No Children? What is your Plan B?


Jody Day, a British woman who founded Gateway-Women.com an online community for childless women, recently published a book called Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfiling Future Without Children. In it, she tells about how she struggled with infertility and other issues that prevented her from having children. They also prevented her from enjoying the life she had because she was so busy thinking about the life she did not have. In her book, Day talks about the “shadow life.” She was simultaneously living the life she had while living a shadow life in which she was a mother.
“At no point in that time (a 15-year stretch, no less) did I fully and completely embrace the life I was actually living, that of a childless woman. I was always in transition to the next stage when my real life would begin.”
My friends, we only get one life. As my father likes to say, “It is what it is.” And it could be much worse. Ask anyone who is paralyzed or suffering from a fatal illness or who has lost a limb. Ask anyone whose spouse or child has died. Every day that we can get out of bed on our own and choose what we want to do is a good day and should not be wasted.
We risk poisoning our relationships not only with our mates but with everyone else around us if we see only that they have kids and we don’t. Try to see beyond that. Why do we love these people? How would we feel if we lost them?
Examine your lives. Acknowledge what you are probably not going to do. One of the childless women I interviewed for my book said she looked at having children like a lot of other things she had never done and probably never would. She would not be a published author, would not live in Paris, would not be a concert pianist, would not be rich, tall or thin. But she loved the life she had.
If there’s something you really feel you must do, then do it. If it means finding another mate or adopting a child instead of giving birth, just do it. But if you are not willing or able to take these steps, look at what else you can do. You probably have more choices than most because you are not tied down with children. The “childfree” crowd sees that as a good thing.
Make a list of everything that you CAN do, that you get to do, that God gave you the opportunity to do. Now use that list to design your own Plan B.
In future posts, we’ll talk about rituals to let go of childless grief and places to find support from people who understand. Meanwhile if you haven’t read Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfiling Future Without Children, do yourself a favor and read it. Jody will take you through the steps toward starting to not only survive but enjoy the life you have.

Copyright 2014 Sue Fagalde Lick

Over-40 wisdom for childless women

Today I’m yielding my platform to Jody Day of Gateway Women who on her 50th birthday has published a marvelous post titled “Things I Wish I’d Known at 40.” She offers the truth about fertility, menopause, grief, relationships, society’s views of childless women, and the joys of life beyond the childless dream.

Lines I love in this post include:
“Freed from chasing the dream (and fantasy) of motherhood, you begin to realise old dreams and create new ones.”

“The life you’re going to create instead of motherhood is going to be richer and more fulfilling than you can yet imagine, and in ways you cannot yet imagine.”

Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, is also the author of Rocking the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfiling Life Without Children, a great book about dealing with childlessness.

I can think of a lot of things I wish I had known when I was 40. Foremost would be realizing how short and precious life is and how important it is not to waste any of it moping about things that aren’t going to change.

What about you? If you’re past 40, what do you wish you had known before? What advice would you give to our younger readers. I welcome your comments.

Jody Day’s book rocks the childless life


Jody Day of Gateway-Women.com and I have corresponded off and on over the last few years. We both write about childlessness in our blogs. She lives in the UK, where it really seems as if the conversation about not having children has advanced far beyond that in the United States. When she said she was writing a book, I couldn’t wait to read it, and I was not disappointed.

In Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children, Day offers childless women a way to define what their lives can be without children. If Plan A, to be a mother, didn’t work out, what is Plan B? Day’s Plan B is to write about and create a community to support women who are childless by circumstance–which includes those of us who are childless by marriage. In addition to her blogs and online groups, she hosts gatherings of childless women and 12-week courses to help them find their new path as non-mothers, nomos, as she calls them. If you live in the UK, you can actually meet in person. But if you don’t, you can be with them in spirit through this book.

Day, who is training to be a psychotherapist, tells her own story and provides exercises to help women dig themselves out of their childless grief and discover the new life that is still available to them. Chapters explore family histories, our relationships with our bodies, stereotypes about childless women, our views of ourselves, ways to heal from our grief, and much more. She also includes extensive lists of resources that in themselves are worth the price of the book.

I did get a free copy of the book, but I would recommend it just as highly if I had paid for it. There are lots of books about childlessness on the market these days, but most focus on the joys of the “childfree” life or the sorrows of infertility and don’t get at the things bugging those of us who are childless by circumstance. I hope you’ll read my Childless by Marriage book if you haven’t already, but do read this one, too. It will help, I promise.

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[Sue Fagalde Lick is part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. ]

Thinking beyond our childlessness

https://amzn.to/2VHJVkWSometimes I get tired of thinking about childlessness. I’ve got a million other things on my mind, including nonstop meetings and rehearsals this week, my ongoing struggle to put my water-damaged den back together (see my Unleashed in Oregon blog), my need to practice for two upcoming musical performances, my job playing the piano at church, my dog’s ongoing flea problem, my aging father’s ailments, my best friend’s close call with breast cancer and continuing fight with COPD, missing my dead husband, selling my novel, wondering when I should prune my hydrangeas, the floods in Colorado, the shootings in Washington D.C., the conflicts in the Middle East, why some fools are angry that our new Miss America is of Indian descent, what I’m going to wear to the church fundraiser on Friday night . . .
There’s so much to think about besides the fact that I never had children. I wish I had them. If I could go back and do things differently, I would. I think. I’m not 100 percent sure. Marrying Fred was the best thing that ever happened to me. Losing him was the worst. Not having children is barely a blip in comparison. I want kids. I want grandkids. I want sticky-fingered hugs and kid pictures all over my house. I want somebody to buy toys for and to teach and to love and to watch carry on our family heritage into the future. I want all that. I didn’t get it. It makes me so angry I want to throw things.
But I can’t change it now, and there’s no point in ruining the life I do have because I didn’t get the one I thought I’d have.
Some of these thoughts are coming up because I’m reading Jody Day’s new book Rocking the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfiling Life Without Children. It’s a wonderful book that can help women who wanted children and don’t have them to deal with their grief and move on. I will give you a full review as soon as I finish it, but you can order it now.
My dear friends, I hurt for you. I feel your deep pain as you struggle to deal with situations where you feel lost, where you don’t know what to do about your mate who can’t or won’t give you children, where you go nuts when people with children just don’t understand how you feel. I know. I’ve been there. It’s big. It’s huge. It affects your whole life. That’s one of the main things I tried to show in my Childless by Marriage book, that everything is different when you never have children. But there is more to life. And there’s more to you than just the fact that you don’t have children. Think about it.
Group hug?

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[Sue Fagalde Lick is part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. ]