Friends without kids

I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  (For the sake of anonymity, I’m calling her “Sincerity” for her complete absence of cynicism and her kind heart.)  Since the last time we saw each other, she and her boyfriend bought a house with a room for her very own study, her boyfriend lost both his mother and grandmother, and the two of them have apparently decided they will most likely not have children.  By choice.  It’s been an eventful few months for both of us.

Sincerity and I have a lot in common.  We’re both poets.  We’re both introverted homebodies.  Now that she has cable (finally!), we both watch too much TV.  But our decisions regarding child rearing are not the only differences between us.  She is probably the healthiest person I know.  She’s a vegetarian.  She does yoga and runs.  She meditates.  And then there’s her amazing sensitivity and compassion.  She doesn’t have a mean or snarky bone in her body (unlike almost everyone else I know, myself included).

Because Sincerity also works with kids, she regularly gets asked the same questions I do:  Do you have kids? and Don’t you want them?  The answer to the first question is the same for both of us.  The second, well, we both find it annoying and rude for completely different reasons.  For me, obviously I do want kids but I’m not going to tell every random person who asks why I don’t have them yet.  And for her, I think she feels like the asker assumes the answer is yes.  But it’s not for everyone.  And I can respect that.

I am so grateful for Sincerity’s friendship.  She knows about our struggles and desire to have a family and asks how we’re doing.  Even though she doesn’t relate exactly to what we’re going through, she empathizes with our frustration and lauds our patience.  She is encouraging, and I don’t doubt for a second that she believes every word she says.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I worry that one day, when Hubby and I are lucky enough to have the family we so desperately want, Sincerity and I will drift apart, separated by some enormous thing we will no longer have in common.  Because when we’re wrapped up in our own worlds, like we have been the last few months, we each find it equally difficult to reach out to friends.  But I hope we’ll try.

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11 thoughts on “Friends without kids

  1. Sounds like a true friend you have there! I know it’s hard to relate to friends when your situations are no longer the same, or the common thread that binds you is snipped, but if she has been there for you through it all, then you can’t let her slip away. They’ll still be times you’ll want to leave the house sans kiddos and do something just for you, and she’ll be the one to call 🙂

    • You’re right, of course. I’m sure I’m worrying for nothing, which is my tendency. 🙂 Besides, we’re nowhere near having to worry about it at all.

  2. I know what you mean, about worrying about things that MIGHT happen in the future based on children that MIGHT happen to come along in some way. I try to remember that there are so many maybes and maybe nots and who knows what that we can’t really figure anything out.

    It sounds like you have a lovely friend, Sincerity, and I bet she’ll sincerely care about you, kids or no kids.

    • Exactly! And she really is a great friend. I know that whatever happens, friendship is a two-way street, and it’s my responsibility to make sure our friendship lasts.

  3. I understand your fear. But over the years I have learned that sometimes people come into your life when you need them most and sometimes they are meant to stay for a short time while others stay longer. But if that friendship truly means as much to you now and you wish to carry it, you will always find your way back to each other. I’ve grown apart from very dear friends but we found our way back to each other.

    That being said, my cousin and her husband are very much like your friend. They chose to live child free. One night, while at a family event, I snuck outside for a smoke with my cousins husband. We were silent for a bit just enjoying our smoke when he said to me, “I’m sorry you are having so much trouble trying to have a baby. I’m sure the well meaning questions are hard on you guys, we still get them.” And it led to quite the conversation of how the most well meaning questions hurt but in different ways for each of us. It was wonderful to have someone understand the hurt behind the harmless questions. But it was also a wake up call for me. Before infertility, I was guilty of those questions and thoughts towards them and others who are child free by choice. So that short conversation over a smoke made me grateful that someone in our family understands it to some degree and that we both now look out for each other.

    • Yes, it makes such a difference to feel like someone else really gets what you’re going through. That’s the reason this community means so much to me, but to have someone in real life, who can give you real hugs, is a wonderful thing, too!

  4. Like others have said, you can’t worry about what might happen to this friendship. All that will do is make you anxious — it won’t change the outcome, and it sounds like you and Sincerity have a wonderful bond, so there’s no real reason to think it would have to fall away.

  5. She sounds like a treasure! I used to wonder the same thing about some of my friends – one in particular who is so consistently full of love and positive energy – but doesn’t want kids of her own. I’ve seen her with other people’s children, though and she gushes over them as if they were hers! You never know, your friend might end up being one of those! 😉

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