An LDS perspective on moving from childless to childfree living.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Circle of Life

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.

4 comments:

  1. Condolences so to your husband for his loss.

    My oldest niece is only 9... but I fear already now how will I manage the transition, getting great-aunt.

    I know, this thought always hunts me, whenever I attend a funeral - who will be there for ours? I force myself that I persuade myself that it doesn't make sense to worry about something that will hopefully won't happen for the next 40 years.

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    1. Thank you, Klara. DH is the youngest, and his oldest niece is 28. I also try not to worry about our funerals. It is difficult on those specific days, though.

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  2. I'm sorry for your loss. My last parent died last year, and though I don't feel the "orphan thing" too strongly, it does hit me from time to time.

    I have one great-nephew - his mother and I were pregnant at the same time. I've come to know him much more these last few years, and we have developed a really nice relationship that I couldn't have imagined at the time of his birth. Another niece has just had her first, and I have been delighted to see photos etc.. (They live in another country.) It gets easier, especially if you don't force it.

    I would say "no!" to hosting a baby shower but yes to a present. See how it goes, but be open to the love this new baby will bring into your life.

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  3. I am sorry to hear about your MIL. Times like these do lead us to reflect on our own situations, don't they? I don't have any great-nieces or nephews yet, but hope to within the next few years. ;) Right now I am looking forward to it -- but I am sure I'm also going to be thinking about my own lack of children & grandchildren, and feeling on the fringes of things again -- being "only" a great-aunt versus a full-fledged grandparent. :( I agree with Mali -- be open but see how you feel at the time. I don't think you need to feel obligated to host a baby shower, but a present would be nice. If you don't feel up to a trip to BabiesRUs, I am sure that cash or a gift card would be welcomed! :)

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