Square Peg

Trying to "fit in" is often like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

Trying to “fit in” is often like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

I am forty five, divorced, and childless. I do not fit society’s definition of what is “normal” for a woman my age. After my marriage ended, I knew that the traditional route in life was not mine. I would not be the mother, the wife, the home owner. I became comfortable with not “fitting in.”
Author Elizabeth Gilbert is successful, happy, and childless

Author Elizabeth Gilbert is successful, happy, and childless

I have become used to the strange and often cruel responses that people give me when I tell them that I am divorced but that I don’t have any children.
The top 10 responses are:
1) Didn’t you try IVF?
2) Are you a lesbian?
3) You can still adopt, you’re not too old.
4) You waited too long
5) That is so selfish!
6) My cousin’s best friend’s sister got pregnant when she was 50 from taking these herbs!
7) You have your dogs!
8) Who will take care of you when you’re old? Have you thought about that?
9) At least you have a boyfriend so you’re not alone.
10) God doesn’t see fit to bless everybody with children.
For the record, none of these responses is helpful. It is in bad taste to ever say any of these things to a woman who is childless.

I am curious about what you think.


The Healing in Letting Go

When I decided to let go of the dream of motherhood I was tired. I was tired of grieving the loss of a person who had never existed. I was tired of searching for someone who understood what I was experiencing. Most of all, I was tired of spending so much of my time being depressed. I was unclear about a lot of things but there was one thing that I was very clear about: I was not given this precious gift of life to be miserable.

When I decided to let go, I prayed to my higher power, who is Kwan Yin the mother of mercy and compassion, every day. I gave her my sorrow and I waited for what she had in store. What unfolded was extraordinary.

Kwan Yin is the popular bodhisattva prophet whom childless women turn for help.

Some other spiritual work that I had been doing led me to a woman who had experienced infertility for years before she was finally able to conceive her son. I found Lisa Manterfield and her amazing web site and book. I took the Road Map to Healing course that she offered.

Lisa describes exactly what it is like to let go of the dream.

I cannot begin to describe how it felt to know that there were other women who shared my experience. I was not alone.
My healing journey gave me some insights:
1) There are a lot of women who are childless in the world.
2) Society places a great deal of pressure on women to be wives, mothers, and successful in a career.
3) This pressure is a huge problem for women. It causes women to feel as if they can never measure up.
4) Women have to decide for themselves what their value is. Society’s “norm” is unrealistic for many women.

I have decided that my value lies in my ability to be of service to others, in my writing, and in living an authentic life. It may not be a “normal” life but, it is mine!

The Quality of Your Questions

Jody Day is the creator of Gateway Women which in as online community for women who are childless by circumstance.

“The quality of your answers is in direct proportion to the quality of your questions.” Albert Einstein
Parting ways with the dream of motherhood was a long process. I spent a lot of time cycling in and out of depression after my marriage of 13 years ended when I was 41. For two years I rode the merry-go-round of grief and loss. I would have periods of thinking I had been cheated somehow. I spent a lot of time asking “Why?” The problem with the “Why” question was that all it did was cause me to dwell on the old life that I had planned that didn’t work out. It caused me to stay stuck in despair. I stayed stuck until the day that I asked some different questions. One bright and sunny spring day, I was crying while I was driving to my next client of the day as I often did. Only, on this day I asked my goddess, whom is Kwan Yin, the questions that would change the course of my life. I asked: “If I don’t get to be a mother then what do I get? What is my life about?” Surely my life would have to be about something else. I was 43 when I asked these questions. I figured the next 40 years would have to be about something. I knew in that moment that I wanted a fabulous life that would be about creating a life that would not be possible if I had had a child.
Currently I am a full time student. While I love owning my own business, writing has always been my passion. And frankly, I’m pretty good at it. I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a Concentration in Professional Writing full time. My plan is to make a living using my natural talent and my love of doing research. I am also writing a trilogy. I recently met with a woman who is going to help me self-publish and create outlines for each book. When I am not studying or working I like to spend time with my wonderful boyfriend. We love watching old episodes of Dark Shadows, staying up late, seeing movies in IMAX 3-D, and eating dinner out. I also meet up with some friends every week on Friday night for dinner at a local restaurant. I love to stay up late writing, doing my nails, and watching shows after my boyfriend has gone to bed. It is my “me” time!
If I were a mother, my life would not work. I doubt I would be able to pursue my degree or spend the small fortune that I do on restaurants and movies. I would not be in the amazing relationship I am in now. I would not have the energy to stay up late just because I want too. My time would not belong to me. My life as a “childless by circumstance” woman is a work in progress. I do my best every day to make it a fabulous life!