The Pain of Childlessness Strikes at 45 – “I Feel a Sort of Grief”

Many individuals dream of one day sharing a home with a child or children, but for those who choose another path, the reality can occasionally be a source of sadness.

One woman expresses such dismay on an online forum, seeking support for her situation.  At almost 45 years old, she’s feeling unsure about her decision not to have children.

Missing a “Human Experience”

“I’m soon to turn 45 and suddenly feeling sad about not having kids,” the woman writes. “I’ve been on the fence about kids on and off in the past 15 years, but I think, deep down, probably thought it might happen.”

Going on to explain that she feels sad for missing out on the “human experience of being pregnant,” she also adds that she feels conflicted about never being able to share the love for a child from a parent’s perspective.

Is Motherhood a Rite of Passage?

“I’ve never forgotten a friend telling me that being pregnant and having children is a ‘rite of passage’ for a woman,” the poster adds.

She affirms that while she disagrees with this belief, she still feels a certain type of grief as she moves beyond the possibility of having a child.

Spouse Doesn’t Want Kids…So Where Does That Leave Her?

Explaining that her partner doesn’t understand her grief, she also admits that when he suggested she adopt, it was clear she would be adopting alone and not with him.

This is because “he doesn’t want kids.” This fact seemed to drive home the sadness in the post, blanketing the already complicated feelings of the poster.

Could a Dog Serve as a Replacement?

Though she said she is aware of other methods of childbearing, without a supportive spouse or certain feelings of her own, this woman is openly admitting that she is grieving over the fact that she will never be a mother or grandmother. 

She summarizes her feelings as a “deep sadness,” adding that she is considering getting a puppy in place of the child she will never have.

The Internet in Quiet Support

Many replies centered on the distressing topic, offering advice to take it easy.

“Be gentle on yourself and try to make peace with it,” one commenter said, while another assured, “You are going through a period of grieving, which is entirely natural and understandable.”

Others suggested the finality of aging was the crux of the issue. “I think it’s just normal feelings because it stops being something you are choosing and becomes something final,” one woman said.

Another added, “I don’t believe there is ever any absolute certainty to any decision regarding children, and that’s okay.”

Hormones or Grief?

Suggestions of early menopause are recounted from the experiences of others, with the original poster adding that she does think perhaps some of her anxiety comes from hormonal fluctuations.

“So hard to know what’s just hormones and what are actual feelings,” she writes dejectedly as others share her pain.

It’s Complicated and Confusing, but It Is Also Common

While some commenters argued over whether or not a dog could fill the void left by non-existent children, out of the hundreds of comments, many offered support.

“It’s not easy being a woman,” one response echoed. “There’s a thousand heartaches we suffer as we go through this stage of life, childless or not. You’re not alone.”


This article was produced by TPR Teaching. Source. 

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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