Part One: Widowed with No Children

If you are able to attend Camp Widow in just over a week, you are in for a treat, because I’ll be leading the round-table discussion on being Widowed with No Children.  No, that’s not really the treat – the treat is getting to connect with other amazing folks who have also had to experience grief in a most unfortunate way – through the loss of their spouse or partner.  Here’s what we’ll be talking about: 

“As a widow with no children, I invite you to join our ‘Widowed with No Children’ round-table discussion on Friday at Camp Widow East. Whether you and your spouse/partner planned to have children, or you never intended for children to be a part of your future, we will discuss the unique challenges we face. Some of these topics may include concerns about who will care for us as we age, mourning the secondary loss of being unable to have children with our late spouse/partner, feelings of alienation in the widowed community, questions from others about regrets in choosing not to have children, dis-connection with in-laws, considering becoming a single parent, and more.”

Many of these topics have come up in our discussion board on Widowed Village, but I also noticed some of these feelings at last year’s Camp Widow.  While I made some amazing connections, I also felt like this group was lacking.  Our issues are unique and magnified because of one thing: we have no children.

I want to address one topic that has continually been brought up around me by other widows (who are mothers or fathers).  I do ______ because I need to be here for my children; I have no other reason to do ______ besides my children, or other various versions.  To this I ask, what is my reason for living then?

I have plenty of reasons, most of which I had to discover through the “normal” grieving and healing process.  I had to discover new hobbies that I enjoyed – ones that were not just things my husband I did together.  I had to build confidence in myself and my abilities. I had to build a will to become a better, stronger, smarter, more loving and caring person.  I’m still working on it, but I had to do it solely for my own survival, not based on the needs of my non-existent children.

For my widow friends with children, I encourage you to look at living life for you.  Yes, you.  Becoming selfish.  You can’t do everything just for you children, just as any average parent cannot.  It’s give and take, even if most days it feels like give, give give.

Please share with me your unique challenges of being a widow with no children, or the questions you have for those of us who are widowed with no children.  Part two will come early next week before Camp Widow begins as a launch pad for the round table.

If you care to help send 1 widow to Camp Widow East or West, please contribute here to help donate a Campership.

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Comments 12

  1. I just totally can’t relate to this topic. I keep trying but I don’t. I NEVER wanted kids. I don’t like kids! My brother and sister have no children either. I am not afraid of being old and alone, I have my friends. I live for myself daily. I just don’t think no kids is an issue. Just my opinion of course.

  2. Did you ever feel like having no children alienated you from the “traditional” widowed crowd?

  3. No, I never felt that way. Just like I never felt alienated from my married with children friends. Although I have a strict “no children at my house” policy and they just have to accept that. Just as I have to accept their children when I go to their homes.

    Actually, if anything I feel sorry for those widowed with children. I think it would be much harder. I only have myself to care for now….they have to take care of children on top of their own grief.

  4. I regret not haveing childern now. Because living life alone….very lonely.

  5. Living life alone with or without them isn’t easy 🙁 *hugs* and love

  6. I am living with my husband whose had multiple heart surgeries; he’s now 71, I’m 60. I decided long ago not to have children though he asked me. I didn’t want to share him with anyone else and that was fine then, now I’m afraid every day that I’ll be alone. We moved to Colorado unknowing that they had a treatment here that saved his life. I’v always been terrified of being alone and I cry every day with the realization of the possiblilty. I don’t know where to go for help. Thank you for your website I know I’m not alone there are others like me.

  7. Hi Carol – the feelings of loneliness can be excruciating. Please know that you are not alone and that there is a large support group for both people living with spouses that are ill, and for those once those spouses pass on. Keep in touch and I hope the treatment goes well!

  8. My husband and I always planned on having kids one day, but we were young and my husband was finishing up a degree and so we were planning to wait a couple more years. Last month my husband passed away suddenly, at 26. This has been one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with. I’ve never been someone who wanted to be a mom and have kids but I was excited to create life with my husband. I feel such loss at knowing that I will never carry his child or have something of our flesh and blood to remember him by. I kept praying that somehow despite birth control I’d somehow be pregnant, even now, even though that might seem crazy to some and might make things more difficult, I still dared to hope. It’s truly one of my biggest regrets at the moment.

  9. Thanks for sharing Kimberly. I felt that way for a long while-I’ve come to peace with it now but it takes time. Love and hugs.

  10. There is a pretty big difference of being young or old without children. Under forty you still can have a career and new marriage….under 30 kids…But over sixty lots of options that take strength, health, and energy are gone. The way to still be able to find a place for one’s self in the world is quite different.

  11. Thanks for sharing your insight Sue

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