Response #
Current experience of grief
Respondent details
45-54 | Female | Irish
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
I was their mother. I had 1 abortion and 2 miscarriages.
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
Being a childless woman creates disenfranchised grief that never ever leaves you, it can be exacerbated to an acute degree by such simple things as other's excitment over baby announcements to the terrifying fear of growing old alone with no one who will care about you or for you.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
I've lost friendships with women who see motherhood as their greatest achievement and who can’t find compassion in their hearts for my predicament. I avoid chats about babies, grandchildren with colleagues.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
Society does not make room for those women who are childless not by choice.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
Yes, I get headaches and heaviness in my stomach.
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
As I reach out to other childless women through Jody Day and Gateway Women and as I tell my story to the world at large the grief eases. I am not alone and it can have a societally beneficial purpose.
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
Mother's day, christmas, my birthday.
Q11: People who are grieving often report experiencing the presence of the person who died. Have you had any experiences that you would describe in those terms?
Q12: Do you still feel a sense of connection with the person? If so, could you say something about when you feel this and what the experience is like?
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
Acknowledge that the baby/fetus was wanted and loved.
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
Emotionally shut down.
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
Gateway Women
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
Around childless women there is a total lack of sensitivity.
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
Made me more resilient and more tender at the same time and in equal measure.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?
Please acknolwedge the grief of the large group of women in the world who are childless not by choice but by circumstance.