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AIBU?

to ask how you cope if you can't have children?

424 replies

ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 12:40

Just that really...did you adopt? Or have you accepted it and has your life taken a new, fulfilling direction? Do you ever really get over it? Or are you still finding it difficult years later?

DH and I have been TTC for nearly a year and a half, got another negative pregnancy test result this morning, both feel very down and deflated and considering giving up. I feel really numb today and not sure what I want to do next.

Not sure we can cope with emotional highs and lows (well, mainly lows!) for much longer and it's all we think about.
Age is not on our side, I'm 38, approaching 39 so not really got time to have a break from it all. Next step would be IVF, obviously with no guarantees.

Would love to hear any positive thoughts on a child free life, especially if you really wanted children at one point.

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LovelyBath77 · 04/07/2017 12:45

Sometimes I long for a child free life. Had PND and MH condition after. It is very stressful having children it's not all idyllic. I think I would focus on possibly other relatives such as nieces and nephews, or possibly adoption or fostering, if we had problems with having children. If I needed to, but otherwise focus on my career. and things I would like to do.

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ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 13:00

Forgot to say, we only have 1 niece who lives 200 miles away. See her maybe once every 6 weeks so we don't have the option of throwing ourselves into being auntie and uncle!

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steppedonlego · 04/07/2017 13:02

Me and DH tried for two years, charting, ovulation tests, temperature taking, just about everything you can advise for falling pregnant. It was a horrible time and I mentally prepared myself for never being able to have children.

It was coming up to Christmas, and with the strain of it all, we decided to have a month "off" I relaxed, ate off the conception menu, drank, and had a jolly good time. It was that month out of the 24 before it that I fell pregnant.

I'm kicking myself for saying this even as I am saying it, because I remember all the advice being "relax and it will happen" and wanting to snarl in their smug child having faces that if it's not happening with all the effort I put in, how is it going to happen without it? But it did.

Don't give up hope.Flowers

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Viewofhedges · 04/07/2017 13:04

I am 40 and had 4 years of ttc after a 'later' marriage. We were told we would have to have ivf and that our chances of that working were prob only about 10-15%. Given what it does to the body etc we decided not to go for it and accepted we could not have kids. We grieved for a while.

Now I can honest say that while there are moments I still feel low about it, They are moments only and generally I can see we are better off without. We are not high earners and so have a better standard of living than we would have been on one wage. We travel and have all sorts of interests. Most significantly, I have started a new career, which I love, and which would have been impossible with children.

We are awful at early mornings, love our peace and quiet and are both introverted. Would we have coped? I honestly don't know.

What we have now is a good life, a strong marriage and lots of opportunities. Sure, we didn't have a child, but lots of people with children don't have what we do so we are grateful for our lot. Anyhow, not all children are lovely and trouble free...!

I think the most important thing is to give yourself time to grieve and accept that sometimes you will feel sad about it- but it won't be all the time. Not by a long way. My lack of children does not define me or my dh and our life is very full, of different things, not better or worse than our own family, but if different equally life affirming things. Oh and lie-ins and peace Grin

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Parsley1234 · 04/07/2017 13:06

I'm a beauty therapist been around women for 20 years and had 3 miscarriages. I trained to do reflexology and I recommend anyone trying to conceive has a course of 4/6 with a person specifically trained in pregnancy reflexology. It's worked for everyone I've told and also for me - good luck

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Purplemac · 04/07/2017 13:32

DH and I tried for a year before he was diagnosed with secondary infertility (DSD was born 7 years ago). We looked into IVF, had an awful meeting with an awful consultant, and decided it wasn't for us and began looking into adoption. That was in January, and we are now in stage 2 of adoption and should hopefully be approved by November Smile

Honestly once I was told it wasn't going to happen, I felt relieved that we didn't have to worry anymore. It was like a weight off our shoulders, all the uncertainty was gone and we could decide what was best for us. I do think that I would have been ok not having children if it wasn't for DSD, but as it is, we can't be "child free" in that we are still responsible for her. We can't go backpacking through the Amazon or anything like that. I would have been happy with a different life direction, but since DSD exists (and I am so glad she does!) it made sense for us to look into adopting, and it just feels very much like the right thing to do. I haven't cried about our infertility since January when we made the decision. It's ridiculous how quickly I came to terms with it!

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JoffreyBaratheon · 04/07/2017 13:38

We tried for 8 years. I never went to be diagnosed at the time as I hated drs and hospitals, having been born with a heart defect and having a rather ill mother meant I spent too much of my childhood in hospitals, so refused to put myself through that. So I wasn't formally diagnosed til years later - turned out I had severe PCOS.

But anyway, as I say, 8 years and no baby. So I decided to get on with my life. Went to college to train for a new career. Loved my studies and the work. And started to feel really tired. Then started to get fat. Then was told I was 20 weeks pregnant.

I think that just accepting that might be it and to get on with forging ahead with my own life, and totally put aside all ideas of babies... somehow was enough to relax my body enough to have a baby.

Have heard of other women, since, with similar experiences.

Ended up being heavily pregnant towards the end of my course which sort of played in my favour but was inconvenient at the time...

After baby was born, I went for tests (giving birth cured my fear of drs) and they confirmed I had PCOS. I hadn't known I was pregnant as I had maybe one period a year, if that.

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araiwa · 04/07/2017 13:40

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lemureyes · 04/07/2017 13:41

Sometimes it takes longer to conceive. I wouldn't give up just yet OP.

You both need to take the stress out of 'trying' as stress will alter your hormones. Maybe 'stop trying' but just enjoy eachother and try to relax, you never know your miracle might happen ๐Ÿ˜„

I know I'm not really answering your question but don't give up until you have tried everything ๐Ÿ’

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islandsandshores · 04/07/2017 13:42

That's REALLY got to me the most insensitive post I've ever seen on here Bath

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Viewofhedges · 04/07/2017 13:49

Can I remind people gently that the poster has asked for thoughts on a child free life, not "ooh I relaxed and now I'm pregnant" stories. She hasn't shared her diagnosis here and nor should she have to, but I can tell you that there are a lot of things that "relaxing" does not cure, and it is thoughtless to suggest that it will.

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ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 13:54

Thank you all for your different viewpoints.

purplemac I can kind of imagine how being told it wouldn't happen gave you some peace. The uncertainty and constant hoping is draining. Good luck with your adoption.

JoffreyBaratheon what a story and with a happy ending! I think I would've gone crazy trying for 8 years.

viewofhedges Thanks for sharing your story, also with a happy ending Smile

Thanks steppedonlego Yes I've been told so many times to 'relax', 'go on holiday', 'have a break!' But very interesting to hear it actually worked for you.

LovelyBath77 thanks for your thoughts and sorry you've struggled with PND. I don't imagine life with children to be a walk in the park at all but DH and I would love a family.

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jelliebelly · 04/07/2017 13:57

My dh and sil had failed ivf several times before accepting it wasn't going to happen for them - they had a rocky few years as friends and family had babies but now they've come out the other side as it were. They travel and have interests and hobbies that would be difficult with children and generally feel pretty smug that they are happier with the life they have now than if they had children!! Both are quite open about it.

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jelliebelly · 04/07/2017 13:58

Oops db not dh!

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ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 14:02

Sorry to drip feed...doh! Should've included this at the beginning.
Diagnosis is 'unexplained infertility'. Had lots of tests and investigations and all my results are 'normal'. As I said earlier, I am 38 so I do suspect age is the problem (plus being so stressed about it all!)
And I was keen to hear from people who have faced the same situation, whatever direction their lives have now taken rather than people who have children but wish they were child free!

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user1485342611 · 04/07/2017 14:03

For me, it's a bit like coping with a bereavement. The sadness and sense of loss never fully goes away, but you learn to live with it and to still see the good things in life. You still have certain events that trigger a real feeling of sadness but you get better at coping with them and realising you'll feel better in a few days.

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ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 14:04

That's good to hear jelliebelly. I'm at that dreaded stage myself with everyone having babies around me.

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crunched · 04/07/2017 14:10

My DSis had 2 failed IVF attempts,after ttc for 3 years, these took so much out of her and her DH, that they decided they were not strong enough to carry on.
25 years later. DSis has a fulfilling career and received an MBE for the charity work she does related to her career. She has said she feels she would not have had the capacity to do as much as she does (ironically for a charity working within the gynaecology sphere) had she had a family. Her DH was able to afford to retire at 50 to pursue his hobby.
They have also traveled extensively.
My DSis is clear in stating that it is a huge sadness to her that she never had children but she has embraced the opportunities being child free gave her. She told me recently that things are far easier now since others of her age have adult children and are therefore, less likely to eat out/socialise/go on holiday with them etc.and she feels like it is less of an issue.
I hope this is a positive story.

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SolomanDaisy · 04/07/2017 14:11

This thread is a collection of all the worst things to say to a person struggling with infertility. From relax to quackery to kids aren't that great. It's got it all!

OP, it took us four years to have our first and I never moved to that mental place of accepting it might not happen. I suspect I wouldn't have made great peace with it until menopause, but many people do. I think those who handle it best seem to be those who are able to make a definite decision and take a step like getting the contraceptive implant. I wouldn't have gone for adoption, I don't think we have all the necessary skills, which are greater than those needed for most non-adopted kids.

My only actual advice would be to not make any decisions just after a negative pregnancy test. Oh and stop taking pregnancy tests, they only make it worse.

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thatsnotwaynesbasement · 04/07/2017 14:13

I have come to terms with it. As a previous poster said, when I heard how low the odds of IVF working were in our case, I did feel relief, because in a way it was as if the decision had been made for me. I decided that I didn't want it enough to put myself through IVF and put up with a decade of uncertainty and heartbreak.
That eternally ticking clock is gone, and while I have spent the last ten years being anxious about approaching 40 (and the big full stop that represented in my mind), I can now see that I have so much life left to live beyond that and I intend to use it well.
I think that having a baby gives you a template for your life, for better or worse. It creates its own meaning in your life, too, and gives you purpose. I feel like I am now free to make that purpose whatever I want, and really think about what I want from life in a way that those with children aren't always able to do, because their life becomes wanting the best for their children and making that happen, if that makes sense.
I spend time with my friends' children and enjoy them. I take very expensive and relaxing holidays. I spend my free time doing whatever I want, and I have really focused on my career and am excited about what I am achieving and where that might go.
Sometimes I have doubts about my decision, but it happens less and less, and there are weeks at a time that I don't even think about it. I did grieve it to a certain extent to begin with. But then, once I was able to let go of the way I thought my life was going to go, I could see that really there are endless paths to choose from.

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seventhgonickname · 04/07/2017 14:16

We had unexplained infertility,went to GP,refresh to fertility clinic,had tests,no problems.We had decided on I go of IVF so that there would be no 'what ifs'.We had married to be together and we would still have that.
I was almost 42 when my dd was born.
We only had one go because of age and because I had seen so many people being destroyed by go after go.
It is something only you can decide because it has to be something you can happily live with whatever the outcome.

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chupsmelad · 04/07/2017 14:19

I think that having a baby gives you a template for your life, for better or worse[....]I feel like I am now free to make that purpose whatever I want, and really think about what I want from life in a way that those with children aren't always able to do[....]

Waynes, I think this is very insightful.

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Chapterandverse · 04/07/2017 14:22

My sil & bil for married 20 years ago. She was 20, he was 30.

She was diagnosed with endometriosis & PCOS. They looked into IVF even went so far as to come home with the drugs & have them in the fridge, but she didn't take them. (They are Christian & although it was never said in as many words, I think they feel it was God's will for them to have children) not my views, but each to their own.

They them tries to adopt. After travelling to an orphanage abroad they stopped that process too.

So i think they're a couple who have thought long and hard & decided to be just the two of them. She doesn't work, I guess she doesn't have to, but they recently moved house & they go on holidays to the lake district, jersey and have one planned shortly for the Seychelles.

They enjoy life, they're kind to our children but don't see them often. But I'd say they have a very fulfilled & content life.

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londonrach · 04/07/2017 14:22

Ohbig...2 years ago i was 40 married and fed up of ttc. Dh and i decided to just get on with our life. We moved out of london so we could buy and escape the rent trap. The one month we didnt ttc as we were buying that house guess what!!!!!! Dd is almost a year old now. If she hadnt had happened we were at a point that we were beginning to sadly accept being a parent was going to happen. In my baby group most of the mums who struggled fell pregnant when they just shruggled their shoulders and got on with their life. I still remember though the pain of getting your period and the great disappointment i felt that again another month was wasted. Looking back now i wish id just forgotten about it. But i know im one of the lucky ones. Not sure weve time for a second but if we did im going to try and be less stressed about it. Fingers crossed very shortly You get what you want x

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ohbigdaddio · 04/07/2017 14:24

Thanks so much everyone. Particularly inspiring to hear from those who have gone on to do different things which they may not have been able to do without children.

Today is a tough day for me and DH, I think your advice is spot on soloman about not making any decisions about our future today.

Really appreciate you all taking the time out to reply, I do feel a little better for it. Love to all those still struggling with their situations.

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