You’ve been dreaming about it since you were a kid. In fact, you can’t remember a time when did not think about it. You were going to go to college, get married by 25, have 3 kids back-to-back, and then live happily ever after.
But then something happened that changed all that. Oh, you did give birth to a great career, but the marriage and family still haven’t come to pass. Now you’re facing forty and scared that if you don’t meet someone soon, having babies might not happen.
How do you deal with reality when your dreams are fading fast?
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. Many single sisters come to me disillusioned and disappointed that the family that was supposed to happen naturally has yet to manifest. They’re feeling pressured to meet Mr. Right, right now, because their fertility clock is blasting.
While it’s true that more and more women are having children in their 40s, they understand that they’d have to find a man who:
- Wants to have kids
- Is marriage material
- Wants to get married 12-18 months after they meet
- Get pregnant right away.
That’s a tall order! This pressure leaves them feeling anxious about relationships overall. They’re having to consider adoption or become open to dating men with kids. It’s not supposed to be this way, they tell me!
Some women find a way to deal with the reality that their dreams might not happen. Others get stuck in the pain of it all. I don’t want you to suffer in silence so let me offer 4 tips that will help you move forward and create a future that is fulflilling.
Grieve the loss
It seems our culture doesn’t have a way to deal with the loss of a child that never existed. I found this out the hard way when I suffered a miscarriage early on in my first pregnancy. There wasn’t a body to bury or a homegoing service to cry, sing, or shout my pain out. I was left with feelings of embarrassment, failure and emptiness.
A friend told me to give myself permission to grieve, and I’m passing that advice on to you. Don’t try to be strong and act like you don’t care about having kids. Cry, talk it out, go to a therapist or coach and get support. The loss you suffered as a mother, even if it was as a future mother, is important to acknowledge.
Release the dream
Releasing the dream to have children doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just means it may happen in a different way. If you continue to hold on to the original dream, you may make dating and relationships harder for yourself.
For example, one sister close to her 40’s kept sabotaging her dates with men. When her last date was asked why he didn’t want to pursue a relationship with her, he said he could tell she didn’t believe love, marriage, and a family could really happen for her. Her confidence was gone and it wasn’t attractive.
One of our greatest sources of frustration is expectations. You expect to put up an online dating profile and meet your husband on a first date. Instead, you find yourself still single after 3 years and you’re frustrated! If you can exchange your expectation for gratitude, you’ll discover that there are new dreams for you to pursue.
There are many ways to be a mother! You can become the world’s greatest aunt, adopt, be a foster mom, mentor kids, marry a man with kids, or even become a single mom. I know it’s controversial for a successful Black woman to be a single mom by choice, but many women are freezing their eggs and using artificial insemination to see their dreams come to pass.
You may even make a decision not to have children at all! You’ll have to make the decision, but the bottom line is you have the power to redefine how (or if) you become a mother.
Embrace your new reality
Your path to marriage and family may not look like everyone else’s, but that’s ok. You may have arrived here because of choices you made, like pursuing the right job instead of focusing on finding Mr. Right, or by staying in a broken relationship too long.
Or, you may have gotten to this place in your life because of things that were done to you, such as a breakup or divorce. Maybe you’ve had unexpected health challenges that put your fertility in jeopardy.
It doesn’t really matter how you got here. The important thing is that you have the power to decide what are you going to do now that you ARE here. You may or may not be able to have kids, but you can still have love and marriage. Embrace the hope of your new dreams!
BMWK, let’s talk: Are you facing the fact that you may not have kids? How are you dealing with it?