[Pt. 3] Childfree By Chance
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Confronting the harsh realities of not living a life with kids and how to move forward and heal.
Navigating Through the Pain
I became depressed and anxious. Being legit OCD, I had had a plan in life, and now my plan wasn’t going to happen...and I was more than a little thrown off. I was angry with Paul. Every time I came home from work I found myself resenting his existence.
I started seeing a therapist. I went on medication. These helped a little.
However, coming to terms with the reality that your life is going to be one without children is difficult. Maybe not if you never wanted kids (in which case, I envy you; I think if I knew I was going to be childfree back when I was 20, my life would’ve gone in a VERY different direction), but if having kids had been your plan all along, it’s like dealing with a death.
I’m crying less now as time goes by, but I still have to mourn. Because, even though no one has actually died, it still feels like someone did, like my unborn children died. It’s important to acknowledge this part of the childless process, because we lost something. It’s the closing of a chapter, giving up on a life-long dream. A therapist told me I needed to choose between my husband or my lifelong dream of having children. But it’s not that simple, is it?
In a committed partnership, having children is [usually] a two-person affair (of course, there are exceptions). The rules here are black and white. If you choose to have a child while your partner insists on not wanting one, resentment can grow deep within them that you made them have kids. However, resentment can also grow deep inside you if you wanted kids but your partner didn't...so, needless to say, it's complicated.
For me, the healing has begun. I'm working through my grief, taking in confidence and empowerment from women around me who've been through similar situations (and from those women who chose to be childfree from the get-go), and slowly, bit-by-bit, moving forward.
Moving Forward Together
I’m sure time will heal most of this wound (hopefully). I’m sure life will be fulfilling, full of love, lots of puppies, nieces and nephews, and friends’ kids, and volunteering. All because I don’t have kids of my own doesn’t mean I can’t have kids in my life.
That’s why I’m here, sharing this all with you, my heart on my sleeve. Being childfree by chance or childless by circumstance (however you choose to label or not label yourself), is a rough road. Especially when all those beautiful friends and loved ones around you are having babies and expanding their families...you may feel left behind, alone, and isolated. But you’re not.
We may not know each other yet, but I’m like you. We may have different stories, different circumstances, but we are alike. We are intrinsically linked now, placed on the same taboo, silenced, low-represented road that is childlessness.
But we’re in this together. For better or worse. And for our sakes, know it’ll get better.
Welcome to the childfree tribe.