Your Thoughts and Childless Not By Choice
We are conditioned to have certain expectations related to women and motherhood. This conditioning starts as children and continues as girls age. Girls are not typically asked “do you want kids?” Instead, there is an assumption that girls will grow up to be women that will have kids. The default is motherhood. Girls are both overtly and covertly given messages that they should be and want to be a mother. Lack of representation is a significant way in which more subtle messages are sent to girls that you should have and want to have kids. If you don’t then a miserable and lonely future awaits. If you don’t have kids you won’t know “true love” or experience life to its fullest. Those are some pretty high stakes.
There are few ways in which women without children are portrayed or spoken about in a positive light. Thankfully that is changing, slowly, but only IF you know where to look. When a woman is not going to meet society’s expectation that she become a mother, the woman’s thoughts can fall back to the negative images we are fed. Those negative images and comments stick with us because we don’t see happy alternatives. Bitter ,cat lady, alone, sad, are the most common images that come to mind when a childless woman is portrayed in media. The childless woman is often left feeling like a failure, worthless, defective, and like she is missing out on a fundamental of life. HARD STUFF.
Intentionally challenging those thoughts can help us shift our mindset. This shift takes time ,intentionality, consistency, and repetition. Just like how it takes time, intentionality, consistency, and repetition to build your physical muscles it also takes these skills to change your thoughts. One intentional thought I remind myself and use in my practice is that you CAN live a life that is meaningful, purpose, and fun even when childless. Following positive childless accounts on instagram is also helpful in exposing yourself to healthier images of childless women. Finding others in this circumstance helps to remind ourselves that while being childless not by choice hurts, it doesn’t have to mean that your life is meaningless or purposeless.
An activity I’d like you try this when you are ready is to challenge yourself to consider how you can challenge a negative thought you have about being childless. If you need some ideas consider checking out some of the childless not by choice accounts on instagram. You will find accounts that provide validation, support, and encouragement for the hurt, while providing hope, inspiration, and encouragement for the future. One account to start with is my account @theotherpaththerapyandcoaching. If you’re comfortable, leave your thought in the comments to help someone else out.