One of the things the childfree know is how friendships so often change when their friends have children. Friendships can be challenged, can wane, even end. But they don't have to; they can still go the distance. As I have written in a previous post, it takes commitment to the friendship, and finding ways to keep the connection when lifestyles become different.
I have close, life-long girlfriends who are moms, and can say that children and parenthood do not have to get in the way of keeping a friendship dear and strong. Then there are childfree friendships. I recently spent a weekend away with other close girlfriends I have known a long time who are all childfree. Like my girlfriends who have children, I give thanks for their friendship in so many ways.
But with childfree girlfriends, one of the biggest things I give thanks for is mutual understanding -- totally getting each other on not wanting the motherhood thing is huge.
Childfree friends can really be there to listen and be of support when talking about others who don't understand the choice, who are pressuring them, judging them, etc. They are there to laugh with understanding too. Take one childfree friend of mine who recently went to a school reunion. She was asked,
"Are you married?"
"No. My 'partner' and I...." (she has been living with a man for over 10 years).
Awkward moment of silence and look of puzzlement.
"No..childless by choice."
Now, a real look of puzzlement.
In a word, childfree friends truly get these kinds of awkward moments!
When childfree friends get together, we obviously don't have our own children to talk about. What do we talk about? Everything else! We talk about our lives, loved ones, our dreams, our challenges. And these days, at least with some of my childfree friends, we are starting to talk more about caring for our aging parents.
I have at least two childfree friends who are very involved in the care of their aging parents,and suffice it to say, if they had children it would be much more difficult, if not impossible to give them the kind of time they are able to without the additional role of parent.
I give deep thanks for my "sister" girlfriends in my life. They are treasures, and irreplaceable. For those with whom I have the bond that includes having made the same big life choice decision that goes against a big norm, it is a special bond indeed.
What do you give thanks for the most with your childfree friends?
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