The Problem with Being Childless: Where does the love go?

by Brandi Lytle
Black & White Photo of a Candy Heart which says "I love" on The Problem with Being Childless: Where does the love go? Infertility Blog on Not So Mommy...

One of the biggest strengths of the childless is our great capacity to love.  We love our children, the children we dream of, so much that our hearts overflow with the anticipation of their arrival.

The problem is that our biological children never come.  And now, we have this enormous love that has nowhere to go.  It sits in our hearts, aching to be released.  When we can’t find a place for this love, it turns to grief.  We don’t know how to find fulfillment since we will never be parents to littles.  And we lose sight of our purpose because we always thought we were meant to be a mom or a dad.

For me, I accepted that I would never be pregnant or have a baby.  But I simply could not accept that I would never be a mom.  I had this love to give, and I had to find a place for it to go…  I had to fulfill my mothering instincts.

So, I had two choices.  One, I could remain desperately sad, longing for something I could never have, grief-ridden, and destined to become bitter.  Or, two, I could change my perspective and allow becoming a mom to take on a different form than I had pictured in my mind.

With some encouragement from my hubby, I decided to change and allow myself to be open to other ways of fulfilling my dreams.  In short, I decided to redefine momhood for myself.

Luckily, I realized that being a mom can be fulfilled through more than having a two-legged kid by pregnancy or adoption.  I believe that there are many ways to be a mom…

Aunts, godmothers, stepmothers, dog moms, host moms, teachers, wives, and more have “mom” roles.  Yes, the names are different, but the love is the same…

For me, I fully believe that dog moms are real moms.  I know not everyone agrees, but I am so glad that I embrace my role as Maddie’s Mommy.  And I am even more blessed that my husband embraces his role as her Daddy.  And as far as extended family…  My Mom is her Mammo, my MIL her Mimi, my SIL her Aunt, and so on…

Through my dog mom role, I began to redefine momhood for myself, and I embrace it more each day.  Just recently, I started cooking Maddie’s food instead of feeding her kibble, I bought her a seatbelt, and I started making her paw wipes with essential oils.  I have a strong desire to mother, and so, I mother Maddie.

My nieces and nephews also allow me to share my love and fulfill mothering instincts.  I realize that they have wonderful moms already.  I am not their mom.  But I am their Tia.  I love them with a “mom heart,” and I have a special role to play in their lives.  And I am beyond blessed that my family allows me to love on these kiddos so much!

While going through our infertility struggle, I actually found comfort in working with children.  I volunteered at our Church in the kids’ ministry, attending Fall Festivals, VBS, and teaching Sunday School.  My teaching career also allowed me to “mother” the younger generation.  Honestly, part of the reason I left teaching was that I felt I had raised “my kids” (that is what I called my students).  I was ready to be childless and for them to leave the nest…  Or maybe I left the nest!

If being a dog mom isn’t fulfilling enough, you don’t have nieces & nephews (or aren’t close with them), or you can’t teach littles because it hurts too much, I encourage you to find other ways to share your motherly love…

Take great care of your hubby (or boyfriend or partner or friends).  Visit the elderly.  Volunteer.  Become a mentor.  Host a foreign exchange student.  Cook for those who have been in the hospital.  Mow your neighbor’s yard.  Send handwritten notes to your loved ones.  Pray for others.  Just find a way to quench your desire…

Do not allow the love that fills your heart to turn into an all-consuming grief because there is nowhere for it to go.  Find a way to give back and leave your mark on this world.  And no, having biological or adopted children is not the only way to do this!

I taught over 2,000 kids throughout my career.  I am certain that I made a positive impact on many.  My husband and I hosted a foreign exchange student.  I know that we made a positive impact on Bruna’s life.  (She sure made one on ours!)  I hear our nieces and nephews repeat things we have taught them.  And Maddie?  Well, she has an incredible life since my hubby & I adopted her!

So, I challenge you, fabulous one, to find a solution to the problem, “Where does the love go?”  We all know this world could use more of it and we, the childless, have plenty to give…

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Photo Credit:  Chance Agrella on Freerange

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Laura Parker January 6, 2018 - 1:55 pm

I changed my career working in a library to work with rescue dogs. I had a strong need to nurture and at the time I didn’t realise it was connected to being childless. It has given meaning to my life. My love goes to the wonderful dogs I work with. I also have my own adopted dog called Star. There are so many beings in the world, human and animal in need of mothering, love and nurturing. Being childless allows you turn to these beings and be Mother in a broader sense. The love has to go somewhere!

Brandi Lytle January 8, 2018 - 10:57 am

YES! Being a Mom in a “broader sense” and sharing our love! I’m so glad that you are doing this with your work, rescue dogs, and fur baby! You are awesome, Laura! 🙂

Laura Parker January 9, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Thanks Brandi, I appreciate your words xx

Judy Odum October 28, 2017 - 4:58 pm

This blog says so much good to others on this same journey! Speaks volumes!!

Sherry Stout October 27, 2017 - 4:37 pm

Just let the love out. The world, and ourselves, are so much better for it. ❤?

Brandi Lytle October 30, 2017 - 3:20 pm

Agreed! 🙂


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