Remember this children’s ditty? I’m using myself and my husband as the example.
Jose and Lisa sitting in a tree,
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.
As a little girl, this was the expectation for how my life would unfold. Find a nice man, get married, and have a family, just as my parents did, and their parents before them. Sure, I came of age in the 80s, so there was college, a career, travel, and other big dreams thrown in there, but marriage and children were always a part of the picture.
I was 34 years old when I finally married Mr. Fabulous. Four years later, a doctor told me I’d never have biological children of my own. Those first years of our married lives were a crazy rollercoaster of desire and desperation, filled with doctor’s appointments and a desperate drive to complete my image of the perfect family. Even after this hopeless diagnosis, I kept pursuing that dream, convinced that the next doctor would have the secret elixir or that adoption would be my quick-fix solution.
I think I could have continued to look for a solution forever – there was always something else to try – but I realized something from that children’s ditty. After all that kissing in trees, there are three things that are supposed to follow – love, marriage, and children. In my pursuit of the baby in the baby carriage, I was frittering away two: the love and the marriage. I already had a wonderful life, doing work that I loved, in a city that I loved, with someone I loved. If I never had children, I’d still have that wonderful life.
We live in a culture of high expectations, where, as women, we expect to be able to have it all. But anyone who’s lived for any length of time knows that you don’t always get what you want. I wanted motherhood, but it wasn’t meant to be, so I was left with two options: spend the rest of my life mourning what I’d lost and living with the hope that maybe a miracle would happen, or start figuring out how to build a life without children.
I chose the latter.
It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but now, two years later, I’m free to fully enjoy that fabulous marriage with that fabulous husband. Motherhood is only one small part of the life I imagined for myself and I am so much more than just an infertile woman. I discovered that there is life after infertility and that a life without children can still be a wonderful life.
For more information about infertility, please visit: http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
This post was written RESOLVE’S Bust a Myth Challenge. To learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW) go to: http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.
Thank you for addressing this, its the hardest myth to undo as a childfree woman.
how did you do it? how did you create that wonderful life sans children? it’s something i’m struggling with so much and i just don’t know how to take those steps forward to that childfree life..
I’m so glad this was the myth you chose to bust. It’s one of the reasons I started a blog of my own – so that not only did I have a space to talk about the hard parts, but that I also had a space to talk about the wonderful life I have now.
Bravo, Lisa!! I ran out of time to do my own myth-busting post, but I’m so glad to see some CF-ers taking it on!
For so long I felt incomplete without children until I wrote my own book and discovered another side to myself I never knew existed. Thanks for addressing this issue. We are still worthwhile women even though we didn’t give birth.
of course Cath we are, it is only this society wants to think diferent that you are like disable not having a child. very oftent the problem lays on the man side and in the past woman had to carry mans infertillity issues. God forbid man cannot produce …. shame, so it was that the females are guilty. Now, at least in Europe is different, but still … woman as being more orientated on human than men possibly have more presure on this. Elia
So many people have asked me when am I going to have children. For many years I struggled with the fact that things didnt turn out for me in the “marriage and kids” department as I planned. I am a 41 year old divorcee who is glad I did not have chldren with my former spouse. It has always important for me to marry first before having a child. Didnt happen for me and I am finally ok with that.
My life is very fullfilling with family, friends and the begining of a second career. And I have finally met the man I will marry and spend the rest of my life with…I am ok ” with out children “after 40”.
Thank you for making this decision real and happy!! My new wonderful man is happy to be child-less – I have languished a bit over my decision now 39…at 30 my first husband was abusive and thank god I never conceived a child. Later I miscarried with a boyfriend who abandoned me before I could share the news. Over the years amongst good family and a good career I have a home & talents to share. I mentor so many young adults, a privledge I think to help shape their ideas in the fast paced society, where standards are flung loaded with hurt and little responsibility. When we need to simply a recognize a persons ability to behave, be happy, be productive and pay taxes!! 🙂 Cheers!!
i read these messages to be fine. because i lost my two babies (IVF) in 06 months pregnancy. one day, my husband angry with me for a matter & i became too much upset that i lost my babies. i know, i have no chance again. please inform family of pregnant women to take care & not to angry with a pregnant woman.