Not having children does not have to mean unending grief.

I received a phone call from a woman in another state. She will likely never birth a child of her own, and she called because I was the only person she found on the web who expressed a hopeful view of life without children of one’s own. She had read story after story of women who constantly grieve their childless life. She wanted assurance that there is another way to live. There is.

I shared with her my own story. I left a wonderful relationship at the age of 40 because I knew I needed to try to find a partner with whom I could have children. I knew it was a gamble at my age (I have been known to take risks…). At 44, I realized my chances were waning and I decided to let go of that dream. I went through a ritual, grieved intensely for awhile, and bought myself some beautiful jewelry to symbolize the shift in my life plans. I felt a weight drop off my psyche, and I felt a new freedom to move forward with my life.

I still have tinges of regret sometimes. Overall, though, I am content with my life, and I appreciate the freedom my life gives me.

Every woman deals with her loss of dreams differently. In the groups I have the privilege to run, I see women who are coping in many different ways. What they all have in common is their determination to move through life as consciously and gracefully as they are able. They inspire me with their courage.

So yes, there is a way other than unending grief. There are many ways of courage, strength, hope, and freedom.

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