With the help of TheNotMom.com, I have identified myself as a woman who is child-free by happenstance. I believe that growing up as a middle child has made my situation even more distinctive.
Most middle children get overlooked by others to some extent. They tend to be overly self reliant and, consequently, can experience a sense of alienation from others. As I navigate the midlife transition as a NotMom adult middle child, I have noticed an intensification of these traits. I believe that “knowledge is power” as Sir Frances Bacon has been quoted to say. So, I started to educate myself about what a pioneer of psychology discovered about this very important phase of life.
This guest post is by Jeanne Drayer, MSW, LCSW, an outpatient psychotherapist and pet parent in Clarion County, PA.
A German psychologist, Erik Erikson, identified eight stages of psychosocial development. According to Erikson, the task at midlife is to make your mark, to be productive, and to contribute to the next generation. He found that this is accomplished through procreation and career.
For a NotMom who is also an adult middle child like myself, achieving this objective can be challenging. It calls for tapping into the positive personality traits of the middle child (flexible, compassionate, creative, diplomatic).
Me? I have compassion for animals, so I am a volunteer for an animal rescue organization. I love to create things, so I express my creativity through cooking, baking, and photography. Whether you work outside the home or you’re self-employed, it is also very important to nurture a career that is meaningful to you.
Remember that there are many ways to connect and contribute to others besides procreation. We just need to think outside the box!
(Image Credit: Haystack Style)