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  • Three Ways To Work On Acceptance As A Woman Who Is Childless Not By Choice

    Being childless is the unexpected path.  For some, this is an unexpected but chosen path and for others the path is not by choice.  Beyond the grief, sadness, and anger, which are heavy enough, there is the shame, judgement, and embarrassment.  Sometimes this is perceived judgement and sometimes this is pinpointed directed bias about why a woman is childless.  This bias comes on both a micro and macro level.  On the micro level, there are individuals in our lives not knowing how to respond or making comments they perceive as jokes that send a message you’re living a life that is contrarian.  If and when the individuals around you begin to understand how to avoid comments that are hurtful there is still the larger lack of representation of childless women in media and culture on the macro level.  If women are childless there is a general feeling of pity, sadness, bitter, regret, loneliness surrounding the character.  When a childless woman sees this it isn’t a large leap to then ask the question, “Is this how others see me?”  The deluge of negativity around being childless requires we take self acceptance into our own hands.  Try these strategies to begin your work toward self acceptance.

    1. Write out who you are.  Not what you aren’t, not how others perceive you, but 100% how you see yourself.  What do you like to do for fun? What kind of friend are you?  How do you handle adversity?  How do you handle celebrations?  What are your top 5 personality traits?

    1.  Find a quote that helps you center on who you want to be.  A mantra or a word of the year.   Something that reminds you that you are working toward something larger and greater.  Maybe the topic is strength, empowerment, or inspiring women.  Maybe it is something as clear as “Womanhood is not Motherhood”.  It isn’t by the way. 

    1.  Instead of a vision board make an “I Am board”.  Grab a bulletin board, shadow box, or digital board, and write words and place images that represent who you are, independent of your motherhood and relationship status.  Include your mantra, quote, or saying for visibility.  Place is somewhere you will see it as a reminder of the qualities you have that contribute to your community, your family, and friendships in a way that is uniquely you.  

    Bonus- a bonus tip is to join an online community that validates, supports, and encourages who you are as a childless woman.  Seeing other women further down the path, modeling self acceptance after experiencing the deep grief of childlessness can provide hope and encouragement that self acceptance is possible.  One that I have started with 2 other childless women is Sonder Sisterhood.  Sonder is a word that means, “The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.”  Sisterhood to represent the community and support cultivated within this group.  You can find us on instagram at @sondersisterhood and at www.sondersisterhood.com if this is something you’d like to try.  Feel free to lurk and participate at your own pace.  You will be accepted just as you are.

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