Childless or Kid Free Zone
Childless or kid free zone
It’s a surprising statistic when whether by choice or for medical reasons almost 20% of women in the UK and the US find themselves childless.
Being childless was once seen as something unusual. It was a taboo subject; something which could not be talked about openly. Thankfully attitudes are changing, albeit slowly. However I know from my own experiences people often don’t understand and can treat the child free or the childless in many different ways.
My own journey to being Childless
I am childless, now in my late 50s and well beyond child bearing age, I do feel regret at not having children. I don’t think so. Am I relieved that I didn’t have children? Yes…I think. After all what you never have you never miss…right?
To understand where I’m coming from regarding my childlessness, I think I have to go back to when I was a child. I was the youngest of 4 siblings. My eldest sister is 14 years older than me and was married with a baby by the time she was 21. My earliest experience of a baby was my niece. I was 7 when she was born.
My sister and her husband lived a few hours drive from where my parents lived. Visits tended to be a major expedition packed tight in a tiny Mini. I was never a good traveller and was always being carsick so I grew to dread these visits. When we did arrive all I can remember is the smell of sour milk, not good when I was already feeling queasy. That and this small human being with a bright red angry face, who was very noisy. There were so many nappies around the place, in soak, being washed and on clothes racks being dried and the bottles! (Remember this was the late 60’s). I think its safe to say my first impressions of babies was not a positive one.
I don’t know if this set the seed for me not wanting to have children. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve reflected that far back. But I know my basic maternal instinct seemed to have evaporated from that moment.
Failure to Conceive
Fast forward 13 years and I too found myself married. My then husband and I were soon on the treadmill of ‘trying’ for a family. It was the early 1980s and married women were expected to go the route of bearing children. After ‘trying’ for a few years and failing to conceive, I was persuaded to go and find out if there was anything wrong with me. Note the blame was put on me not my husband. It transpired that I had endometriosis and this combined with my husbands low sperm count meant that conceiving naturally was possible but highly unlikely.
Guilt at not conceiving
Emotionally I was on a roller coaster. Distraught to be told it was doubtful I’d ever conceive, however, I felt very guilty to be happy that I didn’t have to pretend any more. Even my own mother made me feel guilty because I think she blamed herself!
Back then, it felt that being childless through medical reasons was so much easier to explain. At least it stopped prying questions and me causing confusion saying I didn’t want to have children.
Child free future
Move on to the 21stcentury and present day. I find it really sad that women are still judged by their ability to produce babies. There is a growing number of women who embrace their child free lives and this is to be celebrated. However, for every one of them there is another woman who is distraught, in need of love, tenderness and support through her journey.
I’m now in a position where I can help women, and lets not forget the men, on their journeys of acceptance. There is a life without children and it can be just as fulfilling and rewarding. With gentle support and encouragement we can all live meaningful and exciting lives.
If this blog has struck a cord with you, or you know someone who might benefit from a chat then please get in touch.
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