Who Are You? Childless Not By Choice
Unexpected childlessness or singleness and be jarring for many reasons. Many of us grow up thinking being a mother and spouse are a given. When we’ve dreamed about the future it includes a partner and/or children. Grieving childlessness means you grieve the things that won’t happen. This can leave us feeling lost about the future. Unsure about what is next. Getting stuck in the what won’t happen, what you won’t have, what you won’t be doing is common and a healthy part of grieving. When you’re ready, here are 3 ways to engage in the process of self discovery.
1. Consider seeing a therapist or coach— a therapist can help you process the grief and trauma that can occur when going through the realization you will not be a mother when you wanted to be a parent. This is not a step to skip. The pain and trauma will seep out in other ways or get buried to be unearthed later if this step is ignored. A coach can help you identify goals for the future and action steps to help move toward acceptance. If a therapist or coach isn’t an option for you there are communities you can access that offer support and encouragement navigating a childless not by choice life.
2. Try out lots of different activities.— As you start to feel more social consider looking for reasons to say yes vs saying no to things that you haven’t done before. Say yes even if you only have a slight interest. Try meetups that are doing unusual or unique things around town, visit places that are safe but off the beaten path, try out classes or hobbies. Pick one new thing a month. Taking the first step is the hardest. After you complete a new activity write down what you enjoyed and what you didn’t. This will give you information about your likes and dislikes and help you notice any patterns of things you enjoy.
3. Expand your supports and meet new people in a similar situation—join the childless groups online. You may lurk at first, and that is ok. That is how many of us start. I often suggest starting a separate account so you can increase the likelihood the algorithm shows you specific accounts in this community vs accounts that might trigger you as you are searching for community. Attend workshops and online community events. There are happy hours, online events around the holidays, and meetups. This will expand your network of friends to include those that are in a similar life situation.
What are some things that you would suggest related to self discovery for someone beginning to grieve and accept childlessness not by choice.