I have been wanting to write these past few weeks about something that is growing inside of me (no, not that something) – something that has solidified enough that I felt it was time to blog about it. 

How do I say this?

image: Ravenelle

I’m really beginning to feel as if I want to live childfree. 

Damn, that was hard to write.  Have I just thrown my IF cred out the window?

I started having these thoughts a few weeks ago, right after our FET was a bust.  They brought me such a sense of relief and control, it was breathtaking – kind of like when you realize that you are off the hook from doing something that you really didn’t want to do.  At first, I thought it was just a symptom of us getting back into the game too early.

But, I’m still having these thoughts. It’s to the point where I’m not really planning on when we do the next IVF.  I’ll find myself feeling thankful that I don’t have children when I’m out somewhere and there are exasperated parents everywhere being harrassed by their kids.  For every one kid that is truly a ‘neat kid’ that makes you think, yeah, I’d like to have one, there are ten that are such monsterous nightmares that you are thankful to go home to your empty house.

I have spent the past three and a half years with one goal in mind: to have a child. It has been all consuming and dictated just about every major decision we made.  When I did get pregnant, I was overjoyed at the thought of the new life that was taking hold inside of me.  When the rug was pulled out from underneath us (twice), I was devastated.  I still miss my babies, and probably always will.  I was also still determined to succeed and have a child, preferably a biological child that I nurtured for nine months. 

But, now, I’m beginning to rethink my definition of success.  Is it to have a child? Then what? We’d still have to raise the child and what kind of child will we have? Even if the child has all of our genes, they are their own person, and will probably never look, act or speak the way that we imagined.  We will still have expectations and they will still be dashed – some for good, some for bad – and there will be times when we look at that child and wonder what we were thinking. 

To me, success after infertility has always implied that you have a child, by hook or by crook. But, what if success is actually learning all along that this wasn’t what you were meant to have?  Or, that what you want may not actually be a child? The more I think about it, it seemed as if for a while there, I wanted to bring a child into this world simply to ‘win’ the battle with infertility, to prove that I could do it.  I feel as if the real reason we started trying to have a child got lost in the years that we spent actually trying to have a child. 

Maybe I’m having these feelings because I’m so tired of disappointment and loss.  Maybe, deep down I didn’t want a child at all, who knows.  I do know that there was a time when I really wanted to make a child with my wonderful husband and raise that child with him. 

Now, 3.5 years down that path, this simple wish has become a complicated path and we have had the time to really question if that wish is right for us.

18 thoughts on “Confessions

  1. Me too! And I wonder The Same Exact Things you do about whether the feelings are coming from a place of resignation instead of actual possibility; out of an acceptance of our complete lack of control in the process. It isn’t as if we didn’t do our best. And I’m even at the point of believing that the universe wasn’t out to punish me. It just is.

    I’m so glad you’ve said this out loud. I’ve been thinking it myself for months and haven’t had the courage to post about it yet.

  2. mrs. x, it’s a very tough decision and it takes a lot of courage to walk away and take a different path. only you can decide what’s best for you, and I salute you.

  3. I’m impressed with your self-knowledge, and there’s nothing wrong with letting go of one dream to take on another. It’s not weak or selfish or anything else–these things can and do come down to a cost-benefit analysis sometimes. I assume/hope you’ve read [url=] Sweet Grapes[/url]? DH and I haven’t made the final decision to be CF–we’re still waffling on adoption–but that book gave us permission and insight to have a deeper conversation on the merits of childfree living than the standard “Don’t you hate ill-mannered children and obsessed parents?” rants one finds online.

  4. As much as anyone wants a child, there does come a point when you start to question just how much you really, really want this & how much further you’re willing to go in pursuit of this dream. I’m sure anyone who succeeds in becoming a parent will tell you “It was all worth it,” but I know several people who, as much as they love their children, will tell me they still carry deep scars & heavy costs from their battles to have a family.

    Also, when you’re younger, you can decide to live childfree, & then revisit the decision a few years down the road, when you’re had time to refresh your spirits (not to mention your finances). When you’re into your 40s (as dh & I were), you know that there aren’t going to be any or many more second chances or opportunities in the future to second-guess yourself.

    As difficult as making the transition to childfree living was, I knew that dh & I could have a good life together with just the two of us… because we’d already been doing it for something like 16 years at that point. It’s hard to go against the social norm, but you come to realize that childfree living is not “better” or “worse” than having a family. It’s just different, & there are pros & cons, as there are with any life decision.

    Whatever you decide, we will be here to support you!

  5. I completely hear what you’re saying, Mrs. X. There are no guarantees you’d like the person you fought so hard to give birth to (though, of course, you’d love them to pieces, a very different thing). There are no guarantees they’d be happy, healthy or any of those things. I think about that a lot, and wonder why it matters if I’m ever able to bear children.

    Sometimes, enough is enough, and something has taken on too much of its own momentum. Perhaps after you step away for a month or two, you’ll gain the clarity you need to say, “yes, I want to give it another try,” or “no way Jose.” The last thing any of us should do is jump into yet another month or two of suffering and angst without knowing why we are doing it.

    I know you’ll find happiness, whatever path you choose and whatever comes your way.

  6. Wow! What a confession.

    There are so many reasons you could be having these feelings right now but you’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle ~ you’ve acknowledged that the feelings are there, & you recognize that they may have some merit.

    Where you go from here will take a lot of thought & soul-searching I expect, but whatever you decide, it’s important that it’s right for you & Mr.X.

    Good luck! I’ll be here, following along, supporting you.

  7. Thank you, once again, for a heart-felt and thought-provoking post. I have been on this path about the same amount of time that you have, and I have these thoughts too. All I know is that this is a process, that you have to honor whatever comes up for you, and you will know what you need to do with time- it may change, or it may not, either way is OK (although not necessarily without pain). Boy, you can tell I saw my therapist last week! 🙂

  8. I very much identify with what you’re saying. In fact, your post is darn close to what I’ve felt like writing many times. In all honesty, I’m very, very close to arriving at the decision to be child free. I’m close because my goal is not to be a parent (donor eggs, donor sperm, adoption are all out for us) but to be the parent of our child. And if that’s not to be, then it’s not to be. So, I hear what you’re saying. I appreciate your honesty. And, no, your street cred remains impeccable!

  9. Boy do I get this post. I’ve thought about if things don’t work out this time, and I felt that if I called it quits it would be like I was giving up, that I didn’t try hard enough. Truth is I don’t know what the hell else to do. I miss that feeling of freedom when I’m not cervix gazing.

  10. are you in my brain mrs. x? i’ve thought more than once in the recent past that perhaps i’m meant to be childless (especially with my new job taking every ounce of my energy!). my hubby and i have a great relationship, we have fun together, we have a ton of freedom to do what we want, when we want. maybe it’s the universe telling us that we’re good the way we are.

    you’re a brave lady to admit to toying with childlessness. i admire your courage.

  11. I too can relate to much of what you write here, Mrs X.

    I particularly liked your suggestion that success after infertility can be associated with other things beside parenthood. As I may have written on your blog before, I think that it can be very liberating to embrace childfree living as a potentially creative way out of infertility, rather than seeing it as something we simply have to come to terms with when all other options have failed.

    Wherever you decide to go from here, I wish you peace and joy.

  12. It’s hard to say, isn’t it? But it’s a possibility amongst many others that you need to think about and mull around in your mind. There are pros and cons to just about every choice you make. Heaven knows I’ve thought about the same thing myself. Life is good, why mess with it? There are no guarantees with anything in life, are there?

  13. Wow… I’ve been having similar thoughts myself lately as well. Did you ever read the book “Sweet Grapes”? It’s mostly about choosing to live childree, and I read it a long time ago — just wanting to be educating myself about all options. A pretty good read.

    One thing I recall after reading it was that desiring a child can really mean you want something else — like to take a big risk, or for your life to change. But the have-a-baby script is just so familiar and automatic to most people, that they just go with that instead.

    Honestly, some of the people I’ve admired most in my life have been child-free. They travel, lead quirky lives, just are “different” somehow, which I’ve always identified with. Yet still… this is just part of me. There’s a big rest of me that just wants a family, dammit.

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post!

  14. Oh my god, all I can say is MORE POWER TO YOU!!! If you find peace and joy in a CF life, then for god’s sake go with that! Despite what the politics machine might tell you, there is nothing morally superior about being a mother. And there are way too many people on this planet already.

    I wish I was waffling about what I wanted. I wish I could find that peace. I’m kind of jealous.

  15. Once again, Mrs. X … you are a mighty strong person. And I am proud of you to be able to write these words “out loud.” It’s an easy thing to “think about” the possiblity of it … it’s completely a different realm when actually saying them out loud.

    I confess that I’ve thought of this MULTIPLE times in the past 10 years … moreso, over the past 5 years. I’m no where closer to deciding what I want to do next than I was back then.

    Kudos to you …

  16. I meant to comment on this when I first read it, but got busy and sidetracked. I totally get what you are saying and honestly part of me is there with you already. Even though we are gearing up to do a donor cycle, it’s been so long since our other cycle, that I’m already back in the swing of life – I’m busy with work, friends, my husband, pets, etc. I am struggling to find the time to do the donor cycle.

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing this post. I wish you peace and love in your life journey – wherever it takes you!

  17. I can honestly say that I found this post very comforting. Throughout this journey, I’ve had many moments where I look at DH and think about how much fun we have together. We love to sleep late and cuddle on Sat. mornings. – That’s just one of the little things that I absolutely love about being CF. In all of this “trying” I do sometimes worry about the things I will give up. My current yearning outweighs the sacrifices I know I will make to have a child, but I often wonder at which point I may need to come to terms with our current status of being CF. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog- whether you end up living CF or not, you still understand the journey. That makes you credible in my book! Wishing you success in all your life choices.

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