My sweet MIL passed away last week. Her funeral was yesterday. This is DH's last parent, so he is feeling very lost about where he belongs. We have a good life, but we were talking about regrets, since he had recently asked his mom about her regrets. Interesting that both are related to children. My MIL said her regret was having children before my FIL was able to earn a master's degree. She said that would have allowed him greater job opportunities. They struggled as he supported a family including four children on a teacher's salary.
DH and I both said our regret was not having children when we were young, before he got leukemia. We basically did what his mom wanted his dad to do. We were waiting for DH to finish his degree, only three classes left, when he was diagnosed. Would we have had the same regret as his mom if we had children too early? Who knows.
Major life events like the passing of a loved one make you reflect on your life and on the future. I am happy. DH is happy. We have a great life childfree together. Who will be there to plan our funerals?
In addition, I saw our oldest niece, who is PG with her first. I found out she was PG on Christmas Eve morning. DH told me while we were talking that morning. He said he had known for a couple of weeks, but with my anxiety over my job change and leaving my students mid-year, he had been trying to find the right time to tell me. He knew he had to tell me that morning, because we were seeing his whole side of the family that evening. Anyway, it's a boy, and she is showing. I will be a great-aunt the first part of June. This is all good. She has a kind DH, they have both graduated from college and have good jobs. The situation is ideal.
Knowing a new baby will be in the family, and knowing I will never be a mother, I'm trying to decide how involved I want to be. I haven't held a baby in a LONG time. I can't even remember when. Do I go to the baby shower? Do I offer to host a baby shower? Can I even buy a gift?
I have been able to throw myself into my work, so I haven't had to think about my childless situation in a while. Yesterday, I had to face it in the form of my PG niece. I truly thought I had moved past being childless to enjoying living childfree, but my niece being PG has me thinking about what I don't have instead of focusing on the good I do have. I need to get back to that way of thinking.
I know lots of people in our situation have become great-aunts and great-uncles. I hope I can hear from some of them about how they have managed that transition.