By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
In an interview I did recently, a woman shared with me what she went through when she faced 40, single and childfree. “I had to reassess my situation and consider the fact that perhaps it wasn’t in the cards for me to have a child after all,” she said. At the time, she decided to switch careers and return to school to get her teaching credential. “I figured, well, that would be my connection to children and the next generation, and I was okay with that.”
I’m here to tell you I had a physical reaction to her comment. I mean, bully for her, but I would so not have been okay with that trade-off. Even after years of healing, I still can’t imagine feeling “okay” spending my days with other people’s children while grieving for the children I could never have.
But as we know from reading the stories on this site, every woman has her own unique experience of grieving, and every woman has her own unique journey to healing. I think it’s remarkable that here, at Life Without Baby, we openly share our experiences and learn about options we hadn’t thought of for ourselves.
Join a Conversation
With that in mind, I took a tour around the Forum Discussions on our LWB Community page. Have you checked this out yet? What a remarkable source of information, inspiration, support, and compassion.
On this topic, you’ll find “Learning to be around children again” in which LWBers offer suggestions from volunteering in schools and instigating relationships with kids of friends. (One woman, a skilled figure skater, offered to teach her non-skating friend’s kids how to ice skate—love that!) In “You may think I’m crazy,” another woman shared how volunteering in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), holding and comforting babies, helped comfort her through her grief.
On the flip side, a Discussion titled “No interest in volunteering…thoughts?” asked “Does anyone just NOT want kids in their life?” That’s a conversation you’ll want to visit if you are fed up with people who keep telling you you’ll feel better if you’ll just focus your energy on nurturing other people’s kids.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about your healing, only what feels right to you. And to help you on your journey, I encourage you to scroll through the Discussions and contribute your thoughts—and take in the love and advice from other commenters. If you don’t find a conversation that speaks to what you need, start one!
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.