A Tip For Coping With Childlessness
One of the things that has helped me manage grief related to childlessness is exercise. I have never been someone that loves to exercise. I’ve gone through stints where I’ve done it, and tried to convince myself I was enjoying it, and my motivation for doing so was typically related to rules, shoulds, and musts. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that looking better physically wasn’t another motivator. Not very inspiring reasons to say the least. Predictably, my motivation would become non existent and my discipline would dwindle. It would start to feel like one more thing in my life I was doing because I thought I should and another things that didn’t pan out the way I wanted.
During the pandemic my grief related to singleness and childlessness came to a head. Feelings of time slipping away and loneliness were amplified. It is hard to avoid aloneness when you are required to be alone by the federal government. My grief got serious at the same time as interacting with others and being able to engage in typical distractions weren’t available. The food delivery apps became super convenient. A little too convenient if I’m honest. I could literally order food without interacting with anyone. A fairy would just drop off food on my doorstep and I took advantage, multiple times a week. Being a single, childless woman, and feeling like I wasn’t looking my best physically was not a winning combination for me. Eventually, with the help of my own therapist, I started to get sick of how I was feeling. This might not be the healthiest reason to enact change, but the following reason worked for me. I thought, if I’m not going to have a kid I at least want to take advantage of that by working on myself physically. The toxic BS women are told makes them valuable and worthy, collides in all kinds of places on the single, childless journey.
As my self worth spiraled, the world began to open up again, and at the suggestion of my therapist, I decided I was going to join a pilates studio. I had fun, saw results, and I began to feel more energy. Some of my friendships started to change during this time so I decided I needed to try to get out and do things on my own. I noticed a Cyclebar (spin studio) near me one day and decided to try it out. They advertised happy hours and showed videos of fun music, specifically the 90s hip hop and alternative that I love, so I tried that out as well and found out I loved it. I got the benefit of interactions and the benefit of exercise on physical and mental health all in one activity.
The classes that I signed up for were after work. I noticed that the demographic of the classes are made up of either people with older kids, younger people in their 20s, or childless women. Eventually, I joined Rumble Boxing which I found equally as beneficial and the demographics of the evening classes were the same. While these aren’t meccas for childless women, we do show up at these places and we are typically showing up in the evening. On a side note, if you haven’t tried boxing before I suggest putting it on your list. Especially if you’re pissed off or frustrated with things. It has turned out to be a great outlet for me.
I know saying exercise is a great way to cope can sound cliche. I have a history of rolling my eyes at that suggestion and feeling minimized by it. Hearing the suggestion as, just exercise and you won’t feel as bad about not having the very thing you thought made people’s life purposeful and meaningful. I want to explicitly state, exercise will not make your grief disappear. Your grief is healthy, hard AF, but healthy. Exercise can be of benefit though. It can help you with community, and it can help you feel stronger mentally and physically. Here are the 3 places I go to exercise. I like these places because I don’t have to come up with an exercise routine, I don’t have to wait for machines, there is community, and kick ass music. Let me know if you try these out or if you have any other tips for the readers.
- Rumble Boxing
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