed by my own subjectivity. It was absolutely exhausting just ‘being me’.
When I’d go out for a drink with the few friends that were available, I’d encourage them to talk about their own lives as much as possible; when they’d protest that they had been talking about themselves too much I’d say, “No, please carry on! You’ve no idea how bored I am of the inside of my own head!” And I meant it.
Solitude and isolation are very different beasts. I have always loved solitude, and was happy playing alone as a child as my imagination was pretty good company. But isolation is different – isolation is unchosen. However, with the support of a gifted therapist, and the insights gained from my ongoing training to become a psychotherapist, I weathered the storm. And when I surfaced I found that the void was nothing to be scared of and that, rather than engulfing me, it actually contained power, joy and creativity. Making space for this darkness in my life regenerated me in a profound way.
I wanted to share a video with you that I found during my dark night of the soul, and which alternately annoyed me and uplifted me, depending on how I was feeling that day. Filmed by Andrea Dorfman in Nova Scotia, it features Canadian poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis, and it’s had over 8 million hits on YouTube. Yep, that’s 8 million other people who can’t say that sometimes they’re lonely either…
Since I came to terms with not having children, the whole tone of my life has changed. I’m no longer waiting for it to start, or for someone to help me get it started.
I’ve understood that for me, creativity equals meaning, and that meaning is what I was craving. What I was missing. What I was mourning. I thought only a child could fill this space, but I was wrong. Although there will always be a scar on my heart from my childlessness, it’s one I’ve since learned how to live with. A scar is very different from a wound.
I’ve learned that meaningful work, contact with other childless women (online and in-person) and friendships (old and new) are what sustain me, and so I nurture them.
NOW, WHY NOT…
Join our life-changing, taboo-busting, friendly, frank, kind, private, global online community.
Watch Jody’s 2022 TEDxGateway talk ‘Social Plankton: Why Single Non-Mothers are the Fuel of the Future‘ and/or her 2017 TEDxHull talk, ‘The Lost Tribe of Childless Women‘.
Download a free chapter of my book, Living the Life Unexpected: How to Find Hope, Meaning and a Fulfilling Future Without Children (2nd Ed. 2020. Bluebird/Pan Mac)
Come and make new local childless friends at a Gateway Gathering in the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia & New Zealand.
Book a place on a Gateway Women Reignite Weekend – our friendly, life-changing transformational weekend for childless women looking to embrace the life unexpected (UK/EU, USA/CAN, AUS/NZ).
Explore Gateway Women’s global resource list including books, blogs and organisations including books on dealing with loneliness and the experience of the single & childless woman
Listen to some of Jody’s many inspiring podcast interviews and get your preconceptions about what childless women ‘are like’ changed!
Check out our role model gallery of more than 600 inspiring childless and childfree women – there are so many ways to live a life without children other than the disempowering stereotypes we meet in the media
Gateway Women workshops & events sell out fast, so if you’d like to come to one, make sure you’re on our email update list. It only goes out once a month and we never bombard you with emails. Because that’s just rubbish!
Thank you for having the courage to blog about this period in our lives. I’m 38 single and childless, mostly by circumstance. I’m currently experiencing this boredom and loneliness as the last of my married friends have children. I think it looks pretty unlikely to ever be me, as much as I would love to couple up I just do not seem to have the knack for intimate relationships.During my many single years I did what I was told and worked on myself, so I have sorted out many of my childhood issues and also am in good shape career wise, financially, health wise. It’s great to be so privileged but it is also chronically boring because there are no challenges left, apart from finding a man which seems impossible at times! I am thinking about volunteering for something to do, but I feel like a new retiree must feel – loads of time and a bit of spare money and energy, but at a loss to know what to spend it on! Glad to know I’m not alone in wondering what to do with myself!
I just turned 41. Never married. Single for the past 8 years (with 1 year long ‘thing’ in between and another very aloof experience for roughly 6 months). No kids.
I only have 1 member of my birth family left and we live in different countries.
I’ve become very accustomed to living alone but it is not what I want. My friends are mostly married, defacto, partnered parenting or single parenting. This snuck up bit by bit.
I have never had trouble getting male attention but I feel they have come from a very disingenuous and superficial place. (Ive been told I’m attractive but I just see me, nothing amazing, nothing ugly, just me, when I look in the mirror) The real connections have been few. Sometimes this saddens me greatly and as my girlfriends have less and less time for their single friend, I have felt this more sharply.
My relationships from 17-33 were abusive, as was my childhood home, and I am now, finally in therapy to overcome abusive patterning in my life. At a glance, no-one would know this. I’ve become so adept at covering and pretending to be ‘normal’. I hate being asked, ‘How come you’re single?’ as though I have to justify my existence. ‘Why didn’t you have children?’ As if it were a simple matter of choice and a matter of public scrutiny, not a deeply private and personal experience.
But mostly, I miss the feeling of belonging, of having a place in a family-like community. I would love to hear from people (men and women) what they have done to provide themselves with community and belonging. Particularly ways that do not require money.
I haven’t read everything yet, but so far, thank you thank you thank you!
Recognise your mention of no longer waiting for your life to start – am lucky to be in a relationship but at 51 we often have “couldn’t do this if we had children” moments. Tough times 15 years back but getting better. Now to make a will and leave stuff to friends! Really enjoy your posts – thanks
Hi jody, I just re read this article again because out of all you have written this is the one that resonates with me the most and helps to remind me that I’m not alone! For me weekends and the dreaded bank holidays are difficult not necessarily because of the lack of kiddies, but the lack of a partner and the lack of friends who are available to spend time with you because of their kiddies and partner. It’s got to the point where having just one social engagement with another human means an unusually busy weekend. I’m also really tired of being the one who does all the social asking and planning too – the number of times I’ve been brave enough to suggest meeting a friend say for early evening drinks on a Friday, only to be offered a weekday lunch slot instead or a quick brunch. I definitely feel relegated to a weekday day time friend by many girlfriends, often because, I suspect, weekend socialising is reserved for seeing parents of their children’s friends and other people who come in ready packaged couples. As my family and parents are all at least 4 hours away as well, I’m having to think whether moving nearer to them would at least give me some more opportunities for other casual social arrangements and the ability to at least drop in for a cuppa when I’ve had 3 straight days on my own. Am i the only one who wonders how long it would take for someone to realise I’d died in my rental flat? this is so far removed from how I thought my life would look like at 40 🙁
I echo this comment almost exactly and sometimes find it’s hard not to feel resentful towards friends who say they have to devote weekends to their partner and child/ren (and therefore can’t spend them with you), particularly when they post pictures on facebook of them with other families. I don’t mind too much spending weekday evenings on my own after a day at work, but weekends can seem interminable.
Yes Rosiewill. I understand what you’re saying! X
Wow – a year after you have written it – this Blog is really powerful still..
Many thanks – I love the Tanya Davies video. And here I was getting into a panic about next weekend! – I do spend a lot of time alone and do try to organise meeting up with people – but sometimes it feels exhausting to be always making the arrangements.
But when I am alone there is more time for doing creative things.. Thank you – the comments were interesting, intriguing and inspiring too…
Hi, just clicked through from Twitter. This place is exactly what I need just as I’m ready for it. Wonderful synchronicity.
I hadn’t realised I’ve been fighting a battle since puberty, until now, as I reach the menopause. On the one hand, first knowing I would be a mother, then believing I probably would, then hoping, then shocked by the gut-punch of grief at the void behind me. On the other, an unrecognised but constant underlying petrifying terror at the prospect of the practical and emotional and psychic vulnerabilities and responsibilities of motherhood.
I find the lack of connection between mothers and me to be the saddest, most loneliness-inducing thing for me. They can know a little of what it’s like to be unmarried and childless, and not by choice, but I can’t know them, and the resulting shifts in priorities and outlook. I have felt valueless and redundant, and not a real, proper woman. I think I’ve also confused the state of depression with the process of grieving. And my ‘failure’ has always been my ‘fault’.
Thankfully it’s changing for me, freed from my heart’s desire, I feel relieved and tentative flashes of, ready to be enough.
I’m so pleased to find this blog!
Oh oh oh! I’m not the only one bored in my own head!? Thank you for making me laugh and feel better.
My oldest childfree friend just died. She had NO regrets at all on being childfree. She led a great and interesting life and was a great example to all. Find something more interesting to do would be my thought. I have no room in my life for children, never did, never wanted them. Those of you who did and couldn’t could always borrow/mentor some of course or find something else you love to do and live for and your weekends won’t be empty. Just my two cents of course. I am fascinated that anyone could ever even for a brief moment feel their lives were less for not having children. Also, it is more the ones who did not have children who do leave things for the next generation if you look at who left what to galleries and archives.
Hi, and thanks for commenting.
As you write, you ‘have no room in (your) life for children, never did, never wanted them’. Therefore, as you are childfree, you got the life you hoped and planned and dreamed of, and I am very happy for you.
Many women on this site did (or do) want children, and weren’t able to have them, or it’s looking pretty unlikely. They therefore are grieving the loss of a family, of an identity, of a long cherished dream. It’s not something you ‘get over’ by borrowing or mentoring someone else’s child (satisfying those these activities are) or by ‘finding something more interesting to do’. If it were that simple, I can assure you, they would do it, and have probably tried it. And sadly, they will have found that all the obvious suggestions don’t even begin to touch the emptiness they feel. I know some women who have been near suicidal with despair over this issue.
What we are dealing with here is grief – a grief that our culture currently doesn’t recognise or allow a space for. A grief that needs space and recognition so that it can be worked through and heal. Only then is it possible to fully engage with life’s “Plan B”.
I think this is really valid Jody
“a grief that our culture currently doesn’t recognise or allow a space for. A grief that needs space and recognition so that it can be worked through and heal.”
I just start to feel I’m getting back and then I’m back grieving again – it’s bloody tough and there is very little space for it in our society.
This is a great website and I wish it had been around when I was in my later 30s, single and trying to come to terms with the likelihood of never having children. I am now married and still childfree but the good news is that, in my experience, it gets easier. I am now 50 and believe that, once you are no longer fertile and have gone through the grieving process, it gets much easier. The pressure is off (your biological clock stops ticking) and you no longer feel those pangs of loss and sadness.
One thing that helped me enormously was I discovered hashing (the Hash House Harriers!). They are described as a drinking club with a running problem. This is an international organisation for men and women. There are hashes in most big cities in the UK and worldwide.You can find them on Google. They usually meet weekly in a pub and, apart from a few weirdos, are a great bunch of people of all ages, from all walks of life who run a bit and socialise regularly. You don’t have to be fit to join. The names and rituals are rather silly but if you can get past this, they are a good bunch and welcome everyone. And the great thing is – many of the women who join are child-free! It’s not a dating agency but most people I know met their partners through the hash. There are usually more men than women and about 50% of people are single. I met my husband through the hash and many of our friends are child-free. I’m conscious this now sounds like some kind of cult so I’ll stop here!!
Being with other child-free women is a great way of feeling normal. In fact, most of my female friends don’t have children. I have never felt any pressure by others to have children or made to feel strange, selfish or inadequate. I guess I have been lucky in that respect.
I hope this helps!
Well, that’s a welcome and utterly left-field suggestion and I love it!
I really want to take up running again and am just about to move house to an area that’s perfect for it.
I just might take you up on your idea. Maybe we could start a nomos division? As it looks like we need to start a flipping revolution, we might as well prepare by getting fit!
Great to have you here – and great to hear your story and to hear that you’ve come out the other end of the grieving process. For me too, the menopause has been a grateful ‘full stop’ to craving a child… I do wonder sometimes if that’s as much a psychological full stop as a hormonal one.. but either way, it’s a relief!
Love your attitude. Welcome! Jody x
This is a great such an apt post for me at the moment – after the end of a potential relationship I am feeling overwhelmed with loneliness. I find most single childless women I know are okay with being single. I am so NOT okay with being single. I really feel this lack of a close relationship in my life. I’m a bit of an introvert and really value close relationships rather than lots of acquaintances. For various reasons my life is lacking enough close relationships at the moment and I would so love a live in partner to share my daily life with. I have no desire to be out every night or every weekend cramming my life with activities, I want someone to sit and watch TV with or go for walks with.
At times I really fear that to find a partner I need to come to peace with being alone. However I’m not entirely convinced that is true either. I think it is often espoused by society as the golden rule to finding love, but I prefer this quote “Longing has been given a terrible rap. We’ve been told that it’s both unhealthy and unattractive; that we have to be content on our own before we can find healthy love. I don’t buy it. I’ve found longing to be perhaps our greatest ally in finding and keeping love.” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-love/201111/how-even-flawed-spiritual-practice-can-lead-you-love
Anyway they are my few thoughts on loneliness.
LivingMyLife, I can totally relate to you. I am actually rather the type to cram my life with activity – anyway recently i noticed that my work is perhaps even suffering a bit because of all my hobbies! – but i am not running around 24/7 and i know that i really really need long stretches of time when i do nothing. (and in relation to the original blogpost: That’s why rainy weekends like today are great :-)). It’s not just lazyness it’s reloading my batteries. And still, i very often wish that there would be someone beside me to do this together! and loneliness hits even if lots of things are going on (like the easter weekend when i went on my own to a little hotel and by pure accident met a group of women i knew and we spent a great time hiking around the mountains together – and still on my way home i cried.)
I also totally agree with your perspective that we cannot just argue longing away. There must be something wrong when any kind of negative feelings are simply dissed. They are there for a reason, they are part of us, and it won’t help if we just tell ourselves that we should ignore or “get off” them.
But still i can’t really follow the argument in the link you posted. It makes me scared that even greater disappointement will follow! I really really couldn’t say i didn’t long enough for a child. I longed for it with all my heart for YEARS. But it didn’t come. You might say that a relationship is a different thing and when it comes to children biology and whatnot are involved. But i’ve experienced people arguing with just the same pseudo-spiritual (sorry, don’t want to hurt any feelings, but that’s what it seems to me) ideas that if you just long enough for a child it will come to you (baby souls floting around god knows where and just waiting for your longing to be “right” so they will come to you). This has made me feel even more of a helpless looser and moreover i got ostracized from the people i discussed this with online for insisting that i was feeling sad and hopeless! I’m really not sure if a meditation like that is “helpful” or if it’s just another trap.
Yes I understand where you’re coming from about if you long for a child long enough it will come, that’s certainly not what I got from the article, but I guess I just took what resonated with me. And that is basically that it’s okay for me to long for intimate love in my life, in fact if I try to bury that or change it I’m not being true to myself. I’m not convinced that doing a daily meditation will magically bring this to me, but I guess it may help me be okay with that longing and accept what it is I want from my life and that acceptance may make it more likely to happen. Not to say this is true for having a child though, but I guess it depends what you want – if through your meditation or coming to terms with your desire for a child you realise that maybe using an egg donor or adopting or foster care could be okay then it may bring you the dream you want. Not to say that is the answer for everyone – I don’t think it is for me – but it can sometimes help you accept different answers to your dreams I think or reshape your dreams. For me I’m starting to value letting love into my life more – even if it’s not the ideal picture of love I imagined.
You haven’t offended me with anything you said, I have no problem with people challenging things, especially in the respectful way you have. I certainly hope I haven’t offended with anything I’ve said – I would be the last to say that you didn’t have a child because you didn’t wish for it enough or even better ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’, I think that kind of thinking is very dangerous and harmful. I think I have to do a post soon on my blog about my thoughts on ‘The Law of Attraction’ and the harm it does in society.
It’s such a pleasure to read your blog. I can identify in so many ways. I’m still working through the darkness and my scar is freshly realized, but I’m becoming more creative, stronger, and less isolated. Thanks for your thoughts.
Thank you for commenting. A year on from starting this website, I feel so much better about things… “Creative, stronger, less isolated” you say – I think you’ve got it in a nutshell there! Jody x
Yes, I love the connections and conversations that have started between the bloggers on these issues.
Oh my gosh, you said exactly what I have felt so many times. I hate weekends, and I hate holidays even more. Yes, I feel as if I have to fill them up or go crazy. And I am so sick of myself sometimes. When I talk with other people, I try to flip the conversation to talking about them as quickly as possible. People with husbands and kids have no idea how it feels to bang around the house alone for days at a time. It’s not always bad. Sometimes it’s great not to worry about anyone else’s needs, but other times it’s really tough. Thanks for being here.
Lovely to have your voice here – I really enjoy your blog and it’s on the Gateway Women blogroll.
Glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets BORED of the inside of my head :-))
Thanks for stopping by.
And if you were wondering, Sue’s blog is:
Two more pieces of advice: Plan ahead, and always give yourself at least one social event to look forward to every week.
Yes, planning ahead is important – but it’s amazing how often I forget to do so, or just deprioritize doing so because I’m so busy! I find making sure I’ve got one ‘out’ thing booked for both days on the weekend works for me, even if I then cancel one of them. Somehow cancelling something gives me time ‘back’ whereas having nothing booked in makes time ‘drag’. Strange stuff, time alone!
Ugh, it’s so true! I feel like there’s this pressure every weekend to live up to the glamorous lifestyle that’s supposed to be providing the reason why we don’t have kids. But as the herd keeps thinning and our social engagements are fewer and far between, I can’t help but wonder what it’s going to be like in 5 years when we’re truly the only ones without kids (if we don’t have them). Our friends with kids will probably be envious of our schedule-free weekends, but we’ll be sitting there wondering what the hell to do with them!
My mother, who spent her life raising kids and being married (to different men), is now alone (in her seventies) and simply cannot deal with it. She is deeply, deeply depressed. I have empathy in that I think it must be extremely difficult for someone to change their mindset after decades of living a certain way (although I do read about women who are thrilled to have their lives back as older, single women).
I, on the other hand, am really, really used to navigating the world as a single woman living alone. One thing that is important is to recognize when you have spent too much time at home alone… it’s a feeling that starts creeping up on me. I recognize it early now and schedule time with other people when I feel it coming on. I think one entire day on my own, running errands and puttering around my apartment, is enough, and the following day I need to see a friend or do something social.
This was very well-put: “Possibly the burnout is in part caused by the fact that as single, childless women almost all our activities are self-organised, self-attended and usually require a good deal of social and emotional resilience to cope with, let alone enjoy.”
Thanks for the shout-out. If I am inclined to slack off of writing, mentions on other blogs keep me going.
I find your site pretty navigable… I myself am technically challenged and can’t be bothered to do more than simply write and post… don’t know how to add graphics, tags, etc. Maybe someday.
It’s embarrassing to admit but I did overschedule my day today and am off now…
thanks for this uplifting article. Weekends are indeed hard when you are 40, single and nomo. yes you can fill them with work (which I often ended up doing) but they can also be used to get in touch (or as I call it ‘make peace with’) your inner self. And don’t forget, many of your married friends with children spent most of their weekends in the car, driving their kids from one birthday party and violin practice to another! I read your post shortly after reading an article in Saturday’s Guardian about people who deliberately live on their own, whether they are in a relationship or not. This article also stresses the link between creativity and solitude.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you found it uplifting – that’s what I hoped, but I never know until someone is kind enough to say so!
I do not, for a moment, think the grass is greener for women with children, or couples with children. They have other problems, not least of all often not enough time to themselves, time to follow-through on their dreams other than being parents, or to consider the deeper issues of life. They seem (from the outside) to be living their lives at top speed as they bring up their families, working hard to support them whilst also making valiant efforts to maintain their relationships, their figures and their sense of self. Our society has some pretty warped ideas about who ‘mothers’ are ‘supposed’ to be too, which is why Gateway Women is never anti-mother, anti-parent or anti-children. We need to pull together as women, not apart.
Today, the sun is shining. I slept well and then read the Sunday papers in the sun outside my local coffee shop. Now I have a couple of hours to catch up with my creativity (Gateway Women) and domestic stuff, before meeting a friend for a few hours and then returning home to meet a writing deadline for a client. It’s a perfect day really – emotionally nurturing, creatively inspiring, intellectually stimulating and with a mixture of companionship and solitude. It takes practice, and you do indeed need to find that ‘inner peace’ you allude to in order to enjoy it, but it’s worthwhile once you do!
I have no doubt that at some point in the not too distant future I will meet my next soul mate, and move back into coupledom… but I think my years of solitude have changed me profoundly, and that the next mate I choose will hopefully be chosen from a place of deep respect, trust and affection for myself, and hopefully will last for the rest of my life! Without the ‘does he want to have children, preferably next week’ question, potential partners start to look very different… And I’m pretty sure we must come across differently too…
I agree that this is a great site. I’m just very recently married and childless but still sometimes the weekend hits me hard. It’s not like it was when I was in my 20’s, when I never had to plan what to do, I just got invited here and there and was always busy and having fun and enjoying life. Now, life is all about responsibilities…but sometimes it’s hard to see the point of those responsibilities if I’m not even raising children. People with children at least know what they are working for. Now, at this point in my life, I realize that although my family is ok with us not having children, my new ILs think we are secondary and we just don’t count as much. It’s hard enough for me to tell myself that I do count, now I have to prove it to them? I do love my husband but it’s still hard sometimes. Since I’m just recently married for the first time at my age, I went through years of dealing with strange comments and attitudes from other people regarding me being single. Some people even so much as said that there must be something wrong with me for not finding a husband. Um, thanks, like I wasn’t already telling myself that?
Sorry for rambling…
“Now, life is all about responsibilities…but sometimes it’s hard to see the point of those responsibilities if I’m not even raising children. People with children at least know what they are working for.”
I think you have really hit on something here.
Around the time when I finally realised/accepted that I wouldn’t have children, I left my job and started retraining in a field that had always interested me, but I hadn’t actually articulated that it was precisely because of this; because what was the point of working all the hours on a career that wasn’t fulfilling, if there is no ‘next generation’ to plan for?
You don’t have to PROVE yourself to your in-laws. Don’t let them drag you down. I am one who never wanted children but I am too well aware that too many people do treat people as second class citizens if they don’t have children. Your husband might alert his parents to hurting your feellings by that unfeeling way.
This is such a wise post, Jody, and in so many ways.
This is the idea I think I related to most directly – “I’ve understood that for me, creativity equals meaning, and that meaning is what I was craving.” This is so beautifully put! I feel a very, very tangible relationship in my own life between the times I am content, peaceful and happy and the times I am actively creating.
I’d never seen that video before and I’m so glad I have now! What a lovely creation in itself.
Thank you for the beautiful poem video!
can i just say again how totally great, cool and amazing this site is? I’m so glad and thankful you are doing this and speaking out for all of us – not only nomo’s but SINGLE nomo’s.
I get a lot of support from different childless-not-by-choice community sites/blogs. But over the last few months it has been bugging/hurting me increasingly to read so much from women who are childless-not-by-choice but, unlike me, married. there have been so many instances where they gave me “advice” which was really hurtful to me as a single woman trying to cope with being forty and never married and nomo. Advice of the type they would have called insensitive or stupid had it been about their childlessness.
Same as people are near incapable of understanding what it means to grieve for the child never conceived – are the happily married ones seemingly unable to understand what it means to deal with things like, simply, a weekend, for a single. And what it means to be single at age 40, not 18, or 25, or 30.
I have one small complaint: i find this blog hard to navigate. Would be nice to have a full chronological list / list by title of the blogposts somewhere.
Hello again – nice to see you here 🙂
I agree that I do find it harder to identify with childless/childfree women who are part of a couple, but I still find there’s more in common than not! I guess rather like in 12-Step groups, the best thing to do is ‘to take what works and leave the rest’.
Sometimes I wonder if our friends and family can EVER say the right thing to us! Luckily, my Mother has never made me feel bad about not having children, although she has mentioned once or twice (in 20 years) how much she would have enjoyed being a Grandmother. I don’t think she enjoyed being a Mother and we have a much closer relationship now that I’m a middle aged adult and have come to a place of acceptance about my childhood.
Earlier this week, I was driving to a client meeting and was listening to the radio when Jamie Cullum was being interviewed on Desert Island Discs. The song he chose to take to his Desert Island was the one he accompanied his wife singing when they first met. He said “this song changed my life – now I have my girls, my life has been transformed”. The other girl he was talking about? Their daughter. At that moment, I felt a stab of grief because I realised yet another loss – that no man would ever feel that primal protectiveness towards me as the mother of his child. I took a deep breath, felt the sadness, and let it wash through me and out of me. My scar had been touched.
And then I smiled because I understood that this scar will always be with me, will always be a sensitive spot, but that’s not a bad or sad thing. Grief is the price we pay for love. It’s also not something I need to give other people a hard time about if they accidentally brush against it. They rarely mean to.
With hugs, as always from London, Jody x
PS: Thanks for your feedback about navigation – I’ll look into it and sort something out 🙂
You are welcome! It’s a beauty, isn’t it!