It happened again the other day. A woman struggling with infertility posted on Facebook that she always gets “The short end of the stick” because she does not have children. I believe her, and I don’t think she is being paranoid. I know this, because I have heard this same story over and over again from people who are childless, and their pain is real.
It can be something as simple and complicated as a woman’s mother choosing to pass a set of family heirloom china to the daughter WITH children because in her mind – the child with no children has “no one to pass the china down to”. The childless daughter feels hurt and left out. And the mother thinks she is doing the right thing. This pattern can play out over and over again, as children or family members with no children see money, gifts, and support offered to siblings or family members with children versus themselves. The reason always stated or implied is that of course the siblings with children would get more because they have kids.
Now – perhaps this does make sense on many levels. But it can be a painful experience for the childless siblings seeing “all the good stuff” going to the siblings with children.
I don’t have easy answers around this. I am writing this entry for those of you who are going through this – to know that you are not alone. That other people who are childless have been left out of inheritances or didn’t get things that they may have wanted such as the family china because they didn’t have kids. It can feel like a double punishment and a constant reminder that you don’t have children.
To the family members and friends of people who are childless – please be mindful of this possible pattern of behavior and try to think about how you would feel if you were told that Aunt Sarah’s candle sticks that you really loved were not going to you simply because you had no one to pass it down to.