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

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Becky January 7, 2024 - 8:36 am

I’m 50 now, never been married nor any children. I wanted both, but God had other plans for my life.

I used to be the special, fun Aunt to my nieces and nephews especially my niece in town, but I’m quickly losing that special place with them now as they become pre-teens and teenagers. I am feeling that pain excruciatingly.

My twin sister tries hard to help me with my special relationship with my niece in town, which is kind. She kind of knows how it feels because she is also losing the special relationship with her daughter as she becomes a teenager. Let’s just say the relationship is changing and different. I can see my niece still has a special relationship with her mom, and I’m glad for that.

I have had to have a career, a very stressful career, not by choice because I’m single which has caused me not to have much free time to be the special aunt anymore.

I am grieving the loss of my special place with my nieces and nephews that I love with all my heart. I want to know how to regain that special relationship.

What grieves me the most is that I know Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and he should be first in my life. But, I’m afraid I’ve put my family first ( sisters, nieces and nephews) but I can’t help feeling that way. I’m so sad the kids are moving on and I’ll be left alone. I shouldn’t feel so alone since I have Jesus in my heart, but I do.

I’ve stopped hoping for a husband, and I could no longer have children of my own even if I did get married.

I wanted to be a stay at home mom and teacher so badly. I’m sure I have a “grass is greener on the other side” mentality but I can’t help but thinking that spending your time working hard for your family (lifelong relationships) has to be so much more rewarding than spending so much time working at a career for people who don’t really care about you and can lay you off at any time.

I don’t just want to complain because God has always been good to me and provided for me – except for a husband and children. I know God knows what is best, and His best for me won’t ever include a husband or children.

Sometimes, I’m grateful for my life. Sometimes, I grieve for my losses.

Thank you for letting me express my feelings.

Brandi Lytle January 17, 2024 - 2:45 pm

Becky, thank you for trusting me and the Not So Mommy… community enough to share your honest & vulnerable truths. I understand feeling as if you are losing your “special aunt status” as your nieces and nephews become teenagers. The relationship definitely changes as they mature from little ones to teenagers. From experience, I am feeling my nieces and nephews return a bit more as they graduate high school and begin adult lives. Yes, the relationship is different. But I’m finding it to be wonderful and loving. I pray you find this, as well, with your growing nieces and nephews.

Please know that there is a vibrant childless not by choice community ready to love, support, & encourage as we travel this childless path. There are numerous resources linked here at Not So Mommy… I hope you will check them out by clicking here. Sending you so many hugs, fellow warrior…

Becky January 17, 2024 - 7:25 pm

Thank you for responding to me. I was especially down the day I wrote that. I truly am grateful for all God has given me. Thank you for the encourage that the kids return to want a relationship again. I’m praying I have a similar story as you do with your nieces and nephews. We love them so much.

As far as the stressful job and no husband: I just have to trust God and be grateful for what He has provided.

Brandi Lytle January 22, 2024 - 4:10 pm

Becky, it seems like you have a very close relationship with God. I am grateful that you trust Him even when He says, “No.” Sending you loads of hugs…

Smith December 4, 2022 - 10:03 am

TRIGGER WARNING: Smith speaks very openly and honestly about her hurts, her anger. There are many, many potential triggers in her comment. Because I strive to make Not So Mommy… an authentic place, I decided to publish her comment. But I’m adding this TRIGGER WARNING. Please, only read if you are feeling strong enough today.

I’m no longer interested in men since going through the change. People said “God will bring Mr. Right into your life at the perfect time.” Nope. 100% wrong.
God wasn’t there for me when I cried out to Him in tears night after night. I have learned He doesn’t care what happens to me.
Not casting aspersions against His sovereignty or holiness. He can be perfectly just without loving me.
Every man in my Christian circles ignored me when I tried to get a husband as a young woman. I fussed over my looks–which were subpar–and prayed all the time. Their rejection was proof that God Himself had rejected me. He gave all my friends and cousins families as proof of His love and faithfulness and sent me away empty.
His people ignore me at church. Or worse. Now I realize how hopeless my situation is and no longer bother volunteering or praying. Because I am not a wife or mother, I am not a true member of the Body of Christ. And never will be.
A lot of sermons and articles by godly preachers out there condemning women like me for existing. Saying women are called to be wives and mothers and those who aren’t must be rebellious Jezebels/feminists/tramps/etc. And God hates them.
No. Jesus does NOT love me.
God DOES NOT care for me. He WILL NOT provide.
He has shown I am not one of those He loves. Maybe my childless, single status proves I’m not among His “elect.”
I have no part in the Kingdom of God. I will close my heart to all and quit loving. They have shown they don’t want me or anything I have to offer.
It doesn’t matter if I live or die.

Brandi Lytle December 5, 2022 - 1:51 pm

Smith, again, I am so sorry that others within the Church have hurt you. I am also sorry that you are struggling with anger and feeling less than. I am grateful that you trust me and this community enough to share your authentic feelings.

If the grief is too overwhelming and you are having thoughts of harming/hurting/killing yourself, please seek help immediately. The toll-free number to the US National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be found by clicking this link –

If you are not located within the United States, please google “suicide prevention + (name of your country)” to find the support you need.

Sending you loads of gentle hugs…

Smith April 28, 2023 - 6:26 pm

Thanks Brandi. I’m better now.
I was not THAT desperately depressed.
I just meant no one will miss me when I am gone because my parents will go first, and I have no one else.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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

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…

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.

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…

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.

Brandi Lytle October 23, 2020 - 11:40 am

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

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

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…

Melissa April 14, 2019 - 5:51 pm

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

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…

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!!

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…

Sherry February 13, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Your empathy is heartfelt and palpable….

Brandi Lytle February 14, 2019 - 10:30 am

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

carp February 28, 2018 - 11:11 am

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

Lucy February 20, 2018 - 9:51 am

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

Brandi Lytle February 20, 2018 - 10:37 am

You are welcome 🙂


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