Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

How Did You Know You Wouldn’t Have Children? May 31, 2011

I write a lot about issues that affect me now that I’ve more or less come to terms with the fact that I won’t have children. Looking back over the past two or three years, I can see just how far I’ve come, and I’m pleased. Unfortunately, that’s not always very helpful for readers just beginning their journeys and sometimes I’m asked, “How did you get there?”

It’s a good question, but it doesn’t have a simple answer, so I thought I’d take a look back at some of the milestones that shaped my journey and try to analyze what made a difference for me.

Today, I’m starting with The Decision. How did you know you were going have to figure out how to come to terms with being childfree?

If you dealt with infertility, a doctor probably gave you a diagnosis that you knew would mean the end of the line, but if you were anything like me, you didn’t just throw up your hands at that point and say, “Okay, well I guess I just won’t bother trying anymore, then.” So, when did you know you were at that point?

If you are childfree by some circumstance other than infertility, maybe your journey was different. Maybe you toyed with the idea of having children despite your situation. How did you know that motherhood was definitely not going to be a part of your future?

And if you are childfree-by-choice, when did you know you wouldn’t have children?

I think all our stories are different, because it’s such a big milestone in our lives and not something that changes in an instant. For me, a number of factors were in play, but I think the biggest one was that I knew my husband and I were suddenly on different tracks. I think that he knew (although he didn’t like it) that it wasn’t going happen for us, whereas I was still running from doctor to doctor trying to find something that would work. I could feel us begin to drift apart and I finally realized that my marriage was more important to me than trying to prove that I wasn’t infertile.

“Don’t you mean you realized that your marriage was more important than having children, Lisa?”

No. And that’s one of the other factors in this. I realized that my quest was no longer about having children; it was about winning and proving that I wasn’t broken. My doctor had told me that using donor eggs would give me about a 50 percent chance of conceiving, but I didn’t want to use donor eggs and I didn’t want to go through IVF. That was my choice for my own reasons. But if having children was my top priority, wouldn’t I have done whatever it takes?

This is way too much public psychoanalysis for me right now, so let’s just say that my decision to get off the crazy train came slowly. There were many events that happened that pushed me towards the decision and many more that made me change my mind again along the way. Eventually though, I reached the Tipping Point and started figuring out how I was going to come to terms with the fact that something was wrong with me and that I wasn’t going to have children.

How about you? How did you get to that point? Please share your stories; yours could be the one that makes a big difference to someone who is trying to start coming to terms.