Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Next Step May 18, 2012

For some time now, I’ve been bemoaning the lack of support available for those of us facing a life without children, whether we’ve reached the end of our infertility ropes or otherwise run out of options, money, or stamina to build a family. As far as most organizations are concerned, women are either planning to have children, trying to have children, or don’t like and don’t want children. There is a lot of misunderstanding and very little support for those of us who find ourselves in one of the many gray areas that surround those well-supported categories.

Several months ago, I came to a crossroads on my own journey of coming-to-terms with being childfree-not-by-choice. I knew I had to either stop talking about my infertility, put the whole episode behind me, and move on in a different direction, or I needed take the hand I’d been dealt and do something with it. For those of you who’ve been following along for a while, you’d be right in guessing that I opted for the latter.

I’ve spent the past few months compiling everything I’ve learned from my own journey and from talking to you about the issues you face and the solutions you’ve found to keep moving forward. I’m now developing a support program to help other women through the process of letting go of the dream of motherhood (sometimes the hardest part) and beginning the healing process.  The program will be aimed at women in the early stages of coming-to-terms and will include a combination of group workshops, exercises, and support phone calls over a period of four months.  I’m planning to beta test a pilot program with a small group beginning next month.

I’ll be putting out more detailed information about the program, including dates, costs, and what it will include, but for now, if you think you might be interested in a program like this, please leave your contact information here (it’s safe and confidential) and I’ll get more information to you shortly.

In addition, it would be really helpful to know what topics you’d like to see covered in this type of program, or if you’re further along on your journey, what you wish you’d known sooner.

I’m looking forward to being able to share more information soon and I hope that some of you will find this useful.

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18 Responses to “The Next Step”

  1. Way to go, Lisa! What a fantastic way to put what you’ve learned to good use.

  2. Cathie Says:

    I wish I had a support group to go to when I was going through the five stages of grief. Not being able to talk to someone that was childless as well was extremely hard for me. Being able to share my experience with someone who could relate would have eased the blow a bit. What I wish I’d known sooner was that it is okay to reach out for help and that it’s not a sign of weakness if you can’t go through it alone. It kills me to think that women are going through this all alone at this very moment and don’t have a place to go for help. It’s so frustrating too because your family and friends have no clue. I applaud you Lisa for attacking this head on. If you need me as a resource for someone to call or email, I am there 🙂

  3. Helen Says:

    Is this something that could be done as an online programme too for those that live in another country. Great idea and I am sure a lot of women would find this very helpful.

  4. Kathleen Says:

    Sorry but, did you just group “don’t like and don’t want children”?

    And since I am childfree by choice, I would honestly be interested in any information on the organizations that “well-support” that category. Thanks.

    • Kira Says:

      I would too, I have yet to find support. I was hoping it would get better as I aged but I don’t think I am old enough yet, LOL. I always feel…. unwelcome at the party so to speak. I don’t “fit” anywhere, so of course something must be “wrong” with me…I’m so normal and likable otherwise! LOL. and of course I don’t like children. sigh. I have read some childfree sites and so far they have struck me as occasionally humorous but too negative for my taste.

  5. CiCi Says:

    This is so great that you are putting your pain and grief to a good cause! I wish I would have had a support group back when I was really, really struggling. Of course, I have all of you now which is precisely why I think I’m progressing through this struggle. As Cathie stated, it’s so incredibly hard being a childless-not-by-choice woman in this world. Others don’t really grasp the hardships that we go through. And it’s not comparable to other life pains and struggles. Anyhow, just wanted to support you in this new journey. Very much looking forward to seeing where it goes. Good luck to you!!!

  6. Dorothy Says:

    May God bless you, Lisa, for taking this next step!

    I have discovered that a good psychologist complements a support group. I am so grateful for time spent with my own therapist. I wish I had prayed about, then asked people for, recommendations earlier in the grieving process. I hope your participants are encouraged to seek professional counseling.

    Also, a number of us in the LWB community are deeply spiritual. Perhaps we could form a prayer group on the LWB site to lift up specific intentions coming from your group. (no names, to protect confidentiality, of course.) Studies have shown that prayer has a positive impact on the healing process.

    • CiCi Says:

      Dorothy…you can count me in on that! So incredibly true! When I finally started to let go and talk to God and let Him heal and lead me through this, things became much, much easier. Instead of blaming Him or questioning Him, I began to realize that He has so much more in store for me 🙂

  7. loribeth Says:

    What a great idea, Lisa! : ) You most certainly have my support, too. A program like this is definitely much-needed. I was lucky enough to deal with a counsellor who specialized in infertility issues & was supportive of our decision to walk away from treatment — we only saw her twice, but that was enough time for her to point us in the right direction, suggest some resources & strategies, & help us feel validated in taking this road less travelled. This was pre-blogs, but I was also lucky to find a supportive community online for childless not by choice women — the group no longer exists 😦 but the same women continue to sustain me to this day in another forum. It was great to find other women who were going through the same thing & some positive role models — and you are certainly one of them. : )

  8. Angela Says:

    I wish that I had gone to counseling, oh, at least a year sooner! I let myself struggle through more than a year of anger and silence before I finally decided I couldn’t live like that anymore. Also, slogging through a distressingly disappointing sex life probably contributed to maybe half of my depression and anger. I know alot of people don’t like to talk about the sex issue (because EVERY BIT of our particular problem is wrapped up in that one word/act) but I believe most of us are more than aware that the aftermath of TTC is like a tornado blew through you and your husband’s sex life. I really felt like I had completely shut down and didn’t even know how to do it right anymore, and we had to completely start over in the bedroom. The counseling was a huge part of setting that straight, because we all know that sex starts in our heads and if the head is really messed up then the body won’t cooperate! Homeopathic herbal meds also contributed a lot to helping the physical body to recover the lost spark. Anyway, I think including a therapist who can address the topic of sex and libido recovery and some organic/homeopathic treatments would be good. (Homeopathic is my own personal bent because anytime I try a pharmaceutical solution to a female organ problem it only results in additional problems! I now pretty much do my own research on that topic and self-treat, which has worked EVERY TIME.)

  9. Klara Says:

    Great idea, Lisa! I wish I lived in USA!
    I would join immediately!

  10. Pearl Says:

    Talking to people who went through this process is what helped me most, except I wish all of them had left religion and God out of the equation. Religion only works if the other person shares your beliefs and sadly, even within the same religious group, that is not always the case. I love the idea of this program you’re putting together and I would certainly participate.

  11. Denise Says:

    After so long even coming to terms I still need this type of support. I am religious, but I have to agree with Pearl.

    Lisa, if can help in any way please let me know.

    Denise

  12. Clara Says:

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the email. Please keep me posted on the progress of your beta program as it develops. I would love to participate and share my feedback with you and your group to help shape the program in its early stages.

    Claire
    Los Angeles, CA

  13. Kelly Says:

    Lisa,
    You have helped me along my stages of grief through this site and through our meeting in LA, and I can never thank you enough. I wish you every success in the world!

    Thank you xoxo


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