It’s Mother’s Day today here in New Zealand.
Mother’s Day sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, and I believe that as a group, mothers should be celebrated.
But, I’m not part of that group, never have been, never will be.
And no. It wasn’t my choice. I wasn’t busy building a career and I don’t have any physical issues that prevented me having children.
It. Just. Didn’t. Happen.
I’m part of another group, one that nobody wants to join, but one that is getting steadily bigger.
I’m part of the Childless by Circumstance group.
I was always going to have children, being a mother is what I was born to do. It’s natural isn’t it?
I’m a nurturer, a teacher, a nurse, of course I should be a mother, what else can I be?
I’m 47 years old now, and I’ve had to face the fact that I will never have children. I made some decisions that lead to this, I’m not denying that, but I thought I had time, you see. I had some decisions made for me too, as often happens in life. But if I could go back and change any of those decisions, so that I could have children, I would.
The pain of childlessness is indescribable. It’s ongoing, it’s all-consuming and it’s the greatest pain I know I will ever face.
But it’s also my life purpose.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all preachy on you, but I do believe that we are put on this earth to do something. Each of us has a reason we’re here, something we need to contribute to the world, something our soul needs fulfilled. This is why my childlessness has always been so devastating to me, I couldn’t understand what I was meant to be doing if it wasn’t raising children.
What the hell was the point of it all then?
Wait…I need to back track a bit. In 2011, the Christchurch earthquakes hit. Wow. That was life-changing and definitely a topic for another post. (or four or five). I’ve learnt a lot from those earthquakes, like you don’t really need running water or electricity to survive, and not to worry about things you can’t change I’ve also learnt that life really is too short to be miserable. You’d think that having to take antidepressants since my early twenties would have taught me that, but apparently not. So, once the ground settled, I got married, tried to foster and adopt children, and then I eventually faced up to the fact that motherhood is just not part of my journey this time around.
So, now what? Whatever I chose to do next, I knew that the pain of my childlessness was never going to go away. It’s too deep, too much a part of me, too ingrained.
What do you do with something you can’t get rid of? Well. It seemed to me I had two choices. I could give up. Give in to the pain, and become that horrible, bitter, nasty, old woman on the corner that yells at all the neighbourhood kids for cutting across her lawn. Or, I could turn that pain into something else.
The first option was certainly an appealing one. It would be so easy. I could just give into it, let it overcome me. If I fully gave up, then surely the pain wouldn’t hurt me so much, if that was all I had?
Obviously, I chose the second option, or I wouldn’t be here talking to you now. I think we both know where I’d be. The second option was harder and took a lot more effort. But, Oh My God, it was so worth it.
When I began to search for something to fill my childless void, I was reminded of things I used to love. Before the pain began to take over. I’d lived with Clinical Depression for most of my life, so I had a reasonably full toolbox of things I could pull out when life became too tough.
Burying my head in a book was one of those tools. Vampire books in particular, had been frightening me, and enthralling me, since childhood. And it was even better now, when you could actually buy decent adult Vampire books (obviously, I’m not talking about those Vampire books). When I was a kid I was already reading at adult level and I swore I’d write a Vampire book when I grew up, one I’d want to read…Mmm…now there’s an idea…
You know what’s coming next, don’t you?
I’ve nearly finished my second draft and I expect to publish my debut vampire novel by November, 2017. This book is my legacy. It’s where I’ve put all the lessons I’ve learned over the years, all the pain, love, and wisdom. It’s all in this book. It’s what I’m going to leave behind, what I’m going to be remembered for. It’s my reason for getting out of bed in the morning, my purpose.
It is why I don’t have children.
Yes, it’s a Vampire novel, but it’s really about what happens to women whose lives don’t turn out the way they thought. And how women cope with that, why they make the choices that they do. And at some stage during the process of writing this book, I realized that my journey could help other women.
So, that’s what I do now. That’s why I developed my program, Exploring Passions. I guide women who are childless by circumstance to find fulfillment and joy in the life they never expected to have. I help them find a way to live with their pain, not try to avoid it, and turn it into something beautiful. By following my program, women find their own legacy, their own outlet for their wisdom and love, their own passion, to share with the world.
Something to love.
Something to nurture.
Something to mother, in their own particular way.
Fiona Tate lives in a small seaside village in New Zealand, with her husband and furbabies. She holds a University Degree in Psychology, and has over 20 yrs experience working with people who are experiencing mental illness. She currently works as a mentor and guide for Women who are Childless by Circumstance and is writing her first novel. You can find more information about her Exploring Passions program at https://countessdrusillasteele.com or by email at email@example.com.