Have you ever been in a conversation with a group of women, only to watch the talk turn to motherhood and feel yourself fading into the background?
That’s the topic of this week’s Whiny Wednesday:
Being excluded from conversations because you don’t have children
Here it is:
Yes!!! All the time. Tired of the same old, same old… I tend to believe that they don’t have another topic !!!
Praying, as always!!!!
Yes! Every day… I work in a school and at lunch time, my co-workers talk about their children’s milestones, achievements, etc. It hurts because I feel left out but when a co-worker is expecting, that is the worst. Everyone starts reminiscing about their own pregnancies and how horrible, wonderful, beautiful it was. I know that no one thinks about me hurting, because “being childless, not by choice people” are invisible to the world it seems. I always wonder if I had lost a baby, what the conversations would look like. Would people be a little more sensitive? I’m not sure actually. I have had to walk out several times with that lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes. It is such a horrible feeling.
Cathy – I’m sorry to read this. It must be hard to know that this is pretty much a routine part of your day. I hope that you’re able to plan caring things for yourself in the evenings. I agree about the invisible feeling. It’s odd – and sadly, something even women who have struggled with fertility, then had children – seem to forget. It’s like they left that part of their memory back at the hospital. Take care of you!
Thank you Jill and everyone here. I feel so loved!
I know a lady who suffered for years trying to have children and through IVF finally had twin boys and then a girl a few years after that. Since I work in a school, I am surrounded by young children and I love it but this “friend” would always say working with kids and being with them 24/7 are two totally different situations. Duh! I get that but just because I didn’t have my own kids and I would talk about how some days at work were exhausting, she would point this out. Grrrr… yep, she’s totally clueless even after having going through her own infertility journey. I’m glad that she wasn’t in my life for very long.
Yes. I am single and childless, not by choice. Some days I am ok but sometimes it just really hits hard. I just recently started a new job. Everyday as I meet new people I have to swallow hard whenever the standard question comes up – how long have you been married, how many kids do you have? (ugh why does everyone assume) They all have pictures of their families on their desks, I have nothing to bring. Today I had a meeting with my manager who informed me at the next team meeting that I would be asked to do a personal introduction. This office is big on work/life balance and making everyone feel like a family. My boss specifically said they wanted to know who I was married to, all about my kids. Everyone else is married, kids, dog, house with the picket fence. I hate these moments. And don’t get me started on the company events where significant others and children are invited. I wish I was brave enough to say – there is more to me (and you) than your spouse and children. Instead, I go to a bathroom stall and cry and just feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. Not the best day today.
Jane P (UK) says
I’m so sorry Joy – I hope you are brave enough to say “there is more to me” some day soon. I had a similar experience. We have end of year “highlights” at Christmas – photos of children (which I have to collate). I was invisible for the first two years, last December I posted a picture of myself up a mountain on my skis. So many people have asked me about it since – even recently they asked me if I’d booked up my ski holiday yet! So please hang in there. Children are a common denominator for most people – throw them something else – it doesn’t have to be a great passion either I don’t think – just something they can engage with you on. A favorite book or hobby? Thinking of you.
OWW I just want to sent you a big hug.
At my work we had a staff workshop lately. The host stated by introducing herself- education, career, and naturally kids and husband.
I didn’t know what to do. She was setting a patrren. Soon everybody spoke of their families. as they approached me I wanted to vanish. I said: like all off you I have four, then I said… cats. The room was roaring with laughter. At launch they all came to me and said “Hoe funny you are Lull. Such a good laugh”..
Again I felt like someone is stabbing me heart with a knife.
My advice to you- make something nice of it. Don’t let them see the pain.
How? Bring something you baked and say its a family tradition or tell them you always make it when you meet your friends- it shows them we have people who care about us, and that makes us human to them.It also gives you something to talk about- cooking. I don’t even like to cook but I pretend I do so I have somting to talk to people at work.
Here, in my country, cooking works fine. Maybe its similar in yours.
I wish I could be there with you.
I am in Tel Aviv, but in my heart I am…
Sorry for my lame English.
Tell us how it went.
Lull, I am childless not by choice and moving to Israel in a few weeks. When I saw that you are in Tel Aviv I got inspired to reach out and connect. I’m thinking of forming a group for childless women when I arrive. Is that something you might be interested in? Is there already a group you are in or know of that you could recommend I join?
Ruth, I am so excited for you and glad for us!
Welcome to the crazy and amazing hollyland.
I’ll send you a private message with all my details.
No, we don’t have a group yet, but I was talking to CNBC friend about forming one.
Wow! So excited to hear from you and hear that a group may be forming. Count me in. How can we connect privately?
I tried to contact you via this cite but didn’t succeed, so I opened a new mail just for you. Pls contact me there and I will replay with my mail, name, ect……
That’s “your” mail 🙂
Until Well talk Shalom from warm Tel Avivregion
Note to self- never write comments when in a hurry 🙂
Oh yes! I find that talking with one mom friend vs a group is generally easier. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t bother me, sometimes it stings. To be honest, sometimes I completely zone out and think about other things…or if in public, I start paying closer attention to another table at a restaurant or scene outside, etc. Within a group it seems easy to get “lost” and left out and then you’re basically silent during the conversation.
There was one time in particular, several New Year’s Eves ago, where I actually left an annual NYE gathering before midnight because the expectant baby talk had already gone on for hours, I had played a round of cards with one of the gals’ husbands and there was nothing left for me to be involved with in the group. It was horrible – worst NYE ever. I vowed never to but myself in that type of situation again. And they actually said, “you’re leaving before midnight?! Why?” I was speechless for a few minutes and said I had a headache.
I’m wondering if anyone has some tired abs true methods for gracefully changing conversation topics? I have done a 180 sometimes and brought up a topic that I know that I (and maybe someone else) have a lot to say about and others might not. It’s interesting to turn the table if you’re feeling comfortable enough to do so !
Craftea Chic says
So so often. A lot of the time I try to tell stories about my nibkings in an attempt to be part of it, but I just feel like a fraud really. Friends that know what we’ve been through don’t even seem to be aware of how excluding it is.
I used to work in a Retirement Home, the nurses and nurses aids at lunch would she their pregnancy stories…..
I started eating lunch on my own in the park.
Happens to me all the time. I have a hard time socializing with women my age because that is all they want to talk about. I avoid these situations as much as possible. It is to hard.
Jane Salisbury says
I am 58 and childless. I have experienced this sort of isolation all my life when in groups of women. I used to think it will get better in time as I get older and they (other women ) refocus on different aspects of life. My experience is that once they stop focusing on their children it all starts again with their grandchildren. It is very hard to cope with I usually walk away, busy myself with something else or excuse myself where possible. Just no point in putting yourself through the heartache.
This happens a lot, of course. One thing my husband and I are both actively working on is the idea of owning it. “No, we don’t have children, yes that was hard, but we love each other and our life together. We are not broken or outcasts just because we couldn’t have children.” This was very hard for me at first, but saying it confidently in enough situations has worked for me to turn it into an affirmation of sorts, and you shut down the pitying looks from the Mom club. The more I say it, the more I truly feel it and believe it. While it doesn’t help me contribute to mommy talk, it has brought be a lot of peace and personal acceptance. The more time that passes the less interest I have in mommy things anyway. I get to talk about my travel, my career, and how nice it was for my husband and I to sleep in on the weekend! Not that I’m trying to make the moms jealous, but hopefully they can see through me that there is so much more to life than motherhood. Hang in there everyone!
Chelsea, I love your confidence and gusto! What a wonderful impression you and your husband give to others. You are right about mothers… all they talk about is their children(I’m sure I would too if I were a mom) but yes, there are other roles in life than just being a mom. We should celebrate all the gifts we as women give to the world. Thank you for your encouraging words!