5 Things NOT to say to childless women
One of the worst times of my life was when I was caught in the monthly cycle of not getting pregnant fearing I may never have children.
This distressing time was only made worse when those with ‘child privilege’ asked insensitive questions or thoughtless comments. I’m sure most were made with good intentions but the nature of these often upsets people without children.
This is an extract of my blog, Coming to Terms with Being Involuntarily Childless in which I share more about my journey.
5 Things not to say to women without children
When are you starting a family? A question rarely asked by those trying to conceive as we’re very aware of the pain this question can cause. It implies the purpose of life is to have children, the norm is for adults to have children and that everyone who wants will be able to.
Are you not thinking of having a family? A variation of the first question that’s often asked with the judgment that it’s odd not to have children. For me this reinforced the feeling there was something wrong with me (which I was already feeling). The worst comments were from mothers passing judgment on me and questioning my values for having chosen a career over having children. Often being very critical about the choice they incorrectly perceived I had made.
You could always adopt or try IVF – Ah yes. Not only are both these options very different from having your own children naturally. They are also lengthy processes most childless people will have considered and tried. Strangly enough, we have heard of these as options! Lots of people think IVF is the magic solution. But by the time many women get to this stage, the chances of success are slim. In the UK between 2014 to 2016, there was a 77-98% failure rate, for women over 35. I tried IVF in my mid-thirties, but it didn’t work. I was also on a waiting list for over five years to adopt children before deciding I needed to move forward with my life.
There’s more to life than having children – Really? You don’t need to tell us this. We’re already spending more time than any parents trying all sorts of things to fill the hole in our hearts. I was OK hearing this from other childless women who were further ahead in the process of creating a meaningful life. However when said by parents, it often felt like they were dismissing my feelings as unjustified. I felt I was being told to and thought get on with life. Even though I was also often judged for doing so and not prioritising have a family.
Children aren’t all they are cut out to be – the clanger to someone without children. We often hear how wonderful it is to have children. It’s apparently one of the most rewarding things someone can experience. I hear it’s hard work and can be challenging too. Although, I don’t see many parents voluntarily handing their children back!
To well-intentioned parents
I realise that it’s not easy to know what to say to people without children. However, I suggest when asking about children, be mindful you could be speaking to someone who has been trying to have children, is having lots of miscarriages, or has lost a child.
To women without children
Do you resonate with anything I’ve shared? What thoughts, ideas or emotions has this triggered?
Whatever stage you’re at of trying to have or accept not having children, know whatever you’re feeling is normal. You are not alone. There are many people, tools, techniques, and healthly interventions available to help you cope better during this challenging time. Please do get in touch if you’d like to find out how I could support you.
You may also find other blogs I’ve written helpful:
- Coming to Terms with Being Involuntarily Childless
- Childlessness: How Leaning into Charitable Activities helped me Find Meaning
- How to Enjoy a Life of Purpose and Meaning Without Children
- 7 Steps to Enjoying a Fulfilling & Meaningful Life
Or download my free ebook: 101+ Ways to Create A Joyful Life of Meaning, Vitality, and Impact Over 40 <HERE>.
Check out my book Heartatude, the 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success which may help. Jody Day’s book Living the Life Unexpected can also help you navigate your way through the process of accepting being involuntarily childless.
A simple search online will connect you to communities of women going through the same as you.
Your invitation to enjoy and meaningful life without children
It’s not what happens to you that determines how you feel but how you choose to respond to life events. This includes how you define ‘meaning’ and the extent to which you explore the many different ways to add meaning to your life.
I encourage you to be open to the possibility you could create a life of meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and vitality without children.
Imagine what that could look like for you…
You never know, you could find this next stage of your journey easier and more enjoyable than the turbulent years of trying to have children.
Above all else, remember you deserve to be happy. This is within your grasp as soon as you’re ready to explore what this could mean for you.
If you’d like any help with this, please do get in touch.
Often described as one of the most authentic and inspiring souls you can meet, Alisoun is on a mission to improve the lives of 100,000 people–by making it easier for women over forty to feel good, enjoy a meaningful life, and have more impact in the world.
Alisoun’s keynote talks, training, mentoring, and best-selling books Give-to-Profit: How to Grow Your Business by Supporting Charities and Social Causes and Heartatude: The 9 Principles of Heart-Centered Success have favorably changed the good fortune of thousands of people worldwide. She loves helping others, fundraising, and enjoying a quiet life by the beach in Scotland.
Alisoun is has written the following free resources:
- Ebook: 101+ Ways to Create a Joyful Life of Meaning, Vitality, and Impact Over 40 (click here)
- Ebook: 52 Ways to Raise Funds for Charities and Social Causes Through Your Business (click here)
- Ebook: 101 Ways To Attract Great Clients, With Heart, Integrity & Social Impact (click here)
Connect with Alisoun here:
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