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Old 07-15-2011, 05:09 PM
 
150 posts, read 230,691 times
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With my parents out of the picture and my siblings living far away or estranged I feel like I have no more family, apart from DH. I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family. Of course, having kids doesn't mean they will turn out well or be living near you when you are older. I'm not even talking about them taking care of you when you are feeble. Anyone ever be hit with this realization?
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janeace View Post
I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family.
Sounds to me like you are having regrets about not procreating, if only very deep down beneath the surface. We never had kids and I regret it every single day, though at the time there wasn't much I could do about it. Selfish thing to say but I'm glad I'll probably die before my wife because I wouldn't want to go through really old age with no family support. At least my wife has two sisters who she can fall back on after I'm gone. I have nobody.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:20 PM
 
Location: delaware
698 posts, read 922,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janeace View Post
With my parents out of the picture and my siblings living far away or estranged I feel like I have no more family, apart from DH. I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family. Of course, having kids doesn't mean they will turn out well or be living near you when you are older. I'm not even talking about them taking care of you when you are feeble. Anyone ever be hit with this realization?


my parents were middle aged when i was born, i never had siblings, and i grew up in a large household of parents, aunts, uncles, all of whom have been gone now for many years. i loved living in a family of adults and was never used to having small children around. my husband was the eldest of five and had been surrogate parent to younger siblings for many years. we both reached the decision not to have children by different paths.

my husband and i really became family for each other ( he was never very close to his and not a lot in common ). friends acted as family through the years and at different times in our lives different friends acted in this capacity. most of our friends did not have children, some did, and we had a number of single friends as well. my husband and i often said at different times in our life together that we were glad we had decided not to have children. we had a very close relationship and were always friends. my husband died 9 years ago, and in the last 8 years i have become involved with a significant other who has become family, in a different way, for me, and i for him. i will always miss my husband and regret we did not grow old together, but i have never felt that children would have filled that void. they do not share the memories and the emotional bonding that you have, in a good marriage, with a spouse. they are not contemporaries and their perspective on the world is different. i lost my parents early , at a very old age, and both had been in poor health for some time before they died. so, to some extent, their deaths were a relief.

i do think for many people losing a parent is a watershed event which results in a review of many life decisions. one book that i felt was helpful on this topic is "losing your parent, finding yourself"- i can't remember the author. i worked as a geriatric social worker and often used this book with adult children. another good book on the subject is called "orphans-real and imaginary", by eileen simpson.
i guess i'm saying that in spite of the losses which have been significant for me, primarily my husband, i have never felt differently about the decision not to have children. i, at times, would have liked to have had a cousin perhaps who was close in age with whom i might have had a relationship, but i don't feel that children with their own lives, and disparate generations, would have filled any gaps, certainly not over the long run.

give yourself some time to grieve and to heal. your world has shifted. it is natural to feel disconnected. i'm sorry for your loss, and wish for you better days.

catsy girl
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:35 PM
 
20,301 posts, read 11,702,763 times
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Having a strong core group of friends will allay that regret to a great extent. An active lifestyle will also re-confirm your early decision to forego having children.

In short; we are childless by choice, have been married for 41 years and have been retired since 2004 and DO NOT miss having children.

Our nieces, nephews and close friends offspring have been, and continue to be, more than adequate in fulfilling any "nurturing" aspirations we've had to date.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,092 posts, read 13,865,673 times
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Childless by choice, and not regretting it at all.

Although I do have a 'daughter' who lives in Europe. I hosted a wonderful exchange student while I was in my 30's - and I'm still Mom to her. My Dad was the only Grandpa she ever knew. My Mom is the only Grandma she's ever known. We've been in constant touch (phone and airmail, then email) for over 20 years now! I've visited her a couple of times. She visits regularly
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:54 PM
ifa
 
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I think if someone wants to have children it should be out of a selfless desire to create and nurture life. It should NOT be so you can lean on them physically, financially or emotionally. That is NOT what children are for, in my opinion. My mother always leaned on me and my siblings emotionally, ever since we were very young, and I think it damaged us. You should not have children to fill your emotional needs and protect yourself from loneliness, or to be your nurse maids and servants if you become disabled.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 18,709,359 times
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My ex-wife and I decided not to have children before we married. After she had been on the pill for five and a half years, I got a vasectomy. Although I am now divorced and live alone (to my satisfaction, as I have an active life and some good friends), I have never regretted my choice, even though I know I may die alone some day. I have watched too many people have their lives turned into hell by children who turned out bad. Yes, I know, other children have turned out wonderfully and I have watched those too. I would rather die alone having had a good life than die in the company of others having had a problematic life, and even having children is not a guarantee of not dying alone. Not everyone is cut out for parenthood - and it's good for all concerned if those of us who are not can recognize it early on.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:16 AM
 
13,510 posts, read 15,368,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janeace View Post
With my parents out of the picture and my siblings living far away or estranged I feel like I have no more family, apart from DH. I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family. Of course, having kids doesn't mean they will turn out well or be living near you when you are older. I'm not even talking about them taking care of you when you are feeble. Anyone ever be hit with this realization?
I am sorry for your unhappiness.

I have no children, and there has never been a time when I regretted this. Most of my friends had or have children, and there is nothing in their lives that I envy in the slightest.

Fulfillment comes from how you have lived your life, I feel, and being a parent (or not being a parent) is not a necessity in order for that process to take place....nor are a number of other cultural "shoulds" that we are indoctrinated with, though - of course - they may contribute powerfully in some peoples lives.

But in the end, it is how your life is lived.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:52 AM
 
150 posts, read 230,691 times
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Thanks, I will look up these books.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,902,082 times
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As to your question, I cannot answer because I'm not childless, but here is one POV.

From someone who has grown kids with lots of friends who had kids, I can tell you that there is no guarantee of anything. I am always amused when I read obits that state the departed person was "surrounded by beloved family" at the end. Although the "beloved" part is possible, it's a bit of a cliché.

I'm personally extremely gratified to have had my kids and it's a deep pleasure to know them now as adults. On the other hand, I believe that some of us bring children into this world and yet we do not own them, nor are we responsible for them when they mature and grow up. Some of our kids will be there for us in old age and departure, and some won't, or none will, depending on circumstances for all involved at that time.

Personally, although I am not religious in the standard way, my relationship with God is what matters most to me. I was just given a book by Richard Rohr, "Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life" that I am looking forward to reading, because even those of us who have children or lots of friends or whatever are essentially alone, we all are. Our journey is to feel secure in ourselves.
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