LivingThe duel of non-maternity: the hard moment of accepting...

The duel of non-maternity: the hard moment of accepting that you will not have children

Not all pregnancy searches end with a baby in your arms. Those women who, despite having tried to be mothers, finally have not been able to be, know it well.

The reasons? They are several. Infertility of unknown cause, difficulties to continue paying for assisted reproduction treatments, lack of a life partner with whom to share this project , in case of not wanting to be a single mother, etc. And these are just some of them.

In this article we address the arduous task of beginning to accept that you will no longer be a mother, even though one day you wished so with all your might.

We are talking about the mourning of non-maternity due to circumstances, a mourning that, as we will see, is very different from others, and that we must continue to make visible as a society, giving it a voice .

Finally, we also talk about its characteristics and how to accompany a person who is going through this type of mourning, as well as the importance of mutual support groups.

The duel of non-maternity due to circumstances

The mourning of non-maternity due to circumstances is the stage reached when, after X amount of time looking for a child (either naturally, by resorting to fertility treatments, through adoption, etc.), this ends up arriving

And it is a painful duel, because it involves accepting that a life we imagined will not come. Through it also come feelings of guilt or shame , of feeling that we don’t fit in, of fear of the future, of loneliness and misunderstanding, of physical and emotional exhaustion…

And on the other hand, it is a duel that forces us to rebuild ourselves and visualize ourselves in another way , with another future and with a life that can be just as stimulating and happy. But to get there, it takes months, and even years (each person will have their own time) of personal work and acceptance.

“Be patient with all that remains unresolved in your heart, but try to love the question for its own sake, as if it were a locked room or a book written in a foreign language. Do not try to find the answers that you are not prepared to live, because the key is to live everything. Love the question, live in it, and then perhaps slowly, gradually, some distant day, you will arrive at the answer.


However, there are some things we can do to make this duel more bearable; the first step, talk about it, make it visible and destigmatize it as a society. And above all, share it, ask for help if we feel we need it.

a different duel

Why is this a different duel? Because it is a duel that is not socially recognized, not allowed and highly stigmatized.

This is how Míriam Aguilar, a promoter of non-maternity due to circumstances that went through this process, tells it through her Instagram account @holasoymir.

An invisible duel

It is an invisible duel because society does not recognize your pain, they pretend that nothing has happened. Does not exist. And phrases arrive that hurt, like “you haven’t been a mother and that’s it, get over it”, or “it’s no big deal”.

According to the promoter, it is very difficult for them to understand that it hurts so much, that something that has never existed hurts us so much.

And many do not understand that we are going to need to rebuild ourselves, reinvent the concept we had of ourselves, and also our family project, as mothers. Because we will no longer be those women we thought we would be.

The risk of making this duel invisible is that it can be prolonged, because it is lived in silence, as if it were a taboo subject, a secret that ends up being lived with shame and a great deal of guilt.

The importance of acknowledging this grief

And why is it so important that a duel be socially recognized? Because if not, it is very difficult for her to move well until she reaches the acceptance of non-maternity.

And as this activist based in Barcelona affirms, with the duel of non-maternity what dies is your project of being a mother .

And he puts more words to this duel that he wants to make visible: “The one you imagined you would be dies. It may be that you had even thought of the names that your children would bear, perhaps you had a room at home reserved for them.”

perinatal grief

In addition, to this mourning of non-maternity is added that many women come to it through abortions during the path of infertility, which further complicates the elaboration of mourning.

And in this situation, the woman must face the loss of her babies along with the loss of her life project as a mother, in case it never comes.

How to accompany someone in mourning for non-maternity?

Although we have focused on women, the truth is that the couple, and men in general, also suffer from this non-maternity (in this case, non-paternity), as well as from infertility and pregnancy loss.

Therefore, they, logically, also suffer, and deserve their space, as well as being heard.

But, how to accompany someone in mourning for non-maternity? Start by:

  • Ask: what do you need? Do you need to talk about it? Do you prefer to do something to disconnect?
  • Do not resort to topical phrases “of comfort” (many times, even if they are done with good intentions, what we get is to invalidate the pain of others).
  • Simply be, accompany.
  • Validate emotions .
  • Respect the rhythms of grief; don’t pressure him to “get over it.” There is nothing to overcome; yes integrate.
  • In general and towards all couples, avoid intrusive questions such as “when are the children?” You never know what process that family is facing.

Share your grief: you are not alone

And remember, if you are going through this loss of motherhood, and you are trying to accept that you will no longer be a mother, you are not alone.

Find your support network; there are support groups for women who are going through the same thing, such as those of @glorialabay_lavidasinhijos, a midwife and a childless woman who decided to start making this issue visible and accompany women “from the other side”, through groups of mutual support.

Also look for psychologists specialized in grief and perinatal psychology, who can accompany you on this path.

Keep in mind that this duel, like so many others, you have to pass it, there is no other. Because if you try to deny it, or suppress it, it will wait for you . All emotions and processes need a way of expression, or channeling, and that is why it is so important to talk about it with someone you feel comfortable with, someone capable of supporting you.

Photos | Cover (freepik), Image 1 (freepik), Image 3 (freepik)

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