I don’t have grandkids and I feel like I’m missing out 14

The Tough Stuff


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Have you ever felt like you’re watching everyone else in on a joke you’re not a part of? It can make you feel uncomfortable and lonely and that’s exactly how I feel about grandkids.

At 67 years old, I’m at a time in my life when most of my friends have grown up children who are all having kids of their own and growing their little families into loud, laughing, rowdy broods.

I also have children, well one child, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be a grandmother anytime soon, or ever.

My son was somewhat of a miracle child. After a few years of trying, doctors told me and my husband that we would probably never conceive and should reconsider our options.

We were both heartbroken as starting a family was all we wanted.

Then, miraculously, two years later I fell pregnant and gave birth to my beautiful boy, Shane*.

Shane was a funny, bright and lively child who loved nothing more than entertaining everyone around him. As he grew older, I started to wonder about him though.

He wasn’t like the other little boys his age. He loved dancing and dressing up and watching old movies with Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed when he was 16 and he came out to us one night at the dinner table.

He was so nervous to tell us and one of the proudest moments of my life was watching my husband get up from the table and wrap Shane up in a giant bear hug, telling him we loved him just the same.

While I wouldn’t change Shane or him being gay for all the money in the world, I am disappointed that I’ll never get to be a grandmother.

Shane has a wonderful partner now, but they’ve both explicitly said they’re not interested in ever having children.

It strange to think that my family line ends here with Shane. There’s no one to carry on our family name; all the traits passed down through mine and my husband’s families for generations are suddenly coming to an end.

There won’t be another little person with my husbands eyes or my nose and it makes me so sad to think about it.

When I catch up with my friends, they have so many stories to tell about their grandkids and all the fun, wonderful things they get to do together.

Everyone loves bragging about their grandkids and why wouldn’t they? After having children of your own, it seems like the most amazing time in a person’s life.

I always feel a pang of sadness though when I hear these stories though. It’s the same when I meet someone new and they ask me if I have grandkids yet. When I tell them no, the answer that comes back is usually, “Oh well, maybe soon!”, to which I just nod my head to avoid getting into it.

My husband is disappointed, but hasn’t taken it as hard as I have. He understands this is just the way it is and nothing is going to change.

I don’t bring it up too much with Shane because I don’t want him to feel pressured or guilty, but he knows how disappointed I am.

I don’t really know what I’m looking for here, but if anyone is going through a similar experience or has some advice I’d love to hear it…

Do you have any advice for this writer? Can you relate to her?

Guest Contributor

  1. There are some great groups around which help people who do not have grandchildren or whose grandchildren live overseas to connect with a family who would really like to have their children experience the joy and pleasure of having grandparents and learning about life ‘in the okden days’. Many Neighbourhood Centres offer this kind of group and since it appears that your son is not going to give you any of your own it will not take anything away from him if you ‘adopt’ a grandfamily.

    2 REPLY
    • That is the advice I would also give. There are many children who would love to have a Nanna and Pop .

    • I sympathise with her feelings and have friends in the same situation. It is however a bit self centred, not selfish though. The fact her son is aware of her feelings must mean he probably still feels a bit of a failure. My friends are busy with other interests, one woman has become an extra nanna to her nieces and nephews. Look for volunteering opportunities where her caring and acceptance may make a difference In the lives of children or adults who need someone who has love to spare. Family does not have to be blood related.

  2. While I sympathise with the writer as her feelings are obviously genuine, I simply do not understand feeling this way. Our 2 beautiful adult children, while not gay, do not want children. They are happy & healthy & for that I am very thankful. We have raised them to be independent & to make their own decisions. Not having grandchildren does not impact on our lives as we are lucky enough to enjoy friend’s families with them and the benefit is – we can just go home & leave them to cope with some of the not-so-good aspects of having young children around when you are 70+!

  3. My grandparents died before I was born, so I was raised without that generation in my life. I was always looking for older people to ‘adopt’ as grandparents, as we travelled the world. Adopt!!!!

  4. This is a hard period in time, excepting the situation and making the most of your bond with your husband , it amazing that you both have come to terms with it.
    Try to make fulfilling moments for yourselves friendships ,trips and allow time for your son and his partner to see what the future will bring…….

  5. While I do have 4 healthy grandchildren, I do realise you can’t have everything in this life. I have 3 adult children, two of them with disabilities, so while I am happy with my grandchildren, I too am disappointed and can envy other parents who have healthy children, even my own mother who had 7 of us. You take what you have and be grateful you had a child where so many couples cannot.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes I agree with you. I have 3 children (1+ deceased, I have a total of 12 grandchildren (should be happy and content)… Not…. mine we’re torn away from me (divorces) I believe it’s a lot harder when you have had little ones, then none… I look at all the children in same age group and the pain starts all over again, enjoy your sons friends & be happy to have him (as you are)

  6. I k ow how you feel. I have a son living in Canada so my grandbabies will be born and will live there, so far away. My daughter who lives in Australia is gay so will probably never have children. I lost my husband 9 years ago and have 3 step-children, all of whom have children, one just had her second child and although I have sent gifts I will be lucky to see the new baby. They live 4 hours away from me, I had to ask for a photo which I got 4 days later. I have a step-son who lives 40 minutes away and has two children, one of whom is 5 I have seen her twice, the other one I is 3 and I only saw him when he was 8 weeks old. I always send gifts, birthdays, christmas, easter, and get text msge thank yous. I don’t know why this has happened as we had a great relationship while they were growing up, it is very hard as I would love to see them but when you get comments like we had a party for her yesterday but it was for family and friends only while sitting at your table opening gifts for said child… and after numerous requests to see the second child after his birth…had to wait 8 weeks…one tends to just stop trying even though it hurts. The reason I still do it is out of respect to my late husband, they are after all his grand-children. Family friends keep telling me to stop doing it which I will when I feel it is time. However, it does hurt knowing they are close by but never being included in their lives.

  7. We have 2 wonderful girls, both capable of having children but I know it’s not going to happen. They are well, happy and hard working and quite satisfied with their single lives. Why should I burden them with my wish to be a Grandmother? Yes I would love grandchildren, but it does not rule my life. We enjoy our life, and all we want for the girls is that they enjoy theirs.

  8. Why not volunteer? The children’s hospital have “ward grannies” who cuddle babies whose families cannot be with them, take them for walks, read them stories. Ronald McDonald houses have lots of things for volunteers to do, from cooking to reading and just talking with overburdened parents, or giving them time for a meal out or some shopping by minding their ill child for a few hours.

    Some pre-schools have volunteers and most Infants and Primary schools are desperate for reading helpers, sport helpers, excursion helpers, people to cover books in the library.

    If you are still fit and healthy, have you considered fostering? You could do short term, where you have the same child, perhaps every second weekend to give the foster parents a break.
    Sometimes it’s necessary to find your own solutions. My son lives in the next suburb , but I have seen his daughter 5 times this year and have only interacted with her twice as she is shy because she doesn’t know us. Two others live in the country, but we talk on Skype and send emails and I receive photos on facebook. If I waited for my grandchildren to be available I’d be waiting a long time. Having grandchildren is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

  9. There are plenty of kids out there who would love a grandma. While it is lovely to have your own, if you can’t, make it happen this way.

  10. I have grandchilldren who I am not allowed to see, I have grand kids who are not my blood but who are so loving and the ones who healed my broken heart, they are foster kids with loving foster parents but no grand parents natural or foster. They asked to call me Nan and include me in all their school and other life activities, I am blessed. Take the opportunity to share your love with the ones who are missing out. They have so much to give, and there are so many out there waiting for someone to love.

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