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To think there is no point to life without children

(58 Posts)
bouncingbelle Wed 04-Jun-14 15:49:50

I have been having fertility treatment for 4 years. Yesterday we reached the end of this journey due to a deterioration in my own health. I just want to die. I can't see a future without children in it. The idea of any more Christmases without a child in it (always the hardest time of year), any more holidays, birthdays, family get togethers, feel like a stab through my heart. Who is going to remember me when I die? I can't imagine a way forward from this. Has anyone been affected by involuntary childlessness and survived? (Adoption, though I would love this, is ruled out due to my own health) , the dr yesterday said to me "you,ve come through worse and you,ll get through this" but I don't think I will this time. I had an abortion 14 years ago and the stupidity of this decisions (although it felt so justified at the time) kills me more.

Is there any pointe going on?

MNpostingbot Tue 21-Jul-15 11:18:15

Hey Belle,

So sorry to read about your position. Very difficult to find any words that make it better, but it will get better. I have close friends in the same position and time will heal. I know its probably no help now as DC is all you want, but whilst i adore the children im fortunate to have, there are days when I think back to a life with fewer responsibilities and much as it hurts now every cloud no matter how dark has a tiny silver lining.
Right now you probably can't focus on other children in your life, children of friends and family, but I'm sure that you will make the greatest "auntie" in time and there are many ways to be a positive influence on children's lives.

It really is worth going on. Hope things get better for you.

Cherryblossomsinspring Tue 21-Jul-15 10:20:01

I'm sorry that you have had this choice taken away from you. It's something I think we all expect we can have if we want. I'm not sure if this helps, you may feel this is irrelevant coming from me but i have kids and have recently thought to myself how great all the permutations of life are. I have 3 but can see how wonderful it is to have 2 or 1 or none. They are all such different lives and bring great positives with them. Life without children can be rich and fulfilling in ways I can never go back to. I genuinely don't think one situation is better than the other in reality.

That is an objective view. I know you first need to grieve and you have every right to be furious and upset. I hope you are ok. We all really just have ourselves in the end.

Zook Mon 20-Jul-15 21:07:31

I know this is an old thread but just in case anyone is still around I just wanted to let you know what a help you've been to me. I feel like I'm walking in your shoes one year behind you bouncing! Your story is exactly mine, termination when I was at university, 4 failed IVF's (only limited by the fact that we had to pay for them all privately and we used all our savings and more besides) and we can't currently adopt as we live abroad (we have had 3 failed international adoptions in my husband's home country) and were in the process of trying to return to the UK to try and adopt here but have had official confirmation today that we can't adopt here for at least 7 years (til he has his indefinite leave to remain here) taking us well into our forties. This journey has already taken 5 years and I feel I'm out of plan B's. I've no idea what's next... there's always been a back up plan and I genuinely have no idea what to do tomorrow or how to exist beyond this but all your words have helped immensely.

ToysRLuv Fri 06-Jun-14 00:22:03

Pnd after having DS nearly broke me. I thought I was in a nightmare, but just couldn't wake up. At times I still struggle, as DS can be a lot of work. I worry and feel massive guilt about everything. I'm not saying that I would rather be without him, but my mental and physical health have suffered. Our finances are also at breaking point, as DH still has to give up some of his working time to help me out with ds (he got very little work done during the first two years).

I have certainly long since given up on my plan of having 2 children. It is simply not going to work. Af times I mourn the loss of my hypothetical child. We all have regrets, as life us full of choices. I think the trick is to find a way to be happy regardless..

ManchesterAunt Thu 05-Jun-14 22:45:46

A few more inspirational women for you Belle flowers

So this Mother’s Day, as we honor the millions of extraordinary, loving, committed mothers in the world, let's not forget the many fulfilled, successful women who opt not to become mothers, and who have nonetheless contributed enormous work to our culture and world. Check out these eight famous women who led and are leading big lives, without children:

1. Sally Ride
The first American woman and the first (known) LGBT person in space, Sally Ride had no children and pursued a vibrant scientific career. Prior to her first space mission in 1983 (she served on a second shuttle flight the following year), Ride beat 1,000 other applicants for the spot. She held bachelor’s degrees in physics and English, and a Ph.D. in physics, and directed the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego. Committed to expanding science education, Ride also wrote five children's science books and started her own company to inspire women and girls to pursue scientific careers.

2. Margaret Cho
Comedian Margaret Cho began performing stand-up at the age of 16 and soon won a contest to open for Jerry Seinfeld. In her twenties, she landed her own TV show, All American Girl; she's since produced critically acclaimed shows like I’m the One that I Want and Notorious C.H.O and snagged an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Kim Jong Il on 30 Rock. Throughout her career, Cho has been active in anti-racism, anti-bullying, and anti-homophobia campaigns. On motherhood, she says: “I do not want children. When I see children, I feel nothing. I have no maternal instinct. I am barren. I ovulate sand.”

3. Harper Lee
She eschews interviews and almost anything connected to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird — but Lee made an indelible impact on American literature and the lives of millions. She never had children, and these days the 87-year-old stays active in her church and community in Monroeville, Alabama.

4. Oprah Winfrey
Since she landed her first television gig as a 19-year-old news anchor in Nashville, media giant Winfrey has built an empire. Her talk show was nationally syndicated for twenty-five years; she’s written five books; and she owns a television network — to name a few of her accomplishments. In 2007, she donated $40 million to start the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. “Some people ask me why I never had children,” she says. “Maybe this is the reason. So I can help bring up other peoples’ children.”

5. Anna Jarvis
Though she recognized the importance of a mother's role, the woman who founded Mother's Day had no children herself. Jarvis lobbied for the holiday to memorialize her own mother, a woman who nursed wounded Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Through letter-writing and promotional campaigns, Jarvis successfully got Congress to institute Mother's Day nationwide in 1914 — though she soon became embittered at its commercialization. Jarvis lamented, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”

6. Sonia Sotomayor
Sotomayor, the first Latina and third female Supreme Court Justice, grew up in the tenements of the Bronx, graduated from Princeton and Yale Law School, and became a federal judge at the age of 38. In her memoir, My Beloved World, Sotomayor notes that a lifelong struggle with diabetes, and the fear of dying early, played a significant role in her decision not to have children.

7. Rachael Ray
Food Network mogul Ray has established herself as a powerful force in the cooking industry. With four Food Network shows — including her hit 30 Minute Meals — and more than 20 cookbooks to her name, Ray keeps active. “I work too much to be an appropriate parent,” she says. “I feel like a bad mom to my dog some days because I’m just not here enough. I just feel like I would do a bad job if I actually took the time to literally give birth to a kid right now and try and juggle everything I’m doing.”

8. Shirley Chisholm
The first black woman in Congress, Chisholm was a lifelong champion of minority education and employment. Before launching her political career, she earned a master’s in elementary education from Columbia University, directed the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center, and worked as a consultant with the New York City Bureau of Child Welfare. Chisholm became the first black woman to make a bid for president when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972. She served seven terms in Congress on the Education and Labor Committee, helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, and later taught at Mt. Holyoke College. Though her groundbreaking career made her a powerful figure in American political history, Chisholm once said in an interview that she didn't want to be remembered as the first black Congresswoman. "I'd like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts," she said. "That's how I'd like to be remembered."

Pipbin Thu 05-Jun-14 20:09:26

I've had two failed IVF attempts and I know how you feel, especially the worry about no one remembering you.
I'm very lucky in that most of my friends are child free by choice. There are so many things I do now that I couldn't without children.

We have just got a cat and she has been such a comfort to us.

Are you with us 'elderberry pavlovas' over on the conception boards? The ladies there have been such a support. It's wonderful when someone else knows what you are going through.

Sillyshell Thu 05-Jun-14 19:58:39

Hi bouncing, I don't really have any pearls of wisdom for you but just wanted to let you know you aren't alone in feeling like this. Your op nearly broke me heart. I know how you feel and I hope that helps a little bit. Xx

SallyMcgally Thu 05-Jun-14 19:47:44

Good for you bouncing. We should all aspire to elegance! xx

bouncingbelle Thu 05-Jun-14 19:36:52

Thank you all - I am a bit of a worrier and probably would struggle to let a child have freedom so maybe this is for the best. I will definately be buying the book someone linked too, once I'm ready to face facts.

There's been two quotes which have been going through my mind all day. One is from Maya Angelou saying "Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant." Maybe I won't just aim to survive this, maybe I,ll try and thrive in my 'new' life.

The other is one I read at the very start of our fertility journey, when we were considering going straight to adoption, and I've been reminded of it by all the stories on this thread about the fabulous women who have managed to influence lives, love and be loved, without being mothers. It's that "mother is a verb as well as a noun". Maybe I have got too much love for just one child, maybe my role IS to foster (and my own parents fostered as I was growing up so I have no idea why this didn't occur to me till someone here suggested it!) and love lots of kids, maybe there are other ways I can 'mother'. I'm almost excited by the idea.

Yesterday, i literally started this thread to stop me running away, just going in the car and driving and not stopping, I was THAT desperate. I'm soooo glad I didn't. I'm not naive enough to think there will be no more bad days, but hey, maybe even people who DO have kids have bad days too?!

Eenie Thu 05-Jun-14 17:59:13

OP, I have a friend in her 40s who hasn't had children. Diff reasons to you however, she just never found the right man and for her, that was the reason not to have them. She feels very sad about this and often wonders whether she should have made it happen another way. However, she is happy, she has a great life with much more freedom than her friends with children. She has more money, more time, a better social life and a better career than most of her friends with children. She can go away at the drop of a hat with friends or a boyfriend. Of course I realise that this means very little if you want children desperately, but I just wanted to point out the positives of not having children. There are positives of having children which you are well aware of and I wouldn't for a second want to diminish your desire for them, but I just wanted to point out an alternative. It's a different life, not necessarily a worse one. Myself, I have 2 young children who I love more than anything. However I have to admit that there are times when I think that this world is so over populated and is about to implode, is so full of crimes and terrible things that happen, that i wonder if I did the right thing in having children. I've brought them into a world of worry and sadness. I know that's real life and I wouldn't change anything now of course, but before I had them, I had no idea about how much I would worry about them and their futures. Before I had them, I thought a lot about my reasons for wanting them as I wanted to make sure it wasn't just selfishly wanting someone to look after me when I'm old etc. honestly, I never found a good logical reason to have them, I guess it was just instinct and human nature to want to reproduce. Maybe I'm over the top and I know I'm a worrier, so probably not a good representation of how people think, but sometimes I do think about these things. Having children is amazing, but it's not easy and it's far from carefree. I'm sure you are a fantastic person and someone who wants children as much as you do, probably gives a lot of love to a lot of people, and therefore gets it back, I'm sure an awful lot of people love you. You have support here xxx

weedonleg Thu 05-Jun-14 15:45:55

A book I'd recommend:

squizita Thu 05-Jun-14 15:28:47

If it's any comfort... one of my relatives who I see 100% as helping 'form' me was neither a mother nor a grandmother but a childless aunt. I often remember her fondly and carry her legacy onward.
The act and skill of mothering doesn't always end up focused on a biological child but if they are there they will find a child or children to support one day. smile

Pregnantberry Thu 05-Jun-14 14:42:51

I haven't been through infertility but I absolutely relate to what you say about how important children are to you. What I mean is that your feelings are totally normal and not unreasonable at all!

I'm glad to hear that you have hope for recovering enough to adopt. Just thinking out loud here and I know it is not a cheap option at all, but have you looked into international adoption? I know the restrictions vary a lot from country to country and I know people who have done it successfully after being messed around by the UK system for ages. Just a thought.

TeenAndTween Thu 05-Jun-14 14:41:25

Sorry you are so sad.

You will need to wait 6months-1year after stopping fertility treatment before you can start the adoption process anyway. That gives you time to grieve the baby you won't have, and build up your strength both physically and mentally.

If your health does turn out to preclude you from adopting, you could consider fostering, or respite fostering (where e.g. you take a child in one weekend in 4 to give their carers a break).

Maybe we will see you over on the Adoptions board in the fullness of time?

olympicsrock Thu 05-Jun-14 14:29:12

So sorry that you have been feeling so sad. You are a special person in your own right with family and friends. Your DH values you.
I sometimes look at childless friends who have lovely holidays, focus on their career, and have time to bother about their appearance and feel jealous of my lost independence. There are a lot of different ways to be happy.

KnittedJimmyChoos Thu 05-Jun-14 13:52:18

bronya same here actully our dc godftaher has wonderful social life better than most friends, in his 60's and very much on party scene grin

bronya Thu 05-Jun-14 13:47:46

My godfather didn't have children. He has had the most amazing life. Fantastic holidays, opportunities, nice cars and lots and lots of fun. His Christmas letters are always full of the fun the year has brought, and he's spritely and still enjoying life in his retirement. This is not the end of everything, just the start of a different path.

ILoveYouBaby Thu 05-Jun-14 13:11:10

I have a granny who wasn't my granny by blood but was an amazing woman who was like a granny to me. We called her granny and she behaved like one. I loved her to bits and she was a real inspiration to me. She had no children of her own, but she still lived a very full life.

Hugs x

KnittedJimmyChoos Thu 05-Jun-14 13:04:03

Interesting question and I have some friends like you had abortions then suddenly they didnt seem to be in long term relationships and one thing lead to another and now I have two friends approaching 42, with no long term partner and no children.
I think they would dearly like dc but not desperately. My sister has just turned 50 and has been married for 20 years to a man who never wanted DC, and I see her looking at my dc sometimes and has also said - what's the point...her DH is very focused on work and building property portfolio for their retirement etc....

I think what I see now, with two dc when I look at my sister and her DH and my other friends is - immense freedom.

Until you have dc you dont realise how tied you are ( with limited funds of course) for instance my sister and her dc dont realise how much money they save not having dc...i would be using that money to do amazing xmas, they dont go anywhere, I would be in a top hotel for the to paris for two days or prague...

If i was childless now, I would be expolroing and doing so much more...because I know appreciate freedom more...and its a gift, not the same as having children, but it is a gift to be free and able to go and do what you want....

You have to learn to accept your situation and think about it in a different way...

ManchesterAunt Thu 05-Jun-14 12:47:11

He sounds wonderful! In time you will realise that you are so very lucky - although I realise life sucks at the minute.

bouncingbelle Thu 05-Jun-14 12:21:28

Manchester aunt - I'm actually in awe of my DH's strength through all of this, if he has any disappointment about being childless, he doesn't show it, it's all concern about me. And you are right. I have two cousins - one is a single mum, one is childless but with a fabulous DP. I often used to say that the one I would rather be is the one with the partner, as children grow up but relationships are for life, (yes, I know kids are for life too but hopefully you know what I mean). we have been under huge pressure over the past few years but it IS time to focus on us again, we even used to have fun!! wink

ManchesterAunt Thu 05-Jun-14 12:14:17

Your new plan will be to build the best relationship with your husband.

Adoption is a long and very cruel road designed to push you to your absolute limits to make sure it is worth it. You need to rely on your husband at your weakest moments, and he will need your support to.

In the meantime (it could easily take 2 years from the start of the process to having a child live with you - so you can have a bit of spending to do first) spend some money on yourselves - have a holiday and enjoy each other.


MrsChickPea Thu 05-Jun-14 12:12:55

bounchingbell... You've made me cry... but I'm smiling! Glad you're feeling a bit perkier today. Keep positive. Good luck and keep strong with the health issues. And your 'Fur Babies' will always love you, never have tantrums and never leave home. Fur babies are the best (we have one too). xxxxxxx

maggiethemagpie Thu 05-Jun-14 12:11:33

I'm really sorry for your pain OP and don't mean to trivialise infertility at all as I know it can be heartbreaking BUT what I want to say is, it is very easy for the one thing you lack in life to become the focal point for all your unhappiness, and you can end up living an 'if only' life where 'if only' you had what you wanted you believe you'd be happy.

Not exactly the same, but not a million miles away either, for most of my 20s I was single and I had a bunch of friends who were all coupled up, so I really was the odd one out. Not a day went by when I felt hung up about it, and I felt that my life couldn't be happy because of this one thing I lacked - and I thought my life would be unimaginably wonderful if I had it. I eventually did meet a partner in my early 30s but guess what I'm not happy all the time now because it doesn't work like that.

So what I'm trying to say is, I would encourage you to learn to find value in your life independently of the one thing you think will give your life value. Otherwise you just end up in a downwards spiral and it's a big waste of this precious life you were given. Good luck in finding peace.

bouncingbelle Thu 05-Jun-14 11:54:54

Well today is a new day and, if I don't think too deeply about it, I can breathe again and face the world. Thank you for the reminders that kids aren't easy, I seem to just think about all the nice bits instead of the relentless hard work! I do have a baby neice I adore and that my sister lets me 'share' - so I get the fun bits of taking her to baby classes etc. I also have 3 'Fur babies' who are literally keeping me going right now and being smothered in affection. I just feel like I,ve got sooo much love to give.

New plan (because I always need a plan smile ) is to see the positives. If I hadn't been going through the fertility treatment my decline in my health would never have been picked up so quickly (and it is a serious decline). The doctors are all on my side. They are going to try everything to reverse, or at least stabilise, this. I'm now determined to recover and recover well enough to adopt. I'm going to not let my thoughts drift to the what if's, because that will destroy me. And sometimes I will be sad, but I will get through it.

Thank you for sharing all your experiences - it's like a grief that you never imagine or know that so many are experiencing till you are in the situation yourself. X

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