Childless but not Childfree

(45 Posts)
bananafish81 Sun 03-Apr-16 12:53:21

Was wondering if anyone else felt in limbo?

I'm 34 and most of my friends have at least one child now

Most of their social lives now, unsurprisingly, revolve around their children - NCT get togethers, kids' friends' birthday parties, playdates etc

I have been completely open about my infertility and miscarriage, and their support has been overwhelming

But the fact is, they're part of a club of which I can't become a member

And it hurts. They do try to include me, but there's nothing like rocking up on your own to a kids' party to make you feel like a barren old spinster / paedo

And most of my RL friends who don't have kids are living wild and crazy lives without kids, and of course we're not drinking alcohol, caffeine, not doing mad booze fuelled nights out on the town etc.

We're in limbo, childless but not child free

So I find myself excluding myself, and withdrawing and hiding myself away.

The only people I find I wanted to talk to after the miscarriage (and still do - it's only 3 weeks so very new and raw) are other infertile women

I feel like I have NO chat any more. I have nothing of any interest to say The only thing in my life of late has been IVF, cancelled IVF, IVF, pregnancy, miscarriage. And to be brutally honest, that's sort of fine, because at least talking to other infertile women makes me feel less alone.

I don't WANT to have a break from TTC, because I find the in between bits between tx the hardest bits - I just want to push on through with Project Baby.

But wondered if anyone else felt like they were in limbo between 2 worlds? (does that make infertility world like Middle Earth?!!)

RobberBride Sun 03-Apr-16 15:04:02

Yes yes and more yes. I'm Robber, I'm 33, and I'm an infertilityaholic.

I spend my weekends either looking forlornly at my empty calendar (previously it was packed full of stuff with friends) or dragging DH out with me (he's an introvert, so whereas historically we'd have gone out for dinner and I'd have gone out with friends in the day, he's now stuck being the substitute for day trips as well).

Like you, I've been very open about infertlity and our friends have all been wonderful and sensitive. It isn't even like they are shutting me out or I'm avoiding them, it is just whereas we used to go out for long walks, pub lunches, shopping, weekends away, even just boozy board game nights, now they (understandably) need to arrange things round nap times (for them and the baby!) and are exhausted and broke and after an hour or so, they just need to collapse without adult company so I either need to leave or let them go home.

I also have no chat. How's work? Fine, but I thought I'd be on maternity leave by now. What do you do in the evenings? Sit on Mumsnet or google statistics and cures and supplements. Going on any nice holidays? Considering the Czech Republic, apparently they have good IVF clinics. What's happening in the world? It is all fucked up, but I can't do anything about that, I can't even fucking ovulate.

My only consolation is that I know the stage my friends are all at (first babies, first year) will end and then I'll be the aunt helping them build dens and escaping with their mum for a glass of wine on a schoolnight. A couple of my friends are there already, which is helpful. And hopefully at some point I'll get to join them in ovulating, getting pregnant, and having my own child. But in the meantime, limbo.

RobberBride Sun 03-Apr-16 15:12:32

I should add, I don't actually give my friends any of the answers listed above, because that would make me a brat and it isn't their fault I'm broken. I just smile, say 'fine' or give a short answer, and then ask them a question and we chat about that. Or to my close friends, I tell the truth. But god, the energy it takes. Whereas I can happily waffle to other infertility fiends on here for hours.

Vixxfacee Sun 03-Apr-16 15:31:40

Yes banana I feel exactly the same.

No going out, no alcohol, I guess I'm too boring for my child free friends now.

Friends with children don't fit in with anymore.

So I spend my weekends at home waiting for the next step in the ivf process.

bananafish81 Sun 03-Apr-16 17:21:22

Robber are you me? I could have written your post word for word

DH is also an introvert, so tbh without my diary full of fun things with friends, I am essentially hibernating and hiding from the world, spending endless hours browsing and chatting on MN and Fertility Friends. Oh and with you on the supplements, the amount I’m spending on supps each month is obscene - although it pales in comparison to the amount of money we’re spunking on IVF, where money has lost all sense of meaning. It’s like buying a house, where you start to think in thousands instead of hundreds. Ridiculous. Although tbh the placebo of feeling like I’m doing something proactive is probably worth it for my sanity. And actually I did see incredible improvements in my egg quantity and quality between my 1st and 2nd cycles, so I do genuinely believe the religious supplement regime I followed (post reading ‘It starts with the egg’) did actually have some effect.

I’m the same as you with my friends. They have all been so lovely in the aftermath of my recent m/c, all saying they’re here for me etc. But what is there to say? There literally is nothing to say. I don’t want to tell the sad story of what happened over and over again. Those RL friends that have experienced m/c have been awesome. But I just only really want to speak to people who (sadly) GET it. So I can happily waffle on to other militant barrens on MN & FF for hours too

Vixx god, so much. We’re supposed to be living it up while we don’t have the responsibility of kids, but I think my life is probably far more boring than most of my friends. The ‘what did you get up to this weekend?’ question for them usually involves doing X or Y (with their kids). Mine would be ‘I sat on my arse in my PJs googling infertility stuff’. So I say ‘Oh, not much’. Every. Bloody. Week.

RobberBride Sun 03-Apr-16 17:52:55

Banana I lurk alot (and have 'met' you and Vixx before under my previous name, Oranges, on the TTC with PCOS thread), and I often find myself reading your posts and nodding furiously in agreement.

In terms of practical stuff, I've started travelling more to see people I'd slightly lost touch with through distance. I've become slightly addicted to walking tours and guided tours, which DH will come to as he can listen and doesn't have to interact too much with anyone he doesn't know. I'm doing a bit of volunteering (good karma?). And I'm trying to meet new people, though I find myself waiting for them to get pregnant. A little part of me believes I'll never have a baby, so mentally I'm trying to prepare myself for when I accept that I'm infertile and have to decide what to do with the rest of my life.

Annie0123 Sun 03-Apr-16 19:39:20

Hi Banana, Robber I've just written 2 lengthy replies basically agreeing with everything you've said but MN has lost both of them! Grrr....

I'm 34 in a few weeks and we've gone from having an active social life to being hermits in the 2 years we've been ttc. All of our closest friends have children now and we have to travel to the other end of the country if we want the company of child free friends.

Unfortunately I'm not sure what the answer is but I've also been thinking about volunteering. It's like we need the equivalent of nct groups but for infertile wannabe-mums instead!

bananafish81 Sun 03-Apr-16 19:54:05

robber hey there! Lovely to see you again, albeit less so that it means you're hanging out in infertility world

I love the walking tours idea. Tbh I just need to get myself out of the bloody house more!

Annie I hope you have eaten ALL the chocolate, doughnuts and pizza today. Big unmumsnetty hugs.

I am clearly an infertility cliché as I have a form sitting in my inbox to register as a volunteer befriender in my local area. Felt like I would at least feel I had some sort of purpose (god how sad does that sound?!)

I didn't send it off because I got pregnant and had to come off all my pain meds for a spinal injury, and spent 2 months on semi bed rest - all apparently for nothing. So will def look at filling the damn form in - and selfishly too, hope that maybe putting some good karma out there might pay back down the line.....

RobberBride Sun 03-Apr-16 19:59:12

Annie yes! At which we can meet up, sup non-caffeinated non-alcoholic non-soy drinks (perhaps avocado and kale shakes?) while we mainline vitamins and swap notes on supplements, followed by the latest infertility activity (acupuncture, reflexology, fertility yoga...).

Do you know what? I think tonight is a night for a (small) glass of something non-caffeinated, non-soy but definitely alcoholic.

bananafish81 Sun 03-Apr-16 20:29:05

Although we should also probably get drunk and relax, as apparently that's all we need to do to get pregnant, right ladies? If only we'd thought of that!

RobberBride Sun 03-Apr-16 21:18:52

Absolutely, ideally whilst being on holiday, or having just booked a ridiculously expensive long distance holiday of a lifetime. Because people saving for IVF are well known for having spare cash for that kind of thing.

Banana <lurches off topic> I massively recommend Bletchley Park if you haven't already been. It has great exhibitions, a good free audio guide, and free tours and talks run by volunteers who often worked there, and who each give a personal account of the history. We went on two tours (in theory the same tour) with two different volunteers, and heard totally different stories.

Anyway, I'm off to sign up for an 8 week mindfulness course. Infertility feels a bit like a bizarre game of woo bingo, ticking every activity and supplement off your card in the hopes that something works.

CatatonicLadybug Sun 03-Apr-16 21:32:06

I'm so sorry you're feeling all this. sad but I definitely felt that limbo. We have one DC now after seven years of infertility and treatment. All our friends and family have children much older and those who didn't specifically know we were failing to conceive said things like 'oh, I thought you were childless on purpose. Was this an accident then?' Which grated more than I ever admitted.

I ended up signing up for some evening classes. I didn't really make new best friends or anything, but I needed to have conversations not about other people's babies or my lack of babies. It worked for that purpose and now I have a few totally random skills that I will probably never use. ;)

Chocolateandwineplease27 Mon 04-Apr-16 07:53:36

Banana you know I feel exactly the same but good to know there are more of us.

I deal slightly better with it by forcing myself to exercise and focusing on diy. This weekend I spent most of it painting a fence and actually felt quite happy as it was mindless yet productive. Sad times.

Overall though I do feel quite lost. Have left behind a lot of the sport I used to do as can't help thinking it would interfere with my cycle, have turned down two pretty amazing jobs in the last six months as know my current employer would be supportive when we start ivf and now avoid a lot of social situations as either feel out of place or worried about awkward questions and thoughtless comments.

I am still drinking - not mad binges but definitely a couple of glasses a few times a week. I'm starting to feel guilty about that too now.

Lottapianos Mon 04-Apr-16 08:00:11

Hi OP, I hear you. I lean more towards childfree but have had many periods of feeling very isolated and excluded when it feels like the whole world is busy having babies.

I'm a member of a fantastic online forum called Gateway Women - its a Google+ community for women who don't have children, for all sorts of reasons. I have found it extremely supportive and can recommend it very highly.

Annie0123 Mon 04-Apr-16 20:44:03

Banana I am fully carbed up! Spent yesterday as a gluten-eating recluse! OH went out to get me the biggest slab of chocolate cake he could find. I didn't want to leave the house in case of the off chance that I might bump into my smug pregnant friend (always gets pregnant first time) who lives nearby. OH bumped into her instead so think he took one for the team there!

Robber totally with you on all the different activities - tried it all I think, supplements, yoga, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory diet (hence the gluten frenzy yesterday after IVF bfn). I've been doing mindfulness sessions on an app on my phone but a course might be a good idea too!

Chocolateandwine I also find doing diy really therapeutic. I suppose anything that makes you focus on something that isn't infertility helps!

Oooblimey Mon 04-Apr-16 22:14:03

Bananafish are we the same person?!! We seem to have very similar experiences on several threads and the same kind of thoughts/attitude to life!
I know exactly what you mean. I had my managed miscarriage today. I love my friends and they've all been in contact today but part of me wants to just say "fuck off you don't understand and no I don't want to come round for coffee as I can't be arsed to be interrupted every ten seconds by your stupid annoying kids that I'll never have!" Now pass the prosecco!! But I can't say that because at the same time they are brilliant friends who try very hard to understand and include me ( to the extent that I don't want to be included - kids parties for example!)
One has bought me chocolate this evening though which is going down a treat!

RobberBride Mon 04-Apr-16 23:04:17

Oooblimey I'm so sorry to hear about your day. I hope you have lots of wine and chocolate.

bananafish81 Mon 04-Apr-16 23:43:55

Gosh, you ladies are my people, that’s for sure

Robber OK this is getting spooky, as DH and I are massive nerds, and Bletchley park is somewhere we keep saying we’re going to visit. Thanks so much for the rec. and the reminder!
You’ve completely hit the nail on the head with woo bingo, couldn’t agree more. Good luck with the course, I hope it’s helpful in other ways, not just for infertility

Chocolate completely know what you mean about work. I’m freelance and I’ve basically been taking work on the basis of what I can do around my cycles. And same again, I was off work whilst pregnant due to being off all my pain meds, but now I can’t line up the next contract until I know when we can go again, as don’t want to accept a 3 month gig and then end up dropping out a month early because we’re cycling in 2 months

Lotta thanks for the heads up, will check it out. I guess the limbo is that I’m basically not embracing any kind of life without children, as my entire life is focused around trying to join the parenting club right now. Although I realise it isn’t healthy to have it take over my life in this way, I think to some extent it’s unavoidable. Hmm!

Catatonic love the idea of evening classes. I know I definitely need to find something in my life that doesn’t revolve entirely around . And congratulations on your DC - it’s very inspiring and gives me hope when a fellow solider battling infertility makes it through the trenches and is successful.

Annie Hurrah for gluten fest! I’m concerned about immunes, will see what my tests come back with, but I suspect I may need to join you on the anti inflammatory diet. You want to feel like you’ve done everything you could, but it’s almost certainly an illusion of control, and the benefit of what we do or don’t do, is about feeling proactive, rather than our diet / acupuncture etc actually making a massive difference

BTW I can totally recommend doing a meditation course. Is the app Headspace? It comes highly recommended by lots of professionals. I’ve found guided meditations / relaxation MP3s a real help - I’d listen to them at night to help me drop off. I had a lot of IVF ones, I think there are a couple of post m/c ones, and certainly lots for general fertility.

Ooo I’m so so sorry for your loss, and for today’s m/c. I hope that you’re not in too much pain and managing OK. I use the term OK within the context of the situation, as I know I would feel like answering that question with ‘how the fuck do you THINK I’m feeling, my baby died’. My friends have been awesome, and it is so so so true what you say about inviting you to things you’d rather not be invited to. I had to politely decline an invite to see a couple of friends, while one was in town over May Bank hol weekend, as both friends have small babies, who are siblings to their elder kids, and I had to say I’m sorry but I’m just not ready. I can’t sit there while their kids play and they breastfeed their little ones, while I was supposed to be in the second trimester. Being open about both IF and the mc meant I was able to actually say that to the friends, who were brilliantly understanding. If I’d had to make excuses, I think they would reasonably think I was fobbing them off. Terrific friend who brought the chocolate!

I'm still getting absolutely blazing BFPs, it's like my body hasn't realised there hasn't been a baby in there for the last 3 weeks, It's like it's taunting me, urgh.

And another friend announced this evening, oh by the way, I'm pregnant. Brilliant. /stabs self in eyes

Lottapianos Tue 05-Apr-16 08:41:55

Oh banana sad it just makes you want to scream, doesn't it? The pregnancy announcements feel never ending at times. We went through a phase of having one a month at my work and I wanted to tell them all to jeff off, one by one! Huge hugs x

MrsDarcy4092 Tue 05-Apr-16 12:48:34

i have called in sick today because i actually couldn't face going in and talking to the heavily pregnant colleague about her maternity plans. She was off sick when i announced to the team about our infertility problems, she came back off of sick leave pregnant. I am glad to say it seems i am not part of office gossip as clearly no one has passed on my confession as she keeps saying things like "oh you have lost so much weight, next thing you know you will be pregnant" followed by tumbleweed around the office.

i am having a day of hibernation. ignoring all the messages from friends asking me bout weaning there babies, or sleep routines or how great they have a childrens park by there holiday cottage!! And then when DH comes home i will pretend i have been at work and act "normal" as we have male factor infertility and i cant bare to show him just how hard i find it some days...

thank god for these forums and Holly and Phil!

Lottapianos Tue 05-Apr-16 13:00:38

A hibernation day sounds like an excellent idea MrsDarcy4092. Some days you just actually cannot face it and I think its wise to follow the sign that you need a bit of time out.

I feel so desperately sorry for you keeping this to yourself though. Its soul destroying trying to put a brave face on stuff, especially with your partner. Would you feel like you could tell him that you had a day off because you needed some space? I understand you don't want to make him feel bad or guilty but its a huge burden to carry alone flowers

MrsDarcy4092 Tue 05-Apr-16 13:17:57

thank you Lottapianos.

I have always been very open and honest with DH and i have also had counselling which has helped. But the past few weeks i feel like actually we cope differently. This infertility journey has been going on now for so long that every time i have a melt down when i tell him it also brings him down when he was actually plodding along and coping just fine. So now i feel like the best plan of action is try as much as i can to roll with it and only confess when i have to. I know its prob not the right way or the best way but i hate the thought that i am making him sad so for now this is how i will play things. And we will see how long it lasts smile

Lottapianos Tue 05-Apr-16 13:20:26

It's so tough, and very hard to know if what you're doing is right or wrong. Everyone has to find their own way through. Take care of yourself and I hope that life gets much better for both of you soon. As I mentioned upthread, I have found the Gateway Women Google+ community a huge source of support x

Milzilla Tue 05-Apr-16 15:04:14

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry you're all in crapland - like me :-|

I know exactly what you mean Op re living in limbo... I'm 38, so a few years older than you. I've been left well and truly behind by my peers now.

Into our 3rd year ttc (racked up 3 mc's along the way) and I'm pretty much at the 'f*ck it* stage re vitamins/no coffee/alco/tracking cycle/halting plans. I'm managing quite well with 'living' a little.

Re friends, the way I try to get round it is spending time one-on-one with friends and their kids - less overwhelming. For example, my friend and her husband came for tea to our house with their toddler a couple of Saturdays ago - it was fun and I actually enjoyed it.

Pregnancy announcements still suck, big style and they're pretty much constant in our world.

It is really hard. I have NO childless/free friends and we are quite isolated now, as you say. It helps that my brother and SIL had my nieces really young (they're teenagers now) so we do fun things with them regularly.

Urgh, it's all about just trying to find your way through, isn't it?!

I kind of still have my eye on the prize (haven't given up hope yet). And we have a plan, which helps. If we haven't had a child within the next couple of years we're changing tack and looking at alternative routes...

Until then... pass me the night-classes brochure!?

Laura7883 Tue 05-Apr-16 17:03:35

Right there with you all. TTC 2 years but with male factor and no sperm found in micro TESE it's over for us. So from ttc limbo I move to stay childless, use donor sperm or leave my husband limbo.

Totally hear you mrsdarcy when you say you dont want your DH to see how upset you are. I've cried so much infront of him since the TESE and been quite sad and distant that he thinks I'm gonna leave him. TBH it did briefly cross my mind. Briefly.

Declined 2 promotions waiting to get pregnant then waiting for IVF now just waiting for a plan B.
Also have entire friend circle with babies, everyone at work pregnant and I mean everyone, and basically have no social life at all now and cant see how I ever will. Was thinking of joining that gateway women. Does anyone know if you can meet up with other members in the northwest, looks like only London and south?

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