People don’t have children broadly from choice, inability, not having met the right partner or when a marriage ends before there are children. Except when having no children is by choice, it can be a devastating disappointment and with the end of a marriage one question people ask is, “Is having no children harder to accept than getting divorced?”
Gregory Smith was 26 when he divorced. He and his wife didn’t have children. Now in his fifties, Gregory doesn’t think he’ll ever have children and while that is a disappointment, he’s come to accept that being a parent likely isn’t part of his journey. Here’s Gregory:
I’ve come close to getting married a couple times. But I haven’t done it. I fear marriage. I do because of my belief that relationships have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I have come close a couple of times, and each time I realized there were enough obvious flaws in the relationship where I could see the end coming.
I never have had children. And if there’s one single regret in life that I have, it’s that I’ve never did have children. It’s just the situation was not right.
I’d always assumed I’d be a father. I lived with a woman for eight years up until just three years ago, and if I was going to have children it would have been with her. But she did not want children, and she didn’t really express that until after we were already living together. And that was one of the reasons why I did not marry her.
That was one of several issues that popped up after we started to live together. And it made me realize that the relationship was not going to be permanent. I have dated a lot of other women who had children, and I do enjoy activities with the different children.
For me, I work a job that chews up a good 60 hours a week, and so it would be very hard for me to be an effective parent. Being a single parent by choice has never really been an option in my own mind.
I’ve accepted the fact that it does not look like I will have children. I guess I’m okay with it. It’s a disappointment. Life has various disappointments.
The Divorce Coach Says
I do believe that most of us, both men and women are hard wired to want children. Sometimes that motivates us to get married, sometimes it pushes us to have a child with the hope of resolving relationship issues, and sometimes it creates pressure to stay in a troubled relationship.
If you’ve grown up assuming that one day you will be a parent, accepting that you most likely won’t is hard. Just as ending your marriage is a loss, giving up your dream of being a parent is also a loss. With that comes grief and to work through the grief you do need to treat each loss separately.
Unlike the loss of a marriage, the loss of not having children may be multi-stage. For example, getting divorced in your 20’s would bring grief that you didn’t have children from that relationship but there’s optimism that there’s time to meet someone else and have children. If you’re still childless in your 30’s or 40’s, that grief is going to reoccur and will be different because while you may still meet another partner, the chances of being able to bear your own children have decreased significantly.
It’s difficult to work through this loss on your own and I would recommend professional counselling. Don’t ignore it because it won’t go away.
Find out more about Gregory Smith at MidLifeBachelor. Visit Amazon for an electronic version of How To Successfully Recover From Having Been Cheated On.