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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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IVF

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.

Infertile and more honest than ever!

As we set out on our journey to become parents. Fresh faced and still having sex just for fun ….. imagine!! Ahh those were the days. I was ever the optimist.

I believed that the world had something to teach me out of every mistake or struggle….. like for example, when I was 16 and drank cans of special brew before a party and wore stupidly high heels, I promptly fell flat on my face trying to dance and injured my best mate (sorry Manda!) still the scratch can be seen today 😬😬, I knew the world was teaching me that I was not a drinker. That and the huge hang over contributed to me being almost T total ever since. I was the sensible one. No more drunken falls for me……. ummm well almost none 😬😬. See positive from the negative!

While I had the niggle for years that something may be wrong. I don’t know why. I just always thought I might struggle to have children, despite my monthly showing up aged 10 and being regular as clockwork AND a doctor telling me not to share even a tooth brush if I didn’t want to get pregnant. Yeah that was an accurate diagnosis πŸ™„πŸ™„.

As time progressed and it was becoming obviously there really was a problem I was showered with the usual, well meaning words of comfort. I would nod and smile and thank them or accept the suggestions of treatments and anecdotes of friends or family members that tried x and y and finally bamb. Pregnant!! Miracle.

I would hide my hurt from people. I always knew they meant well however wrong they got it. I would make excuses telling them not to feel bad that I was ok. The overriding thought being , it’s not their fault I can’t have kids. Why should they watch what they say to me.

For years that continued. I would smile and then cry silent tears when I was alone or with my husband. Why us. Why do I have to put a brave face on it.

As time moved on the anger started to seep out. I realised something.

I blamed myself for this. I felt I deserved it. I felt bad for making them feel uncomfortable at having to tell their Barron friend or family member about their pregnancy. Poor them I would think, poor them for being made to feel so bad for something so wonderful.

With my last miscarriage came a rage, a moment of FUCK THIS SHIT. (Sorry mam). I wrote about it publicly, you all know this that’s how my blog was born. But I started to think about all those other women and men out there making excuses and glossing over their pain. And then the realisation hit me.

ITS NOT OUR FAULT EITHER!!!!!!

It’s not my fault that my body is rejecting our babies. It’s not my husbands fault he fell in love with a woman that can’t have children. For my own sanity I had to STOP making it ok for people to say things that hurt us. To be honest.

Some people will never understand, perhaps they got their family easy and they don’t remember the yearning or haven’t experienced it. Perhaps they see our lives and think wow you have so much to be thankful for don’t wallow in what you can’t have. Perhaps they are ok with not having kids themselves and haven’t felt the pure desperation, of the anticipation of that one pregnancy test that will change everything. That will make us feel complete. Perhaps they have never sat through a scan while a nurse desperately tries to find the heartbeat that will never come. Perhaps they haven’t seen their friend or family member crumpled on their bathroom floor, broken and sobbing as their baby leaves their body. Another baby lost to heaven. Another imagined life never lived.

So you see. Were many would read my posts and our comments and perhaps judge us as bitter, I would tell you to look deeper to imagine that pain. Damn right it’s made me bitter at times. I am not a bad person. I’m surviving this the best I can, we all are. And in the very small space where we can all meet and not be judged we can be honest. We can draw strength from each other to push back to tell people. I’m not ok. I don’t need to fake it anymore and I can be happy for you but sad for me.

No one has the right to tell us how we should be dealing with this. Sometimes I want to scream and break plates against the wall I’m so angry. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes I feel so completely alone that the only Ray of light I can find is in my husbands arms and with you beautiful people on here. Some days I feel happy again. Some days my smile is real.

It’s ok to feel anger. It’s messy and ugly this journey. We can’t all feel the higher purpose and move on so easy. I’m incredibly proud and happy for anyone that’s there it gives me hope that one day I will feel the optimist I used to be.

Some people may never understand it and get angry in return when you can’t share their joy completely. We may get called selfish and unreasonable. Told that it’s not their fault. But remember it’s not yours either. I think some people forget this. They think we are in control of how we feel and can just “adopt” or “move on” these are the people that can’t understand and you will waste too much energy on trying to change their minds.

The best thing I can take from this journey is that I’m ok with people disliking me now. I no longer have the need to not upset people. If other people’s happiness comes at the expense of my sanity it’s not worth it. There has to be a happy medium.

The anger gets less and less as time goes on. Thankfully. I don’t feel the urge to hide away so much but I think part of this is because I do feel confident to say now,

“NO I don’t want to do that. I am in too much pain to pretend anymore. ”

You hope that people understand. Most people do. If they don’t then that’s ok too. As much as it’s my choice not to fake it any more. They have the right to be upset if they feel that way too. You can only be responsible for your own happiness. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but once I accepted this. Things have become a lot more simple for me. I’m a frickin’ infertile unicorn.

Does it ever get better?

I remember being in the “thick of it” trying to conceive. Every month was a scramble through the cycle days, scheduled sex or treatments and then the dreaded two week wait that ultimately always ended with me crumpled on a bathroom floor with my monthly bitch or a negative test.

Oh but if the tests negative we cling on to the fact that it’s maybe too early. Even though we know it isn’t and the fact is we just aren’t pregnant. Not even close.

Damn it!!

Looking back over the last 15 nearly 16 years of trying, 10 of them really really trying all I can think now is …. how much time I have wasted being sad and angry.

It’s a process we Childless mothers must go through. No short cuts. The fact is for some of us the healing never really completes, it’s like any grief you learn to live with it.

In some ways perhaps I will never feel totally at peace with it, but I am pleased to be coming to terms with the reality of not having the children we so desperately wanted. The desperation and utter devastation I felt all the time. Even when I was smiling for the cameras, my insides hurt.

I feel sad that we have to endure it. I feel angry at the injustice or having lost our babies and still having empty arms but I feel like the rawness is settling now.

I can see a life without children. It may not be the plan but then they say you want to hear God laugh tell her your plans.

When we were in the middle of trying, when there was still hope I couldn’t ever imagine this day, but then I never imagined looking back on those years feeling sad that I basically tortured myself for something I had no control over.

I know many of you reading this are at that point now, the thought of giving up or moving on may seem impossible. I want to tell you hang on it will get better. For many of you that may result in getting your dream. For those like me who may never, with time it does get better.

I used to hate people saying to me “Times a great healer” I hate to admit that it’s right to a certain extent. But it’s not just time. It’s resilience too. It’s raising your head like the warrior you are and pushing on. If there’s still hope keep pushing forward for that dream. If there’s none find something to cling to, to get you through.

For me it was my marriage. It’s reflecting on the life we have together even without children. It’s seeing the good in the spare time I may have. Do I still hurt? Of cause I do!! This journey leaves deep scars but there has to be a way to move forward with a new future. To not beat ourselves up for being failures. How can we be? We have taken this life and made the best we could.

I’m not perfect. Far from it. But I am determined to not let this take more years from me. The saddest thing for me is the taint that has left looking back on my twenties.

I’m sure there will be more bad days to come but for now I’m happy with just not feeling like I am silently screaming everyday. No one being able to hear me or reach me. There were so many success stories online when I was a couple of years in. No one really talked about what if it doesn’t happen. I had no hope of seeing a life without children or if I would ever get through it.

It’s hard. It’s brutal. But you will get through it. There is peace to be found again. There is a plan B. You just have to be ready to find it, that’s what takes time.

The loss of my fur baby.

It’s been a while since I wrote an actual blog, we have had a lot going on so it’s been hard to find something I could write about without spewing anger everywhere.

My goal for so long has been to get pregnant, to have our baby. It’s been intense for so long that I don’t know how I let it go. But I want to, very badly.

A month ago, just over. We sat with our fur baby as she took her last breaths.

I remember thinking when we lost my cousin a couple of years ago, as we stood around the room as he was taking his last breaths …. nothing can hurt as much as this. It felt like I couldn’t breath from the grief. I was wrong.

We had poured so much love into Tara, she had been there through all our losses. Sat with me as I cried and cried over them. Licked my tears, cuddled me, was there and loyal and beautiful all those 16 years. To make the decision to let her go was a awful one. Even though I knew it was the right one. To hold her beautiful perfect head in my hands as she went to sleep was crushing.

It feels like now I’m reliving all of the grief. All of it. My cousin. My miscarriages. Only this time I don’t have my beautiful old girl here to offer comfort. I do have my crazy collie, but even he’s suffering he misses his big sister. My husbands heart broken. We are struggling.

I know some people can’t understand the loss. I’m sure there have been many conversations of her being a dog and having a long life. It’s true she did. But I poured so much of my mothering instincts that I couldn’t use on children, I poured them into my old girl. She was the centre of our world for all that time. We loved her completely and she loved us more than that probably. And I feel my already broken hearts just smashed.

It’s made me release that I have to let go. I keep saying it. I keep saying that I want to move on, but really my heart just won’t let me. Even when I look at the good we have in our lives, so much good. Even when I know the financial nightmare it would be now having just started my own business. Knowing all of that it’s still hard.

I don’t want to still be feeling like this in another ten years, or worse that when my friends start having grand children that I relive this all again.

Enough already.

ENOUGH!!

I feel change coming, in small ways but I visualise almost waking from this nightmare anew, like a butterfly πŸ¦‹. Leaving all the hurt an negativity in that cocoon that’s held me so tight for all these years. Breaking free of the grief. Feeling content. I just don’t want to feel incomplete any more.

I know its strange to say having just wrote the above, but I do feel happiness. Even with this background of grief, it’s like you learn to live with it. It creeps out regularly but I can feel happy in between. My husband and I just celebrated 10 years married and 16 years together and we still happy. I’m grateful for that. That’s what I’m most proud of because I wouldn’t change that for the world. I don’t know what I would do with out him.

I know it takes time. Although hearing that doesn’t help. I can only get up each day and put my game face on like and old costume piece and get on with it and hope that one day I won’t have to act brave, one day I will actually just be OK.

How wonderful would that be?

Stop asking THE question.

Ok so maybe this isn’t something that people who have had their families quite easily think about as a problem. But it is for some of us who can’t have kids.

If there is one thing other than just making couples feel less alone I want to achieve out of this blog, it’s to stop this question.

“So, when are you going to have kids?”

Especially when it’s followed with,

“You’re not getting any younger you know!”

The possibility of this question is what adds the anxiety of family and friends social events, especially if there is a new baby or pregnant woman attending. That regularly would lead to this question to anyone married or in a long relationship and still child free.

Some people decide not to have children. That’s ok. If that’s the choice then no one has the right to challenge that or tell them they are “missing out”. Or selfish. What you choose for your own life isn’t what someone else might want, even if you don’t understand it. You don’t have to. It’s no one else’s business.

Some people can’t have children and they don’t want to talk about it. They want this painful journey to be private. By asking the question you are putting them in a position where they have to lie or hide their hurt.

Some of us are ok talking about it but perhaps don’t want to go into a lot of detail of invasive and upsetting treatments in a room full of people.

Some people can’t have kids because of horrific events that have scared their bodies. They no more want to talk about the events that caused the problems than they do want to explain why they do not have children yet!

The solution is a simple one. If someone is trying for kids or pregnant you will know soon enough. They will perhaps want to share that news with you, or you would know by the small human that will appear in time. It’s an easy fix to prevent so much upset, hurt and frankly awkward conversations by just minding your own business.

I understand completely no one ever asks this question with malice in their hearts, in fact I would suspect for many it’s from a place of love They don’t know it’s a cause of pain for someone if they don’t know the story, but here’s the thing. We don’t need to know every detail about everyone’s life if they don’t want to share it.

I am an open book. I always have been. I have shared our story because I know it has helped those people who can’t find the words to express the depth of their grief and pain. Words have never been a problem for me and it actually helps me to share. But I hope by me sharing what can be upsetting, it can just prevent those awkward moments and save some people from hurt.

I know people will say “you can’t do anything nowadays without offending or hurting someone’s feelings” and that may appear to be true! I don’t know about you but I constantly try to work on myself. I’m not perfect. I’m sure I have said or done things to offend someone so if I knew I had, I would work hard to not do that again. If you know something is upsetting why would you continue to do it?

Also sometimes I do think there is an element of auto conversation. Someone following the lines of small talk, without realising what a loaded and hurtful question that can be.

That person that’s looking you in the eyes and smiling, telling you that “no we don’t want kids just yet, we are too busy travelling, too selfish, loving the lay ins too much, happy being just the two of us” but inside they are already planning how soon they can politely leave and the ache in their throats is so bad they struggle to get those words out. They will most likely find a quiet place after and cry. They will sob for the injustice of having to answer these questions again and again when they are trying so hard. They will wonder for the millionth time “why me, what did I do wrong”

Imagine the slap in the face it would be to then hear “you’re being selfish!” This happens to people regularly. It’s cruel and unnecessary!!

You won’t know anything about this because S/he has become a pro at hiding their pain.

The question I have for you is …. should they have to? Wouldn’t it just be easier if you didn’t ask THAT question of a couple, if you don’t know what their plans are or what they have been through. There are many, many questions you can ask that keep conversation going.

“When are you having kids?” Or “are you trying for kids?” doesn’t need to be one of them.

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.

πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

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.

Januaryish

Yea so. ……Meh!!

January for so many is a little blue. It’s after all the hype and festivities have past and it makes me feel a little low.

Since we lost my cousin a couple of years ago to Leukaemia in January it’s even worse. Timed with the due date of the baby we lost that same year.

Now this year I am loosing my fur baby. She’s nearly 16 and old she’s had a good life with us, but she’s my baby and I’m devastated. I don’t know how I’m going to make the decision to put her to sleep because she just keep looking at me with those big brown eyes and wags her tail. I know I have to be there with her when it happens but I’m sick with worry thinking about it. I wish she could talk to us. To tell us if it’s time. I kills me to let her go but I don’t want to be selfish.

I hate January.

I started the New Year all this is my year. Watch me go. Blah blah.

It’s all gone now. I’m flat af.

It’s my poor husbands birthday in January and I feel so bad for him because it’s awful for him too. Feel like we need to move his birthday πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ.

Anyway I just wanted a quick post to tell you I’m still here but I may be a little quiet for the next couple of weeks. I hope you can bare with me.

❀️❀️

Well it’s nearly another New Year.

As Christmas disappears for another year, my thoughts turn to the new shinny year ahead. So much promise and unknown adventures. But I am hesitant.

I’m not one to make resolutions. I’ve never really understood needing to wait to do something at the start of a new year. I think if changes can be made, there is no time like the present, not waiting for Jan 1st.

It’s not always been the case of cause. I pinned so many of my hopes on “this will be our year!” To only be left bitterly disappointed as another year ended childless. I suppose in a way I’m tainted.

As I imagine the new year, I don’t imagine me cradling our new baby, not like I once did. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling of the promise of the year ahead. I get a feeling of almost desperate certainty that 2019 will not end with our baby finally arriving, but instead another year of trying to find a way to accept this.

I have had a lot of big changes to my life this year, leaving a career of 15 years and starting my own business, trying to fight to get to the IVF weight I just never seem to be able to reach. With this year being added to a number of difficult ones, loosing my cousin and loosing another baby, I do sometimes wonder how I can find a smile.

It’s true to say I’m not the same Sharron that I was four years ago. Like my family, I’m broken. I’m broken from the grief of loosing Gavin, something I never believed would happen until it did. I hate cancer for that. I’m broken from the missing heart beats from the pregnancies that couldn’t survive in my body. I’m broken the loss of the dream, of being a family with children. The effort of trying. The complete and utter despair that comes from trying for all these years. I could be lost in this grief and never smile again, but somehow we do.

Here’s the thing, it’s a cheesy meme waiting to be posted that we don’t know how strong we have to be until that’s all that’s left. Focusing on the good in our lives. My wonderful husband, my mum, our families. Our nieces and nephew. All reasons to smile. Some days it takes tremendous strength to be “OK” but I think that’s sometimes what makes us warriors. I do often feel like I’m at war, with my body mainly. My anger, my sorrow, my fear are of cause all part of what we deal with, but my love, my sense of fun, my need to find my smile in the worst moments is bigger. It wins.

Is it fake? Sometimes. Show me anyone on this journey that hasn’t had to fake a smile here or there. Not just on this journey but in general. But a lot of the time it’s not. I’m fighting every day to find the positive in this. Not just New Years. Every day, Every bloody day!!

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