Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
One of the least pleasant human emotions is loneliness. When it is experienced by non-mothers, it tends to be read as a by-product of our lifestyles. At best, it might be thought of as the downside of living an adventurous, resource-rich, peaceful, creative life. At worst, it might be experienced as one of many aspects of the grief of childlessness. And of course, we are immersed in a society that encourages us to frame our difficult emotional experiences in this way, with children often posited as the ultimate key to a woman’s fulfilment. If they are missing, that must be the cause of any and all discomfort.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I want to point out some pretty flawed logic.
Everyone experiences loneliness, at different times and to differing degrees – every single one of us. It is one of our strongest points of commonality as human beings. We feel it, of course, when we are alone. But we might feel it just as easily (and possibly more acutely) in a relationship, in a family, at a social gathering, in a crowd, even among old friends. There are times of connectedness and times of disconnectedness, regardless of any and all of our choices and circumstances. That’s just the nature of the human condition.
Rather than being something to fight against, or ward off, or blame any person or situation for, I think it’s possible that loneliness is best treated as something to greet and to befriend. It’s an opportunity to draw on our deepest resources, peel back some layers and make peace with ourselves, just as we are. And often, we childless/child-free women are pretty good at that.
If you’re interested in ways of managing some of the difficulties associated with being a non-mother, you might enjoy reading about useful ways of thinking through doubts and ‘what ifs’ or rethinking some common assumptions about childless and childfree women.