Forty, single and childless, dammit!

25 Oct
Forty, Single & Childless, Dammit! - www.gateway-women.com

Running out of eggs, running out of time, running out of patience…

Have you ever stopped to question why you want (or wanted) a baby so much?

Do you find the question shocking? Taboo even?

Well, I didn’t question it. And because I avoided this level of deep introspection, I failed to realise that I spent fifteen years of my life chasing a dream based partly on the premise that someone or something would make me feel fulfilled, content, satisfied, real, right, good… I thought a baby, a family, a home, what Zorba the Greek calls ‘the full catastrophe’ – was going to make me feel whole dammit! Yes, I loved my husband insanely-much and the idea of a little bundle of our combined DNA made me go weak at the knees, but there was more going on than that…

But god forbid anyone who tried to tell me!  I just didn’t want to know. Stuck my fingers in my ears and sang la la la. I stayed in the tunnel and put off thinking about ‘why’ I’d chosen to made the nuclear family my own personal holy grail. Refused to accept ‘what is’, as Bert Hellinger says.

Yes, there was a biological clock, and boy did it tick.  But would I really have heard it quite so loudly had I been listening to my soul instead?

What would things have been like for me if instead of neglecting my dreams, my passions, my friends, my work, my finances (and, quite often, my common sense) during that time I’d focused on creating a life without children, whilst still remaining open and excited about the possibility that one day I might become a mother? Why did I get stuck on this one outcome, mostly out of my control, rather than take a saner, broader view of things?

Because even as the facts continued to pile up against me, the fantasy endured.  And let’s face it, as a woman with long-term unexplained infertility issues, just out of the wreckage of sixteen-year marriage and watching 40 recede gently in the rear-view mirror, things were not promising in the maternity stakes!

But no. Common sense is no match for denial.  And if a bit of reality ever did threaten to break through, my girlfriends usually closed it down fast with a quick, “Don’t worry. You’ll be OK. Stay positive! You’ll meet the right man / have IVF / get pregnant without even realizing it”… etc, etc. And then there were the miracle baby stories… at least I had company in my denial! Some of these stories made the stork sounds positively rational!  It seemed that collectively, none of my female friends wanted me to face up to my situation.

When I started to break the taboo and began talking about the possibility that it might not work out for me, that I might not have children, it was as if I’d let off a fart bomb… women took a step back.  Somehow, my honesty stank, as if my fate, my childlessness, might actually be catching

These days, having fully come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have a child, I can see that one of the reasons I didn’t even want to entertain the possibility that I might not have a family was that it would also have meant facing up to an absence of a viable Plan B.  I’d stopped dreaming my life into being. The words of a friend who was one of the first to have a baby used to ring in my ear: “Since I had her, I don’t have to wonder what my life’s about anymore.”  That sounded pretty good to me; an existential get-out-of-jail-free card.  These days, I’m not so sure she’s right, and I imagine that perhaps in another decade or so when the children have all grown up, she, and other parents, may find that such thoughts are waiting for them on the other side.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that I got very vague about my life goals in my 30s as a response to my ex-husband’s sad spiral down into addiction – and that I chose to blame some of that unhappiness and confusion on my biological clock.  Somehow, because I couldn’t look into the future and see, with certainty, that I would be a mother (living with an addict, you can’t predict what’s going to happen by teatime) I decided I had a 100% cast-iron guaranteed reason to ditz around in my life and wait for a baby to come and clear this whole mess up.  I took my foot off the gas. I got lost.

Now, at 47 and having made peace with my destiny and got back into the driving seat of my life, I often meet single women around the age of 40, still hopeful of having a family, and yet strangely unwilling to talk about their own dreams, their own lives.  Intelligent, educated, hard-working, emotionally intelligent women – yet they seem to be living like wombs-in-waiting – a vacancy where their ambition and passion used to be.  Now, I’m not for a minute saying that wanting to be a mother is NOT an ambition, not a dream… but where has the rest of them gone?

I wonder if these women feel, unconsciously, that allowing themselves to dream their non-family related dreams is somehow going to put the kibosh on having a family?

But ask yourself this, if you were a man, and you met a single, vibrant woman in her late-30s following her passion for taming sloths, writing poetry, singing, designing mazes, running for office, meditation, raising hawks, rescuing dogs, car-boot sales, running marathons, keeping bees, sky-diving, blogging, tap-dancing, saving the planet, coding, writing detective fiction, growing petunias, fencing or thrash metal… wouldn’t you prefer to spend an evening with her than with a falsely-cheerful, dolled-up ‘date’ who drinks ever-so-slightly too quickly and needs to know your views on starting a family by the second date?

There’s nothing as attractive as someone who respects their dreams enough to follow them.  Children are indeed a blessing, but they are here to fulfill their dreams, not ours.

 

***

Jody Day - Founder of Gateway Women - Portrait in earth tonesJody Day is the Founder of Gateway Women (UK): an organization to support, inspire and empower childless & childfree women live fertile, passionate, meaningful lives. A qualified counsellor and training psychotherapist, Jody runs groups & workshops for Gateway Women, and also offers one-to-ones for women looking to explore issues around identity, maternity & fertility. If you would like Jody to speak at one of your events, or to write for your blog or magazine, please contact her on jody@gateway-women.com


43 Responses to “Forty, single and childless, dammit!”

  1. clarab41 March 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi goyagrrr, Elena, and Joolz (all the new posters). Goya, I have just turned 41 and in pretty much in the same boat as you. When I got to about 38 I thought I had begun to accept not having a baby, but over the last year it seems to be hurting again. I have also become completely disaffected with not just the work that I do, but the notion of ‘career’ itself. It is one of the many things which I blame on for my not becoming a mum. Just before I read these posts in fact I was wondering why I bothered studying for a woolly degree, and just the fact that I seemed to have followed ‘intellectual’ dreams, as opposed to earthly, i.e. settling down and having babies, is something which I feel an awful lot of regret about. I have been an English Teacher for a good few years, but for a long time have felt like jacking it in, because I associate the subject and my studies with my not focusing enough on finding a man and having kids!!! Of course it is daft, but it is something which I always think about.
    Joolz, I get what you mean about random things setting off and bringing you down. I am glad I didn’t see that particular programme, but it almost impossible not to be reminded of not having kids with telly, radio, or just life. I imagined that this ‘lack’ wouldn’t ever go away, and the spiral image you describe seems to sum up how this future will be.

  2. goyagrrl February 23, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Hello Jody! I wish there was a Gateway Women’s meetup group in NYC. I am 40, single, and am facing the sad fact that I may not ever have a family of my own. Being a single mom is not an option for me, in all honesty, I just cannot financially swing it. It is hard, I am grieving over the loss of the family that never came to be in my life. But I grieve for it silently, because it is not the death of an actual person or persons. I do not know if that makes sense. When I think about my Plan B, I am a bit lost. During my 30s I have worked hard, socialized with friends and family, and dedicated myself to the pursuit of a graduate degree – all while waiting for things to “fall into place”. Now that they have not, I feel uninspired by my career and grad school. I am hoping this is all part of the grieving process and that I will come out on the other side with a renewed sense of purpose in life. But right now, I am in the tunnel, and do not see the light yet:( It does get better, yes?

    • Jodykat February 26, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      Goyabrrl – yes, it gets better. But you need company – starting a Meetup Group in NYC sounds like a great idea and I have plenty of NYC women I’m already in touch with whom I’m sure would love to join :)

    • Elena February 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      I know this is very bad internet etiquette, but why don’t you try to connect with women in the US through lifewithoutbaby.com.

    • JOOLZ February 28, 2013 at 2:27 am #

      WOW Apart from the the pursuit of a graduate degree bit, I relate to EVERYTHING in your post. For me there were other situations involved as I’m sure there are for us all, but from what you have written you could be talking about me. It beings with a realisation and then proceeds to grief. I am 46 now and I have come to terms with my situation or to be more acurate I have learnt to live with it. Then some days, like today, it hits me hard and I don’t even see it coming. But I don’t see it as a tunnel, I see it like this: Imagine a spiral radiating outwards, that represents time. Draw a line from the center to the edge; that represents pain. As you travel through the spiral you know the pain will come round again and again. At the beginning it feels as soon as the pain subsides, it returns. As time goes by that journey takes longer. Does that make any sense? So I guess it will always be there, but as time goes by you get more good days than bad. At the moment I know it is not impossible, but highly improbable that I will ever have a family. As for plan B, I have had plans all the way up to Z and I’m no nearer than I was before. But there is an up side to trying to find a meaning to my life. I have probably had a more ‘interesting’ life than a lot of people I know. I’m afraid that is all I have to offer, but I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your post because I now know there is someone else out there who gets me. So thank you. xx

      • Elena February 28, 2013 at 9:44 am #

        Hi Jools, I love the spiral analogy.

        • JOOLZ March 1, 2013 at 2:36 am #

          The spiral-words of wisdom lol I’ve now realized that’s why I’m here. For the past three years, yes three years I have not even thought about it. I’ve been too busy living. I had a business planed out, got finance sorted planed the big move, I was going to start a new life in Dorset. Okay; that one fell through. I’ve had auditions for TV, I became a paranormal investigator and work every weekend with a team doing public events traveling to fantastic locations, i’ve written a film, a sitcom and a play , had an art exhibition and now I’ve just landed a fantastic job with a salary to match, last year I even bought myself a motorbike (how midlife crisis is that lol) But despite all this hey guess what; last night I hit that bloody line on the spiral and in the last 24 hours I think I have been through every emotion possible. Maybe it’s hormones kicking in. It’s like being an eight year old wondering if this is the onset of my body changing, tick tock. I feel a bit silly now really; now that I have thought things through. It was a TV program that set me off.called ‘A Child Of Our Time.’ I used to watch 7up so I thought this will be interesting. Motherhood couldn’t have been further from my mind.So what happened to me. As I watched these babies turning into children, then turning into pre-teens I disappeared down a big black hole. I reopened every old wound and then I cried. I also felt scared because I felt like I had just been fooling myself for the past few years, so on top of everything else I was a fraud. And yet now I feel absolutely fine again. It’s weird. Very weird. To go from fine to feeling very vulnerable and back to yeah I’m actually okay in such a sort space of time is weird. I think the worst thing is not knowing where these feelings are going to take you or how long you will be there. Now I just feel calm, relaxed about it all. I think the worst thing was the fear of the fear.I know that line will come around again, but hopefully it won’t be for quite a while. I’d like to thank everybody on this site for being here during my blip and if anyone is relating to this and thinking they’ve gone backwards; it’s okay. You’re still traveling forwards but you’ve just hit the line and these feelings will subside.

  3. Living my Life March 31, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    I am certainly still trying to work out my Plan B, in fact I’ve started a blog, partly as therapy and partly to try and work through this issue. I have heard of having children as being a kind of ‘armour’ and I think that is so true in our society. Once you have children they provide a means to meet new people, you don’t have time to think about what else you’re doing with your life (for quite a while anyway) and you fit into society.
    Not fitting into this stereotypical way of living your life can leave you feeling quite vulnerable – well it does for me at times anyway. Plus I really yearned for the feeling of being needed and having deep connections that a family can provide. As a person who values close relationships rather than many acquaintences, to not have a family can leave you feeling extremely vulnerable, I feel the lack of my own family armour.

    • Jodykat March 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment. I absolutely agree with you that having children is a kind of psychological ‘armour’. I call it the ‘existential get-out-of-jail-free card’ because, once you’ve got kids, you are able to sidestep the ‘what is my life for’ question. You’re a parent. That’s your ‘role’, particularly if you’re a mother.

      Now, I’m not saying that this is either enviable or desirable – nor totally ubiquitous – I know a few mothers who retain a strong identity other than that of being a parent. Not surprisingly, perhaps, these are the Mums I find it easier to sustain a meaningful relationship with.

      I’ve added your wonderful blog http://mylifeisbeinglived.blogspot.com.au/ to the Gateway Women blogroll. Although we may be half a world apart, we have so much in common, and I look forward to reading more of your work, and hearing more of your thoughts here at Gateway Women.

      Jody x

      • Living my Life March 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

        Thanks for your lovely comments and encouragement Jody. Finding blogs such as yours has really made me feel much less isolated and actually part of a community of amazingly insightful and caring women. It’s been a large factor in my road to recovery and helping me to find my Plan B.

      • JOOLZ February 28, 2013 at 3:06 am #

        The ‘What is my life for?’ question. I strongly relate to this. I actually think this is a healthy sign. When grief is in the earlier stages, this is not even on the rada. This may sound silly, but my mum is a genealogist and I got really upset by the fact that no one will ever remember me; no one is going to trace their family back and say I wonder what she was like? I will be the forgotten aunt who fell off the tree. So I decided I’d have to do something spectacular!!! She was the one who wrote that best seller, that film, that play, painted that masterpiece lol Who knows…..Maybe I will be that person who gets remembered for something other than passing on my genes. lol

  4. Zita Tulyahikayo November 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story, strangely, I came to it through a search for Hellinger and expected to read that you had discovered that you had through Hellingers work come to realise that when we do not love our Mothers with all our hearts having children and fertility become the expression of that dis-ease within our bodies.
    It is natural to want to give life to love, having children is part of that so too is all the other wonderful creative things that a woman can do. The timeline for the soul to have children is not marked by a chronological age, unless that is the signal we give to our bodies, something women in the west seem to like to do. Life is precious that which we receive and that which we give and we all must accept our fates in terms of weather or not we really want to be Mothers or not.. My fate seemed to be that of a man-free, childless one, with a high status job that I thought would fill the gap. However, I chose to use all my courage to really look at why I did not have a family of my own at 40 and discover what gap was. The journey inwards was painful and at times difficult but, worth it to discover my pot of gold. All the other stuff work ambition and status was a detached male centred way for me to find a sense of belonging, one where I did not really have to grow or challenge myself spiritually. To Love, truly love with all my heart, was much harder than I thought, but with it has come a truly wonderful man (a warrior) and he wants to have a family with me! So at 43 and fertility levels higher than when I was in my angst ridden, angry 20′s and 30′s i feel optimistic about the possibility of a future with a family and my renewed passion in supporting other women in finding their true path… whatever it maybe. Best wishes to all.

    • mina March 31, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      it’s great that you found a good way to look at your life but i for my part certainly wasn’t “signalling” anything else to my body than that i really, really, really wanted to conceive.
      but i didn’t.
      sorry but i will only believe you when you do actually produce a baby the natural way at age 43.

  5. Jacques Marais November 6, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    … wonderfully said, bravo!
    … and the answer is yes !

  6. Ruthlynn October 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    So true about finding your dreams and making them happen. If I had kids I never would have been able to live this rural with all my horses, chickens, ducks and wildlife. I have the time to quilt, paint, volunteer, play piano, viola, violin, hike, build barns and enjoy my life. I do get sad sometimes not letting my folks have a grandchild. But instead I have a happy life, happy husband and a happy farm to grow old on. I can pursue anything I want and learn more about who I am as a whole person and not be someones ” Mom”.
    Life is good and you only get one.

    • Jodykat November 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

      Thanks for this. Our life can be rich and fulfilled without children, particularly if we have a close and loving relationship and remember to pursue our dreams.
      The life you’ve created sounds wonderfully fulfilling for you and your husband – not to mention all those animals!
      Grandchildren are indeed a blessing, and I know that the day that one of my friends has a grandchild I’m going to feel the loss all over again – but that doesn’t make my life-path less valid, nor necessarily less joyful.
      Children are a blessing, but it’s important to remember, as you obviously do, that there are many other blessings we can be grateful for.

  7. mina October 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Found this through lifewithoutbaby.com, and wow, i love this! And finally one for the singles :-) !! I specially loved the bit about female friend’s reactions. And the one about taming sloths :-) .
    I just think that it doesn’t help to feel guilty about having focused on being a mother exclusively and after childlessness feeling lost about a plan B. It’s a thin line and i think this article deals with it very well, but I believe we have to watch out for it. It’s important to see that we need to have a dream or goal in our lives (or even several of those) and that waiting and wishing for a child is not the only possible one. and be aware of the fact that the lack of perspective might very well have hit us if we had had children, once they grow up. but feeling guilty about not being able to immediately come up with a plan B after infertility/childlessness hit, is not going to help, either.
    I am 39 and slowly healing from the split in a 10year relationship which happened at the moment when we discovered that we couldn’t make a baby the normal way and that the medical problem was on his side… that was when he decided he didn’t want any of it anymore, not the relationship, not the kids…so all those girlfriend comments of “you still have time…. it’ll work out with the next guy…” do have some reality to them. What noone, really noone understands is how difficult it is to build up a life when i have to make a choice between a dream which might still come true – but maybe not – and giving up a dream that was so important – based on something i myself have absolutely no control over…build up a “childfree life” when children are still a possibility, having actually to decide to just forget about it.

    • Jodykat November 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad that you liked my ‘taming sloths’ line. How are your sloths doing by the way?!

      I found your comment about ‘guilt’ really made me think… and I absolutely agree that adding guilt to the package doesn’t help at all.
      However… sometimes I think guilt gets a bit of a bad name! All it is a physiological feedback mechanism to let us know that something’s out of aligment with our deepest values. I think of guilt as advance warning for regret. And who needs more of that!

      I don’t feel ‘guilty’ about focusing on motherhood for all those years, but I do feel regret that someone older and wiser didn’t let me know that it is possible to create a viable Plan B at the same time. It’s not easy, I know, and my heart goes out to you during what must be a very tough time after your split.

      How about creating a meaningful life that brings joy to you and the world… in the full knowledge that if a baby does come along to join you, they will be joining a joyful, happy and fulfilled Mother!

      Doesn’t that sound like a win:win for you, them and the universe?

      With love, Jody x

      • mina November 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

        Hi Jody
        mh, interesting outlook on guilt! Though i think sometimes it doesn’t come from our own values but values forced on us from the outside (parents, friends, etc.). In my case, then, it’s mingled with regret of not being able to free myself from it.
        I would love to create a meaningful life with the attitude toward baby the way you describe it. And don’t think i’m that desperate, i’m on my way there – and my life was “meaningful” before pregnancy didn’t happen. But there’s two big “buts”:
        - I didn’t think further than a certain horizon: the time when my baby would be born. Now things continue in the same way (more or less meaningful) – nothing has changed – when i was actually waiting for change to happen all by itself. So there’s no plan B – i just simply don’t have any idea for what to do with myself except continuing. BEcause what i’m doing, is already pretty meaningful. But i meant it to change… (hard to make myself understood here, hope you get it)
        - I’m really shit scared by the idea that a baby will NOT “come along”. That i’ve got to do something about this. Namely, get out there on the internet and find a guy to be my future partner and babie’s father. I feel like i HAVE to do this, but I CAN’T. It’s just too complicated. And i’m scared that i’ll feel guilty if I don’t do it!

  8. fromfortywithlove October 30, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Hi Jody,

    Thanks for your insightful post, which also made for uncomfortable reading. As a 40-year-old woman who thinks she’d like to experience motherhood, your post is a great reminder not to put all my eggs in the one baby basket. It’s easier said than done, of course. I know the theory all to well but it’s the practice that’s the tricky part. I have a reasonably full life and generally enjoy my independence but as I start to date, I’m realising how attached I am to the outcome of marriage and kids, and that attachment isn’t helping! I’m in the process of learning to surrender that outcome and I’m excited about that prospect. Thanks for leading the way.

    Katherine x

    • Jodykat October 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      Hi Katherine
      Thanks so much for commenting. I’m aware that it makes uncomfortable reading and I admire you for allowing yourself to be uncomfortable!
      I was once a 40 year-old who thought it’d all work out, which would have been an absolutely fine and dandy attitude to hold, except that I neglected thinking about my Plan B. I’m not sure I would have been able to comprehend the message of Gateway Women, so I really admire all women of your age who are prepared to even consider it for a moment.
      I really hope it works out for you, I hope you get what you want.
      I’m just here to tell you that if you don’t, everything will be OK too :-)
      With hugs, Jody x

    • mina November 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      I can just sooo understand you, Katherine (see my comment above).

  9. Wendy October 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I love your post. When dealing with my infertility, the thought of getting off the must-have-a-baby-merry-go-round felt like I wasn’t committed enough, I didn’t want a child enough, that I was giving up, that I was even more a failure. I couldn’t allow myself to think of a life childfree-by-circumstance, in which I was “happy”. Once I started getting over this feeling of being a failure, I was able to see my option to get off the ride and move on with my life was actually a choice to LIVE. I continue to be, and will always have, sorrow for the family I will never have and the children I can never give my husband. but we are committed to living, have a life we love, and being the best people we can be.

    • Jodykat October 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for stopping by, I really value your perspective and I know that it helps other women who have either stopped fertility treatments or are thinking of doing so soon…

      The subtle stuff that goes on under the surface of this journey to become a mother is extraordinary… and so much of it seems to involve us being mean to ourselves! I’m only just starting to like and take care of my body again after neglecting it for a few years – I think since I accepted I wasn’t going to be a mother I just decided to give my body ‘the cold shoulder’. I think I’ve been punishing it for ‘failing’. How bonkers is that!

      Ah, what a wonderful mystery it is to be human, and to be a woman!
      With hugs for you – you’re an inspiration to me and to many.

      Love, Jody x

      • Wendy October 28, 2011 at 12:29 am #

        Hi Jody, I really hear you about giving your body the cold shoulder! I find I have been punishing my body for years (gaining weight, not watching the food or drink I eat, not caring for my looks or skin, etc) and am having trouble breaking the cycle. I know I should go to the gym lose weight and get in shape to further my good health and energy, but I can’t seem to do it yet. Why do we do this to ourselves?

        • Jodykat October 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

          Hi Wendy,
          Our bodies failed us, and we’re furious with them.
          Part of the healing from being childless to childfree is to forgive our bodies.
          When so much of our desire has been to nurture our child, maybe we don’t want to nurture ourselves?
          It’s another level of acceptance, and with that we have to face another level of loss.
          It sucks!
          Be gentle with yourself, and if you can do one thing, I would suggest improving the quality of the food you eat – I find that for me, this always works on an unconscious level to say to my body “I love you, I honour you, you deserve the best”. And whatever you do, don’t diet – we’ve been through hell already, we don’t need to starve as penance!
          With huge love and understanding
          Jody x

  10. Amy Deane October 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Insightful and inspiring as always, Jody! I’m reminded of Kahlil Gibran’s “Your children are not your children… And although they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

    As courtmroch says, you don’t have to give birth to be a mother, or TO mother. A friend of mine once met a nun in India who was kind, compassionate and gentle, as you might expect a nun to be, and my friend said what a wonderful mother she would have made. The nun said, “I am a mother.”

    I have felt the envy of looking at mothers, who don’t have to look for a purpose, because their children give them purpose. I think this was possibly truer years ago when being a wife and mother was one of the few roles available for women. Today the opportunities and possibilities are vast, and you are holding high the torch for women to follow, Jody. Keep dancing to your music! Amy

    • Jodykat October 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Amy
      Thanks for commenting and for giving me a rave review. Nice :-)
      I agree that the opportunities for women (in the West) are vast, but sometimes it seems to be a struggle to get women to look at that, when what they ‘want’ is to be a mother. As I wrote in the article, it’s almost like they won’t ‘let themselves’ consider a Plan B. And it just makes the whole thing SO much worse because you end up with an empty life AND an empty womb; or a baby and no time to do all the things you wished you’d done when you had the time…
      Hmmmm??!!
      Anyone got any ideas?
      Love, Jody x

    • Sylvia Plants November 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      Amy you are a star. What a great reply. I really responded to Jodi’s writing that children are here to fulfil their own lives not ours and you have added greatly to that with this reply.

      My sister was walking her 3rd child to our parents house when he said “mum, did you know? You were walking up this hill when I chose you to be my mum !”.

      :)

  11. courtmroch October 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Oh, Jody, what a powerful post. I never got the baby itch. I had it once, very briefly (truly, it was lliterally 5 minutes and then pffft! Gone again.) Sometimes that’s made it hard for me to relate to friends who would, and have, done anything to get pregnant. It made me very sad, because I wanted to know why I didn’t have that strong desire to be a mom like that. I didn’t get the gene or what?

    I do believe in destiny. I think you sharing like you do about your experience will help others. Instead of being a mom to one, or maybe two, you will be a mother figure to many more souls.

    • Jodykat October 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

      Hi Courtney
      Thanks for commenting, and for relating to it even though it’s different from your experience. I guess that there have always been women who would, like you, have chosen ‘childfree’ if they could have done, but it just wasn’t an option open to them. No doubt there are millions of women in the developing world without access to birth control who don’t yet have this choice, and with the population levels on our planet, that’s just crazy.
      It gives me great solace that my experience of not becoming a mother is something I can share with others and it helps them in some way – as you’ve seen with your friends, it’s a heartbreaking process for so many women.
      Thanks for commenting – always lovely to hear from you.
      Jody x

    • Chong May 29, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      that’s a much nicer response than the one i got in my women’s hiorsty class this past semester. i stated pretty much the same thing about motherhood, and also about wearing makeup and everyone freaks saying, who are you to judge people? nobody has to justify why they do something to you!! and no, they sure don’t. they should just justify it to themselves. i don’t care if someone wears make up or has a kid, or doesn’t wear makeup or whatever else. but it’s important to look at the reasons why and the justifications for their actions.

  12. Javaneh October 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I loved the article. very true. many of us mothers hide ourselves behind our children and forget our dreams in life. then we expect our children to become what we haven’t become in life !
    very sad

    • Jodykat October 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

      Javeneh – Thank you so much for giving the mother’s perspective on this piece! I’m touched and honoured. Jody x

  13. Pamela M Tsigdinos (@PamelaJeanne) October 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Jody: Hear, hear! (as you Brits like to say). Having faced a similar set of circumstances a few years ago, I can thoroughly relate. It’s vital that we reacquaint ourselves with all that the world holds for us. Delighted to have made your acquaintance! I look forward to meeting one day face to face.

  14. Sylvia D. Lucas October 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    “they are here to fulfill their dreams, not ours.” I don’t think enough people realize this. Reading your post, I felt the weight the unborn children had on them to fulfill something in YOU, to complete YOUR fantasy, to be the thing that gave your life the purpose you thought it should have, and not only did I feel for them (no offense to you, I swear), but I also felt for you, because – and you addressed this, too – what if you had the child and it didn’t give you that thing you needed? Or what if, after it moved out, you found yourself back where you were before you were ever pregnant?

    I think it takes guts to release one idea of what you thought your life would be and create a new “self.”

    • Jodykat October 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      Hi Syvia, and thanks for commenting. I absolutely took no offense at your comment, and I really appreciate your candid response.
      I wonder if in our commoditized culture, when so many of us have ‘bought’ (not always consciously) the idea that ‘something’ is going to fix our problems, that sometimes ‘a baby’ becomes one of those ‘things’ too?…. I’m not anti-baby or family, far from it, but it breaks my heart to see so many woman pining for a baby in their late 30s and 40s and yet nobody seems to have the courage to suggest to them that a baby might not be the answer… that they may be looking in altogether the wrong place for the fulfillment they crave. And this is quite a separate issue as to whether it’s fair to load a new life with all this baggage anyway? But then, when is life ever fair?!
      Thanks again for taking the time to engage with my perspective, and for your appreciation of my ‘guts’ :-) It takes one to know one! Jody x

  15. Alexa October 25, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Holy Crap! I have never seen this so blatantly stated. Thank you!

    • Jodykat October 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      Alexa
      Rarely have I had such a short, but such a heartfelt comment!
      Welcome to Gateway Women – if you’d care to join the mailing list, you can get more HC every month!
      Jody x

  16. Rachael Greenland Manns October 25, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I too was a waiting-womb! My life was clearly on hold until my lifetime ambition of being a mum was fulfilled, fuelled ably by illness (which started within a month of being told of the possibility of a childless future), and an increasingly unhappy marriage.

    It became the unattainable dream and therefore had to be pursued relentlessly. Do I regret all the waiting? The missed opportunities to follow my dreams? Strangely, I don’t, as all that time has given me the momentum to do it NOW! I have a new relationship (does 2 1/2 years count as new?), my partner has 4 children who I share happily, my business is growing in delightful ways and my spare time? It’s spent drumming, singing, laughing, knitting, reading, playing new instruments and getting to know me.

    47 is a great age to be! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, dreams and aspirations Jodi. You are one inspiring lady. I know for sure that I will have no children of my own, and I’m aware of transposing my hopes on that front onto my partners children. I have my own child within me and I’m learning how to nurture and love her – that’s quite a journey, and doing it with someone who loves me in all my aspects is a delightful bonus.

    Life is sweet!

    • Jodykat October 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your comment – and thank you for sharing your story with me so openly, and for identifying so strongly. Sometimes when I hit the ‘publish’ button I do wonder if I’m talking to an audience of one (me) and that nobody will get it. But you so understood and identified and I’m sooooo happy to hear about your new life, your new family and all the lovely drumming, knitting etc!

      Certainly, the introspection that comes with infertility has its downsides, but handled with care it can also be a powerful way in to a new way of being with ourselves and with our destiny. You sound like you’ve made it work for you, and I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the children your new partner brings into your life.

      Life is sweet, and short, and surprising indeed. Rock on, Rachel! xxx

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Forty, single and childless, dammit! | thomasina marshall's diary 2012 - October 6, 2013

    […] Forty, single and childless, dammit!. Love this woman – well worth a read as she expressed everything I’ve been feeling for the past few years! […]

  2. Essential maintenance | From Forty With Love - October 31, 2011

    [...] it or force it to happen? And as Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, points out in her latest post, Forty, single and childless, dammit!, it’s a high risk strategy to put all our eggs in that one baby basket. I felt quite [...]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: