I struggled to find a sense of purpose in my life when age, life and health conspired and my journey to being a parent came to an end without a child.

I had studied extensively, taking academic courses whilst I was trying to be a mum. When these ended and my dream of being a parent also came to a close at about the same time, I felt I’d failed. I was stuck in a job I wasn’t happy with because it was easier to take holidays at short notice and manage my work as I knew it all so well. I felt utterly lost and a pointless person with no value to human life. It didn’t help that my parents didn’t understand and spent all their time cooing over my nephew. They had no conception of why this was upsetting and why I might feel excluded.

I found that counselling was a god send. Finding the right person wasn’t easy, I had to meet a few before I felt I had the right counsellor for me. With her help, I found ways to cope - tools and actions that allowed me to handle daily situations better. I was able to see that the situation with my parents required me having some empathy for them. I talked with my parents about the efforts I had made to be a parent, to give context to how I felt. It is not a great relationship but through trusting my sister to help, it is getting better. My mum admitted that she thought her only purpose in life was to have children and often felt trapped by being a parent.

I was also able to explore new career options. I have read a few books and blogs on life when you can’t be a mum. Most seem to focus on dramatic life changes from adopting cats or dogs to moving to the seaside. That isn’t always practical, especially for me as I have to face my future now as a divorced woman. I’ve yet to hand in my notice but I have taken on some voluntary work. Small steps matter and I am reminded that there is a lot I can do without children, a weird opposite of my mum’s situation. In fact we are tentatively starting some sewing classes together to find some new common ground. It is helping to heal us both. This website has helped me too, reading the stories and knowing I am brave enough to share my experience.