I've shared the "Notamon" with a few of my other childless (for many reasons, both purposeful and sad) friends and the response has been interesting and welcome. One beloved friend made an excellent observation:
"The only difference between being childless at 50 vs. 40 is that there is no longer the option which, once realized and accepted, is very freeing."
I think she captured what I flippantly skipped over below. Yes, I did want children, but always assumed it would just happen (yes, I do know the mechanics of how it happens...no problems there), so never made concrete plans for them and, in turn, made life choices that prevented my progeny from walking the earth. I have mourned it and I have, as my friend states above, accepted it and found it freeing.
I also question how deep that desire was if I chose to marry a man with whom not having children was certain. I suppose I wonder who will take care of me in my ripe old age, but having children certainly doesn't guarantee anyone will be waiting at the end to visit me and make sure I'm fed and changed. Isn't that why I should be buying long-term care insurance??
So, in the shell of a nut, although I once wanted and expected to have children, I don't envy those with kids and I am both fulfilled and happy without them.
Proud to be NOTAMOM!