By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
One of the many beautiful things about our community here at Life Without Baby is the variety of voices and perspectives we’ve brought together. We’ve created a safe place here where we can cry, offer support, share hard-earned wisdom, and even whine about our different yet similar experiences. But as I read through recent posts and revisit older gems, I feel there’s one segment of our group that we need to encourage to join in more. Single gals: This is your invitation to speak up!
The whole childfree-by-chance-or-circumstance status is painful, period, and I’d like those of us who are lucky to be in happy relationships to pause and acknowledge the quagmire of emotions when it’s compounded by the whole single-not-by-choice scenario. In my case, I spent my youth dreaming about the family I would create for myself. My 20s contained a series of disappointments and heartbreaks. By my early 30s, I hated how women (and men) would come up to me at weddings and baby showers and say “You’re next!” when I wanted so desperately to be part of the married and mommy clubs. Every time I heard what was intended as encouragement, it came across as another acknowledgement of my failings.
It got worse when I hit 40. I’d be standing in the middle of a country club, draped in a hideous bridesmaid dress, toes crammed in hideous shoes, smile frozen on my face while I stood among the other single ladies hoping to catch the bouquet and magically change my fate. I’d look around at all the seemingly happily married couples and think, Everyone else has given up on me too. I felt myself growing invisible, and I don’t want any of us to feel that way.
Platitudes such as “It will happen when you least expect it…God must have a plan for you to birth something else…You need to love yourself more, then love will find you” just don’t fly here. At LWB, we’re about having real, open, and often painful discussions about who we are and what we experience. Through our efforts, we hope to promote awareness and acceptance, to create a more inclusive culture, and to heal ourselves.
So, if you’re a gal who happens to be childless and single, join the conversation. Comment on posts and share your unique perspectives. Check out the “childless couples—childless singles” discussion initiated by Elena K. Start your own discussion or create a group on our Home page. Or, consider sharing your story by completing and submitting the questionnaire for Our Stories.
Please share your hurts, your reflections, your questions, your experiences. I wish I could have told my younger self, “You matter. You have something to contribute. You are appreciated and loved just as you are.” If you need to hear that, your LWB sisters are here to remind you that it’s true.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is telling more of the story about her journey in The Mother of All Dilemmas. As she shares her quest to become a single mother (and ultimately embraces a life without children), she explores why society still appears to base a woman’s worth on how many children she has. Watch for updates on the book’s release here at LifeWithoutBaby.com.
That’d be me! I’m 41 single and unable to have kids. I found out a couple of years ago I was in premature menopause. I struggle with blaming myself for waiting so long to make a decision weather to have kids or not. For a while I wasn’t sure and then my body made the decision for me. I struggle with not having anyone to leave a legacy too. I am also an only child so there are no nieces or nephews for me to hang out with as “substitutes” I’ve researched adopting and it can be very expensive. Although I have a good job and career I’m still not sure I can afford it. I’ve been trying to focus on how my life is good in other ways. Some days I’m more accepting of it all then others.
Kathy , I want to Thank You for posting this topic. I have waited so long for this topic.
I often feel out of place here due to the shortage of single women topics.
My emotions are a wreck right now. Due to my “dear” father’s critical health diagnosis So being single is hurting me now more than ever. My father never had grandkids and I wasn’t able to give him them. Now, I’ll be loosing him soon and its killing me inside. He’s been my only support and cheerleader ever.
I have come to a point where I’ve aceepted the destiny of being forever alone. I’m 32 with zero prospect in sight. What hurts the most about it is not being able to continue trying, for a baby. In past relationships I could never get pregnant due to fertility issues. But my cycles are now coming natural and I actually ovulate. I’m very aware of my body, and some months I can literally feel the eggs release. Its utterly heartbreaking.. And brings tears to my eyes. My body craves for pregnancy, and my litte egg misses its chance. Maybe I’d still be childless if, I was married. But its always a possibly that could get pregnant. I feel like everything is going to waste.. Blood, tissue, libido me. So I dread when my period comes around.
It’s not only the chance to continue trying its the support and love that relationships bring. A single and childless struggle is the worst. Because there is no one to hold your hand, no shoulder to cry on, more options to acheiving a family, and its one peace of the life puzzle put together.
I hear “why don’t you have kids” and “why are you single”. The latter I have no explanation for, but critical family thinks it’s my fault. And often insult me for it. No one is perfect we all got imperfections and yet many still find love but me. I really question my existence.
Seriously, this post came at such a perfect time for me. Being single definitely adds a whole other dimension to the grief that comes with childlessness not by choice. I spent 7 years with someone I loved very deeply and who had said we were going to get married and have kids. But he apparently changed his mind and said that he didn’t want to take away my opportunity to have kids. Except that he already did. And now I am supposed to magically find someone new and be able to have a baby. As if that’s so easy to do in your late 30s. I struggle a lot and my happily married friends with kids just don’t get it. I am really trying to deal with the loss that came with the breakup and the anger and the hurt. And then on top of all that trying to deal with the loss that comes with now realizing that I am probably not ever going to be someone’s mom. So hugs to all the other single, childless not by choice women.
Christine; I feel for you. I am 52 years young and also single. I know that some day God will send me the right man.
About children…still working on acceptance. Very hard.
Its not posting my comment. So this one is shortened & revised.
I often feel out of place here due to the shortage of single women posts. It’s just not the same struggle as being married and childless.
I’m at a point in my life where being childless and single is the most painful. I’m 32 with no relationship prospects in sight. I have PCOS and struggled to get pregnant my whole life. I feel this is my only chance and its going to waste.
My fertility has finally improved, my cycles are regular and I am ovulating naturally(at least it feels). But each month is torture, I can literally feel the egg release from my ovary, and my body change hoping for a pregnancy. That kills me inside knowing that my little egg is just traveling down alone, in search of a sperm. I dread having my period for that reason. It like why do I need a period anyway,its all going to waste now. If I was married maybe I’d still struggle with getting pregnant. But its that chance that I am missing out on,plus lots has improved since I last tried. I’ve had single friends “hook up” with guys hoping to get pregnant and succeed. And it turn into a relationship because of the baby. I wasn’t that fortunate.
Its not just trying for a baby it not having love, support, a shoulder to cry on, financial means to alternative methods of having a family, somebody to share frustrations, hurts with. And one peace of the life puzzle put together.
I have to hear “Why are you single?” along with “Why don’t you have any kids?”. Its an excruciating pain and reality that no woman should have to face. My relatives are always insulting me on being single. It is one of their main attacks and how they identify me. The woman who gave birth to me is the worst. She blames my being single on everthing she doesn’t like or understand about me. I don’t get it we all imperfections and issues. Yet everyone still finds love with their flaws. How are my imperfections so bad, that I can’t find love. I don’t believe its my fault. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and sadly it’s finding love and having a baby for me. I really question my existence and often hate it. Yea. I’m whining because these things trouble me each day. Maybe I’ll have a chance at getting rich and famous one day.
Lilah; you are not alone in this. I feel for you and I understand what you are going through. I am walking the same path: single and no kids You are in my prayers. Much love.
thanks for mentioning the discussion I started! And for bringing the issue up again. It is an important one since often even childless friends or even therapists etc. don’t understand.
In my experience many possibilities for coping with childlessness are lost when you’re single to boot. It’s not just the “shoulder to cry on”; the differences in grieving is what drives many couples affected by infertility apart. It’s the re-building your life-issues. As a single woman, you can only rely on yourself in everyday life and in providing anything a Person Needs for yourself: Safety, an income, a house…. get a pet to get over childlessness? Yeah but who’s gonna walk the dog while I’m at work? Pursue my innermost desires and start on the Career I always wanted? Yeah would be nice but who’s gonna finance me while I’m studying for a masters in music anthropology? Travel? Yeah cool. The single rooms are just double what I would pay if I shared a double room as a couple. Plus at the back of the Hotel with the Windows opening on the kitchen fumes.
Volunteer as a foster mom or take care of someone else’s child – a niece/nephew, godchild etc.? I love to do stuff with my godson. But it’s very apparent that the entire value system and rhythm of his life is shaped by his parents and doesn’t fit MY opportunities and what I want for him or how I want to interact with him. As a woman working almost full time in education, I don’t have too many free days. And his schedule, as a 6-year-old, has been filled by his parents, School, and doctors (he has some issues) to be nearly as full as mine.
Make my home cosy and nice to make myself really feel at home? Sure; it’s just that I can only afford the two-bedroom flat and not the amazing house I’d be able to get together with a partner (who in most cases, would earn tons more then me, because, well – he’s a man). And when and why would I Play the housewive and make everything pretty and nice? I come home to an empty flat and empty fridge after a long day’s work most of the time.
And so on.
I don’t know. I feel like there isn’t really support group for single people who are infertile and childless. The groups are for couples who have suffered through multiple infertility treatments and miscarriages and still don’t have kids. What about the women who are single and alone and infertile? There’s no group you can join or person you can talk to who will empathize. This is the only place I found where I might have something in common with someone. Trying to explain to my married with kids friends or single friends who don’t want kids how I feel is tough. I waited too long to make the decision weather I wanted kids or not. And my now my body made it for me. And there are days I blame myself. How do you explain how that anger feels? Sorry for the rant
You are very welcome here Christine. I understand your feelings and it’s not a rant. It’s exactly what this place is here for.