How to Accept Childlessness

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If I ever wished for a how-to book to exist, it’d be called How To Accept Childlessness.  And the byline would read something like ‘…Without Being a Failure Who Gave Up.’   It’d be pretty awesome to have a guidebook to know if I’m doing the whole ‘I surrender’ thing the right way.

Acceptance of our childlessness state has majorly been on my mind these days.  Not that I’ve fully accepted childlessness (yet).  But I am getting there, little by little.  This… Thing… in me that I never before knew existed is starting to pop up—a Thing that’s okay (*gulp*) with not having a child.  The fact that The Thing even exists causes me unease.  The Thing has evolved slowly, in myriad little ways that are impossible to describe.  Regardless, The Thing is here.  And it grows stronger with each failing cycle.

We’ve been fighting for more than seven years to have a baby.  It’s been degrees of fighting though—from the trying-not-trying phase to full-out maniacal trying.  We’ve had months when we were lackluster in timing intercourse, and we’ve had months when we’d frantically take pregnancy tests the moment my period was late.  Either way, we’d always fight and try and keep going—the idea of giving up just didn’t exist.

But those lackluster months are becoming more frequent lately.  Somewhere along the way, I’ve quit taking my daily basal body temperature.  Two out my last three cycles I’ve left my fertility monitor and ovulation tests forgotten, to gather dust on the bathroom shelf.  Anymore, the prospect of monitoring my cycle seems both tedious and monumental.

I think to myself, “So this must be how it begins—acceptance.”  And I feel a mixture of peace (mixed with melancholy relief) and apprehension (as I watch the sand dwindle down in the hourglass of my fertility window) when the thought comes.

I don’t know how someone knows when it’s time to accept childlessness.  I guess there’s no magic formula—like most things, it seems to be a slow fade.  And, like all journeys, the road there is traveled one step at a time.  I’m at a crossroads, where my options are to either: (1) accept childlessness, or (2) dig my heels in and really, REALLY try for a child with all my might.  But option two means another IVF and that’s not something we can afford now (and possibly ever again).  I mean, how else can someone “really try?”   There’s obviously only one way to “really try” for a baby naturally, and we’ve had nearly 90 of them.

I guess the real question is: How badly do I want this?

And the answer seems to be, not badly enough to throw down and continue to fight.

 

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Author: Marixsa

Navigating the infertility waters and encouraging other mamas-in-waiting along the way.

12 thoughts on “How to Accept Childlessness”

  1. I think so much of the dialogue around loss and grief is wrongly about how to get over it. Your situation is a kind of grief or loss in a way because you are grieving the loss of the ability to have children of your own. Perhaps it’s not a conventionally accepted grief, but it’s as real as it comes. I think dealing with loss generally is not so much about “getting over it” but learning how to live with it without it being all-consuming (because if it consumes you for an infinite time things won’t go so well for you). At the same time, I think it does need to be all-consuming for a period and also maybe it will come and go at different levels of intensity – this is how you process the emotions. The more you try and suppress it and carry on like nothing happened and you’re fine, the less fine you will be.
    So yeah I think you’re so incredibly self-aware already and that’s a huge compliment to you. Let this loss shape you as all loss must, but don’t let it define you. Just as I hate to be defined by the fact that I had infertility issues, now having a child I also don’t like to be defined by “just being a mum”. I am a mum (a proud one) but I am also many other things (some good, some less so). Just like you are (currently) without a child, this is not the sum total of who you are or the value you offer the world. Put another way, Oprah doesn’t have any kids and everyone thinks she’s a goddess ! 🙂

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    1. I agree, it is a type of grief. Childlessness is not something that I’ve ever defined myself by; like you say, we’re all many other things. I value your input and thoughts on this—thanks for adding your thoughts! ❤

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  2. Instead of “giving up”, I like the phrase “deciding when enough is enough”. Each couple has to decide for themselves when to draw the line and move forward. It’s so hard because there is just no guarantee with IVF, no one knows if it will work or how many rounds it would take unfortunately. The living in limbo is frustrating, I remember it well. I’m wishing you all the best and a happy future whatever happens! x

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    1. Thanks, lovey, for the kind words. I like the phrase “deciding when enough is enough” as well. I know our mutual friend is currently going through this same struggle.

      My trouble with deciding when to draw the line is whether we stop trying while I’m still technically in my reproductive years? I’m 36, and women can be still fertile(ish) in their early-to-mid 40s. But the idea of doing this another 9 years is frightening! Oy.

      Thanks for giving your thoughts, I always appreciate your comments! ❤

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  3. I hate that this has to be a post for you. I pray and pray that you might be blessed with a sweet baby, and I know that through God these things may be completed yet. They don’t normally make movies where the miracle waited for is never received, so we are left to wonder if there is still a happily ever after or not. I say yes, but I think that is an ongoing discovery for us that are left waiting. I wish I could hug you all the way from NC, but since I can’t just know how much I adore you! You are such an amazing person and I know you’re doing amazing things.

    P.S. I know you may not ever want to raise money for IVF (or even decide to go forward with it), but if you do please let us share your fundraiser on social media! It would bring me so much joy to contribute to future babes ❤ I realize that's totally out there, but I felt like I should say it just in case 😉

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    1. What a sweet comment. You’re the beat prayer partner EVER! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, your words are always so encouraging. I was just looking at my Wish book the other day and thinking ofyou! xx ❤

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