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To think it's not the end of the world if you can't have children?

(337 Posts)
Jaygee61 Tue 13-Feb-18 12:36:55

I speak as one who couldn't. Ttc for 10 years. It broke my heart. But I healed. I have a different perspective on things now. I feel there were worse things that could have befallen us, being diagnosed terminal cancer (OH did have cancer but it eas treatable fortunately) motor neuron disease, being paralysed in an accident. We live lives of joy and dignity.. We have created a great marriage and I'm proud of that. I love spending time with my nephew.

But society seems to view being childless by choice as a fate worse than death. Something not to be accepted but fought against at all cost. . If you're not prepared to go to any lengths to have a child you can't have really wanted one in the first place....

PoorYorick Tue 13-Feb-18 12:39:52

But society seems to view being childless by choice as a fate worse than death.

I think you'll find that attitude is reserved for women. When you look at all the other things that are mostly if not entirely reserved for women, you'll realise what horseshit it is.

I'm not minimising the heartbreak of infertility or saying people don't have a right to be devastated by it. But you are 100% right that children are not the sole worth of a person, that you still matter and have value and can do many fulfilling and worthwhile things even if you were unable to become a parent (or didn't want to!).

And of course deciding that you could no longer put yourself through the emotional and financial expense with no guarantees of success does not mean you didn't want a child. It just means that, rightly, you're prioritising yourself and your health.

chipvinegar Tue 13-Feb-18 12:43:22

No yanbu

I wish I knew how to get to where you are though. I haven't healed. Infertility has ruined me and I do have 1DS. But all I wanted in life was a family and a single mum to an only child I went through hell to have and lost family and friends through the related anxiety depression and OCD... it doesn't feel like a family and I haven't found that hope yet

Lottapianos Tue 13-Feb-18 12:45:51

I hear you OP. It's a really lovely feeling when you realise that you have moved from grief and heartache to being able to enjoy your life again. You're absolutely right to be proud of all that you have achieved. There are many different ways to live a happy and productive life, and being a parent is just one of them.

I very much agree that society in general is obsessed with romanticising motherhood, and becoming a mother is supposed to be the hill that you die on as a woman. There is not much space for exploring the idea that life can be great without children, even if you have had to come through hell in order to feel that way. I was in deep grief for years, but I'm feeling more and more relieved that we decided not to go down the parenthood route. I think I'm a much happier, more stable, more pleasant person than I would have been as a parent. It's not for everyone, even if a part of you did want it desperately

Poffley Tue 13-Feb-18 12:46:35

Yanbu but it's not a popular opinion

pickupapenguin2 Tue 13-Feb-18 12:47:05

I agree....also said as someone who is struggling TTC. 2 years in and about be referred for IVF. As much as it’s heartbreaking in many ways and such a difficult thing to go through I am also aware that we are very lucky in lots of other ways. So many people go through worse in life. It just takes time to accept the life you always thought you would have will be different and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I don’t however think you can compare being childless by choice and being childless through infertility. They are two completely different situations.

Poffley Tue 13-Feb-18 12:48:11

This cartoon always cheered me up on my infertility journey.

Poffley Tue 13-Feb-18 12:48:45

Oh arse it didn't attach.

Poffley Tue 13-Feb-18 12:49:00

Oh it did. I'll just go away blush

Lottapianos Tue 13-Feb-18 12:50:27

'I don’t however think you can compare being childless by choice and being childless through infertility. They are two completely different situations.'

Its true that they're different, and they're not the only options either. It's not always as simple as either 'couldn't have' or 'didn't want'. There are many many shades of grey, and many reasons why people don't have children

milliemolliemou Tue 13-Feb-18 13:00:45

No childlessness isn't the end of the world, though it can feel like it for a long time as both m/f friends tell me. On top of which there are so many fertility treatments that can bring joy to some but for others extend recouping when nothing works. There are of course children who would love to be adopted and for those men and women who can the route of fostering. I don't think society thinks childlessness is a fate worse than death unless you live in a place where children are expected to work with you and look after you in old age.

HariboIsMyCrack Tue 13-Feb-18 13:04:31

YANBU at all. I had cancer at 31 caused by a previously undiagnosed genetic problem. (Like Angelina Jolie - unfortunately the similarity ends there!) wink) I struggled to come to terms with the idea that I would never have children, because even if my ovaries had survived chemo, there was no way of preventing the 50% chance of passing on the gene. I struggled on, went through times of great anxiety and uncertainty, met my now DH, got married and have had a wonderful and fulfilling life and done lots of things (both volunteering/charitable and more "selfish" things, like traveling. A LOT!) that I would not have done with children.

The most striking thing for me was that most people were - to a very considerable order of magnitude - more sympathetic about the childlessness than the cancer. Which is rather fucked up on a number of levels...

In my case, some bright spark invented a pre-implantation genetic test for my condition and I was able to use that, IVF and a lot of luck to have my DS. I would love another, but time is not on my side and he is more than I ever expected for over a decade. Going through infertility and coming out the other side - as you have done OP - does give you a very different perspective on what life without children can mean.

Ragwort Tue 13-Feb-18 13:05:40

But society seems to view being childless by choice as a fate worse than death.

Does it really? hmm - I was childless by choice until my mid 40s - it was a conscious decision (yes, I know that is totally different to not having any choice over whether or not you have a child) but I didn't receive any adverse comments on my choice - I did then have a child -and I wasn't treated any differently.

I think it depends entirely on who you mix with, I absolutely don't think not having children is the end of the world.

SaskaTchewan Tue 13-Feb-18 13:05:48

Of course YANBU. There are so many things in this world you can do and enjoy if you don't have kids! Because you have the time, the money, you don't have to plan their future..

No one is defined by the number of kids they pop out, it's just biological luck - or ill luck. You are not a better person if you have a kid.

It's understandable some people are devastated because they can't have a baby, but it doesn't mean you must be sad if it can't happen.

lookingforthecorkscrew Tue 13-Feb-18 13:08:11

It's not the end of the world but I completely understand how it can feel like that to people trying to come to terms with infertility.

My DS (and DD, currently in utero) have to some extent 'completed' me, but there's no reason why something else couldn't. I just got lucky twice.

crunchymint Tue 13-Feb-18 13:08:40

Totally agree OP.

openbluewater Tue 13-Feb-18 13:09:13

You’re supposed to travel, even if you’ve fuck all interest in travelling.

Travel, sleep late and drink alcohol.

Lovely to know we’re held in such high esteem isn’t it!

MichaelBendfaster Tue 13-Feb-18 13:22:40

You’re supposed to travel, even if you’ve fuck all interest in travelling.
Travel, sleep late and drink alcohol.

Hah! I agree. I'm childfree by choice. I admit I like travelling (well, holidays, I'm not intrepid or anything), but I don't drink and, despite working for myself at home, I get up early in the morning. People greet both of these things with amazement and disbelief.

I also really loathe the narrative that if you don't have kids you must have lots of money.

crunchymint Tue 13-Feb-18 13:24:53

The poorest I ever was was when I was single, no kids and working. No tax credits then for childless people, although people with kids earning 40k could get tax credits. I was on 12k and struggling.

openbluewater Tue 13-Feb-18 13:25:32

Are there tax credits now for childless people?

crunchymint Tue 13-Feb-18 13:27:11

They were introduced before minimum wage became higher. Don't know now. I know there was an outcry from poor childless people. People with kids who were way better off than I could imagine were getting them.

FrancisCrawford Tue 13-Feb-18 13:27:39

It’s not the end of the world...

It just feels like it is

PurpleDaisies Tue 13-Feb-18 13:29:57

I agree that society’s narrative for what the life of a childless person looks like is ridiculous. It’s all drinking, holidays and loads of spare cash. It’s rubbish.

SilverySurfer Tue 13-Feb-18 13:35:49

I couldn't have children and came to terms with it a long time ago. At the time was like the world had come to an end but from where I am now, no it's not the end of the world. Actually in my case it's probably a blessing as I developed arthritis in my spine, hips and knees in my early 30s and frankly don't know how I would have coped with that, the increasing pain and raising a child.

AnElderlyLadyOfMediumHeight Tue 13-Feb-18 13:36:49

Great post (as often) from PoorYorick.

The founder of Gateway Women wrote a very good book about this.

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