I recently had an exchange with a woman who wrote in response to this month’s On-the-Ground Question: Who has been least accepting of you not wanting kids? She said that she’d have to say her infertile friends. She has wanted kids, has been in the process of accepting she can’t have them, and her child”free” status is a recent development. I asked her if she would be willing to tell me more about her journey from childless to childfree.. I found it moving, and just have to share it with you (with her permission of course!)
“Well, moving on was a long time coming. I think it took about 5 years. (I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure about 5.5 years ago, at age 28, 6 months before my wedding.) I actually really wanted kids all through my 20s, and planned my life around having a family in my late 20s and being a stay at home mom. We didn’t actually do any treatments, besides hoping and praying nature would have a happy surprise for us.
The clomid, IUI and normal IVF routes were already closed to us (fortunately, perhaps) because I don’t have any eggs. We talked to a couple of REs about egg donor IVF, and it just didn’t call to us for a lot of reasons. And donor embryo and adoption didn’t call to us either. I know it sounds very casual, and that we didn’t try at all… but, I had years of hope and disappointment before finally deciding to let it go and be happy with my life sans kids.
Right after I got diagnosed with POF, I went a little nuts, quit the job I hated and went back to school, then I joined the Navy. My mom said she thought I was running from my problems, but, the new career has really been my salvation. I love my job as a nurse.
For a long time I still felt a lot of hope and indecision and anxiety about not having kids… and initially, we had planned to do egg donor IVF. Secretly, I think I thought God still had a miracle in store for me. But, time passed and the miracle never happened, and I had some other health issues – MS and trouble with the most fertility friendly HRT regimen.
And finally, I had to decide if I wanted to suffer having my period for most of the month, or change to a different HRT. While it wasn’t really a forever decision, it felt like it at the time. I went for being healthy. It was like I grieved the POF all over again for a few months.
Around that time, I also read Silent Sorority. There is a part in the book where she talks about a moment when she really started to feel better, and understood that she might be able to get over the grief of infertility. I thought, is that moment ever going to come for me? I felt like I would grieve forever. But, it was like, having had that revelation, so it was. I kind of made a decision that I wanted to be happy with the rest of my life. And, it’s funny, now I am.
There are still things that push my buttons about being childless…Seeing all my friends baby pictures on facebook, for one thing. But, overall, I really do feel like the sun has come up and life is going forward.
So, now, instead of saving for my kid’s college, I’m looking at grad schools for myself. And you know what? I think it might be more fun to go myself!
It was a long, complicated decision.
The feeling better about being childfree has been a recent development for me…like within the last six months. I’m kind of scared it’s just a phase and the grief will come back. Or later, that I’ll regret choosing this path.
But right now, it’s so great to be happy. It’s like now that I’ve had a taste of being happy, I’m greedy for it, and I don’t want to go back rub salt in all the sore places anymore. I think I used to whip myself with my infertility like a scourge. I kind of can’t believe that the grief is really better.
Thanks so much for this story…please pass on to those you know who could benefit from reading it!