Saturday, April 13, 2013


Childlessness hurts, it is assumed that time heals; it's not always the case. Time changes things, causes gaps in the pain, loss of detail, but the long term effect remains.

I have found it odd to have to listen to friends and strangers telling me I dont know how lucky I am when they apparently gleefully find out I dont have kids. Free to travel, to do what I want anytime, no ties, you know the drivel, you've probably said it... Strangely the opposite is true, I have no urge to travel as it seems pointless, selfish, indulgent, I live with a constant feeling of being careful not to simply do as I want because I should be thinking of others etc. As the years of hoping and believing have rolled by I have become an avid observer of people hiding behind and imploding into parenthood. I've patiently watched as intelligent fiery conversation has become 'nipple and nappy' talk, as friendships become more about having children the right age or dare I say the right school than about the adult connection. Church and uninteresting events become so much easier with kids, one parent staying at home to look after them, often associated with major matches and tournaments or better still one parent bringing them to church ensuring enough distraction to not have to get too involved in embarrassing praise or challenging messages. Why is it that parents feel it necessary to tell me how hard it is having children and maybe it was for the best, from what I can see it's hard work but such fun! We're constantly told of the trauma of loosing a child to another term of uni, no apparent thought of the awesome chance to learn and be trained at the finest places. The much maligned Face Book becomes filled with 'only another 39 sleeps till my precious is home' messages, odd that the ones that were so often wished away are now so desperately missed! Your children are your future, the fulfillers of your dreams, your carers and probably the choosers of your final home so why not enjoy them now. Think how it would be if the phone calls, face time and visits stopped, no holidays to plan, no grand kids to collect, spoil or hug. How would it feel to never need to plan a reunion or wedding ever again, sound good?

Roy and Demelza would be thirty two and thirty respectively, presumably with kids of their own now and we would be part of the grandparent blur of wonderful activity but they unfortunately never got past the embryonic stage. The worlds most advanced drugs and the finest doctors couldn't help despite their wonderful attention and interest; it simply didn't happen for us over multiple months and multiple years. The anger has gone, the confusion remains, life carries on and I try to invest the rough equivalent of what they would have cost us into kids that would never normally have had a chance so in a strange way Roy and Demelza have had multiple lives and a greater effect than if they had been here.  I'm not going to understand why this side of the tapestry, but thats not for me to worry about. Trite comments concerning adoption have been made over many years (always by people with their own kids), it seems odd that by the time I accepted we would never have kids I was too old to adopt. The desire for ones own flesh and blood is strong, the stresses are glimpsed by the almost one in five couples now struggling to have children. Multiple monthly disappointments are now understood to be similar to loss of a partner in stress intensity. As a couple it has been amazing to be able to speak about this subject at both national and international events and we have felt overwhelmed at peoples reaction at times. Involuntary childlessness is still an enormous taboo subject, seldom spoken about and yet when the subject is honestly aired it appears to break dams, causing a flood of contact and openness. If your stuck in this loop, get in touch or be brave enough to share with someone you trust.

It's fun being fave aunt and uncle for a while because we have free time to give but inevitably the fun leaves and the silence returns. The photos of kids prayed and payed for once again become my focus, the wheel of life rolls on enabling me to increase the wealth planned to be left to strategic trustworthy organisations to enable the worlds most unfortunate children to receive food, education and hope that will allow them to support their own children in the future. I've met some of the children I look out for and it's been a major event for both parties however brief, something I'll never forget. As they grow into adulthood they will inadvertently live out the lives we had hoped for ourselves. That's fine, one day I'll have all the answers...


  1. Martyn, This post is both moving and inspiring. As you know I have children and as such I can not imagine how you must feel.
    Having said that, the support you have offered through Compassion to the many children you have helped is very much appreciated and has made a very real difference.
    In a way these are your children, and whilst not having the blood component you mention, perhaps if you look on it like this it might help; Jesus shared his body and blood through the symbolic act of drinking wine and eating bread. We share his body through our faith and as such we are all of one blood, The support yoou have given these children has bought them into your extended family, a family in which we all share that blood.

  2. Powerful post. I look forward to checking out more of your blog, I recently started blogging about Compassion Kids as well. It must have been quite an experience to see them.

    John, I like your comment about how we are their family too, as Christ was through His sharing of His blood. That definitely can relate to these kids.

    I just wrote a post about how we are the sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers of the least of these children.