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Childless, but Not by Choice. Remember the Childless Women on Mother's Day

Comfort Babatola is a Nigerian-American whose interests include travel, faith, cooking, sewing, decorating, wellness, and fashion.

What's Mother's Day Like For The Childless?

Ever wondered what every mother's day must be like for the women among us who have longed to be mothers? Well, I have. Not because I've been through it personally, but because I have seen first-hand the pain of a friend, a neighbor, or a church sister who have asked countless times , 'why me? after a miscarriage or, the feelings of disappointments from a failed adoption.

While there are women here in the western culture who are childless and happy, that is, women who have made a conscious decision not to have a child (childless by choice), in most other cultures, choosing to be childless is unheard of, especially in the African Culture. Not having a child of your own, or being barren, is usually seen as a sign of incompleteness or fruitlessness in a marriage.

In some cultures, as is the case in India, some part of Africa, and some other parts of the world, infertility is seen as a curse. An African woman who is barren, due to her inability to conceive and bear a child, usually faces the scorning of her in-laws, and she is usually not favored by her husband. Trying to get pregnant and failing can sometimes be a gruesome process for these women. So, how should we comport ourselves around people like these? The following will help:

How Much Do You Know On This Subject?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. A childless woman is considered and 'outcast' in some culture. True or False?
    • True. In some African, and other cultures, a barren or childless woman is often tagged a witch, and thus, an 'outcast'.
    • False
  2. Every woman that is childless feels a personal, emotional pain that is only known to her. True or False?
    • True
    • False
  3. All childless couple would love to adopt.
    • True. It's better than going through the pain of disappointments.
    • False. Adoption is an option, but most would rather conceive a child of their own.
  4. Childlessness can be the result of all of the followings, except,
    • Infertility
    • Death of an infant child before, during, or shortly after birth
    • Education or Career
    • The childless couple(s) medical or gynaecological problems

Answer Key

  1. True. In some African, and other cultures, a barren or childless woman is often tagged a witch, and thus, an 'outcast'.
  2. True
  3. False. Adoption is an option, but most would rather conceive a child of their own.
  4. Education or Career

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: Take another look at the article, will you?

If you got 2 correct answers: Take another look at the article, will you?

If you got 3 correct answers: You did better than most on this subject. Thanks for taking the time to read and be quizzed. :)

If you got 4 correct answers: Excellent! Well Done. Childlessness is a very touchy subject which I'm sure you're aware of. Thanks for taking the time to read and be quizzed. :)

The 'Heart-wrenching Pain' of Being Childless

You have to really be one to fully grasp the kind of pain, agonizing pain that most childless couples go through. And I said most, because, as I've already established, some are childless by choice.

For these category of "childless, but not by choice", motherhood is not an easy journey. Talk about all the medical procedures that these childless couples have to endure, especially the women. The fertility treatments, the probing, in a bid to harvest the eggs of the woman, and the sperm of the man. One can only imagine the stress of waiting, each month, and hoping each "would be the month" they get to tell their family and loved ones the good news, or not. The praying, the waiting, the dashed hopes, can be very heart-wrenching, sometimes driving the parties into a state of gloom, and even depression.

A very popular actress, Nicole Kidman, who had been where most hopeful childless women out there still are, said in one of her statement, during an interview with Who¹ in 2012, that, and I quote, "I had tried and failed and failed and failed. Not to be too detailed, but I've had an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages and I've had fertility treatments. I've done all the stuff you can possibly do to try get pregnant."

Nicole Kidman further said, "Every woman who has been through all those ups and downs knows the depression that comes with it."

Yes, the truth is that, most women who go through the 'season of childlessness or barrenness' when the one thing they want most is to have a child, do slip into a period of depression. Though those who have faith and hope that "with God, all things are possible", and those who have the support of their family, and faith-based community, do fair better. Nonetheless, all do experience the pain of wanting, and desiring a child, only to have one disappointment after another.

¹Who is a celebrity news and entertainment weekly magazine published in Australia

Gift For Mom

Making Sense of Your Pain

Respecting The Childless - What Not To Do

You don't have to walk on eggshells around you childless relatives, but at least be sensitive to their plight. The pain of losing a child or that of miscarriages is something only those who have been through it can understand. The followings are things to avoid saying or doing around the childless;

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  1. Avoid bragging, or flaunting your mother's day gift around them.
  2. Avoid showing off pictures of your kids to them.
  3. Avoid talking too much about your kids around them.
  4. Do not dismiss their feelings, but rather, be an encourager.
  5. Do not presume to know how they feel.
  6. Avoid offering advice on what you think they should do. They've probably done it a million times over. Most already have their family physicians or fertility experts at their disposal.

Respecting The Childless - What To Do

The truth is, we all have someone, or know someone who is childless. I'm not talking about those who are childless by choice. I'm concerned about those who desperately, and passionately would one day love to hold their own child in their arms, whether it's a natural born child, or an adopted one. If you know anyone in this situation;

  1. Pray for them Praying for them may be the most important thing you have to offer them, so take some time to pray for their specific situations.
  2. Encourage them. Your words of encouragement can go a long way to lift up their spirit this mother's day. Help them stay positive.
  3. Be a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. That may just mean the world to them.

Some of the Ramifications of Childlessness In A Marriage

Childlessness Can Lead ToHow/Why?


In some society, even western society, where parenthood and procreation is highly esteemed, childlessness can be stigmatizing. Oftentimes, childless couples may end up divorcing or come to an agreement that may allow the man to marry another woman for the sole purpose of procreation


Couples, mostly the women, who have trouble conceiving or caring to term, may experience symptoms of distress, such as, anxiety and depression.

Financial Stress/Bankruptcy

Childlessness can also result in financial stress to a couple trying to do everything possible, such as, various costly medical procedures like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), or the option of surrogacy in other to have a baby. Some even try the adoption process. All these can easily leave a childless couple with little or nothing to go on in terms of their finances.

Encouragement For The Childless

You are in this journey where no one can claim to know what or how you feel, except another who is in the same boat as you. But, my encouraging words to you is taken out of the Bible, the Word of God, " strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you..." Joshua 1:9

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called." (Romans 8:28)

"And this is our confidence, that if we pray according to His will, He will hear us, and give us what we ask for, because our desires are in agreement with His thoughts for us." (1 John 5:14-15)

A Couple's Story - From Infertility To Success.

A Prayer For The Childless

In a world like ours where we can easily be all about "me", "myself" and "I", it's so easy to have a lack of compassion or concern for those who are childless. Let's be mindful of their pain. Some of these women are our sisters, nieces, cousins, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Be very sensitive to their plights. It is real for them. Maybe even as real as the pain of a mother losing a child.

So on this Mother's Day, say a prayer for the childless. Encourage them in the Word. You can send them a card to let them know you care and are thinking of them. But most of all, you can be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and send a prayer their way.

May the Lord remember you. May He remember your cries, your plea and your prayers. And may "The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. - In Jesus's name - Amen!!!


Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on August 28, 2020:

@Tali T Leauma - First, let me welcome you to Hubpages. Can't wait to read your articles.

Your turn at motherhood will come sooner than you think. The Lord will make all things beautiful in His time. Just keep being you, spend those quality time with your hubby.

And, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

samoanwanderer on August 28, 2020:

Nicely said! I am newly married going on to 2 years and still waiting on my turn to be a mother. I know it will happen in God’s beautiful timing - I admit it has been hard to come to terms with this mindset because I absolutely love kids and have always desired motherhood. I enjoy the time I have with my hubby . Many look at us like something is wrong expecting me to be accompanied by a child Or ask over and over. I know it’s not deliberate to ask a million questions but I wish those who are not childless consider our feelings . Your article points have so many good tips and messages to help us who are currently childless and waiting

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on May 12, 2014:

@VictoriaSheffield - Yes, it really is something to think about. Thank you Victoria, for stopping by and commenting. You are appreciated.

Author Victoria Sheffield from Georgia on May 12, 2014:

This is something to really think about!

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on April 01, 2014:

@Tom London - It's a very sensitive topic that needed to be touched. Thank you for taking time out to read and comment. Very well appreciated.

Tom London from London, United Kingdom on April 01, 2014:

Very good hub, and well put information. It's good when someone is educating us on important topics.

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on November 17, 2012:

@janshares - Thank you so much. It really is a very sensitive issue. And I know there are those who have made that choice to not have chidren, but the truth remains that there are those who will give and do anything to have one. This hub is written in hope that we'll be sensitive to their plight and keep them in our prayers. They are our sisters, and neighbors after all.

Again, thanks for your vote of support. You are appreciated. :)

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on November 17, 2012:

Very informative and sensitive hub about a topic that few people want to address. Thank you for taking the point of view of acknowledgement and support of the "childless by reason," and not by choice. Voted up and useful.

Comfort Babatola (author) from Bonaire, GA, USA on May 07, 2012:

@Michele - I really appreciate your point on the issue. I certainly respect that some women are childless by choice, and that's why I made a point of mentioning that under my third sub-heading (What to do...).

Coming from a caring, spiritual point of view, I have seen quite a number of women who are not childless by choice for whom Mother's Day is just a reminder of "their inability' or 'barrenness'. These group are the ones I'm asking us to be sensitive too.

Again, thank you Michele for your input.

Michele on May 07, 2012:

I know you mean well, but some of us are childless by choice. We may not carry any emotional pain over wanting to have children. In some cases, we may like children but have no real desire to listen to other adults discuss their kids.

Feel free to show off your gifts. Just learn to develop a grater range of conversation, because some of us aren't upset by child-talk. We're just bored by it.

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