I was in your shoes in December. See, my husband and I had always thought we’d have kids. But early on decided that adoption was the best option. We just didn’t know when that would happen. Then at Christmas, after considering a myriad of things, we decided it was best if we remained childless.
I don’t know what going through that is like for a man, but as a woman, it is completely and utterly disorienting. Imagine growing up thinking that you’d one day be a mother. As you grow older and marry, the method of motherhood changes slightly, but it’s still a distant goal.
Then the day comes that you and your husband decide to make the painful decision to remain childless. And it’s devastating. And it just plain SUCKS. You think your life is moving in one trajectory, and God comes in and quietly whispers to you, “I have another plan for you. I want you to take this path.” And the path is unknown and scary. For weeks after your decision (or last treatment, or word from the doctor that it’s not going to happen, or another failed adoption) you are in a daze, trying to figure out what this new path looks like. In between crying and the depression that follows, you slowly begin the long healing process.
Living through this for almost a year, I have some things to say that I hope are helpful to you.
1. Grief for as long as you like. Anyone that tells you that you should be over your grief right now should not be listened to.
2. You are NOT less of a woman because you are childless!! This is a LIE that society perpetuates all too often. Even if you are childless, you still have WORTH and MEANING to your life.
3. When you are up for it, join a support group. Seek out members of your community that may be going through the same thing, or look to social media. I know it’s not the same as face to face contact, but at least you get daily words of encouragement when you need it. From people around the world.
4. If and when you are up for it, talk about your experience with others. Issues of infertility and childlessness are still in a sense considered taboo topics but, at least for myself, I’ve found that talking has helped me heal SO much. It’s also educated others about these issues.
5. Make a list of things you can do now that kids won’t be in the picture (I understand this is a hard one if you are still grieving. If so, put this one on the back-burner till you feel ready to tackle it) Sleeping in was something my husband and I put on our list. If this one is too hard, skip it entirely.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve and move on from being childless. Therefore this list isn’t necessarily complete. These are things that I found helped me.
Remember, dear, sweet, wonderful woman,
You are NOT alone. EVER!!