You long for a baby and get pregnant.
Next step: giving birth.
For most women the process is an intense experience with an incredible reward: a baby boy or girl or sometimes even more than one.
From then on you focus on providing basic needs: clean nappies, nourishing food and warm emotions. Your life is totally upside down. No one told you that your tummy doesn’t collapse like a balloon after the birth, or that you keep bleeding for weeks, that breastfeeding causes painful breasts and sour nipples. Your bed stinks, your body hurts, your partner gets slightly upset by not being the main focus of attention, you are not as productive as you used to be and what was really strange for me was to look at my son for the first 6 months of his life, thinking in total wonder: ‘You are my son? I have a child? How weird’. Then everybody settles and life gets sort of into a routine.
Give it a few years and a new routine introduces itself: every academic year you get a shock. Your little one is another year older. Milestones: starting formal nursery, then reception and primary school. You know their friends and their parents. You can still ‘control’ their friendships and their activities. Then the big change arrives: secondary school. You don’t know their friends, and only by luck you know some of the parents. Sixth form: you don’t know what they do, when they do it and what else is going on. They seem to treat home like a hotel and all of a sudden you can have great adult conversations with them. You can even spend time together in the pub and they buy you a glass of wine.
You are left behind with an empty nest
Next milestone is they leave you. You did your job so well that they are able, willing and even keen to stand on their own feet. They are ready to explore the world – without you keeping an eye on them.
What a great achievement.
And… what a huge shock to the system.
Your head lets them go, your heart aches.
And questions that come up are: what do I do now? They gave so much joy and purpose and it feels as if they took it all with them.
That is a very difficult place to be. It leaves any parent lost for words and overwhelmed with emotions.
But, every cloud has a silver lining. After the initial bereavement stage, you realise how free you are. More time, more emotional space and less responsibilities.
I spoke with a lady 2 weeks ago and after her 4 children had left, she felt very alone and lost. Twenty years later, she still feels alone, lost and bored. Unfortunately, this lady got stuck in what should have been a natural transition. A transition from busy caring mum to a bereft and lost woman who then finds out how her new life, without the attention needed for kids, can be satisfying, exciting and full. A transition from a life of obligation to inspiration.
A new life as an empty nester is not about just being busy. It is about finding meaning and purpose that feeds and nurtures your soul. That resonates with who you are at your core, that utilizes your unique set of attributes and skills and that offers challenges that are scary, satisfying and inspirational, all at the same time. A time to grow as a person without the boundaries that motherhood presents. It is time to fly, spread your wings and discover the world. Just like your children are doing.
Find your mission
I have designed a coaching programme for a woman like you. It entails all you need to transform your life and live from inspiration. Interested? Click here to receive your free copy of the How to overcome the empty nest syndrome.