Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Living After Infertility March 28, 2012

I subscribe to Resolve’s “Living After Infertility Resolution” Support Community. Or at least I used to until yesterday, when I removed myself from the mailing list.

Apparently, the only viable “resolution” for infertility is pregnancy and the “support” forums are filled with questions about the best strollers for twins and complaints about weight gain at 24 weeks. When I dug back into the archives I found exactly THREE posts from people trying to move on with a childfree life.

I avoid using profanity in a public forum, but not in the comfort of my own home, so when I tell you I said, “Forget it!” you can fill in your own blank for what I really said.

I think that Resolve does wonderful work in helping people deal with infertility, but for those of us who have run out of options or made the decision to get off the crazy train and get about the business of building a life without children, that support is non-existent. Unless a miracle baby happens, there is apparently no living after infertility.

Well, that’s not the case here, sisters. I am alive and well and swearing like a sailor to prove it. And when National Infertility Awareness Week comes around next month, you’d better believe I’m going to be out there saying, “Hey!!! What about us?”

It’s Whiny Wednesday, my wondering living friends. If you’ve got something to say, now’s the time. Just watch your language, if you don’t mind.

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40 Responses to “Whiny Wednesday: Living After Infertility”

  1. What a strangely mis-named support group…I think you should go right ahead with whatever profanity makes you feel better!

  2. Kellie Says:

    I too left Resolve a couple months back for the same reasons as you Lisa. My husband and I even tried to go to a support group through Resolve, only to find ourselves face to face with an acupuncturist at the meeting who swore that if we only went and saw her, she would cure my infertility. I had a few choice swear words for her as well! I have never been back to a meeting, as everyone there was still in the midst of trying and we had decided to move on in hopes of getting our life back.

    My whine for the day….how long does it take to get our life back? When does the pain stop? It’s been 10 months since our last and FINAL BFN using our donor, and I still am so sad at times. My husbands best friend and wife had their baby yesterday and though I am trying to be happy for them, I just cant let go of the feeling of why they got so lucky and we didn’t. I know this too shall pass, but when?

    Thanks for allowing me a place to whine today- I think I feel a bit better already this morning.

    • Kate B Says:

      Kellie, My honest answer to you is that I don’t think it ever passes completely. Like all pain and grief, it fades eventually, but some piece of it is always there. Probably not what you wanted to hear, But, the thing to remember is that you can have a really good life, a happy life despite that. There will be other things to bring you joy. It’s about letting go of the life you dreamed of and learning to love the life you have.

    • Mali Says:

      Kellie, if I’m brutally honest, I would say it took me two years to really adjust and accept. And as Kate says, that doesn’t mean that the sadness doesn’t pop up at times. But here I am, over eight years on, and I’m good. Yes I get sad occasionally, but I know parents get sad and think wistfully too of the things they can’t do anymore.

      And it’s not surprising that a couple close to you having a baby is painful to you. That often makes our grief feel new and fresh and raw.

  3. monka Says:

    my whine EVERY wednesday is parents who put on blinders when they drive. My house is located 3 blocks from 2 Elementaries and 1 junior high(middle school). I park my car outside on the front street and on cold or snowy days I have to scrape my windows. I can’t tell you the number of times that people have driven past me at unsafe speeds because they are running late dropping off Lil Johnny. Or worse – the stink eye I get as people are “inconvenienced” to slow down as they go by. Seriously? I fear for my life sometimes. My issue is multiple – 1 – don’t be so focused on your own child’s life that you threaten mine. 2 – This is a community too and there could be children getting into the car – 3 – since there aren’t children getting into the car does that condone speeding and make an adult life worth less – 4 – Wouldn’t you want me to slow down if I was on your street? SLOW the F#$% DOWN!

  4. cazzolafamily Says:

    my whine: we are also trying to move on but the pain is still very fresh as it has only been about six weeks since we decided not to schedule another ivf cycle and just move on. i will be turning 40 next month; we tried for nearly seven years to conceive. yesterday was a particularly rough day and i got not just one, but two -TWO letters from very well meaning friends suggesting adoption. one friend knows that we have already tried and that it came to a very abrupt and painful ending. to both emails were tagged information about the agency/lawyer/children. i feel like i can’t be honest with these friends about our decision to remain childfree. i know we would be thought of as a selfish, ungodly couple. my husband and i have never hurt so bad, and yet we’ve never felt so isolated.

    • Jen Says:

      People always want to try to find a solution to the problem and think that adoption is the answer. Well, it isn’t for everyone. We also tried for many years and now are living childfree and get the question of why don’t you just adopt. I feel this is a very personal decision and it shouldn’t be judged by others. Don’t let others make you feel bad about your decision. In my case, my hubby isn’t interested in adopting and though I would have moved forward if he was, I decided that my first committed is to my marriage. It isn’t easy moving on, so to speak, it took me well over a year to finally decide and be happy with our decision to live childfree. Give yourself time. When I find myself in a situation where I am feeling so sad about not having a child, I will go to that place in my mind and think about all the wonderful, positive things I get to do in my life without a child.

    • Mali Says:

      Hi. I know you say you think you’d be thought of as a selfish, ungodly couple because you’ve decided to remain childfree, but I can tell you that in the months and years after we made the decision, the very worst thoughts were the ones in my head, the ones I imagined other people to say. And you know what? Eight years on, no-one has said that to me. And as far as I know (all my sisters-in-law tell me what the others – and the mother-in-law – say) no-one has said any of the awful things I’ve imagined they’d say.

      If these people are real friends, they know you, they know you’re not selfish. You could you say something like “adoption isn’t an option for everyone” and then just refuse to answer any questions (it’s too painful)?

  5. Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

    Client canceled a meeting for this morning b/c he forgot he had to go to his kid’s school event. Now, I would never want to disappoint a child, but this (insert appropriate words here) sent out an e-mail after 10 pm last night for a morning meeting. Four other people cleared their schedules for him, and the only reason I saw the message was that I was up late reviewing notes. No regard for the sacrifices the rest of us have made to be there. No apology. I fumed until after midnight….now I’m done. ….Re: Resolve, how can we let them know we’re here? I’m appalled by what’s going on…. Kellie and Cazzolafamily, I am so sorry for your pain. You are not alone. I hope you can find some comfort and encouragement in the voices and stories on this site. Be gentle with yourselves.

  6. loribeth Says:

    I’m not surprised re: Resolve… the childless/free option seems to get short shrift from any infertility-related community I have posted or lurked on. It’s true that CF boards within a larger IF community are often not well used (I can think of several examples from my own experience)… but I still think you should offer them, if you are truly committed to supporting the entire IF community (and especially if you are Resolve, which most people view as THE representative of infertility interests in America). Childless/free living is hugely misunderstood by the population at large — but I think we hope for at least a modicum of understanding & inclusion from “our people,” if you know what I mean. :(

    Don’t know how many of you followed or were involved in the recent brouhaha over at Stirrup Queens… but it was amusing/annoying how often people talked about pregnancy (by whatever means) or adoption as the only ways to resolve infertility — and the childless/free after option was never mentioned. Kudos to those, including Pamela at Silent Sorority/Coming2Terms and Mali here, who kept patiently pointing that out throughout the discussions, in their own blogs & in comments on others.

  7. Leanne Says:

    well, i’m showing my face…i’ve just been a lurker up until now. time for a first comment! my whine: i went for my yearly at the obgyn’s office. i had the pleasure of meeting a new nurse who asked me a boatload of questions. one of them being about any chronic illnesses (why the heck do they ask all this crap if it’s obviously in your file from the last 10 years…oh, i guess that’s a whine for another day). well, i’ve got hyperthyroid and she wanted to know if there was any family history of it. i kindly said that yes, both my mother and sister had thyroid problems until after their first child was born. (and you all know what happens here…but i’ll indulge you none-the-less). she pats me on the shoulder and says “well then, you should get on that and start working for that firstborn!” (insert string of profanity that i thought in my head while mentally strangling this woman). i know, i know…just let it go. but all i wanted to say was “if you had reviewed my chart, you would notice that i have been trying for that firstborn for 6 years, you blankety-blank-blank-blank!!!” oh ya, have a mentioned that i’m trying to accept and move on to live a happy life? thanks for puttin me back a few rungs on that endless ladder i’ve been climbing…

    • IrisD Says:

      Hate going to the OB/GYN, hate being in a room full of pregnant women, women coming in with strollers filled with newborns, nurses and staff comiserating with the moms to be and new moms and sharing their own experiences, and then being asked if I am on birth control, etc. But that is just the norm, it is so much worse when you go to talk to them about infertility bloodwork, tests, etc., and the staff that is processing the requests starts talking to a newly pregnant older mother to be who is somewhat taken aback about being pregnant again after having nearly adult children, and states they would never want to start a family again at this age. Well, not only was it insensitive to the older mom and probably added to her worries, but also to the infertile older woman standing right next to her who wishes she could have a baby even at the ripe old age of 40 and up.

      • teacherJillK Says:

        The best thing I can recommend is to switch to just a GYN. No pregnant women in the waiting room, although the nurse did feel compelled to tell me about her miracle baby and that it’s ” no too late! “. Really? I’m 42 and we stopped treatment 10 years ago…sigh….
        Hey! I like whiny Wednesday! :)

  8. Lee Cockrum Says:

    Dealing with the looming lawsuit from my husband’s ex. Stepdaughter is turning 18, and no one even asked to pay for college, we were just served the papers for the lawsuit. The state of Illinois has laws that allow the family court judge to order us to pay. (Not that we were unwilling to begin with.) I just feel so violated that they can request ALL of our financial info for the past 3 years, taxes, income, retirement funds, info on all assets and debts etc. Meanwhile I have no child of my own to provide for, but I get to pay towards a child whose mother has taught her to look at us as nothing more than a bank account.

  9. Lauren C. Says:

    Another lurker and first poster here. After having only a couple of weeks ago cried to friend about how hard it is getting through the acceptance process of not having children, it seems she has been laying it on thicker than ever just how special her children, (6 and 8) are. “Mommy, you are so beautiful”, “Mommy, thank you for all of your hard work and being such a great Mommy to me”, “Mommy, thank you for taking such good care of me when I was a baby”….and on and on. I feel evil for having these thoughts, but, thank God for caller ID!!!! Thank you for listening :)

  10. I am childfree by choice so I cannot begin to imagine how hard you all must feel! But don’t forget to focus on some of the great things you get in life when you are childfree! You have time and money to spend on things like reading, travelling, spending more quality time with your spouse, etc. And it’s definitely a good idea NOT to surround yourself with people who just bring you down. So good for you for dropping out of that “support” group. Sounds like it was more of a downer than a pick-me-up!

  11. Pamela Says:

    Amen, Cee Lo! (Wait, I mean, Lisa. I just can’t get his song out of my head now.) As both you and Loribeth (Mali and others present and past) have pointed out we have a Sisyphean task when it comes to educating those within and outside the infertility world that there is more than one ending to the infertility story. It’s a good thing that we have developed stamina along the way because, girlfriends, we need it in spades!

  12. kris Says:

    My whine today came upon me as an ah-ha moment yesterday. I’ve been feeling a little grumpy with DH the last few days and have been resorting to petty and silly complaints, knowing that there must be something deeper brewing. Just last night I realized that we’re in fairly different spots right now and I’m coping with a little bit of fear and a little bit of jealousy. DH has been amazing throughout our whole process and, while he has a great deal of empathy for me, his pain and grief are progressing much faster than mine. He’s rediscovered a love of competitive athletics and is excelling at his new sport, he’s joined a training group and has developed amazing relationships with a few other guys, he’s happy and lighthearted and excited about the future. I, on the other hand, am feeling like I’m stuck and am slowly being left behind. I’m trying to discover a new ‘non-mom’ identity but the reality is that I have very few friends, I’m out of shape, and I can’t find my ‘passion’. While I’m a little jealous of DH’s life, I’m also really proud of him and don’t want him to get dragged down to where I am. I’m doing my best to move forward but it’s happening so slowly and I’m a little afraid that he’s moving so much faster than I am. Before all of this we’d always been so in-sync and this current state of affairs is a newly discovered perk of infertility. Urg.

    • Emma Says:

      Urg indeed. I suspect it is easier for men to move on and find great non-parent things to do, as so often it’s women who take the lion’s share of the child rearing. I certainly find the same: both of my best friends have small children and one has another on the way, their partners seem to carry on their lives more or less as they were before the babies came. I’d like to find other friends who don’t have children but it’s not easy (especially as trying to come to terms with my involuntary childlessness has really had a bad affect on my self confidence). My husband too has lots of friends to relate to and told me the other day that no-one has ever asked him if he has children. This amazes me, as every person I meet eventually asks me this question.

  13. Mali Says:

    “Hey, what about us?” That’s a great slogan for our group, Lisa! It’s unfortunate that even within infertility circles we still have to remind people we exist, that we’re a legitimate option, if “option” even describes how we feel when we begin this path.

    My whine is the same as last week. I want to be healthy. I know I’m recovering, but it is slow and scary.

  14. Shannonp Says:

    Glad to read about someone on the same journey. Everyone I know is fertile as hell! And I am getting quite sick of it to be honest.

  15. Sar Says:

    Uggh- thanks for this. Most of my i/f bloggers now have babies. I just want to quit the crazy train and start freaking living again. Am sick of the expenses the toll the pain the downs and the overall rollercoaster. Thanks.

  16. Klara Says:

    How great to find a post with so many comments!!!

    In my country, there are plenty of forums dealing with infertility… but as you say Lisa, they are all focused on IVF treatments. And if this does not work, on adoption. It seems as NO other option exists for them.

    Luckily I speak English, so I went to world wide world and found my childfree community. It’s a wonderful feeling – not to be alone!

    • mina Says:

      Yes it was the same for me. The first real childfree-not-by-choice community i found was here and not on sites in my mothertongue. There was one infertility forum i visited regularly and they took years to even open a “Plan B”-Thread. That thread was hijacked by a group of women who seemingly have become friends and all they talk about adoption. Noone wanting to talk about any other kind of Plan B is accepted by this group. Its really disgusting.

      • Klara Says:

        dear Mina,
        are we from the same country :)
        Because also on the main forum of our country there was Plan-B Thread. And this Thread was also hijacked by some women. I had no other possibility then escaping :)

        Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate people who decided for adoption.
        I just wish also our decision would be appreciated as legitime one.

      • mina Says:

        Hi Klara, i just checked you blog (no possibility of further answering here? is a bit strange) and yes, it must be the same forum. I’m German-speaking but live in Switzerland. I found a little childless community forum in german, if you can get in touch with me i’ll tell you the link.

      • mina Says:

        mhh… check again: No, obviously not from the same country :-). But i like your blog :-)

  17. Angela Says:

    I am also un-RESOLVED….I was talking to a friend around the holidays about not really being able to get motivated to decorate and she said, “Well once you have kids you’ll feel different.” I actually had a conversation with her just a few weeks earlier where I told her that our sex life was seriously derailed because we WEREN’T ABLE to have kids. How did those two things not get added up in her head, I wonder? Did she not believe me, or think I was joking? Sigh. I also read on RESOLVE’s website that a failed sex life after infertility probably won’t get better. That wasn’t depressing at all!!! Ours finally has gotten better, I’ve been taking some rainforest herbs that have kicked me back into gear (THANK GOD). Also been going to counseling, so I think the two things are both helping. Sometimes I think people (who refuse to get off the crazy train) WANT and LIKE to be crazy, since they continue to do things that make them so. My husband and I decided to quit trying a year ago this month, and I’m only just now feeling like I’m coming back up out of the hole. Depression and anger always go together for me, and the last year has consisted mostly of both.

    • IrisD Says:

      Angela, if you ever read this… please pass on the name of those herbs!!!!! :)

      • Angela Says:

        Sure thing! I get them online – from Raintree Nutrition (rain-tree.com) I get a formula called Jaguara. One of the ingredients of that formula is clavo huasca, which I bought by itself as well and have been taking as a tincture since the Jaguara was out of stock for awhile (imagine that!). Also from Shaman’s Garden (shamansgarden.com) I got another formula called Passion Tonic. Both of these formulas are tinctures, meaning the herbs are extracted in alcohol and you take 30 drops or so of it. The Raintree website has tons of info on each herb and how it works, a little research always does you good! Good luck!

      • IrisD Says:

        THANKS!!!

  18. Emma Says:

    OK, I feel really bad about this whine, but here goes. I browse a lot of blogs looking for other people in the same boat as me, and click through links from different blogs. I find it really difficult (read: I really hate it and click away asap) when I go to a so-called infertility blog and see pictures of a newborn. I know it’s not that person’s fault that they have been linked as childless, and I hardly and really it’s not that I’m not happy for those who conceive (especially after experiencing infertility), i’m just really sad for me, and it makes me feel yet more isolated from the fertile world.

  19. CiCi Says:

    Seriously…I love this “community”. I missed whiney Wednesday this week and just came in to pop around. THIS community is where I feel nourished and not alone. Thanks to all of you who absolutely keep it real!
    I feel at home here, which in turn allows me to face the outside world.

    • Kellie Says:

      I so agree with you CiCi….since finding Life Without Baby, I no longer feel so alone and isolated in my journey. I do not know anyone who has ever battled with infertility, so being able to come to this blog helps me face the outside world as well. Thank you Lisa!!!

      • CiCi Says:

        It’s hard when you are alone in this journey. I have lots of friends who have struggled to get pregnant, but all of them eventually had children or adopted so I’m still the odd woman out. Finding this blog has been a godsend!

  20. Angela Says:

    When I went to my first Resolve meeting, I was met with a group of supportive, nurturing women – all trying EVERYTHING to get pregnant. I soon found myself sucked into the vortex that is “reproductive medicine” and spent thousands of dollars going through futile procedures to try and get pregnant. With every meeting, I realized that there was no “resolve” at all. Just this constant push to do whatever was suggested – including paying for a surrogate in India. I stopped going so that I could try and heal and stop feeling brainwashed.

  21. Laura Nye Says:

    I agree. I tried to start a support group through Resolve because the only existing groups are women still trying and women going the 3rd party route. The local Resolve ladies said there wasn’t enough interest in my idea (childfree by circumstance and not pursuing other options). I’d still manage a support group if I could get one organized.

  22. Laura Says:

    Thank you so much!!! For a long time, I’ve tried to find a blog or community that mirrors our decision to go child-free. Within a few moments of exploring them, I find the discussions of newborns, etc. While I’m happy for them, it’s not exactly a bonding moment for me. Our voice does need to be heard. Where do we go to discuss things like “how to tell your sister-in-law who is adopted why you don’t want to adopt?” We’ve lived this long without children that we’ve defined a great life for ourselves. But, we get still get sad sometimes. It’s never as acute as in those long years of endless failed treatments, but yes, I’d love a place to go when the first round of Facebook posts discussing grandchildren arrives. Our community is a life-long one. Thank you, Lisa and everyone here, for posting! (and in all these years, motivating me to finally post something somewhere… I’ve been a lurker for a long time, and I’m finally ready to talk!)

  23. Jules Says:

    Just found this blog….and all I can say at this time…THANK YOU…. I was starting to think “damn, is it just ME alone in this world?” when trying to find writers who cannot have children (infertility), and are not going through medical crap trying to get children. So many blogs with IVF, medication, surrogacy, pregnancy announcements even on infertility blogs- I had enough of that..enough! I had my uterus removed almost two months ago (no choice in there), so I have been struggling with the fact of being childless. Several people have said, “why don’t you adopt?” lately, to the point I’m itching to grab my baseball bat and have a swing at them.

    THANK YOU.

  24. Just Jinny Says:

    Amen! Preach it, Sister!


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