The Biggest Thing in My Life is Small
Life in a childless home
Welcome to Sayable. This is a paid post but for the rest of the month I’m running a discount for new paying subscribers for 50% off the yearly subscription fee! That’s $15 for a year instead of $30 a year. If you’re subscribed to my free newsletter and want to read locked posts like this one, now is a great time to jump on. Get it here👇🏼
At some point in our fertility/loss journey, when we were beginning to come to terms with a life of childlessness, I remember thinking to myself, “There are a lot of folks writing about parenting. And a lot more folks writing about infertility/loss and empty-nest seasons than there used to be. But who is even talking at all about life when it’s just you two and only always will be?”
I knew I wasn’t in a place yet to think much publicly about this. The waves of grief still hit me frequently and the thought of “What if…?” still rose occasionally. But it has been several years now since we’ve actively prevented pregnancy (For those who are new here, I can get pregnant, I just can’t stay pregnant.), since we’ve actively made the choice to not pursue adoption,1 and the grief has abated and purpose has move in to take its place.
We are right in the age group, though, where almost all of our peers are in the thick of child-rearing. Almost all of our married friends have kids and all of those kids require their time, energy, and money in ways a childless couple just doesn’t face. I have spent quite a lot of time feeling secretly shameful that I can sleep uninterrupted, stay up late if I want, read a book in one sitting, and plan for a future that is a bit easier to envision. This shame has pervaded a lot of my feelings and thoughts about our childlessness. I genuinely care more about not making my parent friends feel envious than I do about dealing with that shame head-on, which is good for me to admit and continue to work through. It’s taking a lot of work for me to even write this because I have exact faces and names in my heart who would give their right arm for a night of quiet right now.
So, if that’s you, please feel free to move on. You don’t have to read this. You have a very important job to do and you’re the one God designed to do it. You are that kid’s Mom or Dad and that’s your beautiful calling. It’s hard sometimes, yes, but it’s also glorious. And my work, as the mama of no one here on earth, is to also do the hard and glorious work living the life God has given me.
Maybe, however, you are also childless or maybe you know someone who might benefit from this. If so, read on (and feel free to share with your friends!) 👇🏼
I’m reading the memoir Stranger Care right now, and in it, when the couple is still childless, a frazzled parent friend tells them something like, “Sometime I imagine you two are always having wild sex and reading poetry aloud to one another at night and watching movies and eating steak dinners over candlelight all the time.” The writer laughed incredulously. I did too.