Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Guest Post: Trying to Live Shame-Free May 17, 2012

By Catherine Elizabeth Lambert

“No woman should feel ashamed for what they cannot control.”

For about 16 years my husband and I tried to conceive a baby but to no avail. For most of that time, I felt deep shame. I was embarrassed to be around my pregnant friends. I never knew what to say to them and didn’t want to lay all my problems in their laps either. A lot of the time I hid in my house and cut myself off from most of my friends. I was not a pleasant person to be around at work. I was very moody.

Recently, through writing, I have come to realize that I shouldn’t feel ashamed for something I couldn’t control.  I did everything within reason to conceive a child. I was also tired of hating my body because I was born with a malformed uterus and genes for endometriosis, which were handed down by my mother.

My shame started to dissipate the more I wrote. English class was my least favorite subject in school, but I was shocked by how easy the words flowed out of me when I decided to write my memoir.  My emotional thoughts were overflowing. After I finally completed my book, I felt a huge sense of pride.  A feeling I was not very familiar with besides getting my A.A.S in 2003. My book helped me move past my depression and sadness around childlessness. I no longer feel the shame I once did.

Catherine Elizabeth Lambert is the author of Lost in a Sea of Mothers: Am I a Mother Yet? and is currently working on a novel. Married for 21 years, she has no children of my own but for the past six years has been a proud foster mother to three young adults. You can visit her at www.lostinaseaofmothers.com.

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6 Responses to “Guest Post: Trying to Live Shame-Free”

  1. Maria Says:

    It’s interesting timing that your article came out today. I was in a mediation class last night and spent the entire time releasing the labels I imposed on myself because of my infertility — and they were all related to shame and blame. When I was done, I came to the realization that it was not my fault, I didn’t deserve it, I didn’t do anything that made God punish me, I was happy before I knew I was infertile and I can be happy again.

  2. Kellie Says:

    What a wonderful blog post. I am so glad that you have been able to move on from your sadness. I too struggle with feeling shame. I just recently told my DH that I don’t like being around his sisters and family because of the shame. They are from a religious background where children are expected – and lots of them. He is always telling me to stop blaming myself….it is a very hard thing to do, but I am working on it daily.

    • Cathie Says:

      I recently told my sister-in-law not to mention certain things around me out of respect for my feelings. I was surprised by her reaction. I thought she was going to get defensive and say grow up but she was very apologetic and didn’t realize what she was saying was an inappropriate thing to say to someone like me. I don’t know your situation Kellie but communication may help with his family. They may not know what they say is very hurtful even though it may seem to you that it seems obvious. I know my in-laws didn’t either until they read my book. I hope this helps but if not you always have us :)

      • Kellie Says:

        Thank you Cathie for your reply…unfortunately, I have had the “talk” with my MIL and have written her letters and also sent a book for her to read. Her response to the book was “that it’s just to painful to read”; they have all stated to my DH that “I should be over it by now”. The first time I heard that was one month after we stopped our final IVF treatment.
        I have resigned myself to the fact that they will never understand what we have gone through and so I have stopped trying. I just pick and choose as to when I see them. I am working on letting it go – it just is taking a bit longer than I would like. :-)

  3. Mali Says:

    Absolutely you shouldn’t feel shame. I know though, that inevitably that is one of the emotions we feel. We blame ourselves, feel as if we’re not real women, and then wonderfully, one day we rediscover our confidence, and realise that we need feel no shame, there’s nothing shameful about being a survivor! Bravo.


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