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What being childless has done for me

By Nina Steele 

Whenever I hear stories of people in their old age still grieving the fact that they were unable to have children, my first reaction is: what a missed opportunity! I had the same reaction when I read Kate Spicer’s now infamous article in which she claims that: ‘any woman who says she’s happy to be childless is a liar or a fool’. Speak for yourself, I thought!

As I grow older and understand life better, I can see that we are made by the events that continuously unfold in our lives. Some of those events are greater than others and the greater the event, the bigger the lesson.

Being childless not by choice, falls within the category of the great events that propel us to a different level, in terms of our growth. It is one of those moments in life, where we can either grow beyond anything we have ever imagined or it can destroy us. Whatever the outcome, the choice is ours.

One of the lessons being childless has taught me is: infertility will only destroy a relationship if you let it. My husband’s infertility is why we are unable to have children, yet my love for him has never been greater. That is a conscious choice I made, based on what I value most in life.

Another major lesson I have learnt is to stop comparing my life to that of those around me, and to understand that not every path is meant to include children. This I have found, is one of the main reasons why most people struggle with being childless not by choice. They find it hard to understand why of all the people around them, it had to be them who end up without children. This is where living with courage comes into the equation. If you have spent your life comparing yourself to those around you (which is of course a form of fear), then being childless not by choice, forces you to address this situation once and for all.

The peace of mind and confidence that I feel now that I have come to terms with my childlessness, is so great that I understand why this step was necessary in order for me to reach this stage of growth. Being childless has also forced me to look at life differently, from an outsider point of view if you like. I have been forced to grow into an even stronger and courageous person, which I suspect may not have happened, had I had children.

Had I become a mother, I would have been part of the majority and felt less compelled to work on myself in the way that being childless has forced me to do. Accepting that being childless is the path that was meant for me, has given me greater confidence and the courage to go through life, as my own person, as opposed to what society expects me to be.

Nina Steele

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