In my late twenties and early thirties, I enrolled annually in at least a couple art classes. I played with watercolour and acrylic paints and explored figurative sculpting and drawing. I loved being among other people as we painted, moulded clay, drew, chatted and laughed together. Being creative within a group environment was a bit part of what made me most happy. At that time, I ran a lot too, and running with others also inspired me then.
Time moves along. When in my mid and late thirties and coming to realize that motherhood was never going to happen for me, I lost my capacity to enjoy these pursuits. I enrolled in some art classes and joined a ‘Running for Women’ group but found myself feeling isolated. Others bonded over conversations about their children. And, everyone seemed to assume that every person present was a parent. I recall how one day while running late, the running group leader exclaimed that we would all understand her tardiness since ‘you’re all moms’. In time, I stopped signing up for art activities and avoided group settings.
But then this morning happened – I attended my first virtual art workshop, Intentional Collage with Anastasia. Anastasia offers wellness coaching for childless women as well as monthly art-focused virtual workshops. There were seven of us in this morning’s one-hour workshop. Guided by Anastasia, we worked with our magazine cuttings and open minds to create whatever felt right.
The workshop was a real lift. Our conversation was inclusive and relaxed. And, my long-slumbering creativity has been stirred. Sitting at my home office desk surrounded by old magazines, scissors and a glue stick and seeing the gathering of women on my laptop screen this morning, I’m inspired again. Thank you, Anastasia! xx
If you would like to learn about Anastasia's upcoming workshops, please see her website and listing of events: https://www.fulloflifecoach.com/events/
Last year when our world was first gripped with coronavirus and lockdown began, I thought my experiences of isolation might prepare me better than others. Often being the only childless person in a room, I know what it is to feel isolated and have developed coping strategies.
Then, as stay-at-home orders were put into place, many children returned to their parents’ homes. Families became each other’s bubbles. In time, my feelings of isolation that stem from being involuntarily childless were stirred up. Suddenly, instead of coping well, my isolation and childlessness felt magnified.
I have come to realize that I will always experience life through this different lens. For me, it is not about accepting being childless, or getting over/letting go of wanting children – that’s not going to happen. There will always be a certain wistfulness.
For me, it’s about learning to live with being involuntarily childless. It’s about learning how to avoid what provokes grief and pain, about discovering new ways to experience peace and joy, about getting get out of my head and out into the world to experience life, people (friends old and new), movement and creativity again.
My new ways to experience peace and joy tend to be simple. They involve small shifts inside. For me, feeling peace and joy these days is about…
During this year of heightened isolation, I've realized and accept that my learning how to live with being childless is a work-in-progress. The grief of involuntary childlessness doesn’t ever really go away. While the pain of loss softens, grief continues like unexpected waves. Some are gentle and easy to withstand. Others smash without warning, leaving me bruised and breathless. This past year has been full of smashing waves.
May we all find simple, beauty-filled moments. May we help each other through the waves. Take good care & stay safe. xo
Inspirations and otherwise, as a woman without children. Welcome to share yours too - please be in touch using the Contact form.