Childless, but Not by Choice. Remember the Childless Women on Mother's Day
What's Mother's Day Like For The Childless?
Ever wondered what every mother's day must be like for the women among us who have longed to be mothers? Well, I have. Not because I've been through it personally, but because I have seen first-hand the pain of a friend, a neighbor, or a church sister who have asked countless times , 'why me? after a miscarriage or, the feelings of disappointments from a failed adoption.
While there are women here in the western culture who are childless and happy, that is, women who have made a conscious decision not to have a child (childless by choice), in most other cultures, choosing to be childless is unheard of, especially in the African Culture. Not having a child of your own, or being barren, is usually seen as a sign of incompleteness or fruitlessness in a marriage.
In some cultures, as is the case in India, some part of Africa, and some other parts of the world, infertility is seen as a curse. An African woman who is barren, due to her inability to conceive and bear a child, usually faces the scorning of her in-laws, and she is usually not favored by her husband. Trying to get pregnant and failing can sometimes be a gruesome process for these women. So, how should we comport ourselves around people like these? The following will help:
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The 'Heart-wrenching Pain' of Being Childless
You have to really be one to fully grasp the kind of pain, agonizing pain that most childless couples go through. And I said most, because, as I've already established, some are childless by choice.
For these category of "childless, but not by choice", motherhood is not an easy journey. Talk about all the medical procedures that these childless couples have to endure, especially the women. The fertility treatments, the probing, in a bid to harvest the eggs of the woman, and the sperm of the man. One can only imagine the stress of waiting, each month, and hoping each "would be the month" they get to tell their family and loved ones the good news, or not. The praying, the waiting, the dashed hopes, can be very heart-wrenching, sometimes driving the parties into a state of gloom, and even depression.
A very popular actress, Nicole Kidman, who had been where most hopeful childless women out there still are, said in one of her statement, during an interview with Who¹ in 2012, that, and I quote, "I had tried and failed and failed and failed. Not to be too detailed, but I've had an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages and I've had fertility treatments. I've done all the stuff you can possibly do to try get pregnant."
Nicole Kidman further said, "Every woman who has been through all those ups and downs knows the depression that comes with it."
Yes, the truth is that, most women who go through the 'season of childlessness or barrenness' when the one thing they want most is to have a child, do slip into a period of depression. Though those who have faith and hope that "with God, all things are possible", and those who have the support of their family, and faith-based community, do fair better. Nonetheless, all do experience the pain of wanting, and desiring a child, only to have one disappointment after another.
¹Who is a celebrity news and entertainment weekly magazine published in Australia
Gift For Mom
Making Sense of Your Pain
Respecting The Childless - What Not To Do
You don't have to walk on eggshells around you childless relatives, but at least be sensitive to their plight. The pain of losing a child or that of miscarriages is something only those who have been through it can understand. The followings are things to avoid saying or doing around the childless;
- Avoid bragging, or flaunting your mother's day gift around them.
- Avoid showing off pictures of your kids to them.
- Avoid talking too much about your kids around them.
- Do not dismiss their feelings, but rather, be an encourager.
- Do not presume to know how they feel.
- Avoid offering advice on what you think they should do. They've probably done it a million times over. Most already have their family physicians or fertility experts at their disposal.
Respecting The Childless - What To Do
The truth is, we all have someone, or know someone who is childless. I'm not talking about those who are childless by choice. I'm concerned about those who desperately, and passionately would one day love to hold their own child in their arms, whether it's a natural born child, or an adopted one. If you know anyone in this situation;
- Pray for them Praying for them may be the most important thing you have to offer them, so take some time to pray for their specific situations.
- Encourage them. Your words of encouragement can go a long way to lift up their spirit this mother's day. Help them stay positive.
- Be a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. That may just mean the world to them.
Some of the Ramifications of Childlessness In A Marriage
Childlessness Can Lead To
In some society, even western society, where parenthood and procreation is highly esteemed, childlessness can be stigmatizing. Oftentimes, childless couples may end up divorcing or come to an agreement that may allow the man to marry another woman for the sole purpose of procreation
Couples, mostly the women, who have trouble conceiving or caring to term, may experience symptoms of distress, such as, anxiety and depression.
Childlessness can also result in financial stress to a couple trying to do everything possible, such as, various costly medical procedures like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), or the option of surrogacy in other to have a baby. Some even try the adoption process. All these can easily leave a childless couple with little or nothing to go on in terms of their finances.
Encouragement For The Childless
You are in this journey where no one can claim to know what or how you feel, except another who is in the same boat as you. But, my encouraging words to you is taken out of the Bible, the Word of God, "...be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you..." Joshua 1:9
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called." (Romans 8:28)
"And this is our confidence, that if we pray according to His will, He will hear us, and give us what we ask for, because our desires are in agreement with His thoughts for us." (1 John 5:14-15)
A Couple's Story - From Infertility To Success.
A Prayer For The Childless
In a world like ours where we can easily be all about "me", "myself" and "I", it's so easy to have a lack of compassion or concern for those who are childless. Let's be mindful of their pain. Some of these women are our sisters, nieces, cousins, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Be very sensitive to their plights. It is real for them. Maybe even as real as the pain of a mother losing a child.
So on this Mother's Day, say a prayer for the childless. Encourage them in the Word. You can send them a card to let them know you care and are thinking of them. But most of all, you can be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and send a prayer their way.
May the Lord remember you. May He remember your cries, your plea and your prayers. And may "The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. - In Jesus's name - Amen!!!