Today I Mourn the Loss of the Children I Never Had.




Yesterday, I was feeling deeply saddened as I walked my golden retrievers, Liza Jolie and Zydeco Ardoin, on the parkway. Zydie is nine-years old, and he has begun to experience serious health problems as so many golden retrievers do at that age. The thought of losing either Liza or Zydeco breaks my heart. They may not be human, but they are my children.

As I continued walking, I found myself grieving that I have never had human children. This is a profound grief I feel from time to time, and I give myself permission to work through it. One thing I’ve found helpful is rereading a post I wrote in early 2010:  “Today I Mourn the Loss of the Children I Never Had.”

After returning home, I reread that blog post, and it did make me feel better. Because there are many people who grieve the loss of the children they never had, I’m reposting what I wrote. Hopefully, it will help others who are grieving feel better too.

February 2010

Recently, I wrote the following status on Facebook: “Today I mourn the loss of the children I never had.”  I am a 55 year old woman who has never married. I adore children but don’t have any of my own.  There are days when I miss the life, the joy, even the pain I might have had, had circumstances been different. Because I have always loved children, the loss I feel is real. It’s important to grieve this loss. Doing so is necessary to healing.  

I am posting this today because I want other single, middle-aged women who don’t have children to know that it’s okay to grieve the loss of being childless. I want everyone else to know it too.

Only rarely do I feel the need to mourn the loss of children I never had. I discovered years ago that being angry or depressed about this circumstance didn’t serve me well. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I learned to turn my focus to the benefits of not having children. I have a freedom that many of my friends don’t have. I can pack a bag and travel on a moment’s notice. I don’t have to be home in time to pay the baby sitter. I also have freedom on a much greater scale. For example, I was able to leave the practice of law more easily because I didn’t have children. My decision affected only me and not an entire family.

Being childless is an issue that confronts many of us in the Second Half of Life. This is when the reality of the situation smacks us and smacks us hard.  It’s different than the empty nest syndrome.  We grieve the loss of possibility. We are haunted by a sense of finality. We mourn the death of a person we are never to be.

A Facebook friend responded to my status by telling me about a client she is coaching. Like me, her client sometimes grieves the loss of the children she never had. One day while working on this issue, her client realized that she has many children in her life, even though they aren’t her biological offspring. In fact, she has raised, nurtured, and encouraged many children over the years; mothering is her calling in everything she does. Another Facebook friend wrote that she saw me as a Universal Mother. She said that while some women mother a select few only, my mothering path crossed all age, biological, and spiritual barriers.

I smile every time I think about these comments. I love that even childless, I am a mother. Universal Mother – I can live with that. 


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About ahalifedesign

As a master certified life , certified creativity, and trained meaning coach, Laurie helps clients live their best life. She works compassionately with clients to dissolve limiting beliefs that prevent them from realizing their fullest potential and to take action. Laurie helps baby boomers reinvent themselves at midlife and beyond; she guides them through the transition and transformation they inevitably encounter in the second half of life. She works with baby boomers to discover abandoned aspects of self, explore passions, find meaning, and fulfill their life’s purpose. Laurie also helps writers, artists, musicians, actors, business entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to be more creative, overcome blocks (i.e., overwhelm, perfectionism, procrastination, self-sabotage, fear) and other obstacles to achieving their dreams. Laurie lives in Denver, Colorado with her two rambunctious golden retrievers, Liza Jolie and Zydeco Ardoin. She loves the Rocky Mountains and the inspiration and diverse activities they offer. She loves literature, theatre, music, dancing, and art. Laurie is a consumate learner. She has a background in law, psychology, positive psychology, creativity, Buddhist studies, and meditative practice. She is fascinated by the human brain and recent developments in neuroscience.
This entry was posted in An Aha Life, midlife, second half of life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Today I Mourn the Loss of the Children I Never Had.

  1. I like the term “Universal Mother”. I am 30, never married and no children, which doe not seem so bad, but part of me doesn’t necessarily have the urge to carry children. I love children (mainly over the age of 3). In fact, I act silly and childlike at times. Dancing whenever the mood strikes me, being impulsive when it comes to candy and finding peace in something as simple as coloring.
    I don’t think I will ever mourn children I did not have, instead I hope I can be a mentor to children who mourn the parents and role models they never had.

  2. ahalifedesign says:

    I too like the term “Universal Mother.” Each and every one of us can be a “parent” in this way and play an important part in nurturing others, whether we have children or not. I also like that you are staying in touch with your inner child.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for leaving your thoughtful comment.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Laurie. I am 39 and single, and I definitely can relate to grieving the children I haven’t had. I still have hope, but I realize my biological age is quickly making the decision for me. I have always wanted to be a mother, and I treasure my time with the children in my life, particularly my nieces and nephews. I also had a wonderful role model, my great aunt Sudie, who never had children of her own but was the recognized and respected matriarch of our family. She made an indelible impression on me, and my life is so much richer because of her influence.

  4. ahalifedesign says:

    Emily thanks so much for reading my blog and for your beautiful comment. I am touched by what you have written.

    Like you, I had a great aunt who was a wonderful role model. Aunt Cora loved children, and she was absolutely wonderful to me. I wear the ring she willed to me as a reminder of the greatest lesson she taught me – the lesson of unconditional love. She definitely made my life much richer.

    I wish you the very best and hope that your desire for children is realized. From your comment, I believe you’ll be a fabulous mother.

    Sending love and hugs,

  5. Christy says:

    Being a mother is not measured by giving birth to a child. What’s important is we are able to nurture just like a real mother.

  6. ahalifedesign says:

    Thank you Christy for visiting and for writing a comment. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    I agree. The ability to nurture others is extremely important, and we don’t have to be mothers to do that. Everyone can be a Univesal Mother.

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