Spare a thought for those struggling with the pain of childlessness this Christmas

By Nina Steele 

As I am sure many of you have noticed, the overriding message on this website is to celebrate non-parenthood. I feel very strongly about changing the perception of the childless as a miserable lot, who live unfulfilled lives. That perception is one of the reasons why there is so much stigma around this issue, and why so many people find it hard to come to terms with it.

If all you hear about is people saying that they will never be happy because they have not been able to procreate, then your first reaction as someone trying to conceive is to do everything in your power to have children, regardless of the cost both financially and emotionally.

Some people do succeed eventually, while others never do. And for those who don’t, it is often the case that they deny themselves happiness because of it. And that to me is a tragedy.

Having said that, I do also understand that ultimately, human beings are different. As such, those of us who have been fortunate enough to move on, should not be too harsh on those who are still feeling the pain of childlessness, particularly at times like this, when everything is about families with children.

To all those suffering, I say, I may no longer share your pain, but I get you. Being a minority comes with many challenges and sometimes those challenges can feel insurmountable.

I remember two women I worked with. Both in their 50s and both childless not by choice. Even though they lived comfortable lives and were both in loving relationships, they found it hard to overcome the pain of childlessness. One was actively involved with her nephews and nieces, while the other sought solace in the deep love she had for her pets.

Like with many other men and women in the same situation, nurturing means a great deal to them. They have all this love inside that they were hoping to give a child and are feeling at a loss with what to do with it. And even though like these two women, many find a way of channelling that love eventually, Christmas is a stark reminder of what they ultimately don’t have.

Christmas will always be with us. And since the ideal of the family (families with children that is) is it’s central message, all we can do as a community, is be mindful of those among us, for whom instead of joy, it is a source of grief.

If you are dreading being around family members this Christmas and are not sure how to deal with them, this Telegraph article may be of use to you.

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