Five Things To Never Do/Say to a Woman Over 40 Who Hasn’t Had Children

Five Things To Never Do/Say to a Woman Over 40 Who Hasn’t Had Children

I am approaching my 45thbirthday in a few months. And for the first time in a long time I feel happy, really happy. But this one thing keeps coming back to me that sort of makes the record scratch in my head.  

In the past few years I have come across people, who say or do things in my presence that make me want to throw my hands up and say – Really. Really?It involves the fact that I don’t have children. 

Here are fives things I would recommend you probably not do or say to a woman over 40 who hasn’t had children.

       1)    DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS And this can be applied in a few ways.  DON’T assumeevery woman wants children. Some don’t even like children. Some woman love children but are happy having them in their life from a distance. And some had no choice because of circumstances they might not have been able to control and have mustered up the strength to appreciate what they do have rather than looking at what they don’t, including wonderful children who are in their life.  This takes courage, resilience, and is sometimes a daily process, that, unless you have walked in that person’s shoes, you may not be able to fully understand. There is nothing more frustrating than when a person looks at you with pity because you haven’t had children. It doesn’t help. You are basing this on how YOU feel. 

      2)    DON’T SAY “HOW DO YOU FEEL COMPLETE AS A WOMAN” What does that even mean?Many people, not just woman, have a desire to nurture and feel fulfilled, but that does not come just by having children.   Also understand that some women who wanted to have children, but didn’t, go through a mourning period.  They themselves must go through the grief process and that something that seems so natural, like having children, is just not what is in the cards for them?  Many woman don’t talk about it, it is a private grief that realize while others are celebrating benchmarks in their children’s lives, you have to accept that this has just not happened to you. And again, many women don’t want to have children. Their completeness comes from some other fulfillment. 

3)    DON’T SAY “WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU WHEN YOU ARE OLD” Why are you thinking about this? This is probably a thought that some people haven’t even thought about so all you are doing is making the person worry, wonder or worse have a child for the wrong reasons.  And don’t assume that some haven’t thought about this. But again, it’s not helpfulIt is frustrating. And is it really a reason to have a child, it seems sort of selfish? 
4)    DON’T SAY “IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CHILD, WHAT’S YOUR LEGACY?” Children are not the only way to have a legacy.  I have had a numerous amount of people say this to me, and I think really? Really? It is narrow-minded thinking. And I did question myself on this because it is important to me. But it’s just not what happened. And then I think about the work I do and the many, many children whose lives are impacted either directly or indirectly by my work.  And also the many, many children in my personal life who remember me at the most random times or include me in their experiences, not only because their parents opened the door for me and made an effort to include me in their lives, but because I created experiences and moments that have a life long affect.  I impacted them. 

      5)    DON’T TRY TO FIX ‘THE PROBLEM’ Many people feel the need to fix the problem. First they start of with suggestions of why you should have children, “it’s life changing”, “being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever done” and while all of this may be true for you, it may not be true for some, either because they don’t want children or because you have no idea what path lead that person to the place they are in. I often times hear “everyone needs at least one” or “what about adoption” or “there are many ways to have children” and yes these are all true. But here we are.  

Not a day goes by that I don’t think why I haven’t been blessed with my own children right now?  As my peers are moving on with their 2 -3 children, who are now approaching 10 years or older, I do wonder? But I could sit here and fester in that or I can embrace what I have been blessed with. The last person to question my choices was over the holiday season and very unlike me, I lost it and said, “Are you kidding me, I just bought a house, am in love with my career and feel good about what I have accomplished, have raised two dogs for 15 years and I have savings!!!! What else do I need to do to get you to stop asking that question?”  I found myself having to justify who I was and defend myself in a way I didn’t think was really pretty, it was icky in fact. And to that person I apologize for having lost my cool, but realize it was a culmination of years of this! 

I don't know where life will take me, and maybe I will change my mind, or maybe I will make different choices.  I have talked to other woman in my situation in person, over forums and chat groups and now I have accepted my life as it is.  And it is good, in fact I would say, I’m lucky to have it. 

It does take a village to raise a child, and I'm lucky to be part of many villages. Thank you to all the parents who allow me to be part of them…and share in your child’s life.


  1. this is so powerful and important. Thank you for this!

  2. Love all the honesty - and thank you for writing this.

  3. So true. Thank you for putting your thoughts out in the world.


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