Saturday, January 24, 2015

An excellent question

From time to time I exchange emails with a pen-friend from France and earlier this week she asked a question:

"... I  wonder, in being childless not by choice, how much of the pain comes from the lack of children in itself and how much from the society?"

I think this is an excellent question. 

I replied that I would define my pain with a formula: 30 % lack of children, 70 % society. 

I had some days to think about it and the formula  is true for me now. 
But in the very early day of infertility, it would be like 90 % lack of children, 10 % society. 


Enough of thinking. It is now time for one hour of swimming in the Olympic pool with my mum.
(I definitely inherited my love to swim from her)


  1. Hope you enjoyed swimming!

    I'll have to think about my answer to this question. I think that right now I would say that not having children is weighted more heavily than any pressure from society. But I can't put a number on it. Thought provoking indeed.

  2. In my opinion, it's very hard to distinguish the difference, at any point of time. What is certain, however, is that society makes it harder, every step of the way. Unless we find our own small niches of society - like here.

  3. Hmmm...I think it's intertwined sometimes, because when we're the most vulnerable, society mirrors what we don't have so acutely. Like in the beginning when I was still hoping, seeing baby bumps or hearing pregnancy announcements could be so painful (depending on our mood as well) even if they didn't mean to hurt us. Any ad or movie scene could even tear open my internal wound and make it bleed again (or bleed even worse), even though they weren't meant to hurt us. And it doesn't help either if the parents/in-laws keep wanting us to give them grandchildren for example. The guilt coming from not being able to have children can be a complex one, involving many people (the spouse, the spouse's parents, one's own parents). And the guilt can also add more weight to the pain.

    I agree with Mali that living in a child-centric society and a society that doesn't understand an invisible grief make it tougher.

  4. You are on to something Klara. The formula changes depending on a few factors, including what Amel and Mali added. Love the wisdom of this community.

  5. I have to agree. As time goes on and more people I know have procreated, and people think whatever they think about me, the more I feel pain from so many around me. :(