Gateway Women

Apr 6, 2021

I took part in an online workshop recently held by ‘Gateway Women’ which is for women who don’t have and won’t ever have children.  I am a childless woman in my early 50s now, and I have found this to be such a valuable resource that I’m spreading the word.

If you are also a childless woman and you have any regrets (maybe feelings of anger, depression, grief?) or would just like to connect with other women who understand your situation, please read on . . . and if you are not a childless woman, please also read on as you may find this a valuable resource for friends or clients or family members who are childless who don’t talk about it but who perhaps struggle with it in private.

If you are childfree by choice, or a childless not by choice man, please see ideas for resources for you at the bottom of this page.  The group ‘Gateway Women’ is aimed at women who are childless not by choice.

There are numerous ways we come to not have children – things like unexplained infertility, failed IVF, prolonged singleness, lack of a suitable partner with whom to raise a child during our fertile years, being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want further children or children at all, unconscious beliefs that we would be a bad parent.

The reasons I don’t have children are more complex than just one thing but for many years I thought I’d be a Mum.  I’m probably childless by the circumstance of meeting my second husband Will in my early 30s, and him not wanting to have further children.  It’s a much longer story than that, but that’s it in summary and the main reason – I chose to stay with him rather than seek a partner with whom to have children, and I was fortunate that I had really good support around that decision and my biological clock wasn’t too loud and persistent so it wasn’t all painful giving up, but it wasn’t all plain sailing either.

Also by that stage, I didn’t see motherhood through rose-coloured specs and knew I wouldn’t be just ‘having a baby’ – that baby would grow and the shared lifetime journey would hold who knew what.  So the older and wiser I became, the happier and more accepting I was of my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes suffer feeling sad or excluded, or regretful or scared of getting older with no one to look out for me.  I don’t think I get depressed because I don’t have children, but when I do fall into negative thoughts or depression, being childless can be more of a sadness and trigger.  I have created and live a very happy and fulfilling life, and don’t feel so much alone or ‘other’, but I’m also aware that sometimes when I’m around my birth family I can feel like a total misfit as I’m the only one without children.

I found the GW ‘RE-ignite’ workshop to be a very safe space to share stories and feelings, well held and interesting.  I’ve also joined the organisation membership and I’m going to explore being part of this network of women around the world over this coming year.

As I have continued to reflect on the weekend I have no doubt that there will be other childless women who struggle with their situation in private, who would appreciate knowing they are not alone.  I’d like other childless women to know ‘Gateway Women’ exists.  My mothering essence may not have manifested in biological children, but it can be shared in other ways, one of which is to be a listening ear for any men or women who suffer in any way through not being parents.

At the moment, for anyone interested in joining the GW membership you can do so via the website.  Or if you’re interested in taking part in the weekend I did, it doesn’t matter where you are based because it’s all on Zoom – in my workshop group women joined from Mauritius and Bali, as well as from all over the UK.

And just to add before I end this piece, it doesn’t matter if you are single or in a relationship, or whether you consider yourself heterosexual or LGBTQI+ or other.  Within the membership section, there are all sorts of groups for people according to geography, and where you are on your journey in life.  For example, there is a group for singles, a group for childless couples, a group for childless stepmothers, a group aimed at those in their 20s and 30s, a group for HSPs, a group for conscious childless elder women, a writer’s group, and more.

Resources:

FOR CHILDLESS BY CIRCUMSTANCE WOMEN:

FOR CHILDFREE BY CHOICE MEN AND WOMEN:

FOR CHILDLESS NOT BY CHOICE MEN:

  • There is a small movement for men who are childless not by choice, and the resource I can point you in the direction of is ‘The Clan of Brothers’ which is a closed group on Facebook

  • TheFullStopped.com is run by men and women who want to have children but who do not

~ Written by OneSpirit Guest Tutor, Angie Alexander

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