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Moonlight’s Story: My family looks down on me because I am childless

I’m 40 years old and do not have any children of my own. Growing up I was never into dolls or playing house and I never wanted children. The idea just did not appeal to me, even as a teenager and in my 20s. I got married at 31 to someone with children from a previous marriage. It was not an amicable divorce and so I’ve never had much of a relationship with his kids. For the past 10 years I’ve only seen them once or twice a year, so we are virtual strangers to each other. They are now high school and college age.

Around my mid-30s I decided to try and have a child of my own. Around that time was when I found out that I have endometriosis, and as a result, having a child did not happen. Since then I’ve changed my mind and I no longer want a child of my own. I enjoy the freedom I have and for me personally, I wouldn’t want the responsibility of a baby at this age.

I think the only reason I even tried in the first place was because I got caught up in wanting to fit in. Suddenly a lot of people in my family and people in my husband’s family were having children and I saw how much it made them all closer. Meanwhile I was being treated like an outsider.

Fast forward today and although I am content in not being a parent, it can still be awkward out there. It’s especially hard because my husband is a parent and I am not. So there are times during family gatherings when my husband is accepted and welcomed to contribute to the conversation but if I say something, I’m shut down with things like “Well, you don’t understand because you don’t have children.”

It can be very depressing when people behave in a way that makes me feel alienated from my own spouse. And it can be awkward because the couple of times a year when my husband’s children visit him, I’m usually the one who sets up a bedroom for them to stay in, wash their clothes and clean up their dishes. I’ve talked my husband into buying more fun Christmas presents for them (when all he wanted to do was buy them socks, lol). But I still get treated like a virtual stranger.

I’m almost envious of the couples out there who both don’t have children, because they’re in it together. With my husband and I, I’m all alone in being childless/childfree and it can get lonely.

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: nina@nonparents.com

First published on May 3, 2014

Comments

  1. Hi Moonlight, thanks for sharing your story. Yes I agree that it can be rather tricky to be married to someone with children when you do not have any yourself. It is ok if you all get along fine and many people end up being a surrogate parent for their spouse’s children. Ultimately, it is up to you and your husband to make sure that no one comes between you, particularly your relatives, who by the sound of it, seem to be interfering.

    Some people tend to believe that having children automatically makes them wiser, when the reality is often anything but. Having children is far from being a sign of maturity or that one knows best, most of the time it is the complete opposite. Many people who shouldn’t have children because they are obviously unfit to be parents, go on to have them anyway, because they can and because they think it is their right. This is the real immaturity and selfishness.

    To make the conscious decision to remain childless is a sign of maturity, and many people who make such decisions like yourself, understand the enormity of having children. On the other hand, many people with children never bother to think it through and just have them, convincing themselves that once the children are here everything else will take care of themselves, with devastating consequences in many cases. Just look at the number of children in care to see what I am referring to.

    To think that having children should be everyone’s aspiration is both naïve and narrow minded. You have to know what your core interests are, what sets your heart alight, these are your true calling and for many people it is not having children, and this is perfectly fine.

    Do not let others make you feel less of a person for not being a mother. Motherhood is not a must; it is a choice and I command you for choosing a path that is true to what you feel deep inside, as opposed to living an inauthentic life by doing what you believe is expected of you.

  2. Both my wife and I do not have children and generally speak with one voice when others start asking questions. We are a team and people know not to interfere.

  3. moonaj10 says:

    I am not sure how I would have dealt with this if I were in your shoes. It sounds like quite a challenge. Luckily the children are grown ups and don’t live with you. I hope it works out fine for you eventually.

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