Learning to accept childlessness(14 Posts)
I think my SD is great and mostly think it's a privilege to have her with us the time we do and have that share in family life. However, I'm also finding that it's a constant reminder of not having our own child; how seeing OH with her makes me grieve more for the shared parenting that will never be ours and how, though I feel bad for it, I find the gnawing grief that hits me sometimes when she's there can make me envy the parenting relationship he has that I won't ever experience and that I can't share with him.
Lately, it seems I am the only one I know without kids and everyone else's lives seems filled with family. Will this ever get easier or will it just turn into the pangs of being the only one without grandchildren in a few decades time? It seems so hard to accept the Plan B life at times when every other weekend is spent doing family things with a child I do care for but who will never be mine or see me as a parent etc.
How have other childless step mums who would have loved their own child found their way through these emotions? Lately, I have been drawing back a bit and leaving OH and SD to have their own time or have been honest with OH and found myself openly grieving and crying for the family that we can't share but which I always imagined.
Often it's ok but then when we have these weekends little things catch me and it accentuates how we'll never share family life and the pain just gnaws at me again. I feel I sometimes can't adapt to a life just the two of us as then the pain of seeing even my OH having family life reminds me again of what we'll never share, but would have loved to. When it's just us two I enjoy all we do and manage/put it out of mind so much better but then when it's the three of us it keeps hitting me how sad I am for the family of our own we won't have and whilst I do all I can to make sure he gets as much time and quality with SD and am glad he has that, it's also so hard sometimes as it's the reminder of the gap and I keep seeing family life but then remembering it's not ours. It's like I can't move on and learn to fully enjoy and accept being childless as we are doing all we can to have time with SD etc and little moments just catch me and remind me that it can feel like a charade or like this huge pain that it's not my/our child and we'll never fully share that family experience. I'm not putting this very well but hope it may ring bells with other childless step mums who would have loved their own family.
Really after shared experiences and any ways folk learned to adapt to the new future of no biological children. Thanks x
I'm not in the same situation but wanted to say, there is a forum called childlessstepmums.co.uk
I stumbled across it early on in my step parenting journey.
What is the reason for you not having your own? Fertility problems? Dp not wanting more? Something else?
We're a bit like this at the moment. DSS is nearly 6 and is great and I love having him around but seeing DP as such a great Dad really brings it home that we don't have a joint child. We have been trying for over 18 months with no success, will be off to the specialists after Christmas to see if anything can be done.
I just try to enjoy the really good bits, we're hosting his birthday party this year and I'll make a cake, something I know he really enjoys. Also for Christmas it will be the three of us plus my dad so makes it feel more like a family affair for me too.
It's thought though so for you and I hope you can have a good time if it's your weekend this weekend!
"It seems so hard to accept the Plan B life at times when every other weekend is spent doing family things with a child I do care for but who will never be mine or see me as a parent etc."
I can't help you with the childless part, I can see absolutely why it complicates your feelings and I do emphasise, but from the POV of being someone's stepchild can I just say that it's not as black and white as that.
I know on here you tend to get people looking for help with difficulties so it gives a skewed view of relationships.
I love my step mum...no she's not my mum, but she is part of my family and part of who shaped who I am now and she's hugely important to me.
I am absolutely not saying you shouldn't have issues reconciling your feelings about not having children because there is a child there...you have a right to your emotions about it.
But I just wanted to say, don't underestimate how good a child step parent relationship can be, I don't look at my step mum and think, you're not my mum, she was a bonus loving caring adult and extra family member and the only good thing that I got from my parents completely did functional marriage and divorce, lol.
Dysfunctional I don't know why did came out.
I'm not childless but I really do sympathise a lot with you. It must be really tough. I often think of that, being a SM without your own children, must be so hard at times, as even your partner is not in the same boat.
What may happen is that when grandkids come along there is a real chance for a bond and connection to , in a way that is removed enough from any disloyalty or conflicted feelings in a step kid. And that in turn could bring you closer to your SD too. If she does have kids!
I think a lot depends on why you don't have children. My (step)dad chose not to have children when he married mum mum. I think he struggled with that decision for a lot of years.
Now my brother and I have children he is a grandad and he has been able to experience the bits he missed with us. He also has that bond that comes from being there since they were born. There is no differentiation between him and any other grandparent. And to be honest he is more involved than any if the others in my boys lives.
The organisation Gateway Women is a real help to me with this. I did have a child of my own, but she's not with me any more, and DH doesn't want more, as his are grown ups now. The grieving is pretty awful - but you must grieve. The only way put is through, as someone wise once said. And also find a tangible, definite, plan b. A Masters, a business of your own, a career/ work role/ move you wouldn't be able to do either voluntary or paid. Also recommend 'Rocking the life Unexpected' which is by he founder of the organisation above and pushes you/me/one on that 'through' journey. Wishing you all the best.
This is the reason my ex and I split up, I was devastated at the time as he was my soul mate ( turns out he wasn't though because he didn't share my desire for a joint child). I went on to meet DH and the rest is history, we have 2 DC's and I don't regret the split ever for a single second.
My advice is only to stay if you can definitely be happy childless with a man who chose to be a father with another woman but won't do it for you. I couldn't.
Zebedee - I felt awful for you reading your post. I am a childless SM but by choice, it must be very difficult when that's not the case, on so many levels. Can I ask why this is the status quo for you - is it biological / financial / something else?
OTOh I think that as a childless-by-choice person sometimes it feels like DSS brings a heap of constraints that as a childless person I would rather not have. But ln the other hand I also think he is a wonderful 'bonus' in my life who can bring a lot of the joys (not just the negatives!) of having a child with less of the responsibility. I am excited about seeing him grow into a man, and already about the idea of having step-grandchildren!
So this is how I look at things, but I have a feeling maybe it is hard to see things that way if it is not a choice but something thrust upon you...
I have a Dd, but before she came along I had a miscarriage. I'd already felt a bit like you do and after that it was intensified, especially as DP did not handle things well at that time. I think if I hadn't gone on to have dd it would have been much harder to cope with having other children around me all the time. I feel like you are not necessarily childless by choice?
I feel for you hugs- I do have an adopted DD and am now separated from her dad so she's with me some of the time - my new DP is the only man I met who I ever actually wanted to have a baby with - but has his own child and doesn't want us to have any more due to a number of practical and emotional issues. He's right about them but sadly my ovaries don't have logic installed.
I feel your same pangs - not only longing for making and parenting a bio child with him, for sharing that adventure with him - but also for my own daughter, who didn't have nearly the same level of devotion growing up that he heaps on his. And for myself, as I grew up more or less without a dad.
My two pieces of advice would be to let him see and feel and share and help you with your grief - so it doesn't turn to resentment - and also to accept the joy from your SD for what it is and allow it to not to try to be substitute - it isn't - and it's that gap in expectation that might kill any joy or comfort you can gain from it. Maybe if these feelings continue to worsen seek some couples therapy - it feels like something you should face together?
Also one last thought - you haven't replied re why no children - and sometimes increasing intensity of negative feelings is because you feel there's something you can do but time is running out - your mind is spurring you to do something about it. Maybe reflect on that - don't let yourself regret anything you didn't do about this later on. Whatever happens remember you made this choice to be with him and that was part of the deal, part of who he is.
..it isn't easy being a stepmum but you sound like you have a fondness for her - maybe will get easier as she gets older and you and her have more of your own 'thing' away from her Dad. I hope so xx
I'm the same. I find it hard too, but I have just had to come to terms with it and not think about it too much. I do have a good relationship with dsd, but it isn't the same. Hope it gets easier for you. 💐
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.