Too Old To Become A Mother: Am I Missing Out?


I'm too old to become a mother. Am I missing out? Is my life empty?

Anyone who knew me when I was young would agree that I had definite ideas about how the world worked. By definite I mean strange and completely disconnected from reality. Just ask me what I thought the lyrics to the early 70s love ballad “Torn Between Two Lovers” meant. I had quite an imagination!

Here’s another one: I have no idea where this all came from, but I thought it was the law – an actual, written set of legal documents – that a girl had to start dating at age 16. At 20, according to law, she needed to marry. When she reached 25, the law stipulated that she have her first baby. There was nothing in this legal document about how many children she could have, but she must stop having babies at age 30.

These were the laws that ruled my childhood.

Talk about pressure!

The pressure was short-lived, though, when I broke the first law by dating at age 15. I hit 20 and never married: second law broken. And at 25, still unmarried, I had no desire for children.

Thirty came and went; still no children. Then I was 35, and then I hit 40. I just turned 42 and still haven’t had a baby. At this point, the likelihood I’d have one is, well, at zero.

I’d broken every one of the laws I invented as a child. Well, I’d never been very fond of rules, I suppose.  

But that doesn’t help when I am confronted with the confused look on the faces of strangers who ask about my family; and it certainly does nothing when friends or acquaintances look at me pityingly.

 

Passed over

Worst of all is the knowledge that I get passed over regularly by men my age who are looking to start families. I’m simply too old, and these men are aware of that. They are right to do so, however. The idea of me, at age 60, attending a high-school graduation seems unnatural in my mind and unfair to a child.

So, like many other women, I’m left facing the reality of my situation: single, childless, alone. How, in this pair-bonded world, can anyone cope?

Well, I’ve learned a few things recently.

One, regarding singlehood: Although this culture does everything it can to make singles feel like a pitiable minority, we’re actually about half the population. According to a recent poll, nearly half of the residents in the United States are unmarried. Of course, it’s a small comfort to know we’re not alone, but it doesn’t lessen the societal pressure to marry.

Regarding motherhood, I learned an interesting bit of information from a friend. She was reading a study on children all across the country. When asked, they attributed a large part of their feelings of positivity, hope, success and self-worth to the adults in their lives outside of their homes. My friend then took notice at how many adult people are in her teen daughter’s life and was both enlightened and comforted by this. While kids do, of course, need their parents, they also need adults who will be in loco parentis, non-biological parents. According to the study, the younger the children, the better off they are.

This idea is nothing new. From the early days of civilization, most professions had apprenticeships. The apprentice was more than an assistant, however. There was a definite sense of in loco parentis between master and apprentice. To this day, internships and other programs prove invaluable to shaping a student’s future. Research that analyzes success stories all points to the indispensable value placed on mentors, guides, teachers, religious or spiritual figures and community members. 

 

Spiritual parenthood

For childless people like me, this leaves a tremendous opportunity to practice spiritual parenthood. I realized I’d been doing this since I was 21. And this is where the true comfort and consolation lies. A recent experience shed some light on this for me.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a dear CatholicMatch friend about our backgrounds. I spoke about my unusual circumstances: I am the youngest of five siblings and only one of them is married. I am annulled, so I join my other three siblings in their singlehood. The big point of interest, though, is that none of us have any children. At our ages, it is now an impossibility to have our own. I’d long held onto the possibility of adoption but realized some time ago that it is not my calling.

Having listened carefully to all of this, my friend asked how I felt about that. I was honest: I’d have loved to have been a parent, but at my age, it’s too late. I then had some questions for him, as the father of a college-age child:

“Have I missed out on a meaningful, rich existence? On becoming a fully developed adult?

Did I miss the greatest joy in life?”

These questions had been nagging me for years, but I never felt comfortable enough to ask anyone else.

This friend of mine is not one to sugarcoat the truth. He also does not opt for comfort over confrontation. So he was honest right back to me. He thinks these are well-preserved myths about parenthood that the childless are wrongly led to believe. He believes it would be awfully limiting if children are what allowed us to become fully adult or give meaning and profound joy to our lives. 

He also said something to me that I knew on some level already but had never fully articulated:

“I think sometimes you feel you’ve made no impact on your ‘children,’ but if you stop dwelling on what might have been, you will see you’ve been a mom to many – and without the dirty diapers, tantrums and teenage obnoxiousness. God was so good to you. I hope you believe that.”

I really examined this idea. At this point I’ve dedicated half of my life to spiritual motherhood. I’ve nurtured and developed thousands of children in countless ways. I’ve taught each of my students to see like an artist, think like an inventor, read like a writer and write like a pioneer. I’ve told them that they matter, that they are entitled to an informed opinion and that their thoughts are worth articulating. I’ve taught my students to use language as a tool to defy stereotypes and to gain personal empowerment. 

I recounted some of the extraordinary moments I’d experienced with my “children” over the years. A handsome 23-year old boy (really more of a man), tall, with overdeveloped muscles, choked back tears as he told me I was the first person ever to tell him he is smart. A young woman took my picture and said, “I never want to forget you.”

Another young woman, an immigrant from West Africa, came to the U.S. at age 14, never having stepped foot in a classroom before. When I met her, she’d already caught up to her peers, graduated high school on time  and enrolled in the community college where I taught. At the end of the semester, she said to me, “You are a gift. You saw inside my heart and taught me about the power of words.”  

A young man emailed me: “You made me think things I never thought before. You made me see things within myself that I never knew were there. ‘Thank you’ isn’t enough.”

Another girl wrote me that I changed her life. I regularly get emails from former students informing me of their success and thanking me for teaching them. 

These moments are what makes spiritual motherhood so meaningful, so powerful, and so satisfying. My dearest and oldest friend, a dissatisfied mother who is estranged from her only son, always tells me that I had the better deal. After thinking through my career, I am no longer inclined to disagree with her.

For all the childless men and women on CatholicMatch, I urge you to think about how often  you’ve engaged in the practice of spiritual parenthood. Think of all the times you’d played with nieces or nephews, or coached a soccer team, or taught, or babysat, or helped a child who was lost in a store. If you haven’t done any of this, I urge you to do so. Join a community group that works with children. Volunteer at a local school or church. Look for opportunities to be around children. You will feel better immediately, and the spiritual rewards are immeasurable.

So the next time someone asks why you don’t have children, you have the perfect answer: You have been called to do the vital, powerful, necessary work of being a spiritual parent instead.

Who would argue with that?






42 Comments

  1. Michelle-641892 January 24, 2012 Reply

    Thank you Catherine for writing this piece. It are words that are much needed to be heard by so many of us.

  2. Lesley-158563 January 24, 2012 Reply

    I think women in their early 40s should take heart about the possibility of still having a family. For many women it is not impossible to conceive at that age. In fact, I know a new mother and doctoral candidate who was born when her own mother was 48 and a devoted spiritual director whose mother was 47 when he was born. It is certainly not impossible. The key step that precedes this for committed Catholics is marriage. I don’t think we should make a blanket assumption that 40-something men won’t marry 40-something women.

    • Chad-810947 January 25, 2012 Reply

      I like the comment of Lesley. I don’t believe that women in their early forties should give up all hope on being successful at having a child. It is not only the rich and famous, such as Sandra Bullock at 47, that are capable of childbearing. If this is really not an option, then there is the option of adoption.

    • Lucia-551179 January 26, 2012 Reply

      My mom her brother and sister were born when my grandmother was in her 40′s. The last at 47 was a total surprise to her. So it is possible. There is no need to throw in the towel. Definitely accept the likelihood but don’t give up on the dream yet. Be it by birth or adoption you still have the opportunity.

  3. Maggie-98581 January 25, 2012 Reply

    That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing Catherine.

  4. Adriane-681168 January 25, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Catherine. I also agree with Lesley. It’s possible for women in their 40′s to have children. If God says Yes, who can say no?

  5. Barb-505508 January 26, 2012 Reply

    Catherine,

    You are a treasure to your students and peers alike. God in His great wisdom gave you the ability to teach and share your gifts with many rather than just a few. Always remember that God truly does have great things planned for those who love him.

    Sincerely,
    Barb

  6. Stacey-101742 January 26, 2012 Reply

    Catherine , thank you for writing this, Motherhood is the one of the most meaningful journeys a woman can take .

  7. Carol-307996 January 26, 2012 Reply

    As I was approaching 40 still single I was talking with a friend about the idea that I may never have children of my own. She said to me, “Yes but think of how many kids you have. Maybe God knew how much they would all need you so instead of giving you one or two He gave you a dozen.” (at that time it was just a dozen the number has grown to over 20 now) and in that number she was including her own two children. We talked quite a bit about the spiritual guidance I provide along with the love and support in various ways. She assured me that God had truly blessed me with many children. Since that day I’ve come to a state of acceptance although I never before thought of it as spirtual parenthood. So yes, while it is still a physical possibility for me to have children at 45 I’m okay with my parental status.

  8. Josephine-611497 January 27, 2012 Reply

    Catherine, This is a beautiful sharing. I have been comforting my spritual sisters on getting married, finding the right man and having a child/ren to complete them. Not truly sure if I convinced them though, but I believe that with God all things are possible (and I will share this with them). Why would He grant a child to Abraham and Sarah at their old age and not do so for us? Whatever our calling is, be it to be a spiritual parent or biological parent, our “children” are heaven sent.

  9. Jim-397948 January 27, 2012 Reply

    Just as long as you have a great heart..Adoption is always there…Think about famous people who were adopted like Steve Jobs and Gerald Ford

  10. Cheryl-409772 January 28, 2012 Reply

    Both spiritual parents and biological/spiritual parents are needed. I do believe my son is my greatest blessing though and I can’t imagine what my life would have been without him. I am continually thankful for him. However, I hope I am not his only guide…it would be too much of a burden. I pray that God send him people like you to help him along his path also….good people…spiritual leaders that will help me to direct him correctly. I also hope that I can still be that for other children.

  11. Kenneth-524863 January 28, 2012 Reply

    Catherine, it sounds like you are trying to replace your childhood rules with new adult rules. There is now law that say when you turn 40 your to old to have children. The key is to let God guide you in what He has planned for you. I to have no children and am almost out of my 40s. I would like to have children but know it is not up to me. Like you I have many children I have touched through my life. And I you should know about, she has been like a daughter to me for 32 years – she is the one who encouraged me to join this site – she met her husband her when she was 41ish, married him when she was 43ish and had her first child at 44ish.

    As to guys over looking you because you are over 40, I can’t speak for all of them just myself. When I am looking at someone to spend time with or date I do not consider weather or not she wants children or not. I might miss that perfect person God has for me if I try to limit who I allow in my life. Another example. I recently dated a woman from this site who did not wish to have kids because she thought that at 46 she was to old even though she was born when her mother was 47.

    We should all keep an open mind to allow Gods plans to work in our lives.

    God Bless you in all you do

  12. Sandra-749395 January 28, 2012 Reply

    Catherine, Thank you for sharing this unspoken truth. You see, I too am at this time in my life, single, unmarried and childless. The things that you have mentioned in this article have made me reflect the times in my life from yesterday, today and now inspire me to a future to change, inspire others, teach, and make a difference in a child life and other women. Thank you, Thank You. You gave me an awe ha moment.

  13. Vicky-508575 January 29, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for your post regarding this subject. This is almost exactly what I am thinking and or going through. I am 47 now and do not have any of my own children either and I miss that. With that said , though , I have a God Daughter that I love very much and God gave her to me just at that most important time that only God can pick. I hope some day to meet that man that can come in my life with or without children, but I still hope to adopt. :)

  14. Richard-804663 January 31, 2012 Reply

    Many (if not most) older single women I know (late 30s and up) had a great time when they were younger. They “played the field” and had guy after guy paying their way – showing them a good time … and “making them laugh”. Hey, if I was a girl, I would havre enjoyed the free ride as well.

    Now those girls are old; they are hard-up to have a baby and are PO’d that men aren’t paying them any attention anymore. As a decent guy who never had the ability to “make her laugh”, I have no empathy whatsoever for these women. They haver ZERO “right” to be jealous (which is what they ARE) of younger girls becaue they did the same thing when they were in their 20s.

    Yes girl …

    You ARE missing out. While you “partied hardy” and had guy after guy wining and dining you, other women got married and had families. Now YOU are alone … and perhaps the greatest thing about being an older (50s) “man”, is that I have no biological clock.

    • Lisa-2533 January 31, 2012 Reply

      Richard, just because a lot of the women you know in their 40′s partied hard in their 20′s and 30′s doesn’t give you license to speculate why they have no kids today. Also, there are plenty of women in their 40′s who never partied or were living the carefree lifestyle in their 20′s and 30′s. I am 35 and I was never a partier. I have recently found the right guy for me. Will we have kids. God only knows that. If we don’t is it some sort of punishment for time wasted. I highly doubt it. How sad that you seem to be insinuating that.

    • John-767131 January 31, 2012 Reply

      Richard,
      Your cruelty and insensitivity is astounding for someone on a Catholic dating website. Don’t fool yourself—just because you may regard yourself as as “good” Catholic, you’re not. You are obviously judgmental, quite dumb, and pretty F**king angry. Funny, those that are most “devout” often display the worst characteristics of what Christ told us, over and over, not to do. And there you go. You lack charity, compassion, and just seem one of those types that just are hell-bent on making judgments that are only designed to hurt others. Congratulations. At some point, you may have to atone for this and I hope when you meet our maker, he may just remind you of what a mean-spirited a**hole is.

  15. Cate-291547 January 31, 2012 Reply

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I appreciate them all. I would like to respond to Richard – 804663, solely in the interest of clarification, and I do so with an open heart and mind.

    Richard, while I can understand your feelings, and certainly you have my sympathy, I would like to point out that because you have never met me, and (as far as I can tell) we have no mutual friends, you are speaking about me in a way that associates me with women you have known. I am not one of those women.

    My twenties were hardly defined by partying and getting wined and dined by men. The first relationship I was in lasted 6 years, and we were both struggling financially, and both paid our own ways. In college, I befriended a woman – one of my spiritual mothers – who taught me that if men pay my way, they want something in return. Consequently, I have always insisted on paying my share, or at the very least, covering the tip. I still do so; at least by making repeated attempts to do so, unless the man insists louder and more persistently than me.

    If there was any “field” presented to me, I was unaware of it; so I never “played the field”. I spent most of my twenties and thirties working multiple jobs and putting myself through school. I’ve lived independently since the age of 19 and never asked for anyone’s financial assistance, including my husband when I was married. He would have gladly paid my tuition for graduate school, or the down payment on our co-op, or for our car, etc. But I would not hear of it; he had his own financial obligations. As a result, I am sole owner of everything I have and am indebted to no one. In our divorce agreement, I did not ask for a single penny.

    I would hardly classify myself as “old”, “hard-up to have a baby”, or “P.O.’d” (sic). I am most certainly not jealous of mothers; and show my support and appreciation for them regularly. I am now fully aware of my value as a spiritual mother to thousands of children who grew up in the South Bronx and am extremely proud of what I’ve done.

    I am also not alone. I am unmarried and have no biological children, that is true. But I am hardly alone. I am much-loved by my friends and family and by my spiritual children; and I’m aware of the tremendous love, support, care and generosity I’m surrounded with. This is evident to me every day. I hope the same for you.

    Since I asked if I’m missing out, I appreciate your response. To that point, though, I may be missing out, according to your reasoning. But since your reasoning cited the other women you’ve known and not me, I would be mindful of that fact. Your claim about who I am is without evidence and speaks only from your experience.

    I am sorry you had unfortunate experiences, and I truly wish you all the best.

  16. Stephanie-746866 January 31, 2012 Reply

    I have always told my dear sister and her husband that they are parents, even though they have none of their own! I am going to print this and share it with them…you have put into words what I have not been able to! Spiritual Parents…I love it! Thank you!

  17. Denise G. January 31, 2012 Reply

    Wow…what vitriol, Richard! I’ve got to admit to being flabbergasted and disgusted by your comment. You are making a lot of assumptions and statements about ALL women who don’t have children by the time they are 40. It comes off as a bit misogynistic.

    There are many women out there who look for the right man to settle down with and start a family with. Staying home won’t do the trick, so yes, they go out and some even party. Why have a pity party at home? It isn’t as though they will meet a single man that way. Besides, what is wrong with having a social life? Not one thing.

    I went 9 years without being asked out on a date. 9 years. I was not going out to party. My career was definitely secondary to my goals to start a family. From the time I was 20, I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother, but life happened and “fate”, if you will did not allow it to happen. God had other plans for me, I suppose. I ended up on CM. Then I met my husband whom I married on July 4, 2009. I was 37 and turned 38 three months later. I thought my time had passed, and had accepted that we might not have kids. Instead, my husband and I planned to spoil our nieces and nephews. However, God did bless us with a baby.

    What I find amusing about your comments is your assumption that you still have an opportunity to be a father. LOL! Do you really think that there are that many younger women who would want to be with an older man (in his 50s)?? I’d rethink that if I were you. I think it likely that your time has passed as well.

  18. Ramona-738757 February 1, 2012 Reply

    My condolences to you Richard,

    So sorry for your loss. It is most evident by your post that you have been in the company and perhaps hurt by such women you described. But, one mustn’t assume. Like you assuming that the woman of a certain age is deserving of her comeuppance do to her assumed past transgressions. So much for the Merciful God that brings many of us here to CM. I wouldn’t wish to generalize and say this speaks volumes about your character and your qualifications to be a parent. That would be rude. Like insinuating that much older women are “jealous” of younger women. Being nearer to the finish line doesn’t make one “jealous” of those who have yet to begin the race. To judge by using preconceived notions in order to justify something so sensitive as being childless is vulgar. As a woman of a certain age I make no apology for those women that you mentioned. Only my God can justify me and you as well, Richard..

    You insult the intelligence of Ms. Perry, women in general and those here on CM. Best of luck to you here. I hope I’m note being to presumptuous.

    May God bless all those who yearn for children be it biological, adoption or spiritually

  19. Jantzen-667157 February 1, 2012 Reply

    You speak from the heart; this just does nopt apply to women but to men as well, especially those who are quite sensitive. I can identify with you very well. Thank you for making me feel better.

  20. Janice-537852 February 3, 2012 Reply

    Very good article, Catherine. I, like you, always wanted to be a mother. My first husband died of cancer after we were married for only seven years, no children. My second husband and I were childless for 13 years before adopting two little boys (ages 6 and 2) when we were 43 and 42. During those 13 years, I taught elementary school and we would “borrow” nieces and nephews (his and mine) for the weekend, just to have children around. We raised our two adopted sons, and now I have 10 grandchildren, ages 17 down to 3. If I wanted to, I could have grandchildren spending the night with me every night, but instead I now have to watch my time and energy and just take them for special times. It would have been nice if God had given me children when I was younger, but that was not his plan. I am thankful for my grandchildren; they are very dear to me and I love them, but I also spent a lot of time, love and concern with my students over the years, and I enjoy running into my former students and hearing from them the things they remember about their time with me as their teacher. Many of my grandchildren’s friends call me “Grandma”, and I take that as a compliment.

  21. David-635002 February 3, 2012 Reply

    I think thats a crock. Speaking as a father of four and now grandparent of one. I get so disgusted when I hear people say they are not a parent but they are so into their friends children or their nieces and nephews and that is just not the same, not even close! This Spiritual Parenthood is just more of the same. Someone who had other priorities in their younger life and now regret some of the choices they made then. At 42 you are still young enough to have children, maybe for not much longer but you still are. You are just choosing not to. That is your choice and you are entitled to it just don’t complain about it or bemoan the fact that you don’t have children. People like you who chose not to have children and then come up with crap like I am a Spiritual Parent really have no clue what its like to have to deal with an obnoxious child, temper tantrums or even change dirty diapers. You obviously had your chance in life for children and made other choices. I just wish that people like you would just shut up when trying to include themselves with other people children. And yes you missed out big time!!!

    • David-635002 February 3, 2012 Reply

      One more thing then I will get off my soapbox. If having children really is important to you know, maybe you should change your status on your profile. Speaking as a man looking for a future woman to marry, when I see the headline “Just seeking friendship” I just move on by to the next profile. If your not even looking for a relationship, how do you expect to find a guy that would like to have a child with you. I looked over your profile and think you are an attractive woman, so i think you finding a man should be relatively easy if that is something you really want, as I know many men who are in their 40′s and even 50′s that would love to have a child with the right woman. All indications are though that having a child is really not that important to you and there is nothing wrong with that.

      • Kasia-129122 February 4, 2012 Reply

        That’s really quite nasty to dismiss another persons life experience and relationships with people as a “crock” David. We are all a community of the faithful and should be nurturing each other with love and respect. You might resent other people having a relationship with your children and grandchildren but there are many out there who don’t come from loving and stable homes. Having a person as open and loving as Cate welcome them into their lives is powerful and redemptive. We should be striving to create these links in our community, not tearing them down with vitriol because it wasn’t in God’s plan for someone to have biological children.

    • Cate-291547 February 4, 2012 Reply

      David-635002, I thank you for your comments, and also for the compliment about my looks, but I can assure you I have very a specific and valid reason for “seeking friendship only” on my profile. I also never said I had trouble getting attention from men – what I did say was how some men pass on me, given my age relative to childbearing. I had no complaints about that; I wrote that I understood their position and do not disagree with them for it.

      Next, I can understand your viewpoint that I did miss out, and as I mentioned, because I asked, you are entitled to that viewpoint. It is entirely fair for a person to answer this question and speak from their own experience. I’m fine with that. I would, however, ask for you to perhaps re-read very carefully. I was not complaining or bemoaning my lost chance.

      Once again, the choices I made in the past are not the point here, although if you read my reply to Richard, you might have a greater understanding of my past. It is abundantly clear that I was not spending time idly, or doing anything that led you to your assumptions about me.

      My goal in writing this was to illuminate a very vital role that non-biological adults play in the life of a child. I urge you to ask your children and grandchild who, outside of their homes, they look up to and love. I’m sure – or at least I hope – there are at least a few in loco parentis adults in their lives.

      Regarding the idea that spiritual parenthood is a ‘crock’, I suppose that I should have been more specific about that. I have worked for the past 20+ years in the South Bronx, which, as you may know, is plagued with poverty and crime. The children I have worked with – and yes, in a sense, raised – come from broken homes where, more often than not, their parents are absent to some extent. This is, in all fairness, very different from declaring spiritual parenthood for children who were raised with a family intact. Nonetheless, I object to your opinion that it is a ‘crock’.

      While you – as well as the friend I referred to – point out the fact that I have not dealt with dirty diapers, I assure you I have dealt with some other very real problems my students came to me with: an addicted parent who hadn’t come home, a child who has no food outside of school, homelessness, abuse, hormones, teen pregnancy, dropping out, sibling rivalry, gang activity … I could go on and on. And as for the teenage obnoxiousness, that’s where I have to disagree. Most parents deal with one, perhaps a few, obnoxious teens at one time. I dealt with 400 of them. I taught middle school for years. I know all about it.

      I have been referred to by many, many kids as their mother, their heart, or their auntie. These children still keep in touch, asking for advice or guidance. I would hardly call that a crock. If none of this has convinced you, I would gladly welcome you to come visit me in the South Bronx so that you could see what I do every day.These kids desperately need adults in their lives; it hardly matters who gave birth to them. This idea, I think, would become clear to you. You might think differently about it.

      Finally, David, telling me that children must not be very important to me shows me that you missed my point entirely. If children weren’t important, it would hardly make sense for me to go into education, or be concerned about this issue, or write this blog, or ask questions.

      Also, telling me that I made my choice is again beside the point. The fact is, there are other reasons for my not bearing children; reasons which I have not stated. Although it would have cleared up a lot of the assumptions you (and others) have made, I preferred keeping those reasons out of the mix. It is clear, though, that your assumptions say far more about you than me.

      And as far as wishing I would shut up, I am going to kindly urge you to take that matter to CM admin. They are the ones who hired me to write for the blog. Until they tell me to shut up, I plan on continuing to write.

      I invite your comments in the future, as long as you can be respectful and demonstrate some of the behaviors we were taught as Catholics.

    • Denise G. February 4, 2012 Reply

      Yet again, yet another ignorant rant. Thanks, David, for showing your callousness, ignorance, and lack of compassion. If you read something I posted earlier, you will notice that some of us want marriage and kids early on, but God has other plans for us. It isn’t that we are out there merely chasing our careers and putting off a family, but rather that we have not had the opportunities to meet someone who is a good match for us.

      I personally was not willing to “settle” for just anyone. I knew what I wanted out of a relationship. I was NOT willing to be in a relationship just because I wanted children just so my child/children could end up in a broken home–a divorce or annulment. Is that fair to children? I don’t think so. I decided long ago that I wanted the “right” person instead of just a person to start a family with. Additionally, I have other friends who are in their early 40s, who have not had men asking them out or have met a lot of duds. They are still single and childless. Not for a lack of trying either.

      Also, while we know there is a difference between being a parent and spiritual parenthood, at least the latter offers some degree of fulfillment. Until I had my daughter this past April, I was okay with spoiling my nieces and nephews. I KNEW it wasn’t the same, but at a certain point you have to accept that may be all you are able to do.

      You show your ignorance because you ASSUME (I’m sure you know what that means) that ALL women have a chance at a husband and children during their child-bearing years and that they pass it up for other reasons. That is not the case. I feel sorry for you that you lack the ability to feel compassion for others’ situations that aren’t like your own.

  22. ej-669140 February 4, 2012 Reply

    Beautiful article. I almost wanted cry while I read.
    It has been very hard for me to accept that I may not going to be a mother. Grown up with such a great devoted mother, I always wanted to be a mother like my mom. Like you said, I will work on being spiritual parent to children who need help.

    • Deanne-328308 February 4, 2012 Reply

      For Richard and David, how dare you to assume anything about the author. Do you personally know her? Do you know her whole life history? You are only speaking on what you assume you do know of her. And you know the saying about “assume”. You two are living proof of it.

      • Ramona-738757 February 4, 2012 Reply

        Ah David, you just don’t get it!
        Seriously? Must you generalize or use Ms. Perry as the poster child for all forty-something, childless women, who did willfully miss the oppurtunity for motherhood?

        When one makes such accusations as this you clearly don’t believe in the Churches teachings on vocations. So many of us here are still trying to discern what is right. Trying to adjust to God’s will. By using are free will.I see no regret coming from Ms. Perry. But, I do see in her and the lives of many here a way of coping with God’s plan for us. Not a cop out. If this was true one would be making excuses for “assumed” behavior that put many of us in this childless position.

        Do you know who should be bitter? The women that didn’t overlook their calling and are still waiting. While they see women who never mind overlooked but ran from it. And maybe now some are learning how to be mothers, dragging their heels all the way. And you look and say, why not me Lord?
        What I find so shocking is that as a man do you think that because you ‘supposedly’ have no biological clock that this makes you superior. Who wishes to be loved by what their body can or cannot give?
        I suppose every religious is exempt from your bitterness on the grounds of them having a vocation. But, they also sacrifice. And many are aware that, even though called, it was a sacrifice not to be a parent. Does this make them any less? The same holds true for the single vocation. As a Catholic woman many secular options are not open to us. My faith in my vocation comes first.
        And David, if it is so easy to find someone, why are you here? Why are any of us here. You take one example of the mature women, who regrets that SHE allowed motherhood to pass her by and ran with. Did it ever occur to you that God has a plan for this type of woman’s behavior as well?
        Your mindset is archaic at best. Certainly not merciful and your comprehension of Ms.Perry’s post was taken out of context diliberately.
        The author of this blog, the forty-something women on CM and throughout the world need not apologize for what we feel in regards to this deeply personal issue. If we do, we sabotage are individual truth. The truth that you have made one sided and vehemently oppose to make a case. Keep posting,David. And best wishes to you on CM.

  23. Mark-269662 February 5, 2012 Reply

    that was a great article

  24. Mark-269662 February 5, 2012 Reply

    also any women in there 40′s wanting to marry and have a family please email me – lol

    • Deanne-328308 February 5, 2012 Reply

      LOL, Mark! You are going to get a lot of viewers now. God bless.

  25. Christina Ries
    Christina Ries February 6, 2012 Reply

    As the manager of this blog, I want to thank you all for your comments! We really appreciate your time and insights. They’ve been so interesting to read.

    I also want to seize this opportunity to let you know that the staff of CatholicMatch monitors all comments. We expect a high level of courtesy and respect here, unlike other blog forums. Please try to write with kindness and refrain from making unfair or hurtful judgments about others. It’s just not in the spirit of our site.

    Thank you and God bless!

  26. Annette-217074 February 6, 2012 Reply

    I can only speak for myself, but I too am 42 and always imagined that by now I would have been married a while with kids. It has not happened, and I have found out recently that having my own children probably never would have happened due to some medical issues. I’m about 95% okay with it …. Mother’s Day being an exception. I have two wonderful godchildren who are my delights, and I have been a CCD teacher as well. So yes, I’ve been a “spiritual parent” and it’s fulfilling … but not the same, exactly. I have such mixed emotions about the whole thing.

  27. John-49562 April 24, 2012 Reply

    Thank you, again, for a wonderful article, Cate! One can tell that you have a beautiful heart.

    I think this situation may affect more women than men, but I can attest that it DOES happen to men, too. I used to dream about finding that one true love, that God had picked for me (although, at the time, I thought I was the one who did the picking), that we would marry, and have two to four children. I remember being a volunteer at a local hospital, working in the Pediatrics department, and had to take a little girl up to xray. When we got in the elevator, she put her arm around my neck, and patted my shoulder, as if to calk me down! A middle aged woman who also happened to be in the elevator told me, “you’ll make a great father some day!” That made me feel so good!

    Alas, many years later, here I am, never married, no kids, and engaged one time. Not holding a pity party for myself, just sharing my situation.

    Anyway, thanks, again, for a wonderful article. Forget the people who put your story, and you, down. They just don’t get it!

    John

    • Cate-291547 May 2, 2012 Reply

      Thank you very much for your kind comments, John; as well as everyone else. Blessings to you!

  28. Dawn-758914 May 16, 2012 Reply

    I read this and I know what the poster is talking about, as I am 41 and childless. However, I don’t feel it is right for men the same age to bypass women just for this because there is never guarantees. Also, if those of us are 40something and childless are to blame, then so are the men of the same age, yet I see all these men blaming women their age. None of is is right and men who bypass strictly on the age issue are shallow superficial men who probably judge on other things too and in reality often don’t even want kids.

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