In the 2018 census, the Office of National Statistics identified that 19% of women who had reached the end of their childbearing years did not have any children. That is more than double the proportion of women (9%) in the previous generation.
Childlessness can be a deliberate choice, identifying as childfree. There are many reasons why people may choose to consciously not have children, such as lifestyle choice, personal and family medical history, family history, political and social beliefs. Although the decision not to have children is a conscious one, it does not necessarily mean that it is not an extremely painful and difficult decision to make.
There are also those who identify as childless not by choice or childless by circumstance. The desire to be a Mum or a Dad is incredibly strong and it feels totally unfair that circumstances have dictated that this is not to be. There are many reasons why someone might find themselves in this situation. Such as fertility issues, not finding the right partner, having a partner that does not want children, medical issues, miscarriages, unsuccessful IVF and many others.
Being childless can bring up lots of emotions such as sadness, longing, anger, rage, and frustration at the unfairness of the world. All these are feelings of loss and grief. It is a grief that is difficult to escape from because children are all around us. At work where colleagues recount tales of their child. Family gatherings where cousins and siblings proudly show off their newborn child or lovingly watch the antics of their older children. It can feel very isolating being stuck between wanting to be happy for colleagues, friends and relations, but also devastated by the pain of your own grief and loss. Leading to feelings of not fitting in, of being ‘other’.
Counselling can provide a space to explore these feelings and to make sense of the world you now inhabit. I have been through my own experience of childlessness so I will work with you compassionately and sensitively to discover what you need to build a meaningful life.