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When You Are Childless Not By Choice Celebrations Can Be A Challenge
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When You Are Childless Not By Choice Celebrations Can Be A Challenge

Every time someone has told me I’m lucky not to have children I want to thump them one because I don't have any children. Yes I know children are hard work. Yes I know they they are expensive. but I wouldn't care. You see when you;re childless not by choice but by a quirk of fate it's difficult to look at anything other than what you've lost.

For me it’s quite easily the biggest disappointment of my life and it’s something that continues to haunt me daily and on occasions the grief and sense of loss has been overwhelming. It’s equally a tragedy for my husband and we have learnt over the years to only talk about it to each other - not other people. Sadly we found that the majority of our friends and families were quite unsympathetic about it generally telling us that it’s 'for the best' or 'God’s will'. Grr!

Now some couples come to terms with their childlessness quite well (or at least they say they do). Delia Smith the well respected TV chef comes to mind. She has said she would have liked children but it never happened so she learnt to live with it. For others it can be something they never accept and the wanting is enough almost to send them mad. I’ve definitely had moments when I’ve veered towards the madness and the pain has been unbearable.

In the UK Daily Mail this week one of the feature writers Amanda Platell spoke movingly of her own childlessness, which is not by choice, and how difficult she found it at Christmas. Much of what she said resonated with me, but I don’t find Christmas per se particularly difficult, because there are so many occasions throughout the year when the ever present pain of childlessness suffers additional blows.

Easter is no better than Christmas, Mothers Day and Fathers Day are particularly painful, christenings or weddings grim, birthday parties, anniversary parties, in fact any party where you’re likely to come across a gorgeous child absolute torture. Oh and of course television – lots of adverts with cute kids popping up unexpectedly. It’s rather like being at the dentist and having root canal work with no anaesthetic. The pain is just relentless.

And what are you supposed to do about these constant reminders? Well every person finds their own way of managing that pain. For some it means avoiding family or social occasions where they’re going to be around children and see what they’ve missed out on. I have a friends who always go away at Christmas because they’re so aware that they don’t want to inflict their misery on anyone else and yet they just can't grin and bear it year after year and pretend seeing the family toddlers running around.

My husband and I opted out, finding it just too difficult and we put up blinds all around are house which are nearly always closed so we don’t see some of the children who live near us running about having a good time and our house is a total Christmas free zone. And yes we're well aware that Christmas isn’t just about the children but that doesn’t help.

Others like Platell still do everything they can to enjoy occasions like Christmas and gain a great deal of pleasure spoiling and supporting nieces and nephews though she freely admits that it doesn’t mitigate the pain of knowing that she will never be called ‘Mum.’

When you haven't chosen to be childless enjoying those special occasions can be a real challenge.

Street Talk

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