Search

The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

Tag

healthy eating

Birthday Blues – Infertility miles stones.

As the outside world starts to turn cold again, if it ever really was warm in the first place. The leaves start to turn their various beautiful shades of orange. Autumn is here and I reflect on how this used to be my favourite time of year.

These few months before Christmas always felt so magical to me. I loved them!

My birthday is this month. On the 19th. This year I will be 39.

I mean…. really!!? 39!!! How did this happen!?

I remember turning 30 and feeling like the world was ending because I didn’t have a child by then 30 was the big bad age! I look back on those times which were filled with the hope I still felt with a mixture of sadness and happiness.

On the one hand I am lucky to have an amazing husband and we have had so many wonderful adventures together. On the other hand, as I now nearly turn 40, all hope seems lost and I long to have it back. When Hope is gone, in its place is just emptiness.

I try to remind myself of all of the good things to be thankful for but it’s hard to do this when inside I feel like I failed. At being wife. At being a woman. At doing one of the things that should come naturally. I even feel like I failed our imaginary baby.

The passing of time often brings with it melancholy. Be it for the loss of youth and freedom, the loss of beauty as its perceived, for me a loss of a dream of being a mother.

Every day I work on being OK with this. I try to keep focused on the positives and there are many around me. It’s just hard to see through the grief sometimes.

So, Happy Birthday to me. There will be no children bouncing on my bed singing happy birthday with hand made cards. There will be love however, my husband, mum and friends and their children will see to that. I will try to be grateful for that. I will try to let go of the future not being lived.

I will keep trying to make the smile I wear everyday a real one.

Reintroduction

As we are approaching the 10k followed mark on the Facebook and blog, I thought I would do another little introduction for those who have just arrived.

👋👋

Hello. Welcome. Pleased you found my little page.

I started to write a journal some years ago, it vented my inner most fears and frustrations in the early stages of us trying for children. I never shared much online because it seemed like it would be wrong, like it was a dirty secret.

As the years passed I was slowly feeling like I was being left behind. As more and more of our friends and family had children, I started to worry this may never happen for us. I don’t think I had ever thought about it to seriously until that time. Then the scary question that all couples struggling to have kids are too scared to out loud. What if this never happens for us. What if we can’t have a baby.

I started to change. Small little withdrawals I think at first and now some 15 and half years in, now I feel like there is a gaping wide hole between me and the rest of the world. I got angry. The break came when we lost a pregnancy at the same time my cousin, who was like my little brother was battling and ultimately died of cancer. My world completely fell apart and what little of the old me I clung on to completely crumbled. I got white hot mad. I was sick of feeling like it was a dirty thing to be discussing, I started by sharing a blog on another one of my projects. I wrote from a place of pure pain and grief and the amount of reaction and support I got was overwhelming. Suddenly I knew what good could come from all this heart ache. The Childless Mother was born.

It proved that while it might be an uncomfortable subject for some to read, the people who need to feel supported are the reason I do this. The ones like me who are the only ones in their “circle” that are childless and feel completely alone. If I make one person feel a little better and less lonely I’m happy.

I have PCOS, my husband is fine. He could have children but he chooses me. He’s never been bothered too much one way or another. In some ways that’s good, but I still feel guilt as I know he would be an amazing dad. It’s so sad.

Well, in summary that’s me. I’m late 30’s now and our only chance is IVF. We are loosing weight and it’s going well but slowly.

I hope this page helps a little. Even if it’s just a place to find others that can truly appreciate the pain.

The old familiar ache

The longer I have gone without successfully getting the children I so desperately want, the more familiar I am with the pain that goes with that longing.

It’s not that I ever have gotten over it, more like I just have found a way to deal with it. Having the pain just becomes part of who I am. There are however still moments. Today was one of them.

As you may remember I changed my job last year I am working with my husband now and part of the services we offer is to hospitals. We install cubicle tracks etc.

Today we did a large job, at the maternity ward. YAY.

It was a tough job so most of my attention was on what we were doing, but the longer I was there seeing the pregnant bellies come in for their scans, hearing the heart beats from the scanning room. Oh my. My heart just ached.

Being in the rooms , the little baby cribs set up for their next patient. Hearing some of those little ones crying.

At one point I was pretty obsessed with maternity and baby programmes. I would watch them enviously wishing that one day I would be going through this, excitedly cradling my big belly, probably terrified of what was to come but equally excited to meet my baby. Today as I was wheeling one of the little cribs out of our way I suddenly thought;

“I’m never going to experience this”

That thought was like a kick to my stomach. And the ache that’s been dormant for at least a little while is back.

I was looking at the thank you cards pinned proudly to the wall, wondering what I would have done. If we had managed it, I would probably be sending most of the thank you cards online.

Such simple things that anyone that’s not struggled to have children perhaps would never understand.

I have to go back tomorrow. And I will do it because we often have to do things that hurt us. Seems like we have to just accept that as part of a childfree life. A pain I don’t think will ever go.

Just wonderful. Sigh.

Sometimes I just get so angry!!

It’s fair to say over the years I have felt the full spectrum of human emotions while trying for children.

As we are 15 years in some of them have mellowed over time others still burn brightly.

I want to say.

“It’s what life has planned for you embrace it and don’t be bitter.”

But then my inner bitch is also screaming like a three year old having a tantrum.

“ITS JUST NOT F-ING FAIR!!!”

I don’t have control over that feeling. It comes out sometimes in random burst of rage. The injustice of not being able to be a mum and the loss of our babies burns bright and bitter.

Sometimes the need to hold just one of our babies hurts so badly I want to scream. My heart aches and while most of the time I can put a smiling front on it, only mainly sharing my pain on these pages and focus on the other wonderful things in my life, I have come to accept that I may always feel this anger too.

I look around me at so many beautiful pictures of new families, of new babies and I feel a warm happiness for them but selfishly long to know what that feels like. To bring home that new baby and experience that happy exhausted moments. To watch as my husband sleeps with our child safely on his chest as our family come to meet the new arrival.

People will say to let anger go that it’s no good, I don’t agree for me sometimes my anger is all that’s got me through a day, because if I didn’t feel that raw white rage then I would feel the alternative which is the very deep sorrow.

I never would have thought I would be a bitter person. I am always glass half full. I am working hard to not let the grief turn my heart to stone just so I don’t feel anything. I wish I was ok with that but I am not. So a compromise is letting the anger out sometimes. Accepting that it’s ok that I feel that way.

If you have anyone in your life that doesn’t understand this then you often have to be a little selfish sometimes. You just have to understand why you feel that way not others.

One thing that sets the anger off is seeing so many people on my pages hurting because they are being pressured to go to family baby events.

I see a lot of messages and comments from our community of people frustrated because family members, friends and sometimes even their partners don’t understand why they are angry or maybe don’t feel like they can face events.

I will repeatedly say it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure we are happy and ok but really is it so bad if your friend/ family member doesn’t come to a baby shower/ event? Because they literally want to crawl into their bed and cry?

People will say … “can’t they just be happy for us? It’s not our fault they can’t have kids!” – actually a comment someone made to one of our community.

Here’s the thing, no, no it’s not your fault but by saying this you are suggesting it’s theirs. IT ISN’T. From the moment you announced your pregnancy that person would be very happy for you but equally sad for themselves and wondering how they will make it through the next 9 months and beyond trying to be a good friend to you while dealing with the crippling grief of wanting so badly what you have.

They will fake it a good deal of the time. Why would you want someone to force them self into a situation where the event is literally all about the very thing they can not have and to do that for you to make you feel more comfortable and happy. Yes you may only have one baby shower etc but I guarantee you most of the other people in your life are running and jumping for joy at your new arrival. It’s a wonderful and happy time for you and those close to you. Enjoy it. That one couple loves you and your baby but they are struggling.

I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me although I understand why they did, I want them to enjoy their happy time. It sucks that sometimes I can’t embrace it completely with them but neither side should feel bad and for that. No one has made a choice for us to not be able to have kids, it’s medical. We are all just dealing with it the best we can.

A rather crude analogy someone said to me recently

– you wouldn’t expect a diabetic to eat a chocolate Birthday cake to show they celebrated your Birthday – so why do we ask couples with a medical condition that’s ripping their hearts out to endure events baby centred so that they don’t make the new parents feel bad.

We can be happy for you and support you in other ways that don’t involve me playing party games and changing a nappy on a doll blind folded while everyone talks baby’s. Can you understand how awful that is for us to sit through? In reverse I wouldn’t want anyone to do that for me if it hurt them so badly. Your friend that just lost her baby, that just had a failed round of IVF, that has been trying and trying with no result, she is basically trying to hold her shit together and not let the hurt and grief and anger out. I don’t think it’s so much to understand that pain and say,

“I know you love me and my baby, but it’s ok for you not to do this! I understand!”

Give them a choice.

It’s a lonely label to be under and yes hard sometimes to understand if you haven’t been there. People are awkward and don’t know how to talk about it. It’s actually ok to admit that.

I’m lucky I am surrounded by people that do get it and are hurting for me. I think if we ever do get pregnant and progress to having a child it will be celebrated as a king or queen. Somehow that knowledge makes the rage build 😂😂😂. Lol.

Or maybe I’m just an angry person now. My battle scars leak rage. I’ll accept that for my sanity.

Am I a Real Woman?

I read an article today about women who are childless or childfree whatever your preferred term. Some by choice, some like me that can’t have children.

A repeated theme through the article was that they were made to feel like they were defective, less than, not as important even selfish.

Some of the comments on the news feed directed to those who are childless by choice seemed to be as harsh. It really upset me.

Being a mother, while a wonderful thing to be, it does not define you as a woman. I would like to think that if we had children I would still keep my identity, keep some of myself that I would share with my offspring.

It feels like some of the people on the feed suggested that those couples are selfish. REALLY? Why does having a solid belief that you are not meant to be a parent make you selfish? Surely having a child you don’t want, just to fit in with what others think you should be doing is more crazy?!

Others stated that they “felt sorry” for those people missing out on that sort of love, like our lives are so empty without it. Don’t get me wrong. I feel emptiness from the losses of our babies and I can imagine the happy feeling of holding our child but is my life empty? No it’s not.

When you have time to mull over the choice for starting a family you do question why do I want this? Why did I want a baby so badly so young?

You all know from previous blogs I wanted this from a young age. I can’t ever remember not wanting to be a mum. I wanted it so badly. But I look back now and I do wonder how much of that is by suggestion. It’s what people did. They get married. They have kids. That’s just what you do, it’s the plan most follow.

I would have done it young too if I had been able to. Then I reflect on the things we have done over the last 15 years that we would perhaps not been able to do with children and I wonder if that would have been the right choice. I don’t think it would have been. Now as I look back, I am so pleased that we have had time together to build our team and while the heartbreak of the losses I wouldn’t ever want to relive that, I do feel grateful that we didn’t get pregnant within the first two years of our relationship at 23. I feel like now that would have been the wrong choice for us. I wasn’t mentally old enough for that. I would have done it and managed like so many do but I wouldn’t have done it as well as other do.

Like my best friend in the world for example, she has four Beauties and her first when she was 20. She was instantly a wonderful mum, like a switch flipped. She wanted her babies they were planned. Her life has been wonderful in different ways to mine, and I’m blessed that I share with her some of the moments with her kids. I don’t think I would have been as good as her. I love those kids though and my other nieces from my husbands brother very much. They are all perfect.

This journey has a nasty and surprising side effect. Bitterness. It eats at you and I have to work really hard to not let it take over my heart. I can imagine it would if I let it. Resentful of anyone that announces a pregnancy. I feel jealousy of cause, I let myself feel that but I try to recount the blessings to keep the bitterness out.

My husband. Our marriage. Our team. Team Phillips. Our travels. Our love.

The worlds full of beautiful different family units now. There is no one size fits all. I don’t need to have carried a child to affirm my womanhood. We aren’t less than. Our opinions matter, we don’t have to have given birth to know right from wrong or to understand parenting. One of the most hurtful things you can say to me would be “you don’t know because you haven’t had kids”

It’s not rocket science. I know myself well enough to know what sort of parent I would be. Do I know how hard it is? Not fully no, how could I? But I’m not clueless. Like many childless couples we probably think we know more than we do until we actually had children and it all goes out the window. But I see all around me how people are with their kids. My opinions still matter.

We feel sometimes out of place, like we don’t quite fit in any box anymore. We are the last couple of our friends that don’t have children. I think sometimes that people can push couples like us away because we don’t fit in anymore. I have come to terms with this over the years of trying to fake the parties and events with kids and other parents, the awkward silence or uncomfortable comments when you say at 38 you don’t have kids.

Sometimes you have to be a little selfish. I hold my hands up to that. But you know what, when you have experienced the losses we have and felt the pain we have, I think you would understand we deserve to be that sometimes. We have often comforted others through our infertility making them feel bad, I don’t do that anymore. That’s not our responsibility just as it isn’t theirs either. It is what it is. People either understand or they don’t.

Fifteen years in and I know for sure. I’m just as much of a woman as any mother, I’m not defective. This is something I’m learning to live with. It’s not what we planned but it’s not all doom and gloom!

Waking from grief.

If I think too hard back over the last ten years I get an ache in my throat. Tears often threaten. Life’s a wonderful gift, but sometimes it’s an evil bitch.

I have had some of the best moments, marrying my husband, my best friend. Cheesy but very true. New travels, new experiences. But it’s also brought with it some terrible lows. Especially the last three years.

Every miscarriage I have experienced has layered more and more sadness on my heart. It’s chipped away at it’s normally very optimistic exterior. After all, how could I not be optimistic, I found Ben.

When my cousin fell ill and then sadly died I felt a bit of me go with him. Again cliche to say that, but it’s the best way to describe how I felt. I just am not the same person I was before. We dealt with what had to be done at the time as a family then we disappeared back into our own worlds to try and process the loss.

It felt like every day I was screaming in pain silently. My exterior often smiled but then in the quiet places when I was alone, my tears fell freely. It felt like dealing with the loss of my babies and Gavin all together. It twisted and wrapped itself up in one big lump of pain that’s just with me all the time.

They often say times a healer. I don’t find that true. What I do believe is time gives you an opportunity to learn to deal with the pain you are feeling. It becomes the new normal.

I retreated from everything. I barely saw my friends even my family. I was happiest in my house not having to do anything or see anyone.

Then earlier this year I had a car accident. A really bad one and my cheese well and truly slipped off my cracker. All that time to stay still, all those hours alone. It wasn’t pretty. My world literally felt like it fell apart.

I made some big changes. I left my job. I stared my own business an extension of my husbands already successful company. We sell and fit blinds commercially and domestically. We spend A LOT of time together. I love it.

Just recently I have started to notice a change, like a fog lifting. I don’t feel so heavy all the time. I don’t feel the need to hide away as much. My smile is no longer forced, my laugh is genuine.

Don’t get me wrong there are some days the fog slips back and I feel the loss completely again, but it’s less frequent.

I can think of Gavin without feeling the urge to brake something.

I don’t feel like all of a sudden I’m over the losses we have experienced, I know there will be bad moments to come. Like when I see something I desperately want to tell him about and I still go to message him, for those wonderful few moments he’s with us, then I remember he’s gone.

It’s the small steps that are helping. The little glimpses of the old me.

Finding where we fit in a world that the “norm” is having kids is sometimes hard. I discovered this week that those of us many years into trying but still not lost hope completely, apparently we don’t fit in with those who defiantly can’t. The fact we still have hope however small separates us. Was a little upsetting as I have always taken comfort in anyone on this journey. Even if some have had children. We still bare scars from the journey.

So my circle now is even smaller it would seem. I’m 37. I have lost my babies, I am trying to learn how to get my head around the fact we will likely never be parents. Yes I still have a small glimmer of hope, but that is dimming with every passing year.

The grief I feel from the label “Childless”. One day I hope it’s a label I can wear without causing me pain. I feel like it might happen. Now the fogs lifting.

Childfree in a sea of parents.

I don’t think I ever felt like I was “normal” who is right? What even is normal nowadays? I don’t really even like the word!!

Dealing with infertility and PCOS has just increased this feeling of not really fitting in. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I don’t mind being slightly different. Having said that there are times that as a couple in our thirties and childfree, I feel we stick out like sore thumbs. It can catch me quite off guard at times too. Then I get angry at myself to allowing the self pity back in.

On Friday we had some time to kill between work appointments. We decided to go to the cinema and the only thing that happened to fit with our schedule was “Christopher Robin” – loved it, deffo worth a watch. Pooh Bear is so cute!! – but of cause it was filled with families.

Here we were. In our work clothes (looking like we just came off a building site) no children and watching a Disney movie. I didn’t think much about it at first until the cinema filled up and I realised we were in fact the only childfree people in there. Including a mum with her toddler and beautiful baby bump that walked right past inches from my face to sit next to us. ……. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ awesome!

I suddenly thought ” What must people think about us?!”

The fact is we are both big kids, we love a good Disney movie and the reality was probably no one even noticed we were childless but my damaged brain repeated hurtful things to me. You don’t belong here, you shouldn’t even be here, what must people think, why would you be here without children….. imagine what it would be like if you had a child here to share this with.

I’ve never been self conscious about this sort of thing before. This is new. I think maybe because the older we get we are the only couple now that doesn’t have children in our circle of friends, it feels like we are alone. That being said, we don’t need to have children to enjoy childish things.

I feel distant sometimes from our friends for this reason too. There is a certain connection that parents share from knowing what it’s like to be going through parenthood. A comradery almost (well until they are trying to out do each other with costumes and PTA bullshit then they are straight up enemies!) Still there are things that we can’t share. Birthing stories, Shared activities, children’s parties, clubs, education, trends etc. It feels sometimes like Im a spectator watching a game I can never play and I don’t understand the rules I just sit quietly at the side lines. I can do nothing about it. That’s what hurts the most.

I could allow myself to be consumed with anger and the “why us” of it all. I try not to. I embrace the life we have. It’s not the one I imagined but it’s a good one. My marriage is so good. We have fun and laugh more than we cry. He still makes my stomach flip after 16 years. That doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the life we imagined, the little boy or girl that would have completed us, but we aren’t just surviving. We are happy.

The song “This is Me” from the movie The Greatest Showman is so completely perfect for me, I cry almost every time I hear it. I feel the words passionately. I am broken and bruised. My scars may not all be visible but they are there and I wear them proudly. For every baby that lived however briefly inside of me. I feel like shouting THIS IS ME!

We almost apologise for being as we are, like we feel an obligation to make others around us feel less uncomfortable with our infertility. Often passing off events or moments as no big deal when secretly we are screaming inside. I don’t do this anymore. I make no apologies, we didn’t ask for this it’s no ones fault, we all just do the best we can. It’s not my responsibility to make others feel ok about it and it’s not theirs to make us feel better. We are coping the best we can.

So no, I may never be living the “normal” life I imagined as a child but I am living the absolute best life. Not a constellation prize type deal. It’s an actual good life. I’m just a little brokenis all.

The DUFF, weight loss for ivf and PCOS

Loosing weight for me is so desperately frustrating. I have all these reasons I should be doing it. Mainly because we want IVF but everything just seems like it’s gone to pot since my car accident in March.

I have always felt like the DUFF in my circle of friend. I don’t say that for cry’s of “no your not!!” It’s just the facts. I have carried a lot of insecurities over the years for the way I look and I spend a lot of time judging what is wrong with my appearance. I can honestly say I have never felt beautiful, no matter how many times my mum or husband tell me I am. They have to right?

What pisses me off is that I am a strong woman. I have faced some of the worst human experiences and am still standing. I have put a brave face on and worked through loosing my pregnancies and continued to try. I have dealt with the knowledge that I would probably never be a mother even though it’s a dream I have had from being a child.

I carried on the day before Gavin my cousin died after spending a night with him, the same night he was told he was going to die. My hearts never been so broken watching him struggle with that information. I loved him so much and cancer ripped him from us. I continued to breath after he actually died even though it hurt to even do that. My grief screams silently everyday. Mostly no one would know. I continue on.

I have it in me to fight. So why do I find it so hard to fight for myself? For my self esteem. Why do we look for the faults? It’s so easy to do that. I know I need to continue with the weight loss but equally I know that I need to find acceptance no matter my size. Find a way to feel like I look good, to ooze confidence. I am beginning to realise no amount of weight loss will do that for me. I have to do that for myself from the inside.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say. So I might not have a skinny arse, tiny waist but does that mean I am less than? Why does that make us feel so bad that we don’t always make that standard of beauty around us.

I have been struggling to keep motivated since the accident. I have since changed my job I’m doing more physical work now which means my appetite is insane so it’s been easy to eat off plan.

Things are finally settling down into a routine after a couple of months setting my company up. It’s going so well, actually smashing my targets but I’m worried I’m taking my eye off the weight loss plan.

I want to do it. I need to do it. I’m getting angry at myself for giving in to bad food choices and justifying them because I’m doing so much physical activity. I run much longer ….. my joggers are still as tight. Argghhhg!!!! 😂😂😂.

I need to get a grip!!

Tomorrow is a new day ….. oh my goodness wish me luck. AGAIN 🙈🙈🙈.

Baby clothes ….a weird hope.

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, I suspect I am not but I’m going to share anyway in case there are others like me feeling the same.

After all these years I have a huge urge to shop for nursery equipment and baby clothes. There! I said it. It’s out there.

I always imagined the months and weeks leading up to a birth, the excitement and preparation of the new arrival would be so wonderful. Part of that imagined scenario is the nursery and baby clothes.

In the early days I would look around these sections when I shopped alone and imagine being able to just buy anything remotely baby related to make up for all the time yearning.

When we did get pregnant and the few occasions that bean was a strong one and made it further into the pregnancy. I even went as far as buying a couple of football related items to give to my husband. They sat in a bottom draw for years until we moved house the last time and I had to let them go for my sanity. The bottom draw became a shrine and that didn’t feel good. I was tormented by them.

It’s hard to let go of these items when you see the moment clearly. A happy moment I would have shared with my husband. Handing him a Newcastle United onesie with Phillips on it. Telling him we finally were going to be parents.

I’m often surprised by the way some things affect me and then others that I would brace myself for turn out to be not too bad. For example the other day we were doing some work on a maternity ward, a couple were signing in to give their baby as I waited to see if we could carry the work out. The ache I carry everyday burned so badly at that moment. I will never experience this. I braced myself for the whole way to the job and actually it wasn’t too bad, once the initial pain passed I was ok.

I was a little jealous looking at all those baby bumps and going into the delivery suite thinking I have no clue what it’s like to be here and I want to be here so badly. The little units with the little knitted hats waiting for a beautiful head to cover. But I left feeling a little sad, but ok.

A few hours later we went to a shopping centre to buy some new clothes for our holiday next week. We are going to Prague 😁😁. The fitting room of cause had to be in the middle of the baby clothes. There was a little tiny pair of skinny jeans. They were for 0-3 months and were the cutest thing I have ever seen. They fit in my hand.

As I waiting for my husband to try his clothes on, I watched as families browsed the clothing and selected items and I felt such a huge wave of grief. Grief for a life I am not getting to live.

It’s like that movie sliding doors, in an alternative world I didn’t loose our babies and my husband and I are going through all these normal life experiences and my heart isn’t broken. We cradled my huge bumps while our little one kicked away and grew safe and strong protected by my body, we argued over furniture and colours for the nursery we spent time creating for them, we were able to buy the beautiful clothes for our children. That version of us doesn’t feel like a fraud for even picking up those little jeans. That version on me might have bought them in the right size for our children. You would feel the overwhelming love in our home. Love of our family.

There is a lot of love anyway. In the real version of our lives I am so happily married. I’m so completely in love with my husband fifteen years on. We get to travel a lot. We have nice things. We are happy. We have a lot to be thankful for. We just have this one part that hurts every day, it’s become part of our lives. Some days it’s just like white noise irritating but I can ignore it. Some days my grief screams so loudly that my chest aches. Those are the days I wish we didn’t have to experience it. I wish I could find a way to let go and be ok with it and that small things didn’t eat away at me , like perfect little jeans for a perfect baby we might never have.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑