Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ups & Downs

Over three months after making the decision to stop using medical intervention to try to get pregnant, I find that I am having more good days than bad days. Occasionally I think about the fact that it is highly likely that I will never be a parent, but for the most part, I just live my life and enjoy it. I think much, much less about my inability to have a child now that I am not actively doing much about it. It seems a little contradictory; you might think that taking positive action would have made me feel better about our predicament, but I found that it did not.

Sure, there are things that come up that make me bitter and angry. . . . like hearing that my step-sister's 20-year-old son has fathered a child with his on again/off again girlfriend, or that a second cousin is pregnant with her second child in two years when I know she didn't plan either pregnancy. But truth be told, hearing about the unplanned pregnancies of people with little education, no career path and limited parenting skills has always chapped my hide, long before I was ever TTC or knew that I was unable to have a child of my own. And I have actually gotten better (for the most part) about accepting others' pregnancy announcements with aplomb.

I find that I do better if I focus on the present. In the present, today, I am happy with my life and with my relationships. I have a job I enjoy and the freedom to travel and sleep in on weekends. Sure, little-to-nothing that I'm doing is going to have much lasting effect on the world around me, but I am OK with that. I am even able to spend time with my toddler godson, my 3-year-old nephew and other small children without feeling sad about the fact that I will likely never experience motherhood myself.

If I think ahead, though, even a year or two in the future, the sadness and regret and anger can creep in. I never thought I'd be moving into middle age without being a mother, particularly a middle-aged MARRIED woman with no children. (I had entertained the slim possibility that I would remain childless because I had never married.) As I am turning 39 on Sunday and am still not pregnant, after 23 months of TTC, I will soon be entering a future I had never envisioned.

Oh well. Honestly, very little in my life has turned out the way I thought it would when I was a teenager and young adult. So living a life I had not anticipated should come as no surprise to me.

Still, I have found giving up the dream of having a child of my own much more difficult than some of my other unrealized expectations about my life. I am not entirely sure whether this is because becoming a mother is such a strong biological drive, in addition to being a desired psychological, emotional, and social experience, or whether it's because I wanted this particular thing so much more than most of the other things in my life which I have thus far not attained.

As in all things, I try to think logically about our childlessness, and most of the time, I succeed. But I have found it much, much harder to put emotionality aside with respect to this disappointment than others I have experienced. As someone with a reputation among friends and family for calm rationality about even the most emotional of experiences (I'm the person who is comforting others at a family member's funeral or coolly driving a bleeding friend to the ER), the emotions I have experienced as a result of our infertility have been an unusual experience for me.

So that's where I'm at. 85% of the time, I believe I am making progress toward resigning myself to a life without children. It's usually the other 15% that makes its way into a post on this blog.


  1. It sounds like you are doing really well at focusing on the present. Your positive attitude is inspiring.

    My parents married in their mid 30s and ttc for 3 years, then my mom got pregnant and had a baby at 39..And again at 40 & 41 (without any fertility treatments). I know everyone's journey is different but just thought I'd share that with you.

  2. I'm glad things seem to be going a little better. I agree that focusing on the present (and what's good about it) helps...instead of trying to look ahead.

    I think on the that makes it so hard to deal with for me is that it's never really completely behind you. In most situations, you can deal with disappointment or failure and move on. With this, though, there's sort of an unknown, at least for me. Will I change my mind about treatment? Will I magically get pregnant on my own, when I least expect it? That's one aspect of it that makes it especially hard for me, but I think the other things you mentioned are difficult, too.

  3. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, too. I just don't know, don't know if I can get where you are. I want to be ok with it, especially since I may not have a choice ... I was ok with childlessness before Troy and I started trying. Now, I just can't seem to get back there.


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