Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to childless not by choice women and men around the world. Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we did not have the children we so wanted. I would also like to thank everyone who recognizes that we are not all living the same type of life.
Welcome to episode 111!
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Episode intro: Well, thanks to everyone who took a moment to extend their condolences on the passing of my beautiful mommy. It is greatly appreciated. At the time of this recording, it has been just about two months. Needless to say, I continue to take it one day at a time. Sometimes one moment at the time. I will not rush myself to get to a place, whatever that place is. I’ve actually heard people marvel at others who are ‘still not over it’, on the loss of a parent or family member. I have heard some very silly things from people upon the passing of my mother. And I hear from others who have traveled the path of deep loss, that it happens. I opt to say nothing and push the conversation along to another subject, or to an end. That goes for family, friends, and strangers. And hey, while I am being transparent, I am signing up for grief assistance, just waiting for the sign-up date. So as usual, let me also remind you that if you are dealing with any type of grief, or maybe you have not dealt with grief in your life, please do so. Good counseling is a great mental health strengthener. And just like your physical health, if you don’t click with the first therapist, counselor, etc, try another one. Please, don’t be afraid to protect and strengthen your mental health. And of course, do not be afraid to maintain proper boundaries in all of your relationships.
You know We all grieve in different ways. Some people grieve inwardly, some grieve outwardly. Let’s allow everyone to process in their way. The reason I say this is because it is easy for us to say ‘hey, I don’t think that person is as sad about their loss as they should be’. We don’t know that. And no one should have to prove that they are grieving. I’m kinda going off on a tangent, but I really want to get this thought out there.
And this goes for those who are grieving the loss of a child or the ability to have a child as well as those of us grieving the loss of a parent. Let’s just allow each other to grieve the way we grieve individually, to seek counseling if we need to, and know that with major loss may sometimes come major changes. It may look sudden on the outside looking in, but in my opinion, I believe the changes may have been considered for quite sometime after the loss.
The professionals say not to make any major life changes for six months to one year after a major loss. And I agree with that because our brains are completely scrambled with grief. See the great article in the show notes on how scrambled our brains can become. So in my humble opinion, steer clear of anyone who tries to get you to make major decisions during that time frame.
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So here’s the thing, I am totally continuing to toss and turn and buffet in this new reality, this new normal that is taking place whether I like it or not; of living without the person who was my anchor for my entire life, even as I continue to care for my other rock, my dad.
It occurred to me that I should do some research on an entire group of people who exist within the childless not by choice demographic. This is not to snub those who are not childless not by choice; because I believe whether you have children and or a husband or not, caregiving is indeed a superpower. And yes, if you are sandwiched between caring for your own family and for your parents, you do indeed have a lot on your plate. But those who are single and or childless in many cases have put their lives on hold to become a caregiver. There is give and take in all aspects. And yes, choices have been made regardless of the demographic to which we belong.
Also, allow me to be clear before I continue: I am not putting myself or any caregiver on a pedestal. We are just as human as the next human. I know because we get tired, we get frustrated, we cry, we beg for help, we oversleep, we undersleep, we can become argumentative with the medical community and with our own family members, or we can withdraw. I’ve done both. All the things that are part of being human. But here’s the thing, we–all caregivers–do it while maintaining our own lives. That my friends is the difference. And lest you think I am trying to make anyone feel guilty, not everyone can do this.
BUT, if you cannot, you can help when the primary caregiver asks for it, and even if they do not. How? You can send them away for a few days of respite. You can pay a copay here and there for the person being cared for. You can ask the caregiver what they need personally and or practically. If you know someone who is currently in a caregiver role, please do not hesitate to ask them how you can help. Some people have a very hard time asking for help. Some think it should be quite evident they need help. We all have our own personalities through which we see and deal with the world.
Let me also say that the premise of this podcast has not changed. I created this podcast to speak to the hearts and minds of the childless not by choice demographic–men and women–globally. In fact, over the past year or so I have been thinking of creating a new podcast with a totally different subject matter. And it may happen in the future. But for now, I want to continue this podcast on its natural progression, and right now that natural progression includes the fact that loss, not just the loss of the ability to have children, but the loss of a loved one is part of our journey. It is a part of real life, as I know you well know.
Right now real life for me is that I am grieving. And I do not think it is right to continue on my journey of encouraging and creating awareness, pretending all is well.
I am physically back to my regular activities, and I am back to work, and I continue to care for my dear dad. But inside, my heart hurts, it is broken into a million pieces. I will not rush it along. I will encourage it to continue on the journey of life and to be encouraged, but I will allow it to heal at its own pace. Indeed, my heart is thankful to those who encourage it to do just that.
And yet, because of my empathetic nature, I am thinking of you. Dare I say, at the risk of sounding self-absorbed, I love that about me. You see, I can’t be the only childless and or husbandless woman, or man for that matter, who took care and is taking care of a parent or loved one. So I went searching for the statistics to bear out my thoughts. And as I did my research I would stop from time to time to listen to one of my favorite podcasts.
As I listened to one of the hosts read a quote from one of the characters in the story they were discussing, from a man who basically called those of us who never married or had children, the neuters of nature. That, of course, was quite harsh, but there are a lot of harsh people in the world. That has been the case from day one. I believe people who present with harshness and or criticism have other things going on. Maybe they have unresolved issues in their own lives. Or maybe they never really had to deal with tragedy so the only thing they can do is judge. I really don’t know. But what I will say is that we must not allow other people to project onto us what is theirs to deal with. I believe we can be empathetic without allowing projection and blurred boundaries. What do you think?
Regardless, there is a demographic within our demographic, that is doing the right thing for all the right reasons, all while knowing this was not quite what they had planned for their lives. Many have put their entire lives on hold to do the right thing, to know that if for nothing else, they want to live what I call a #regretfreelife. I want when I get to be my parents’ age, God willing, that when I sit in my rocking chair and think back, that I did the best I could to take care of them AND, a big AND, to take care of myself. Because a big part of being a caregiver is self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself you will not be able to properly take care of the person or people you are caring for. For me, that means a bubble bath now and then, a beach trip once in a while, or just sitting at Starbucks with my laptop and a beverage every so often.
The fact is though, caregivers who are grieving the loss of their loved one started grieving long before the loved one left this world. We grieved how we saw the loved one battling their illness, going down hill health wise, needing more assistance. We are grieving wondering what more we could have done. Wondering if we missed something. And then when the person passes, we have to grieve that they are gone. Whole families can be grieving the same person and the grief will be done in different ways, indeed based on whether or not one was the caregiver. So, as I set off on my research, I posted a poll on my Facebook groups asking if as a childless not by choice person you have cared for or are caring for an elderly parent or family member. The response to that poll will be in episode 112, along with some additional interesting information I found as I conducted my research.
Regarding the poll, let’s just say that so far I am not surprised by the response. I hope you will tune into episode 112 so we can review the findings together. Meanwhile, I’ve posted an article here in the show notes under ‘Articles you might find interesting’, that I have read several times. It is a great article for anyone who is grieving. I think you will find it fascinating even if you are not currently in grief mode. Our brains are simply amazing! I hope you will check it out!
By the way, I am also working on episode 113. I have been researching like crazy, and actually have reached out to the CDC–centers for disease control, The United States Census Bureau, and The National Center for Health Statistics. I have had to send clarifying responses, and am still waiting to hear back. But more on that later.
***Articles you might find interesting:
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Well, thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice! Until next time! Bye!
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‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’
‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.