When childlessness becomes a force that brings a couple closer together

By Nina Steele 

A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a freelance journalist about an article she was planning to write on childlessness. She wanted me to find two other women to take part. I posted a message on social media and a fair number of women got in touch. Among them, was a woman who tried and failed to conceive for 12 years.

She and her husband were not completely free from the pain of childlessness, but they were gradually getting there. What struck me most about her story, was the seemingly strong relationship she and her husband had. Their childlessness had brought them closer together.

I have heard and published many similar stories since, and what it proves is that, emotional pain doesn’t have to destroy us. It will only do so if we allow it.

In her book ‘The Forgotten Summer’, author Carol Drinkwater makes childlessness one of the main subjects. Jane and Luc, the husband and wife who are the two main characters in the book, are childless. Reading the background of the author herself, it is obvious that the book is based on her own life. Indeed, although her husband has two children from a previous marriage, they have no children together. Carol miscarried a few times and was told by her doctor that she ‘will never be able to carry a child full-term’.

Carol is still happily married and lives in the south of France. Just like with her own life, the two main characters in her book have a strong marriage. Instead of being their undoing, their childlessness has brought them closer together. The love that the two main characters share is so strong that I could almost feel it. We often hear how children give depth to a relationship, and childlessness can have the same impact. It all depends on how much value a couple places on their relationship, and what matters most to them.

When as a couple, you go through an experience as trying as this one is, if you are committed to each other enough, you can turn it into something positive. You may not experience the pain in equal measure, but just sharing the same experience is enough. You suddenly become this tight unit, ready to face the world together.

It no longer matters who is responsible for you not being able to have children. There is no blaming or making the other one feel bad. It just wasn’t meant to be. You both manage to make sense of your life as non-parents and your relationship becomes the central part of it.

Childless mixed race couples

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