While roughly 1 in 6 Americans are childfree or childless, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, it may feel like you are the only one in your friend group - and with those odds, maybe you are - that is not pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or in a stage of motherhood.
Put simply, humans are wired to belong. There is an imperative sense of safety and security in feeling connected, accepted and valued in our communities. We rely on milestone events and rites of passage to bring us together and remind us of our connections to one another. When we deviate from the “norms” - even foregoing college, for example, it can feel isolating, lonely and “othering.”
So the question becomes how can you belong without compromising yourself or your life by taking on the role of “parent” when, in your heart, it doesn’t feel right? And how can you cultivate self-acceptance, peace and knowing - deep, solid knowing - that a childfree life is right for you?
I can’t tell you how many times my circular logic of not wanting to be a mom would bring me back to the very unhelpful conclusion that there just must be something wrong with me. If only I could fix … fill in the blank: my energy levels, discomfort, disinterest, forecasted boredom, anticipatory stress, dread … but no. No!
Because there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting to be a parent! And there is nothing wrong with you either.
I had to do the deep work of really accepting myself, trusting my intuition and reminding myself time and again that I'm the only one who truly knows what is best for me. This is especially hard to do in a pronatal culture that will continue to tell you that every woman wants children or has a biological destiny to be a mother.
This is why childfree-affirming therapy is not only necessary, but also radical, feminist, empowering and culture-changing.
And it may also be painful. As all of us age, there are more and more roads not taken, what Cheryl Strayed beautifully referred to as “ghost ships that did not carry us.” Parents, too, have their own ghost ships of lives without children - trips not taken, books unread, the freedom that comes with a life untethered to a little one(s). There is no one right way in life and whatever choice we make, leaves the choice we did not. Processing this sadness, grief, guilt - however it shows up for you - is all part of the package.
This journey doesn’t have to happen on your own. It can start to feel isolating when you no longer relate as well to the newly pregnant friend you used to spend Saturday mornings with, lingering over coffee, discussing career and professional goals. It may be scary to truly face and explore aging when you know you are childfree. And you may experience profound sadness and understandable grief at what may be the end of a family lineage.
A childfree life is not one without responsibilities, complicated emotions or future planning, however it is also fertile ground - pun intended - for creativity, freedom, and exhilaration as you shape and tailor a life full of what brings you joy and contentment.
We all have unique reasons for our decision and desire to be childfree. If you lack support from family or friends in your choice, it can be a difficult and lonely journey as you work to reconcile your decision. But it doesn’t have to be.
I help childfree people like you to confidently own, celebrate, and fully embody their choice to bypass parenting. We will highlight all the gems that being childfree affords, as well as develop strategies and coping skills to navigate responding to the bingoes of the world. You can feel grounded and self-assured in your choice. You can experience profound gratitude that you did the work to look this life event in the eye and said, "No, thank you. Not for me," without guilt, apology or shame.
I’d love to walk alongside you as a childfree woman on the path to self-love and ownership of your childfree life.