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AIBU?

TW Childness not by choice

30 replies

Sanpellogrino99 · 02/09/2022 15:12

I am 36/F and have struggled to find a long term partner due to various circumstances - them being arseholes mainly without going into details.

Friends know I would have killed to find a partner to have children with; and even went for AMH and ovarian reserve as young as 32/33 to assess options. Both of these friends have a partner and got married this Summer. I am happy for them. Call them A and B.

A seems to entirely sabotage any prospect I have of meeting anyone - from discouraging friend of friend dates, telling me to avoid online dating, monitoring my Whatsapp last seen in the evening and asking who I am speaking to. Anytime I went on one date with a guy she would be messaging me incessently asking if ‘he was ready to settle down’. I pulled back from my friendship with her in many ways. She has since taken to message me now about ‘her fertility concerns’ and how she feels ‘she will struggle to concieve at her age’. (She is younger than me). I really did the best I could to signpost her to the local clinic for reassurance but explained I found it hard to talk any further due to me being older than her, and very very single looking at other options. I felt guilty for being unable to offer any further support to her and shutting her down.

B said similar to me about her age and fertility - same age as me and I think she settled to have a family and children.

I feel the childless not by choice (conventially anyway) have many struggles with the grief, loneliness and sadness that some people do not fully empathise with. I appreciate its a journey not everyone is on and its perhaps unconsious. My question is AIBU to feel people should be a bit more sensitive?

My sister seen this play out in her place of work with a woman in her 30s who was lovely - childless not by choice - she found out the Mums at work had a whatsapp group ‘Mums of X (workplace name)’ and she had not been invited. It seems families who go on the IVF journey have a wealth of support from friends and family through a tough and heartbreaking journey, and the CNBC as sort of pitied and left to get on with things alone.


I appreciate this is a hugely emotive topic and would welcome any responses who feel I should offer a bit more tact regarding my friends asking for fertility advice with their main concern being age - I also know many people have had a painful journey with IVF and I apologise if I habe triggered anyone here

my life just feels heart breaking really. I know I may meet someone and it all goes OK for me. I feel some people assume (wrongly) you do not want children, when actually the opposite is true - you wanted children so badly you would never compromise on who that childs father could be. I knew a few posters on here are single mothers by choice, I have read lots and have the funds to do it - I just do not feel I can with the lack of support I have socially at the moment.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

46 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
24%
You are NOT being unreasonable
76%
Starlight86 · 02/09/2022 15:16

Im sorry OP.

I often think of these people, childless not by choice through either lack of partner, fertility issues or it just didnt happen.

My heart breaks for them.

I dont have any advice, maybe apart from just being totally honest to your friends about how you feel?

Starlight86 · 02/09/2022 15:18

Also i want to just add, I know 2 people who went ahead and decided to do it on their own, ill be honest i dont know the details but i do know they are very very happy.

Wibbly1008 · 02/09/2022 15:19

I almost gave up meeting anyone, then I met my amazing husband on the same online dating company everyone “warned” me about. I had two kids in my early 40’s and we are happy as a clam. Don’t give up!

IDontLikeMondays88 · 02/09/2022 15:22

Yes I think you need to be a lot more blunt with A and B.

I am an older mother and got a lot of comments about how I obviously didn’t want children. I also felt really excluded from some groups where children seemed to be the sole topic of conversation - it’s tough

Sunnyqueen · 02/09/2022 15:23

Could you not do that thing that was on this morning the other day? There was a single gay lady on there who wanted a baby, paid 25 pound for sperm donor then did artificial insemination. Had a lovely healthy baby boy.

RosalindsAFuckingNightmare · 02/09/2022 15:23

Have you heard of Gateway @Sanpellogrino99 ?

Sanpellogrino99 · 02/09/2022 15:43

Thanks for replies
I am still trying - I have date this Sunday but honestly I just am so cynical now. I can already read the ‘didnt feel a connection’ text or one week slow ghost following the date.

As my social circle has shrunk so much during COVID I do not feel in a position to have a child alone. I do not feel I would be supported given the expierences I have had even broaching this subject.

My profession is very traditional and as such they are all from quite traditional backgrounds (I am not) - I think some of them would literally faint if I decided to go it alone. When I told A about being a SMBC she laughed and said ‘only fat and desperate woman would need to do that’, B was equally as unsupportive ‘No man would want you after knowing how you became a single mother’. I tried to speak to another woman (similar character to A and B) about one of my sisters friends who had went down that route and she said ‘lets see the state of her then’ in reference to seeing which sort of woman would have to go to such lengths - much to her surprise she was an attractive law partner. I really do not think ANYONE has any idea how hard it is to meet a decent man nowadays. I definately do not support these views. Many people I have encountered in my profession are toxic and small minded and it would leave me feeling exceptionally judged and isolated socially - (as I already know first hand what many of them sadly think).

OP posts:
jeaux90 · 02/09/2022 15:50

OP look I'm very senior in a male dominated industry and I'm a single/lone parent.

Just crack on and do it if you are brave enough. Your friends who comment on it have a very bad case of internalised misogyny.

If you earn decent money it will be a lot easier as a single parent.

SliceOfCakeCupOfTea · 02/09/2022 15:58

Okay, few points to address.

Men are not all carbon copies of each other. What some men may like, others may not etc etc. It is simply ridiculous to say that a man would not like you because you chose to become a single mother. Absolutely untrue. So anytime someone says this to you, tell them they are an idiot.

Online dating is incredibly normal. I know several couples who have met OLD, some of whom have gone on to get married and have kids. It's no different to going anywhere with the intention of meeting someone new.

You friend may be well aware of your situation, but that doesn't mean that she also can't be worried about her fertility as well. Just because she is younger doesn't mean it will be easier for her. She should be able to discuss her problems with her friends without them taking them personally. However, I do think she should be sensitive towards discussing certain problems with certain friends in certain ways. One of my closest friends has been told she'll never conceive naturally and her husband is deadset against IVF so she just hopes that one day it'll happen. I had a baby in my mid 20s completely unplanned but have struggled to have a second one. My friend is aware of my struggles but we don't necessarily discuss it as we're both aware that it's an upsetting topic. I can text her a message just saying 'really feeling down' and she'll know what I mean and will try and cheer me up and vice versa.

I'd start by telling your friend that while you appreciate she has worries about her fertility etc, the topic makes you feel really sad because of the reasons she is aware of. Tell her that you are there to support her but would prefer not to dwell or make up 'what ifs' as it hurts you.

I'd also tell your friend to back the fuck off with the online stalking you and cockblocking your ability to date. Tell her in the nicest possible way to let you live your own life and if she can't be supportive then she can't be in it.

BonesOfWhatYouBelieve · 02/09/2022 16:01

monitoring my Whatsapp last seen in the evening and asking who I am speaking to

Jesus, forget insensitive this is a bit insane!

rainbowmilk · 02/09/2022 16:17

I agree OP. My workplace is so cliquey as I’m in a team where there are only 2 childless women and 13 women with kids under ten. They have their own whatsapp groups and three of them are currently pregnant. They write work blogs for our womens network about their pregnancy and motherhood journeys which they circulate to the entire department every Monday. Manager politely suggested not doing that last part as it might be sensitive and they said he was being sexist and that the whole point of it was that it was for the womens network and a man shouldn’t be telling them what to say etc.

I don’t know what the answer is, I’m afraid, but I just wanted to say solidarity. I know I can’t have kids but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a happy outcome for you.

PlntLady · 02/09/2022 16:23

Hi OP. Sorry for what you are going through.

You are right, ppl dont consider the situation you are in. I was in the same situation as you and ppl would brush it off with 'you dont know how lucky you are.... but you get to go on holiday whenever you like.... insert comment that says I'm better off and completely belittles my feelings'. I even had a friend who was unhappily perpetually single and made every attempt to discourage me where possible by insisting wanting a relationship made me weak, etc.

Dont give up though OP. When I was 35 I met an amazing man! I knew within a few dates he was my guy. Although I though I had gone past the point of starting a family by this point... I was wrong. I took a while and some extra help but I'm now pregnant.
My point is, it can happen. Try to stay positive about it (much easier said than done). When other start to become negative dont engage. Either divert the conversation or very clearly state it is something you struggle with emotionally and dont want to discuss it further. If the are worth your time they will understand that it's just what is needed to support you.

Also, something fun for online dating... I used to let other swipe for me occasionally. It sounds silly but honestly these were some of my best dates... and this is how I met my man. 🙂

Good luck OP and be kind to yourself.

raindon · 02/09/2022 16:35

I never speak to anyone about my children or their fertility unless they start the conversation heading that way. Especially in a workplace.

Fe345fleur · 02/09/2022 16:51

I totally agree people need to be more sensitive. Unfortunately it's human nature to not be very mindful of things we don't have personal experience of. We all do it. But the people you're speaking to could definitely do with thinking before they pass judgement. Also the 'friend' who is monitoring your 'last online' on WhatsApp is not a friend!

Don't be afraid to assert yourself when people are insensitive. You are not a lesser person because you don't have kids. Some people talk about parenthood like they've won the Nobel prize for giving birth. I met my partner in my late 30s and am an older mum, and DD is just one of the achievements in life I'm proud of.

Herejustforthisone · 02/09/2022 19:41

Do you work in a religious setting?

LastWordsOfALiar · 02/09/2022 19:56

I have a childless friend not by choice and we just don't talk about it at all. I have children and she is amazing at playing with them and considering them. But we don't talk about her fertility or life plans. My view is, if she wants to talk about it, she'll talk about it.

Your friends sound insensitive, especially the first one. Unfortunately some people try to keep others down to make themselves feel better.

I wouldn't rule out being a single mum. Many women, due to various reasons, end up doing it alone even if they had/have a partner. You totally can.

Obviously some people are just very unlucky with love, but could there also be an element of you being a bit of a perfectionist about who you have a child with? Let's face it, LOADS of happy families split. There's no assurances even if you met the man of your dreams. If I'm completely honest, at 36, I absolutely would settle for someone who's a 7/10. If you really want kids, and dont want to go it alone, then find a nice person and settle down. They may not make your heart skip. They may not be as sorted as you'd like, but unfortunately time is limited so that's my view at least.

Best of luck OP, I really hope you get what you dream of.

Muddledandbefuddled · 02/09/2022 20:06

I hear your concern about not having enough social support, but I know a few women who have opted for going it alone and they've all built their circle from like-minded women once pregnant and after the baby has arrived. As long as you're happy to put yourself out there having a baby is a great way to build your social super support network.

TheLighthouse23 · 02/09/2022 20:09

Your friends seem a bit selfish, but I suppose you don't talk to them about your problems.
I think it's really hard for people who are young and don't have fertility issues to imagine how you must feel. I rarely think of infertility as a problem because people don't talk about it, and I get pregnant every time I have sex without a condom. It's difficult to guess how painful infertility must be if you've never been in that situation.
I assume all the childless girls I know must be childless by choice. I don't know why...I'm really sorry it's so hard for you.
When I was breastfeeding on a bench in a town centre ages ago, an older woman came up to me almost raging that I was selfish to breastfeed in public. I didn't understand it at the time and assumed she was referring to the fact I could have exposed myself and I should be doing it in private (I always covered myself)
She did say/shout that I should think about people who can't have children, which baffled me at the time. She was practically crying with fury and looking back I think it's more likely she had lost a newborn/young baby.
It was lovely to read the replies about women who have had children when they are older, I really really hope that happens for you too.

TheLighthouse23 · 02/09/2022 20:11

Also - I really admire you wanting the best for your child and not getting pregnant by a stranger/sperm donation. Children deserve the best chance at growing up in a 2 parent family

Speedweed · 02/09/2022 20:29

Hello OP, you could be me a decade ago. I know that pain and that panic.

With regards to your 'friends', tell them fuck off. Actually, the next time either one asks for fertility advice, look patronisingly at her and ask 'Are you using the right hole?', then tell to her fuck off. Some people love to feel superior as well as rub salt in the wound of those they feel superior towards. Horrible, horrible, horrible. It's time to downgrade their security clearance from hearing about your innermost sadness about your situation to general acquaintance - don't give them any more fuel.

I found this really useful to start my thinking about the situation I was in: therumpus.net/2010/09/16/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-51/

What's hard is that sometimes you have to let go of a dream to have the better dream. A friend of mine a decade older than me (single, no children) said her greatest regret was that she wasted her time hoping and assuming it would all happen rather than taking action. Even if it hadn't worked out, she would have felt at least she gave things a go.

As for me, I went for solo parenthood. Once I'd made the decision, I had a few months OLD, which was great fun because all the pressure had gone. Still didn't meet anyone, just the usual series of losers, abusers and disasters but I felt I'd given it a good go. Then I went for it, and I'm currently watching my little one sleep. I'm happy and content.

I have a friend who settled. Turns out she and her husband couldn't have children. They have separate rooms and don't have a happy home.

I have other friends who wanted the man rather than a baby. They're still OLD, still hoping, still waiting.

Only you can decide what's right for you, but be brave and don't just let time slip through your fingers.

Sandcastlesinthesky · 02/09/2022 20:39

I would def go down the single mum route. Have a child on your own terms.It’s preferable to settling for someone like a lot of women do, being unhappy and then splitting up which often leads to having to share the dc and all the pain that brings.
People are very insensitive. Call them on it and if they keep doing it cut them out.

Sandcastlesinthesky · 02/09/2022 20:41

@Speedweed good for you. Love hearing about women taking matters into their own hands!!

Rachaelrachael · 02/09/2022 21:25

Sorry but your 'friends' sound absolutely awful and very unsupportive.
From what you've said it sounds like you worry a lot about what other people think about you.
You are in control of your future and it really doesn't matter what other people have to say should you decide to go it alone.
As a PP said there are so many opportunities to make new like-minded friends when you have a new baby.

Caramilk · 02/09/2022 21:30

I know two people who were like you at 36yo. At 39 they got married (not to each other) and both had two lovely children-and both are now grandparents (and still married)

AnotherDoggy1 · 02/09/2022 21:42

OP if this is something you really want and can see yourself doing, can afford it and so on..then do it, go it alone. I am sure that if it works out and you have your DC, you won't give a shit if some random woman in an office somewhere is asking to "see the state of" you.

Take control and do it.

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