My name is Sandra McNicol. I am a life coach and grief therapist working with the childless not by choice community.

One of my earliest memories was about my desire to become a mother. Yet, like many, the education I received as a teenager was all about not becoming pregnant. So, although I was in a long-term relationship in my 20s, I did not feel ready to become a mum, we were education not to tie ourselves down too quickly. 

Fast forward to my 30s, and I struggled to find the right life partner. I continued to focus on my career and discovered a joy for traveling and living in different cultures! By the time I got to 36, the anxiety of being single and not fulfilling my parenthood dream was blocking my ability to choose the right partner. So, I decided to freeze my eggs to take the stress off and give myself a guarantee. It took 2-3 years for the IVF hormones to leave my system and for me to feel emotionally stable.

At 39, I got really lucky and found my husband. We had two natural pregnancies and two natural baby losses, Lucia at 11 weeks and Leo at 7 weeks. The loss felt uncontrollable, even though I was 41/42 at the time I had never imagined this to be an outcome. I felt empty and worthless. I threw myself into work, trying to numb the pain.  But was haunted by the thought “what did I do wrong”    So, like us all, sooner or later, it caught up with me! My path to healing from the miscarriages was to retrain as a life coach, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to grieve and honor my babies that were never born. That gave me the strength to try IVF with my 10 frozen eggs. Clearly, I would not be writing this if that did work!

But here came the real struggle: becoming permanently CNBC is a disenfranchised grief which no one, not even the griever, gives themselves permission to recognize the loss. For a year, I tried to look on the bright side, but my life felt pointless. “Who the hell was I if I wasn’t a mum?” What I needed to do was grieve. Finding World Childless Week in 2020 led me towards our wonderful community, where I quickly set up zoom support groups connecting others in a similar position from across the world. There, we could cry, scream, rant, share our fears, and heal together! It was a life line!  This led me to further train as a Grief Therapist and to offer CNBC grief circles (Healing Horseshoe), CNBC coaching groups (Embracing Us), and one-to-one coaching and grief therapy. My healing is always in progress; this is a living loss that changes over time. Yet, at the time of writing, I feel content. I found new ways of giving my love to the world – a wife, a dog mom, my wonderful clients, and perhaps most importantly, to myself by working on those childhood wounds and re-parenting myself. I feel a sense of freedom and peace that I’m not sure would have been possible as a parent.  And it would have been interesting to have the opportunity to try.  

Contact Sandra via:


Facebook Group:  Caledonian Coaching: Childless Women-Support, Resources & Zoom Calls (CNBC)

Facebook Page:  Caledonian Coaching

Instagram:  childless_not_by_choice