Being childlessness by circumstance is a lifelong challenge: here are some short and long-term coping strategies.
The key for the future for those who are facing the challenges of involuntarily childlessness is in accepting the situation and learning to cope with it – this is often not easy in the short term, but something which can be overcome in the longer term. Counselling and self-help groups can be a great comfort in the early days when you are grieving your loss. When you feel ready to move on from that stage – and you will at some point – you need to look at long-term coping strategies.
It is possible to organise your life to help yourself and many people have succeeded in doing this. Try to find different pathways along which you can tread – like getting involved with a charity group or taking up new hobbies. Re-channel your energies into a new career or getting extra qualifications, although not at the expense of your relationship with those close to you.
Now might be a good time to switch jobs or launch a new business – something which you have always had a hankering for. Perhaps you might consider moving from the house you made for a family. If you feel the need to take on a ‘caring role’, perhaps consider approaching a charity which has heart and meaning for you. Work at rebuilding relationships with friends or relatives which may have become strained if you were having fertility treatment.
Some people find it helpful to look at the situation in different ways. For example, you could take a Buddhist perspective – not having children is part of the plan for this life, but maybe they may come along in the next life. It’s not a question of which perspective is right – it’s simply a matter of which works for you and which will help you lead a fulfilling life. You may find yourself less isolated if you meet people who are in a similar situation.
Perhaps there is a local support group or a social group, which will fulfil your needs. Why not have a look at our events page and see if there is something going on in your area. Or register for our online community at Health Unlocked. If you can be open about your situation it may help you come to terms with it and may give you a positive role in helping people to understand.
There is still a lot of ignorance about childlessness out there and you may be able to help people understand. But above all, if you are in a relationship, keep focussing on the two of you, try to retain your sense of humour and don’t over-compensate by throwing yourself completely into new interests.