This article was previously published on the Huffington Post. I know this issue is a big one for many CMomA members, so we’re making it available to you here, as well. If it speaks to you, feel free to share your own impressions in the comments below!
I spoke to a client this week (we’ll call her ‘Mary’), whom I have worked with in my Psychotherapy Practice on and off for years. She was in her early thirties when we first began working together. During our first session she told me “You really should talk with my Mother. She knows me better than I know myself.” Fast forward to today. Mary is now forty-five. During the ensuing years, she has been through a marriage, a divorce, another long-term relationship and its break-up, the launch and management of her now very successful business, and breast cancer.
Today Mary looks to herself to arrive at her own truth. It has been my privilege to watch her evolve into “knowing” and valuing herself from the inside out, versus looking to external voices to tell her who she is and what is best for her. She is doing great… a survivor of some disappointment and despair along the way, who has become a thriver, developing strength, inspiration and potent wisdom through these hardships.
But like many women of her generation, Mary always imagined and desired marriage and children in her life. Her childlessness by circumstance, a reality for so many, has become increasingly common—putting years of energy into academic achievements, working around the clock for two decades in her business, marrying the wrong man, not yet finding the right one and now past her child-bearing years.
During our session, at the start of this holiday season, she articulated, what I have heard many times from others, about what it feels like to be a woman without children during the holidays:“Everyone seems interested in the whereabouts of my siblings on the holidays, because they have children. No one seems to notice or as interested in my plans. I feel rootless, wondering from home to home… and am expected to… because I can.”