Last night saw the first event in the series End of the Line, for those with the grief of not having children. Over 30 on the call shared a little of their journey with childlessness and the resulting grief, and heard a bit about how the practices of grief tending can be transformative for those who have longed for children.
It was wonderful to meet Jody Day and hear her speak about the landscape of childlessness. It was news to me that for 80% of us who don’t have children but wanted to, the reason is to do with circumstance – not being in a situation where having children felt like the right decision – not the right partner, or no partner, or lack of security or support, not wanting to bring a child into difficult or risky circumstances.. the list goes on and on. Find her book, Living the Life Unexpected, here, and an offer to read the first chapter free, which includes her updated list of 50 Ways Not to Be a Mother.
Jody emphasised beautifully how this decision for many people is a considered, deeply ethical place from which much grief can flow, and how essential it was for her to go into the grief as part of the journey towards creating a meaningful life beyond the longing to be a mother or father.
I had a vision of the one in five women who haven’t had children, this huge group of women with skills and goodness and strength that our world needs so much now, finding their way to a new reality and purpose. What might such a group create or offer to these times?
You can listen to a a recording of the evening’s talk. We also shared the writing shuttles practice that many have found powerful – I was surprised even in a very short time, how quickly my grief for the children I didn’t have could surface, from a long time back.
This week is World Childlessness Week, there are still events taking place including a one hour ceremony on Sunday for those children we didn’t have. I’m with my deep respect and gratitude to Jody and all those who have gathered this huge community of much needed support, including the on line forum Jody set up, Gateway Women , which has many more resources and suggestions.