What are your goals? What do you want? What do you want your future to look like? These are questions that are essential for moving forward. They are questions that are extremely painful to consider when the answer to the questions require you to consider a future without what you want the most. The questions require you to imagine a future without children. This level of grief deserves to be identified and called out AS grief. Feel it, process it, get help managing it, stand in it. You cannot skip over this part. You cannot skip the grief to get to the acceptance. If will resurface and start creating complications in relationships, your health, your thoughts, and/or your friendships.
As you start moving through the grief, asking yourself these questions can be your life raft to acceptance. These questions can help you formulate your new dream for your unimagined life. The dream that you can chase and pursue. That you can feel proud of and excited about. These aren’t questions we ask ourselves when we are buried in thoughts of grief, fear, and uncertainty, of being childless not by choice. We are in that space we can get stuck asking questions about what we won’t have, what it won’t look like, what happiness we won’t have. Our environment or our society doesn’t prepare us for childlessness. There are very few, if any, role models of what the grief and then the acceptance looks like in someone’s life. We aren’t sure what questions to ask to help us move to acceptance. We aren’t sure what a life without children can look like. We get exposed to the extremes. The bitter loneliness or the childlike adult who has no responsibilities and is portrayed as irresponsible and selfish. Those tropes offer no value, no information, nothing helpful. They do harm and create a toxic narrative that leaves those that are childless not by choice with no playbook or roadmap for how to create a meaningful, purposeful, life. You have to do a lot of ignoring and have a very astute bullshit detector when you are working through grief related to childlessness. Not easy, when you are experiencing traumatic loss with extreme pain and fear. You have to take matters in your own hands. You have no other option. It is not fair AND it is the truth. Community matters. Information matters. The childless not by choice community can be a refuge amongst the shit storm of judgements and untruth.
When you are ready to start imagining accepting your childlessness not by choice consider starting with these journal prompts. Consider spending at least 5 minutes on each prompt. There are no right or wrong answers. Forcing yourself to spend at least 5 minutes on each question can encourage you to think through the surface, think beyond what others have told you, and to really think deep about what you want. Remember, there is no right or wrong answers. Get out your favorite pen, your favorite journal, and start with the questions below.
What would accepting childlessness not by choice look like in your life?
Who would you be around?
What would your thoughts be?
How would you spend our time?