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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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WEIGHTLOSS

It’s over. I’m throwing in the towel.

As you all know since 2004-5 my husband and I have been trying for children. It was a huge focus when we got married in 2009, we have continued to try until this year.

How do you find out there’s a problem then continue to live normally and not loose the plot? Honestly, I don’t know that I did. I’ve been hugely effected by the journey so far. Adding to the fact that I lost my cousin who was more like my little bro four years ago to cancer. The cracks in my heart are pretty bad. I’m not the same person I was.

I was the optimist. I always had a good angle to put on any situation. That’s slowly drained from me. I’m not that optimistic anymore. That’s definitely one thing that’s changed, I’m trying to get that back.

I’ve been in a pretty low place. A lot of my time has been spent pretending I’m ok when really I just wanted to stay home in bed. I’m sure it’s a familiar feeling for many of you struggling with mental health issues and infertility. I don’t believe I’m depressed because my moods reflecting the things we have been through. I’m processing.

This last year in particular has been a time to reflect on what next. I keep saying it but my heart has been wallowing in the same self pitying stew and it’s not as easy as “just snap out of it” ” be thank you you don’t have kids, you want mine!” “It’s gods plan” ” all in good time” etc etc.

The facts are I desperately wanted a family of my own from a very young age, to carry a child that’s a little of me and a little of the man I love and for us to feel complete. I’m lucky that my husband has always been ok if we didn’t have children.

So now plan B.

It’s been a long process of trying to accept the hand we have and to find out what life now looks like after so many years of working up to having kids.

I know there are parents out there thinking – are you nuts?? Enjoy your freedom and sleep! To them I say- imagine your kids aren’t in your life, how would you really feel ….. well once you got a couple of lay ins!! Lol. I’m sure most wouldn’t part with them. Other parents pour empathy for us, I get so many messages saying they wish more than anything they could change our outcome. I appreciate those words so much.

This blog page was born out of raging pain that I just needed to be let out. I know it’s helped people, I’m so proud of that! I appreciate the support more than you can ever know.

I’m going to continue to blog about our life as a childless couple. So content may change slightly but I will still reflect on those days when I’m feeling the hurt. I just feel for me to move forward I need to start to look at the positives in my life, I do have so many.

I hope you guys can still support us. Continue to interact with the pages. Coming up we have a trip to Las Vegas and NEW YORK which we will share with you.

I want to try to show being childless not by choice in a positive light with still brutal honesty for anyone that pisses me off 🤷🏻‍♀️😂.

It takes strength to pull yourself up everyday from the depths of this journey. I just hope some light hearted pieces mixed in with the very real shitty bits and hope that it won’t always be this gut wrenching pain. Hopefully you get your Miracle, I hope that so much for all of you, but if not that we can show you that although that pain doesn’t go (or hasn’t so far) there is a life and a happy one to be found.

Here’s to plan B 🥂 and more adventures for Sharron and Ben ❤️❤️

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.

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!!

Childless at Christmas ….. I’m broken.

I try really hard to carry on and don’t let the scars show but sometimes it’s hard.

I always find Christmas difficult although I absolutely love this time of year it’s bitter sweet. The reality of dealing with infertility has meant for me that I have built and armour around my heart. I tell myself I’m ok and to not think too much about the what ifs.

I do well at this normally.

Just now I’m failing miserably.

As my husband and I sat in our cosy little living room the other night, he was watching the tea time game shows he loves so much and shouting the answers (mainly right) at the TV like the contestant might hear him and I sat doing a 5D diamond art, I felt an over whelming sense of grief and loss. I don’t know what sparked it or why it flooded me with sadness but it did.

My mind wandered to what we may be doing as a family with children, certainly not what we were actually doing. Perhaps we would be doing homework or bath time and stories. Perhaps we would be colouring in with them or praying for a moments peace to be doing exactly what we were actually were doing having “me time” while they ran rampaged around the house. Maybe we would be watching a christmas movie together as we hung the decorations. ……. I can’t even continue to finish this line of thought in blog form. It hurts too much.

I bury those thoughts so deep that when they escape and I let my self wonder, I feel the crack in my amour and I cling on so tight to the tears that threaten. Not just the silent tears I have so often cried but the body wracking sobs that I hold in. I hold them so tight my head and throat ache from them.

It was made worse by reading a news article of a little baby around a month old murdered by his mother and step father while they were high. I’m completely broken by that little boy. The life he could have had if he was only born to someone like us that would have protected him, kept him safe, loved him. I don’t understand how the world is so cruel.

People often say that they can’t imagine how it feels to be going though what we and others like us have. I think the feeling is a simple one. To step back just for a few moments of your busy life, to look at your beautiful children doing what they are doing good and maybe the tear your hair out moments too. Now imagine what your life would be if they were never there.

I know some may glamourise our life, that we don’t know tired. We don’t know worry. We can just do what we want when we want but the fact is I would do anything to have my life turned upside down. No ones life is perfect. I know if we had kids we wouldn’t find it easy. It’s bloody hard. But nothing worth having is easy. I want so badly to know.

To hold a child that’s a little of me and my crazy family and part my husband and his family. It’s so sad that we may never know.

I know I’ll be ok. I will find a way of pulling my amour back into place and continue, after so long it becomes the norm for me. Still, every now and then, I do wonder just how it would feel to be complete. To have this hole in my heart repaired. I think that would be a relief.

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!

Handling Random Bursts of Sadness

This morning, for no reason, I woke crying. It’s possible that I dreamt about something that I don’t remember I don’t know but I think it is just a random burst of sadness.

I call it this because I do so well making an effort to be happy that sometimes the sad bubbles up and leaks out. I don’t know why it does that either.

Those blissful moments between awake and asleep usually protect me from how I’m really feeling. I forget we lost Gavin, I forget it’s nearly his 30th Birthday and how angry I am he’s not here thanks to cancer, I forget I’m not a mum and how hard we have been trying. In those blissful seconds I’m just content.

Most mornings that’s ok. I get up and the bad stuff slips in a little at a time. In manageable lumps in time I am used to.

This morning random burst of sadness before I’d even opened my eyes. Brick load dumped on me.

My monthly’s on the way so hormones are all over the place but really. I am not able to have kids so why am I being tortured every month with that?! Not fair!!

I had such a lovely day yesterday and the day before for my birthday and then with our nieces and family. Maybe it’s Birthday Blues 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️.

I wonder how many of us cry the silent tears I do while everyone else sleeps? By the time it gets light I will have pulled myself together like this didn’t happen. But for now I’m sharing it with you so I’m not alone. ❤️

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