Supporting women who are childless-by-circumstance
Teresa Woodham Registered Psychotherapist MNZAP
This website is a place where you can get support in the process of grieving being involuntarily childless, and find out how to midwife yourself into a new experience of yourself as a woman.
You can find out about the increasing numbers of women experiencing childlessness here, read about my story, check out my experience and the workshops and support groups I offer. You can also find out more information about psychotherapy, read my blog, find links to other resources that may be helpful.
“In natural law there is no such thing as infertility. If the river of life is dammed at a certain point, it will overflow its banks and create new channels, new and surprising greenness.” Joy Cowley
If you are childless-by-circumstance, you may find yourself asking: ‘Who am I? Who will I be, if not a mother? What will I do with the rest of my life?’
You may grieve silently and alone for the babies you will never have, or the babies you have carried and lost through miscarriage or terminations.
You may wonder if you will ever get through these painful feelings and enjoy your life again.
You may feel worn down physically, emotionally and spiritually by the stress of unsuccessful fertility treatments and wonder how to negotiate the major life transition that you have entered.
As you face the painful reality that you are now around the age of 40 or more, possibly single and definitely childless, you may struggle to find a sense of purpose and meaning in your life.
As a woman who is childless-not-by-choice, you may find you are looking for a way to discover and express your own unique flavor of creative energy.
You may struggle with the inability to change old patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior that do not serve your relationship with your self, with others or the planet.
You may feel your heart closed off by anger, resentment, shame and envy and long to be at ease with yourself and the flow of life again.
You may worry about growing old without children, or fear being alone and isolated, wondering about the legacy you pass on to the next generation.
Whichever of these resonate with you, you are not alone. These are common experiences for women who are involuntarily childless. And there are increasing numbers of us.
Women without children of their own are now one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the developed world.
Current statistics indicate that one in five women in the developed world born since the mid 1970s will not have their own biological children and this is likely to increase to a ratio of one in four.
Infertility from either party can be the cause, but involuntary childlessness can occur for a number of other reasons. Sometimes it is the result of an illness, or not meeting the right partner during your childbearing years, or being unable to afford having a child on your own. For some it is a clear choice not to have children, but for others it is a source of much sorrow and pain. Women often feel stranded, isolated and ashamed, living in a culture that often fails to understand and support their grief.
Whatever circumstances have resulted in you being involuntarily childless, no one should have to face the pain alone. There are many of us out there and more and more of us are coming together, speaking our truth, resourcing ourselves, reclaiming lives that are rich and fulfilling, and creating communities on and offline.
I am an experienced psychotherapist who knows about this issue because I have been there.