Father who lost child fends off hurtful comments

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July 9, 2019 - 10:40 AM

Dear Carolyn: I am a 45-year-old man. In my early 20s I had a wife and son who were killed in a car accident. My second wife and I have now been married for 15 years and we do not want children.

Many of my wife’s relatives don’t know my past, and a lot of my current friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. don’t, either. How do I deal with comments about my child-free status? Some are positive, like, “You’re lucky not to have kids so you can travel when you want.” Other times they’re more negative, as when I recently told someone I hadn’t been sleeping well and she replied, “You don’t have kids. You have no idea what sleep deprivation really is.” I’m never sure how to respond.

I’m happy with my life now, but I certainly don’t consider myself “lucky” my son died, and I actually do know what it’s like to care for a baby who cries all night. Should I just inform everyone I know about my past? It would be such an awkward conversation to have with every single person I come in contact with, but I can’t think of any other way to ensure people will stop. Those comments are painful. — “Lucky”

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