‘Childless, but not by choice’: Why I’m embracing Otherhood

‘Childless, but not by choice’: After years of failed fertility treatment, I’m embracing Otherhood

What is the name for the group of women who wanted children and tried their damned hardest, but never saw it happen? The women who tried to fall pregnant in the prime of their reproductive lives, or those who never had the opportunity to do so? The women who tried the fertility treatments they could afford or access? 

The women who never got to have the baby they really wanted.

These women aren’t “childless by choice”, rather they never had the choice.

So where do you fit in, if this is you?   

You haven’t joined the mother’s group, the playgroup, the school drop-off group, or the soccer mums group.  And you can’t join the “childless by choice” group, because this wasn’t your choice.

You know what it feels like to hit rock bottom after month after month of no happy baby news, or seeing years go by that you didn’t get the opportunity to try and have a child. You know that feeling of helplessness, because infertility has taken over your entire life, from invading your personal life, career, money, diet, exercise, holidays, and even to what car you can buy or where you can live. Every waking moment it’s all you think about — so often an empty feeling in your heart when you see another pregnant bellies or agorgeous newborn baby.

So what group can you join? What term can you use to describe your experiences? Where do you fit in?

Now, I’m using the term Otherhood and I want others to join me. By embracing “otherhood” you know that despite really wanting a baby and doing all the things you could, it just never happened.  

By embracing otherhood, you can open your mind and heart to see all the other possibilities that life can offer. You release the shame around infertility and trauma from the rollercoaster ride of failed treatment cycles. 

Once the trauma has been released, clarity comes. Going through fertility struggles has given you an inner strength where you now know you can handle any of what life may throw at you going forward. This life experience will give you clarity on the things that do matter and you can work towards designing your life from a state of love and not from a state of fear or lack.

This newfound empowerment fuels your ambition to think outside the status quo of motherhood, and to focus and enjoy the children already in your life that you may help with their growth into adults. It’s the empowerment that may help support you in community centres that you can get involved with. 

By raising awareness for otherhood, I believe women will feel more empowered to fully express themselves to share their fertility journey, instead of suffering in silence. There are so many women going through these challenges and hiding out of shame. Feely guilty about what they’re currently experiences or guilt about what they did experence and the endpoint being that they were never able to have the children they wanted. By raising awareness for otherhood, these women will know that they aren’t alone on their journey and that they can embrace otherhood.

It will also help you when well-intentioned people ask the question: ‘Do you have children?’ 

Instead of going into a state of panic when hearing these words, you can say this phrase “I really wanted children, however it never happened. So I’m now embracing otherhood”. And by raising awareness of otherhood more people will understand — with no judgement or further interrogation about your fertility journey — that you are not childless by choice. You really wanted children, but it didn’t happen for you and now you are excited about all the other possibilities that life has to offer.

Are you childless, but not by choice, and embracing otherhood? You can share stories and get in contact here.

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