Thankful For Those That Understand
I am childless - not by choice. These are new words to me and I am grateful for them because they help to explain and sidestep some unfortunate assumptions about those without children.
I have not had much support during the 10 years that my infertility ran my life. I have just recently realized that I must find a way to let go of this dream and find a way to live. It has seemed impossible to fathom letting go of the dream that helped me hold on for so long - I am beginning to see that there is life on the other side.
I have a combination of fertility related disorders that have made having children beyond our grasp. We got married after many years together, I was 27 and we were ready to start a family so that became my mission. I researched and read, quit my bad habits, quit sports, quit some undesirable people and began "nesting". When we had not become pregnant within a few cycles I spoke to my doctor and asked for a referral to a specialist - it was early, but the process happened quickly and within a few months we were patients at a fertility clinic 4 hours south of our city, trying to investigate the problems and create a plan of attack. The staff at the clinic was a highlight ... I did not have support that really understood what I was going through ... but they did - and their empathy and professionalism was a huge blessing, perhaps the only one in reality. The treatments did not work, we tried for many years, many ways, many drugs etc to no avail. I was obese by now - puffy, exhausted, emotionally devastated, in total denial, numb ... etc etc -(it is nice to not have to tell all the details because I know the people here relate...). My marriage was difficult, mostly because of my guilt and disbelief that my husband would not want to go elsewhere to have a family ... to top off all of this confusion I held it inside so that when i went to work everyday to work with children no one would notice and think I was unbalanced !! duh ...
We thought adoption would be a good option for us - we pursued both public and private adoption at the same time as wrapping up some fertility treatment attempt - glutton for punishment I am ... The home studies went very well - it was actually another positive experience. I did not have the ability to recognize then that I had grieved no part of what was happening - and as I had learned as a child I stuffed my zillions of feelings as I kept a 'stiff upper lip' and plowed ahead ! The adoption option was positive - though no appropriate matches were made. In retrospect I see that in my heart I wanted to look into the face of my biological child ... retrospect is 20/20, and things work out as they should.
It has taken a very long time to begin to unravel the emotions and grieving that I put off while I was pursuing my motherhood dream. I was single-minded, to the detriment of my life, health, relationships and mental health. I have worked very hard and will need to continue to do so. I see now that I need to spend time mothering myself. I tend to sacrifice my "self" for goals that I thought could fill the ache.
I realize I need to be in contact with others that 'get' my story, and get the roller coaster of grief. I hope I can make some connections and find some inspiring stories to help me as I heal. It is surprising to me to know how helpful it is to know that others have lived well after these experiences, and to hear their words of encouragement .
I look forward to learning more about living Childfree, and getting to know other women that have lived through this process.