To the Childless and Single

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a single white flower with dewdrops on it, sparkling in the sun on "To the Childless and Single" on Infertililty/Childless Blog on Not So Mommy...

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I was all set to write a blog about how wonderful this holiday is for the childless.  And then, a fellow CNBC mentioned that one might handle childlessness better with a loving partner to lean on.  And it hit me.  I was looking at Valentine’s Day through the eyes of a childless woman who is part of a childless couple.  The perspective of being childless and single had not even crossed my mind…

While the childless not by choice have much in common, understanding the pain that comes from desiring children that we just cannot seem to have, we also each have our own unique set of circumstances surrounding our childlessness.  Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, wrote an article entitled, “50 Ways Not to be a Mother.”  This article clearly shows that there are many paths to the destination of childlessness, including not finding a loving partner with whom to have children.

Once enlightened, my heart ached for the childless and single.  I wanted to help, so I started thinking about what I could say…

I don’t understand.

One of the things that irritated me the most when I was struggling with infertility was the “I know how you feel” statement.  I specifically remember when a woman with four kids sat down next to me at my niece’s birthday party and said, “I finally know how you feel.”  I looked at her, questioning what she meant.  She continued that they had been trying for several months to get pregnant and it just wasn’t happening.  Now, she claimed, she understood what it felt like to be infertile.  Really?!

So, I will not sit here and say that I understand what it feels like to be childless and single.  Because I do not.  I feel your pain over your childlessness.  My heart aches, knowing that grief is often all consuming and devastating.  But I do not know what it feels like to want a partner, a loving relationship, and not be able to find that special person…

I won’t ask you to look at the bright side…

While I’m all about looking at the bright side, focusing on the positive, changing your perspective, those glass half-full, everybody has problems, chipper optimists can be downright annoying when you are in the depths of your struggles.  The moms who joke, “Do you want to borrow my kids?!” The fertile who say, “At least you won’t have stretch marks!”  Well, I bit my tongue on more than one occasion rather than retorting, “Yes, I’ll happily take your kids.”  As for the stretch marks?  Whatever.  I’d have loved to have quipped back, “Well, at least you don’t have a permanently bloated belly because of endometriosis.”

So, I won’t tell you about the annoying things my hubby does because I imagine you’d be happy with someone bothering you…

I won’t offer advice.

Now, this is the hard one.  The first thing that popped into my mind was advice.  Not on how to get a partner, but about how to help alleviate the pain over being childless.  And although I am childless, not one childless and single person has asked for my advice.  And I specifically stated in one of my blogs, “My advice:  Don’t give advice.”  So…  Unless someone asks for it, I’ll refrain from giving my “helpful” advice.  (Well, at least in this post. 😉 )

I will say, “I’m sorry.”

To the childless and single, what I will do is say, “I’m sorry.”  I’m sorry that you don’t have the loving relationship or the littles that your heart desires.  I’m sorry that life isn’t turning out how you expected or wanted.  I’m sorry that you are having to go through this.  I’m sorry that you are struggling.  I’m sorry you are sad.  I’m sorry you are hurt.

I will give you hugs.

And I am giving you the biggest virtual hug that I can right now.  Hugging you so tightly that you feel the broken pieces just might be able to be put back together.  Hugging you so tightly that you feel warmth and love and the inkling that everything just might be okay…  Hugging you until you decide it’s time to let go.  Hugging you to show that even though I don’t completely get it, I really do care about your feelings.

To the childless and single, you are not forgotten.

To the childless and single, you are not forgotten.  When you feel alone, please gently remind us that your circumstances are a bit different than ours.  Remind us that your heart is grieving in a distinct way.  Remind us to be considerate that not all are in a loving relationship.  Remind us because we really do want to support you…

 

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Photo Credit:  Aaron Burden of StockSnap.io

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21 comments

Michelle March 3, 2022 - 3:36 pm

Thank you for recognizing that we are here, single and childless. So many of the CNBC talk about the partners. I know it isn’t easy or maybe I don’t know anything about what it’s like to be in a relationship and CNBC. I know that I feel I am totally alone. I never have been pregnant because my ex refused to try until I lost weight. So I feel like I was robbed of any chance. I am now 52 and the pain tears me apart. I don’t know how to come to terms with it. I feel like those around me are like ok you have been doing this long enough. Get over it. The pain doesn’t go away. I feel so cheated and like I’m a failure. I think I wouldn’t have been a good mom because of childhood abuse.

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Brandi Lytle March 3, 2022 - 6:37 pm

Michelle, I am so sorry that you are struggling. Thank you for trusting this community enough to bravely share your truth… Sending you so many HUGS…

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Beccah May 12, 2021 - 1:29 pm

Thank you for this. This is the first piece I’ve ever read that even kind of understand being both single and childless.

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Brandi Lytle May 12, 2021 - 1:48 pm

It is my honor to be a voice for the childless community. And I am humbled that this piece helped, even if a little… Sending you so many HUGS…

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Kerry McShane February 15, 2021 - 12:49 am

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart I thank you…..this meant so much to read. I am 44yrs old and single, never met Mr.Right so I never got to try for a baby..all I want in life was marriage and children…lots of childless women have a partner to help with the grief but I carry it alone and it’s hard, thank you for acknowledging my pain oF being Single and Childless. I felt seen xoxox

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Brandi Lytle February 15, 2021 - 4:30 pm

Kerry, thank you for sharing your heart and letting me know that this post resonated with you. I am humbled that you “felt seen.” Truly, I never want anyone to feel alone on this journey. Please know, I’m always here to listen, support, and encourage. Sending you so many HUGS, fellow warrior…

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Gem November 17, 2020 - 12:23 pm

I have been struggling alone for a while now i have endometriosis and autoimmune disorder. I am unable to work fulltime or part time really so fertility treatments arent an option and without a loving partner to help i really would have such a difficult time being a mom. I cried the whole time reading this. All the other articles i couldnt finish because they didnt get it. I felt understood . thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the pain. Its damn hard especially without a partner or support system or family. I needed this so badly.

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Brandi Lytle November 17, 2020 - 3:58 pm

Gem, I’m so sorry you’ve been struggling. I am grateful that this post helped you feel understood. Today has been a rough one for me personally. Your comment helped me feel that my story–my struggles–have meaning. So, thank you for taking the time to bravely share your heart with us. Sending you so many hugs…

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JL October 22, 2020 - 7:29 pm

I’m new to this blog, but not new to childlessness or single-hood. I’m 50-yrs-old, a professional woman who never met the person I truly wanted to marry, though I spent many years searching. I thought of having a child on my own, but was already a deeply devoted auntie to 4 children, and decided that single parenthood wasn’t for me. This isn’t the life I thought I wanted, but it’s actually quite meaningful and extraordinary. I’ve lived an examined life, have discovered many ways to be creative, many ways to be of service, as well as my own spiritual path. It would be nice to have that special someone, but I don’t believe that is the end-all-be-all for most women.

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Brandi Lytle October 23, 2020 - 11:40 am

Thank you for bravely sharing your truth and your perspective, JL. Hugs…

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Caz Mitchell February 22, 2020 - 5:09 am

This. All of this. I have a loving partner now, however I had to wait until I was 37 to find him. I am 40 this year and children are not an option for us. I often feel as though I was only allowed one or the other, like having both just wasn’t ok for me. Single and childless is a pain like no other, but it’s important to know that people do understand and will support you

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Brandi Lytle February 24, 2020 - 12:31 pm

Caz, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I am grateful that you found a loving partner, though my heart hurts that you still must endure the pain of childlessness. I agree that “single and childless is a pain like no other,” and one that I cannot fully comprehend. But as your beautiful heart noticed, I am trying to understand and support those walking that path. Hugs to you…

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Melissa April 14, 2019 - 5:51 pm

Thank you for this post! You truly “get it.” Thanks for understanding and caring.

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Brandi Lytle April 15, 2019 - 10:11 am

Thank you for your kind words, Melissa. I’m grateful this post resonated with you. So many hugs…

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Mary February 13, 2019 - 6:43 pm

Perfectly said!! I honestly want to send this to all my married with kids friends!! It’s so hard when someone says they know how I feel. How could they? They have two children at home. Some struggled to get there children, but at the end of the day their dreams got to come true. So no, who have no idea how I feel. Really beautifully written!! Thank you!!

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Brandi Lytle February 14, 2019 - 10:30 am

Mary, I’m grateful that my words resonated with you (although I truly wish you didn’t have to “get it!”) I truly appreciate your kind words about this post. And feel free to share it! As we bravely speak-up, I hope more people will at least try to understand the unique pain of childlessness… Hugs…

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Sherry February 13, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Your empathy is heartfelt and palpable….

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Brandi Lytle February 14, 2019 - 10:30 am

Thank you. I’m grateful my true feelings were able to come through the written word…

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carp February 28, 2018 - 11:11 am

Brandi Lytle, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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Lucy February 20, 2018 - 9:51 am

I’m feeling very moved, and I want simply to say thank you.

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Brandi Lytle February 20, 2018 - 10:37 am

You are welcome 🙂

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