Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Father’s Day June 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am

I think it’s fair to say that Mother’s Day ranks right up there on the list of worst days to be childless. But what about Father’s Day?

When my husband and I were first married I would always send him a Father’s Day card from the cat. I’d write left-handed in baby writing and sign it with a paw print. As it became increasingly apparent that we weren’t going to have children together, I stopped sending the cards. I considered resuming the tradition this year, but have yet to take the step of actually purchasing a card. Even though my husband has children of his own to celebrate with, I know he still feels sad that I wasn’t able to have children. I don’t want to reopen those wounds when I know they still haven’t fully healed, so the cat most likely won’t be sending a card.

What about you? Is Father’s Day a touchy day for you? How about for the men in your life? How do you deal with these days that sometimes seem designed to remind us of our childless status? Or is it no big deal to you? I’d like to know.

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12 Responses to “Father’s Day”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    When looking for FD cards for our dads, i actually saw a card that said, “From the cat.” I didn’t even consider it for a minute, because i think it would upset my husband very much.

    I was married before, long ago & we didn’t have kids (he didn’t really care; while he told me he’d want kids i don’t think he did), but that man often called me “Mama” & usually he was referring to the cats. It upset me very much because, while i loved my cats deeply, they were never substitutes for children to me.

    My current husband usually seems to handle not having children fairly well. He wanted children very much, but over all he seems to do ok. Father’s Day is the exception. We are church-goers, & after FD 2 years ago he was rather bitter. We decided that for all future events we would NOT attend church or any function related to events for either FD or MD.

    My wonderful hubby isn’t a “cat person” although he has come to love ours as i do. But i think he would be deeply wounded to be called “dad” to the cats, even as i was all those years ago. We don’t use those terms.

    I think he finds, as do i on MD, that FD is just a painful reminder of the dream that died.

    • Jennifer Gill Says:

      Oh, Kathryn, I just read your reply after posting my own. I respect your feelings about being called “parents” to your cats; I hope my differing comfort with it isn’t triggering. It really makes me think to read your response, because judging by my comfort level with “mommy culture” I *shouldn’t* be okay with being “mom” to my cats. I think it started way back when I had no question that I’d be a parent to humans, and is really about my nurturing worrywart nature where my fuzzy buddies are concerned. I’ve also been “band mom” when I worked with very attractive male musicians, but didn’t date them. I didn’t even realize, until thinking about it in context of your response here, that there are places where I’ve been comfortable with the label. Thank you for making me think. 🙂

      And it makes me a little sad (though I completely understand!!) that your church, where you presumably go for comfort and spiritual fullness, doesn’t feel safe on those days. I hope for you that you and your husband will be shown more clearly the love that I am sure is felt for you, and the places that you fill in people’s hearts exactly as you are.

      • Kathryn Says:

        Jennifer – you are sweet.

        We have friends who are also childless – they would probably term it “childfree.” They married a couple of months after we did & they never considered trying to have children (we are all in our 40s). They do use “mama” & “daddy” in response to their cats & they term us the same about our cats (& we are “aunt” & “uncle” to their cats, too!). That doesn’t bother me. We love them & accept them. But it is not how we talk. In our house we are “the people.” Our cats want “the people” to give them treats or pet or play with them. (Well, i dearly dearly love my cats, but i think for cats it is never an equal relationship; we are their “people” – present to do their bidding!) It is our choice of words.

        Other people like yourself or our friends do it differently. That is ok. For me, very early on (i was very young in that first marriage) i knew that the relationship i had with my dearly loved cats would never be the same as with a child.

        I think i’m more in tune with the father’s day hurt because my husband who is normally silent on the issue was so hurt after the FD 2 years ago.

        Also, i work with a doc who has a daughter who is now 16 months (& if i’d not lost my last pregnancy, we’d now have a child 2 months younger). Frankly is hard. I frequently hear him say what a joy fatherhood is for him, or how that doing this or that with his daughter makes his life complete. It is a dagger thru my heart every time i hear it, knowing my own dear husband will never know that.

        It is never that i don’t want others to have this joy, but it is hard knowing it will never come to us.

      • Jennifer Gill Says:

        Kathryn, excellent point on who we are to the cats – support staff, hee hee!! 😀

        And you are sweet, too – it is beautiful how you look out for your husband’s feelings. Truly giving and nurturing above all.

  2. Nyx Says:

    I never even though to get DH a card from the dog for FD – its just not something that ever occurred for me to do. He think of himself as my pups Dad as does he to his own pup … just finding a card that would have “from the dog” isn’t going to happen went though 4 different card shops just to find the right one for my own dad and never say a hint of from the cat, dog or anything of that ilk.

    But I have an idea of what I might do for him, make him a card .. if I can find the time to do so without him seeing it.

    I think everyone who is ChildFree or Childless has their own ways of dealing with this day just as we do for Mother’s Day (which is one holiday that my family has never dun since I was a child, mom did it for her mom but wouldn’t have it for herself – but we do celebrate Mothering Sunday which is when you honor all people who are care givers not just the women who are mothers.

    • Jennifer Gill Says:

      I like the Mothering Sunday idea! I should have known of it, my parents being Canadian – it’s lovely, much more inclusive and less Hallmarky… 🙂

    • Kathryn Says:

      Mother’s Day originally WAS “Mothering Sunday.” The lady who started it wanted to honor HER mother.

      There are times when mothers just don’t understand the issue. I’ve had women tell me “I only honor my mother. I don’t think about cards or gifts from my kids.” Ok, cards or gifts never entered my thoughts, either. MD has become a boon to the retailers. (I have a friend who owns a flower shop & she hates MD, the biggest floral holiday of the year. It is a hassle for her & she doesn’t think in terms of $$, just what a headache it is.) Because of the marketing issue & $$ to be made, MD has become a big deal, which makes it harder for me to handle, just because it is so much more visible.

      I think FD would pass almost entirely unnoticed, except those to profit from it are trying to do so by more marketing.

  3. Jennifer Gill Says:

    For some reason, Father’s Day doesn’t bug me so much. I suppose that’s really sexist, but when a couple is having a baby, pretty much all attention is on the one with the growing belly. More focus is on how her life will change, how little sleep she’ll get, how she has no idea how much she can love something until it’s Her Own Baby (this one makes me gack, but then again I have no idea how much I can love something *hairball*). This, of course, doesn’t consider adoptive parents, etc., which is totally unfair. I think it’s the lack of attendant simpering and silliness that makes Father’s Day way more comfortable…unless it’s just because I’m a wannabe-but-never-will mother. Father’s Day is generally more about FUN, not “dress up nice and do stuff you don’t really enjoy because it’s a day for Mom,” like mothers somehow are all puritans from another planet who don’t enjoy life like the rest of us, and would rather we didn’t either. My parents played golf together on Mother’s Day, and they will be doing so for Father’s Day as well. But they’re super cool like that.

    I think a card from the cat would be awesome. I might steal your idea. 🙂 We do call ourselves Mom and Dad to the cats…

  4. Damian Solorzano Says:

    Father’s day, even more than Mother’s day has mystified me. My Dad’s not one for having a fuss made over him, and he’s made no bones about it. To be certain, he accepted the cards and pictures we drew with good grace, but now, he prefers the day pass with no note, rather like his birthdays. For me, it is utterly meaningless, for the most obvious reason. I’ve also stopped correcting folks when they wish me a “Happy Father’s Day!”, simply because it is kinder to nod or say “Thank You” If they press the point, I’ll quietly tell them that I’m childless. Some apologize, others look embarrassed. If they ask why (When honestly, it’s none of their business), I’ll just say that I forgot to have them.

  5. Lindy Says:

    I’ve just come home from the most excellent Father’s Day with my mum and dad, my husband and his grown up son. My stepson has recently been posted to a naval post much closer to us and we hadn’t seen him since his passing out parade back in February, so I thought it would be really nice to surprise my husband and organise for my stepson to come and stay with us for the weekend. He was duly surprised and very pleased to see his son again. I made a large chocoloate pavlova for ‘the dads’ and we all went over and spent a sunny day on the boat, with a BBQ to follow. It just felt really good to be grateful for the wonderful people I do have in my life – I’ve spent so long mourning those not in my life, that it’s a very pleasant change. Mother’s Day is a different story but I guess while I still have my dear mum around, it’ll always be a day for me to think of/ be with her. In fact, it is only since reading the posts on this site and other child free/less sites that I’ve realised that Mother’s Day is a day that could have had something to do with me had life turned out differently. For me, it’s always been about other people. Perhaps that’s why I like to make such a fuss of my birthday (even if no-one else does – it’s 2 weeks before Christmas) – that’s one day that does belong to me.

  6. Kel Says:

    Blech. I’m glad its over. My husband was hit with Happy FD all day long….followed by how many kids do we have??…..

    It does bother my husband on some level, but he soldiers through and generally ignores everyone. Men seem to have more of a talent for that than women(?) 🙂

    I haven’t been bothered by it but this is the first time we were together on FD and went to a social event.

    I was annoyed to be honest! Its been awhile since I received hits of the sad sack routine from others. I responded firmly and with a smile that I did not have children, and folks responded in a decidedly uncomfortable way.

    At one point I found myself sharing that I CHOSE not too, trying to slip out from under the lead blanket of pity…..

    Funny how I can have so much in common with these people, and yesterday their reactions made me feel ostracized.

  7. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    I learned long ago to avoid church on Mother’s/Father’s Day. Talk about having your single/childless status rubbed in your face. This year, I got some pressure to attend a Mother’s Day celebration. Really? That’s the last thing I wanted to do, esp. since I was the only childless woman in the group. Yesterday, my guy and I had a great day together. At lunch, at a restaurant packed with families, I was surprised to hear someone wish him Happy Father’s Day, especially since it was obvious it was just the two of us. But I don’t think people mean to be cruel. They just don’t know what else to say.


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