Not So Helpful Jokes: You’re So Lucky!

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a woman holding a sweater over her mouth on Not So Helpful Jokes: You're So Lucky! on Not So Mommy..., an Infertility / Childless Blog

You don’t have kids?!  You’re so lucky!

Uh, no.  While I’m all about finding the bright sides of infertility and childlessness, looking at things with a different perspective, I have never considered myself “lucky” because I don’t have children.

And honestly, I don’t think people who have kids really think I’m lucky, either.  At least I hope they don’t…

Why joke?

So, why do people make this flippant little joke?

Well, the topics of infertility and childlessness are far from light-hearted.  Because discussing such heavy issues makes some people uncomfortable, they try to lighten the mood by making a joke.  Perhaps their “you’re so lucky” quip is their way of telling you that their life isn’t perfect even though they have littles, that parenthood is hard…

The problem is…

The problem is, I know parents’ lives aren’t perfect.  Nobody’s is.  And I know that parenthood is hard.  You don’t have to have kiddos to realize that.

Also, I know that there are bright sides to not having kids.  As I have embraced infertility and accepted my childless life, I’ve searched for them.  Focusing on the fact that my hubby and I can have impromptu date nights whenever we want, that we can travel and eat at fancy restaurants and sleep in on Saturdays…  Well, that helps me pay attention to the positive and has allowed me to enjoy the what is…

But I don’t need you, the person with littles, to point out that there are bright sides to my childless life.  Because I’m pretty sure there are bright sides to your life with kids…  Plus, you are completely diminishing the struggle I went through when you tell me I’m so lucky…

Was I lucky when…

I mean, was I lucky when my hubby and I tried for ten years to get pregnant with no success?

Was I lucky when we sat in a doctor’s office and received the diagnosis of severe infertility?

Did my good luck cause our seven failed infertility treatments?

How lucky was I when my husband told me he didn’t want to keep trying and needed me to accept our childless life?

Am I lucky that I don’t attend baby showers or hold babies because these still cause me too much pain (even though I really have accepted that I’m childless not by choice)?

And how lucky am I that when some hear I don’t have kids, they are so completely oblivious to the years of pain that I struggled through, the grief that broke my heart, the tremendous work it took for me to become a look-at-the-bright-side childless person that they think it appropriate to joke, “You’re so lucky!”

To those with littles…

No, I’m not lucky.  You are.  You decided that you wanted kids, and you were able to have them.

Now, those kids may drive you crazy some days with tantrums and messes and so much more.  But I need you to truly realize how lucky you are.  I need you to embrace those tantrums and messes and everything good, bad, and ugly about having littles.  I need you to feel your luck and be grateful for it.  I need you to remember that all are not so lucky…

And no matter how hard your day with your littles has been, I need you to never say “You’re so lucky” to someone when she shares that she doesn’t have kids.  Especially if you do not know whether this was a choice or not.  Do not risk dismissing the struggle, the pain of the childless not by choice, with such frivolous words.


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“Not So Helpful Jokes” Blog 2 will be posted next Wed, 5 Sept.


Fellow CNBC fabulous ones, are you wondering what I think the bright sides of infertility and childlessness are?  Click here to find out…


Featured Photo:  Remy_Loz on

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Jai September 4, 2018 - 11:38 am

My first time writing and a little nervous. I attended my niece’s wedding this past weekend. She’s 40+ and questioned her future from time to time. Long story short, she married a great guy and gained three daughters! I’m so proud and happy for her and her new family. During the traditional wedding toasts, the middle daughter (12 yrs) read a beautiful tribute to her new mother. It was really beautiful and honest. I realized that I would never hear those words being spoken to me…I found a quiet corner and cried. I could not shake the feeling and had an even better cry the next morning, minus false eyelashes. I just feel so broken. I mostly hear, “Well, at least you have nieces and nephews. ” I can’t think of one time that that has brought me any comfort whatsoever. My nieces and nephews have their own parents and family life. Just a low time for me. Agree with you all, childlessness has never felt “lucky.”

Brandi Lytle September 4, 2018 - 3:27 pm

Jai, I am so sorry that you are struggling. I feel very humbled that you trust me and the community here at Not So Mommy… enough to be so vulnerable. Your willingness to share your heart shows how strong and amazing you are. I’m glad that you are allowing yourself to feel the feels, to be sad and broken. It is truly the first step in healing.

So many incredible things are happening within our tribe… World Childless Week begins next Monday, plus Nicci Fletcher (of The Canbace Diaries) and I are collaborating on some new initiatives. I am glad that you are connecting, reading, reaching out… We are here to support you on this journey, as it is super complex!

I am sending you lots of hugs and praying you find the comfort your heart so desires…

Jill Kane August 31, 2018 - 1:20 pm

Another great post, Brandi. Thanks so much! I’ve heard this, on and off, for years. Sometimes I would agree, not really thinking past what I was agreeing to. On the surface, yes, I can say that my life is “lucky” in many ways. More recently a mom friend went on to say…you don’t have the tantrums, the stress, the mess…the blah, blah. That recent moment made me think…true, on the surface I don’t have to deal with all that. The difference is she made the decision to try for children, was in a position to have children, and she eventually received her children. For those us who don’t receive what we want, it’s sometimes hard to apply the word luck to that situation. Who knows, maybe after a lifetime of of life, one would look back and say, yep, I was lucky. Or when we die and all truth is revealed (at least that’s what I hope heaven involves!) we can then say yes, my life on Earth, just as it played out, was in fact lucky. The point is those times aren’t now.

I’m making a conscious effort to not use “lucky” or “everything worked out as planned” unless I”m absolutely sure that people got what they wanted. To me, that’s what lucky is: you received what you wanted, just as you envisioned it. Because with life, that seems rare. To get just what you wanted. That seems lucky.

Brandi Lytle September 1, 2018 - 12:09 am

Jill, I absolutely love your observations! “… you received what you wanted, just as you envisioned it. Because with life, that seems rare. To get just what you wanted. That seems lucky.”

These words made me tear up because they are so, so true. It is indeed rare for life to turn out just as you wanted… Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart!

maggie August 29, 2018 - 2:54 pm

YESSSSS! I thought maybe I was the only person who got these tremendously clueless remarks. I really can’t fathom how anyone thinks this comment is appropriate.

Brandi Lytle August 31, 2018 - 12:18 am

I agree. It really isn’t funny…

It’s been wonderful to receive validation that I, too, am not the only one who has dealt with such “clueless remarks.” Although I am sorry that so many of us have had to deal with such thoughtlessness.


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