Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Loss of purpose

My plan today was to talk about the positive sides of being childfree that constantly come to my attention.  That will have to go on hold for a little while because what struck me most last night was a new feeling - a loss of purpose in my life.

For years, my focus has been on trying to conceive and all that it entails.  Before that, it was years of waiting for the moment that I could begin to try to conceive.  The dream of motherhood is with us all for so long before we get to the point of no return.  It's understandable that once it is gone, we begin to feel lost, with no purpose in life, with no meaning.

Even my job was partly about the day I will become a mother.  I burnt out on my work a long time ago, but I didn't want to move on to another job because this one was perfect for "when I become a mother".  Flexible hours, school holidays, the ability to take a year off with no problems.  It was ideal!  So, I stayed with it.

As it turns out, the difficulties of fertility treatments saw me cutting back another day of work almost every year, until now I only work 2 days a week.  (Next year will be different, but for now, I need the time to recover).  As a result, and largely because of the support of my wonderful husband, I am looking at different work and a different lifestyle.  I'm looking for more fulfillment and satisfaction in my daily living.

Thank goodness I began this process a few months ago, because now it stands alongside the loss of purpose I feel with no more babymaking goals.  I feel lost.  I feel restless.  What do I do?

In part, it comes back to what I talked about in my first post "Moving Beyond The Dream of Motherhood"
"Step by step.  Little by little.
Searching for the things that make us happy.
Searching for what we find fulfiilling.
Searching for the things that we enjoy....
But there is more to it than that.  Because amongst doing all the things that I enjoy doing and living in the present moment, is an emptiness, a big gaping hole.  I can't produce anything profound or wise to help me move beyond it. 

I just need to somehow accept that the emptyness is there. 
As awful as it feels, I need to absorb it as a natural part of the healing process. 
Allow it to be.
So that sometime in the future, things will become clear and meaningful and purposeful in an even better way than before.

Have you experienced this loss of purpose after coming to a place of living childfree?  How did you find purpose again?


  1. It is hard. We had arranged our lives similarly to the plan of being parents. I had purchased a mini van with hopes of carting around children in and we had moved to an area where there were lots of families and a home that had plenty of bedrooms. Yes, now all this has changed and it has taken over 3 years now. I no longer drive a mini-van, instead a Sporty Jeep Liberty. We no longer live in that family neighborhood and we are in the next year planning to move to a house that suits our lifestyle now. The loss of purpose was definitely there after the last miscarriage for almost a year I basically "floated" - feeling no purpose and asking myself what do I do know?
    I called it "the grieving period" - knowing that the dream was gone and now what do I focus on. I read a lot of blogs and books of women going thru this and how to cope...this helped so much. I wasn't alone with how I felt and gradually I worked thru it. Give yourself time is my best advice.

    1. Thank you so much for your words, Jen. They were so helpful! Knowing that you (and others who have also told me) "floated" for a year is reassuring. It's been a few months since the miscarriage, but only two weeks since our last failed transfer. I need to give myself a break! :)

      Giving myself time is definitely the best advice. Thanks.

      We never actually bought the car or all the other things we were planning to purchase, but we had already been out shopping and had decided what we wanted. Car shopping in particular was fun and I was looking forward to the car we chose, but my car is a good little car and I am happy with it!

  2. Oh yes, I sure had trouble after deciding to surrender to life without children...but after a few years along the road, I feel that I'm moving farther away from that gaping hole, that place of ruin...in the beginning of the journey I'd move back to the "site of destruction" (that gaping hole or whatever you want to imagine it) because I felt that I had to grieve more and more and more so I just let myself "pamper myself" that way...but after a while you'll be able to focus more on what you've learnt along the journey and then you realize that you've mentally moved farther away from that hole and you'll be able to have more strength to figure out what you want to do after that dream has crushed.

    Just take your time in your grieving process...you'll learn so much more about yourself during that process. :-) Another thing I had trouble with after deciding to surrender to life without kids was remembering my own worth as a human being that will never be a mother. I'm worthy not because of my roles in life, not because of any title I have in life or any possession or anything else. That is tough to remember when all around us society is telling us differently about our worth.

    1. Thank you Amel for your wonderful words. The support I am feeling from everyone is amazing and the words of wisdom are absolute treasures.

      I can't even begin to respond to what you've said. There is just SO much there and so many conversations that could stem from it. Perhaps we should start emailing!!! :)

  3. Well, I can't relate to the child part because I have Max and Kendall. But I can totally relate to the sense of "loss of purpose." When I got divorced from my ex-husband, I was alone and lost. Suddenly, I was just a single woman; my title of "wife" was stripped and I had to adjust to a very different way of living while my friends were still very happily married. I felt incomplete for a while. But the most interesting things come forward when you go through a loss. Before long, I found myself immersed in baking and cooking and kayaking, just to name a few. It was the most profound period of growth for me. I know it doesn't seem like it right now but you will find yourself unearthing lots of interesting sides of yourself.


    1. Jane, my dear friend. It's so good to see you here and to feel your support. I remember you going through that time after your seperation and divorce. It was a tough time. It's funny how we both turned to baking and cooking to help wiht the loss of purpose. Instead of kayaking, mine was swimming!

      I look forward to feeling the growth and finding aspects of myself as a result of this time. I saw you change and grow and it was wonderful to see!

      Much love,

  4. I am starting my journey of living child free after infertility too. Right now lack of purpose is a huge battle for me. I'm working on my masters but even that isn't really helping my feeling of being lost. Plus fertility treatments really set us back financially so I'm struggling with that too. Im determined not to wallow in it all but it is pretty hard some days to see the point of it all right now. I can only trust that with time it will get better.

    1. I also hope things will get better with time. I know blogging and the support from this community will help. Wishing you peace and purpose finding.
      Love and Light

  5. The loss of purpose is difficult. But I never felt that my "purpose" was to have children. Though I do remember feeling a bit at sea when the treatments stopped and I was no longer ttc. At the same time (like you) I had actually quit my job to work from home, and so I did feel quite confused. The key is simply not to expect too much from yourself. You don't need to have a big "purpose" in life - you just need to be you. And right now, you're figuring that out.

    1. Good words Mali. I don't need to have a big purpose, just need to be me. I really need to remember that. Thank you.