Empty Arms

~ Dealing with the Pain of Involuntary Childlessness

                                                                                                                                              by Siljoy Maurer

It took a lot of courage to be present with myself and what I was feeling. It took a lot of courage to decide to give compassion to myself rather than putting myself down. It took a lot of courage to honor my experience and the truth of all my seemingly overwhelming pain in the face of a lot of ignorant people (some, but not all of them being parents). It took a lot of courage. I learned to be present with. I found compassion for myself. It has been 23 years now that I have been childless.

A long time of hoping, being desperate, then angry, then ashamed of my body’s inability to procreate, arms burning painfully from emptiness, grieving, feeling so very alone with my experience, unseen, and yes, abandoned and punished by God or the Universe! And I never could figure out what I might be pained for. Why me, where so many other people seemed to have so many children whom they did not even want?

It taught me a lot. I survived it. And I am fine now.

I did not ever think that possible, back then when I first had a miscarriage at age 21 and then cancer quite shortly thereafter. It took me about 15 years to find acceptance from within. I had no support, but dealt with it in the isolation which is so common for childless women and men, all over this world. The pain and despair accompanied me in waking times as well as in my sleep.

Slowly I turned my seemingly unhealable wound into a scar. Creating peace inside, I healed it. I am still sad often and, like scars do, it probably will hurt occasionally until the day I die. But it does not harm me anymore, that I became a ‘mother’ without a child, a ‘grandmother’ without a grandchild.

Now I choose to consciously use my birth-giving and creative energy, and direct it into my work. My name is Siljoy Maurer and besides considering myself a childless ‘mother’, I am a Holistic Life Mentor. A few years ago I started combining my skill and experience as a Mentor with my former struggle and my life experience as a childless woman. I have been offering individual support, seminars and groups to men and women who – right now – are involuntarily childless. And I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful healings and life’s surprises which I have been able to facilitate and witness. I am available to all who are looking for help, guidance and a good opportunity to further explore their experience of being childless, regardless of whether they still hope to have a child or not.

Everyone deserves to have support with this difficult process of grieving the impossibility to have a biological child. And some need to mourn and honor the pain which comes with their choice to stay with a partner who cannot have a child. This is true even if they might decide to adopt at some point.

It also is important to complete the grieving before any possible adoption and deal with the pain of not being able to have a biological child – for whatever reasons that might be (miscarriages, female & male infertility, cancer, accidents, relationship circumstances, etc.). This way the heart can then open fully to embrace the adoptive child. If there is a lot of unhealed wound left, an adoptive child will quite likely always feel “second best”, sensing that s/he will never be able to live up to his/her parents dream of a biological child, and a new trauma might be introduced. Dealing with the pain of having empty arms – let us first give ourselves the compassion that we want our neighbor to have for us.

Source: http://infertility.about.com/library/rti/ucsmaurer1.htm