Old and childless. Is this a fear that regularly slips into your mind? It’s often barged into my thinking. Many childless-not-by-choice women carry a fear in their hearts that they will end their life alone with nobody to support them in their old age.
What can you do? One way to deal with the worry of how to survive the twilight years and beyond is through thinking about the steps you can take now, to mitigate the effect of being unprepared for the future.
According to the Public Policy Research think tank, It’s estimated that by 2030 there will be 2 million over-65s in Britain that will be old and childless, with no children that they could rely on for help. And in the United States, the figures are much higher.
It’s not just the thought of no one visiting, or thinking about you during special occasions, such as birthdays or seasonal holidays, or regular phone or internet calls to check up on you. It’s also about the practicalities. What if there’s an emergency, or you need a shelf put up, furniture moved, help planting out the garden? There’s not only the emotional cost of being alone, there’s the financial implication. It’s likely that being old and childless has additional cost attached to it.
Worry about being old and childless can take away the joy of living in the now. And you don’t want that to happen. So, take whatever action you can and prepare for a healthy and happy old age.
Take Practical Steps:
Do whatever you can to save and prepare for a comfortable retirement. Speak to a financial advisor to see how you can make the most of your money, so that you know exactly what your options are.
Form a network of positive support made up of people you know well and trust. It’s important to nurture relationships with others who can understand your concerns, rather than those who seek to minimize, or simply don’t understand the issues around being old and childless.
Engage with others in your area and find people with similar interests. Join classes or special interest groups. Keep active and get out and about. Don’t forget about the benefits of technology and keep up-to-date with online networking programs and apps. You can make friends with anyone in the world!
If you don’t already live in an area with local shopping and medical care, think about moving to an area that can accommodate your possible future needs.
Health & Self-Care
Your wealth is in your health. There’s nothing more important than being as physically fit and healthy as possible. Not only will you have more energy to live your best possible life, you’ll also have the added benefit of a more positive mindset. It’s proven that good physical health can help defend against depression and anxiety. And isn’t it true that the biggest fear associated with being old and childless is being ill or infirm? Take steps now to minimise the chance of that happening.
If concern about being old and childless crosses your mind frequently, it helps to be able to talk through your anxiety with a trained professional. Bringing fears and worries out in to the open is the first step to dealing with them. As you age, it’s likely that there will be moments of loneliness or depression. Expect them and learn techniques now to help you deal with them. Therapies like meridian tapping techniques, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), self-hypnosis, meditation, yoga, breathwork, and neuro-linguistic programming, are fascinating subjects to learn and helpful in pulling you out of an unhelpful state of mind. These are skills that can change your life for the better, both now and in the future.
A strong sense of purpose can be gained by having the right goals to aim for. Your personal development is never over – there’s always something more to learn, to achieve and to celebrate. What dream do you secretly hold? How could gaining a new skill change your life for the better? Invest in life-coaching to help you create new goals and a plan of action to make them happen.
It’s difficult to think about what you’ll do if you become unable to care for yourself. But do think about who you want to make decisions for you, if at some time in the future you’re unable to. Share your wishes with your doctor, lawyer and trusted friends. Once the decisions have been made, you can relax in the knowledge that your requests have been noted by those that need to know.
Dealing with the Future
The truth is that you can’t know what the future holds. But if you take the time to consider the life ahead of you that you want and plan for it, it’s more likely you’ll face the future in a happier state of mind.
It’s also true that those with children won’t necessarily benefit. Frankly, their kids might not give two hoots about them and simply be more interested in a possible inheritance! Maybe their children won’t be around, due to lack of time or inclination. In many cases, their partner’s parents come first. And in these times of global business, it may be that they live in a different country and are unable to care for their parents anyway.
Besides, family doesn’t have to be biological. To my mind, family is simply made up of the people you love. Surround yourself with those you love, and who love you, and you’ll always have ‘family.’
You’ve already dealt with your biggest fear. The fear of being childless. You can deal with the fear of being old and childless. Jody Day – Gateway Women
It’s perfectly possible to be childless but have a happy and healthy life at retirement and beyond. In fact, you may find more happiness and contentment in your daily life than you ever thought possible. Imagine waking up and thinking ‘How much better than this can life get?’ and squeezing the most out of each juicy day. Make a decision today to live your best life now and in the future.
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And there’s more…
Here are some resources to help you prepare for the future:
In Living the Life Unexpected, Jody Day addresses the experience of involuntary childlessness and provides a powerful, practical guide to help those negotiating a future without children come to terms with their grief; a grief that is only just beginning to be recognised by society. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Living the Life Unexpected: How to find hope, meaning and a fulfilling future without children – Jody Day:
Many women expect to become mothers but are childless through social rather than biological reasons – perhaps they haven’t met the right person or they prioritised career or education earlier in life. Featuring international interviews by grief counsellor and researcher Lois Tonkin, this collection of first-person stories provides insight into the under-discussed situation of being childless by circumstance. Each story highlights the different aspects of being childless by circumstance, as women move through their 30s, 40s, and 50s, and beyond their ages of fertility. The book explores feelings of grief and loss, and also how women adapt positively to their changed life expectations, finding excitement in the alternative, rich and complex shapes their lives have taken. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Motherhood Missed: Stories from Women Who Are Childless by Circumstance – Lois Tonkin:
Many women expect to become mothers but are childless through social rather than biological reasons – perhaps they haven’t met the right person or they prioritised career or education earlier in life. Featuring international interviews by grief counsellor and researcher Lois Tonkin, this collection of first-person stories provides insight into the under-discussed situation of being childless by circumstance. Each story highlights the different aspects of being childless by circumstance, as women move through their 30s, 40s, and 50s, and beyond their ages of fertility. The book explores feelings of grief and loss, and also how women adapt positively to their changed life expectations, finding excitement in the alternative, rich and complex shapes their lives have taken. Buy this book! Click on the link below: The Mother Within: A Guide To Accepting Your Childless Journey – Christine Erickson:
From celebrity and news magazines to TV programs to Facebook pages and mommy blogs, family-building successes are routinely and glowingly shared and celebrated. But where are the voices of those who are unable to have children? In relating what happens when nature and science find their limits, Silent Sorority examines a seldom acknowledged outcome and raises provocative, often uncomfortable questions usually reserved for late night reflection or anonymous blogging. Outside of the physical reckoning there lies the challenge of moving forward in a society that doesn’t know how to handle the awkwardness of infertility. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found – Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos:
Please sign up to my YouTube channel for vlogs, videos and other content. Take a look at my video on How to Deal with Insensitive Comments about Childlessness – Click on the link below:
Here’s the blog related to the above video – click on the link: How to Deal with Insensitive Comments about Childlessness (ruthybaker.com)
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