Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Out With the Old January 16, 2012

I write a regular blog called The Plan B Life for PsychologyToday.com. Although the theme of the blog dealing with life when Plan A doesn’t work out, I’ve always got my own Plan A Life – the one that included children – in my mind when I write.

This week’s post was Out With the Old, about the importance of rituals in marking the end of Plan A and preparing to embark on Plan B. I know I’ve talked about this topic before on this blog, but for me, it was the key to starting along the path to coming to terms with a life without children.

If you’re struggling to get forward motion right now, a little symbolic ritual can go a long way. First, you need to acknowledge what it is you need to let go. It could be as big as the dream of motherhood, or it could be bitterness towards a family member or coworker who you feel flaunts her fertility, or it could be facing a fear and taking the next step forward.

Whatever your sticking point, acknowledge it first, then decide to let it go. Find a ritual or something symbolic that means something to you, and try it. It might be a prayer, or lighting a candle, or some kind of cleansing ceremony. Whatever you choose, you’ll be amazed at how freeing and how positive a simple ritual can be.

If you try this, (or if you’ve done something like this in the past) please report in on how it went.

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8 Responses to “Out With the Old”

  1. Julia Tew Says:

    I like your advice to move on. Don’t dwell on your problems. Focus on the SOLUTIONS! Find the meaning in your life by treating yourself to enjoying what you CAN do.

  2. Em Says:

    My husband and I have decided not to have IVF, for various reasons. We’ve decided to go to university full time, starting this year. So last year wasn’t the ‘end of our hopes for IVF’, it’s ‘the year we decided to go to uni’. It’s very exciting.

  3. Mali Says:

    A month or two after I found I would never be able to have children, it was Christmas. Unpacking the Christmas decorations was hard – mainly because it was also stuffed with knitted Christmas stockings we had bought at a market in Bangkok years earlier. We had heaps – plans for children, and plans for Christmases with them and with cousins. Heaps! (OK – I get carried away at markets). So I packed up a stocking each for all the nieces and nephews, and wrote a note to their parents, just saying that as we wouldn’t be having children, we’d like X and Y to have a stocking each. It was kind of our way to tell them we wouldn’t be having children. It was hard – I’m not sure I’d say it was therapeutic. But I’m glad I did it.

  4. Lori DiNardi Says:

    Wow, if only your advice was available years ago when it was time for me to move on from Plan A. I’ve long since moved on now, and I am living proof that life can be happy in Plan B too!. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with this blog.

  5. Elena Says:

    Im childfree through a failed relationship and will turn 40 this year. My psychotherapist suggested a ritual to move on from the dream of motherhood 1,5 years ago but i just couldn’t do it. it felt like burying a living baby!! AND so many people tell me “but you could still get pregnant with your next partner…” (including same psychotherapist). I just can’t find a way to move on – life just moves on without me.
    I think i need to confront this.

    • Lori DiNardi Says:

      Elena, my heart breaks for you, as I know all too well the heartache it is to move on from the dream of motherhood. Live in the moment and let your emotions come. Don’t beat yourself up for grieving. Once I gave myself permission to cry when I needed to, and avoid pregnant women and baby showers when I needed to, the grieving started to speed up. It took 2 years. I’m living proof that a woman can move on and find happiness. Blessings to you.

      • Elena Says:

        Thank you so much Lori.
        The grieving has it’s own pace. I’m rather the type who just isn’t able to hold back tears or anger, they just come out. Many people say that’s a good thing but it probably contributed to the break-up. I just get carried away by my emotions.
        Thing is those times took about 1,5 years and they are kind of over now. What’s left now is on the one hand the feeling that yes, i live in the moment, which is a very new experience- and a feeling of emptiness/aimlessness. I kind of wish the days back when i was very much in touch with deep feelings even if they were negative ones. Now they have gone – but i feel i don’t know what’s left. I guess it takes some more patience.

  6. Lori DiNardi Says:

    Elena ~ We are more alike than you know, and you aren’t alone. I too, am one of those types who just can’t hold back tears and anger. When I was grieving motherhood, it alienated a lot of people from me. I really didn’t have anyone supporting me at the time. I pretty much found online childfree friends and kept to myself so as not to deal with those who didn’t “get” my emotions. At least until the grieving passed. I understand what you mean about the aimlessness. Please feel free to contact me on my blog if you ever need a friend. Take care of yourself, Lori
    http://lorreezlane.wordpress.com


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