How to Cope When You Can’t Have a Baby

Not being able to conceive a baby is one of the saddest, most heartbreaking things for a woman. I don’t have any easy answers or solutions coping when you can’t have a baby – but here are a few tips from women who know how you feel.

“My doctor told me I’ll never be able to have children,” writes Jessie on Do You Resent Your Pregnant Friends? “Just recently two of my friends have become pregnant, my partner’s 18 year old sister just had a baby, and most of my other friends already have children. Only my partner knows I can’t have a baby, as I’m not courageous enough to tell anyone else. A lot of his family expects me to get pregnant, which is really hard to cope with…I just wish I could become pregnant even just once.. I want to be a mother more than anything.. It’s so unfair how some people can have kids but others can’t.”

Dear Jessie,

Need hope and faith? Get Echoes of Joy!

You'll be inspired & encouraged by Laurie's free weekly "Echoing Jesus" emails.

* indicates required

I’m so sorry to hear how difficult it is for you, not to be able to get pregnant. I know how hard it is – all my friends seem to have kids, and four of my coworkers are pregnant! Tomorrow is yet another baby shower at work, and it is hard. I don’t resent them, but I wish I wasn’t missing out on such an exciting, natural, important part of life.

I’m 42 years old. I always believed we’d have a baby. I really thought that even though my husband doesn’t have any sperm, a miracle would happen. I don’t want to try in vitro fertilization, and we’re not keen on adopting. But now I’m just beginning to accept that we will never have children…and it’s difficult.

What helps is planning our future. My husband and I both love to travel, so we’ve decided to go on big vacations every year. He’s planning to retire at age 55, and we think we might move toHawaiior somewhere exotic! And I’m going to grad school in the fall, and love my Quips and Tips blogs. I work with Big Brothers as a Mentoring Coordinator, and I love my job. I love my husband very much, I love our house, and our dog.

I think the best “tip” for coping with depression when you can’t have a baby is to create a life that you love. You’ll always feel a bit sad that you can’t have kids, but at least you’ll have what you have.

You’re right that it’s not fair that most women can have kids, and some of us can’t. Life is unfair in so many ways – some people get cancer, others live in third world countries, others are refugees, others have to work in factories, others lose their children or families, others are abused…and some couples can’t have babies. Life is equally unfair to all of us, I believe. We all have bad, heartbreaking, or sad things we have to cope with.

It makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone in the unfairness of it all. And it’s not just women who feel the pain…

“Men get depressed about infertility, too,” says J. on Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive. “My wife and I are having a devil of a time getting pregnant, and we’re not getting any younger. Both of us were in our 30′s when we married. So, the clock is ticking. My depression comes and goes in waves. I’m grieving the loss of never being able to participate in the creation of life that birthing a newborn would allow. I’m grieving the loss passing on the family name…I am the only son of six children. I’m grieving the loss of many, many things that comes with bringing your own biological children into this world.”

Jessie, my heart goes out to you. I wish you all the best, and hope you find ways to build a happy, content, and even joyful life despite the fact that you may never have a baby.



Coping When You Can’t Have a Baby – Tips From Women

Realize you’re not alone – spend time with women who haven’t had babies

“If you’ve spent any extended amount of time in ‘trying to conceive’ limbo, you know that it’s not easy to move away from the overpowering biological urge to conceive a baby,” writes Pamela Tsigdinos in Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found. “It becomes all but a second job what with monitoring, doctor appointments, more monitoring and still more doctor appointments. As I moved forward in my 30s, I found myself working my way through a slow but progressive set of steps. I started at acknowledgement and ended in my early 40s with acceptance.”

One of the best ways to cope when you can’t have babies is to connect with women who know how you feel – and who emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy.

Talk about infertility – it is nothing to be ashamed of

One of the reasons Tsigdinos called her book SILENT Sorority was because women don’t talk about their infertility. Jessie is not alone in her reluctance to tell her family that she can’t have a baby! But, the more you talk about it, the better you’ll feel. Trust me, it gets easier with time.

Reading books written by women who have coped with infertility will help. Here’s a full list of books to help women cope with not having babies on Amazon.

Stay away from pregnant women

“It might sound a bit cruel but my strategy is to stay away from pregnant friends and relatives (and there seem to be a lot of them) if I’m having a bad day. I’ve been trying to conceive for 2 years and have good days and bad days – some days I just know it’s not the right time to be around pregnant women or small children and I just arrange to be out of that situation. Other times I feel fine and make sure I show how happy I am for those people.” ~ Saralucy.

Be grateful for the love you have

“I know it’s gotta be tough being married and trying to conceive, but try being single and not even having a partner on the horizon! That said, we can ALL find reasons to feel sorry for ourselves. The trick is to let yourself feel the sadness without becoming bitter, I think.” ~ kbot.

For more thoughts on not being able to conceive, read Why Infertility Isn’t the Worst Thing to Happen to You.

If you have any comments or tips on how to cope when you can’t have a baby, please share below!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 thoughts on “How to Cope When You Can’t Have a Baby

  • Lily rose

    I was trying to conceive for years with my husband. Then he was diagnosed with renal cancer and our hopes of having a baby were completely dashed with chemotherapy. The treatment didn’t work and he passed away soon after that. That was 8 years ago.
    I’ve been with current partner for 3 years now. We knew very early on that we’ll be together till death do us part and wanted a family. So, we were trying for a baby after around 6 months together. Every month I kept hoping I’m pregnant. I took lots of expensive supplements to help with conceiving, nothing worked. We even considered IVF but because he is a smoker they said he’ll have to quit. This has been very difficult although he is still trying. I suggested adoption but partner says no, I understand to a certain extent why but I also want to be a mum so badly. I have a cat who is my baby…sad but true. It’s my cat who follows me everywhere and makes me laugh.
    Toughest thing for me is my job. I work with mothers and babies whom I dote on. Unfortunately, I have to give advice and guide these mum’s on baby care. Often they would ask if I have children of my own, some in a polite way, others in a not so polite way. I can’t say to these women that I desperately want to conceive, every month I wish my period didn’t come and I was pregnant. I’ll be 40 soon , not much hope for me to get pregnant anymore. My clock has ticked away….

  • Lyndsie

    Hello Everyone,
    I’m not sure if anyone will read this because I noticed a lot of the comments and stories are from years ago but I’ve been fighting infertility for many years now. I’m 32 years old and have been going to fertility treatments since I was about 28. I never thought that I would have trouble having children. I’m really the only one in my family that has been unsuccessful in having kids so it is definitely hard to talk to my family and have them truly understand. I found out through the fertility process that I have Endometriosis; though very disheartening the doctor gave me hope and said he saw no reason that I shouldn’t be able to get pregnant because of all my other tests that came back more than optimal. However, 11 fertility treatments and a surgery later – still no pregnancy. I haven’t ever been pregnant, not once. Not that I would ever want to miscarry and I feel so much sympathy for anyone who has had this happen; it would be nice to just have a sign that I could get pregnant. This topic has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever faced. I’ve never had so many ups and downs, feelings of depression, physical as well as emotional pain, and crying at the drop of a hat whenever I think/speak about the topic. As I now approach the end of the road of fertility (there’s just not much left that can be done for me that I can afford – have 2 tries left) I’M FINALLY ON THE ROAD OF ACCEPTANCE AND YOU CAN TOO IF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THIS. This might sound negative to some but I realized that I was putting children/the idea of having children on a pedestal. I think it is something that most people do if they really want something that is out of reach. It becomes a “the grass IS greener on the other side ” kind of situation. Those of us feel like having kids is going to be great and it’s the most important thing in life. But I thought about it more and realized how the rosey picture I painted my life to be with kids was not realistic. When I took off my metaphorical rose colored glasses and looked at mothers I personally know I saw that most don’t seem that happy even though they got the children they wanted. Some of them go as far as to say “Hey, you can have my kids for awhile – take them off my hands “. Of course I can see why these mothers might need a break and I know their kids are handfuls but I realized I see that more and more and hear those kind of statements all the time. Of course some of the explanation for some of these moms is that it was so easy for them to have kids they take it for granted. Though I will never take having kids for granted because of the hardships I’ve been through; I realize that maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and that there are positives on both sides (having kids or not having kids). I also realized that having kids doesn’t mean you will have a great relationship with them as they age. I took a hard look at my immediate and extended family and people on both sides are far from perfect and relationships between parents and adult children are VERY far from perfect. I know that not all families out there are like mine, but there are even family members of mine who don’t really have much of a relationship with at least one of their parents. So the idea of your kids loving you, you getting along with your kids, and you growing older and never being alone because you have kids are not really true statements. Yes, having kids COULD be great you COULD get along really well and you COULD have an amazing relationship with them as they get older but there are no guarantees just because you have kids. I’m not saying that it’s easy to change your mind about wanting kids and for most this can never happen. But it is important to realize that kids shouldn’t define you and keep you from living your life. I think I just got tired of feeling so bad all the time about something I have no control over. I’m tired of beating a dead horse so to speak. I’ve let having a baby control my life mentally and physically. I feel like it has kept me from having success in every other aspect of my life. I lost a new job because of all the appointments I go to (it was the highest paying job I had to date), I’ve lost interest in things that I once really enjoyed, and I have let myself get to a place physically that makes me unhappy (which of course is not helpful). I want/need my life back!!! One of the few things I really have in life is my amazing husband who has been very supportive through it all. But even with his support we have had a very rocky year and 1/2 mostly stemming from all the fertility issues.
    I probably will still have bad days when it comes to the topic of having kids and I’m sure there will be times that I won’t be able to help but feel horrible about the fact I don’t have them. I now know however that kids may add to your life but they don’t fix it. You have to find some happiness on your own within yourself. A kid might give you happiness and a feeling of fulfillment in some ways but being a parent has its own hardships and struggles. Because I’m slowly changing my outlook on things I feel more free to think about and see what else is in store for my life and what is down the road for me including more things that I might be able to do that I’d never be able to do if I had a kid. As I’ve typed this very long msg I actually recieved a phone call from my doctor confirming once again that my current treatment has failed (which I was pretty confident about and already included in the tally of treatments listed earlier in this msg even though I didn’t technically know 100% yet) and guess what…..FIRST TIME I HAVEN’T CRIED MY EYES OUT. I actually feel ok. Maybe I have no more tears left that I can shed over this? Maybe I’m just used to constant bad news?….Maybe, I am just slowly feeling better and I’m very grateful for it. We all deserve some happiness and I wish everyone luck out there and I hope for the best for everyone. And if nothing good comes out of my struggle and my more positive feelings I currently feel are short lived and fleeting I hope that my msg at least helped someone out there feel at least a little bit better even for a moment.

  • tammy davidson

    My sad story began when i was 20 and i had the right to have children taken away from me by a very bad person ho adopted me when I was 4 yrs old and had a learning disability and she had me sterilized because of my learning disability. I’m not like other people who were born with this. :(. I think every day why did this happen to me.. I thought I was going in to get my tubes tide and when I woke up I found out that I my tubes were severly severed and burnt to the point they could not be fixed. I even thought about getting a truly real doll that breathes and feels like a real baby, but my friends say that is too weird any advise on how to deal with this mental heart breaking day today dealing with this I would greatly appreciate some help.

  • Sheila

    I myself unfortunately got pregnant when I was 15 …My mother by way of my grandmother’s shaming me and her forced an abortion (as they said, “I was still a baby myself and they weren’t going to raise another child!”)
    Needless to say…years down the road I developed Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and wound up losing a tube and ovary to 2 large grapefruit size cycts at which time doctors told me I had less than 20% of conceiving…2 years later I had the other tube removed to the same condition.

    I grieved then…and still do…as the one child I did conceive and did want…was taken from me through no choice of my own. (Our province did not allow teens under 18 to make abortion decisions at the time.)
    Now I read of 8 years old being forced to deliver babies they don’t want from rape situations …and mother’s drowning/killing their children…and teenage girls popping out kids like they are accessories…and I have to submit a 20 page essay of why I am deserving of being able to adopt a child who wasn’t wanted…then told me (and my then husband) are not qualified.

    God forbid I post any of these feelings on my FB wall… or I’d get a tirade of, “You need to pray harder or accept God’s will, or try and look on the bright side of things.” type sentiments…
    It all makes me want to just and just scream, “Why is life all so slanted towards the unjust/unworthy?”

  • Sheila

    This is great for those who are so blessed (I actually cringe and shrink every time I hear people say that…as if to indicate that the rest of us are not blessed to be able to conceive… for whatever the multitude of reasons…be it financial, or other circumstance/s) to have had their wombs graced by life and the ability to fulfill their life long family dream via perseverance or sheer miracle.
    But… tell me…where do the rest of us who are not so graced or blessed by miracles or determination/money (who are well over the child bearing years) go for emotional support? Many of us struggle (sometimes daily) to keep our chins and attitudes up to be supportive in our communities when babies come along and women become pregnant…

    I have found nothing for the rest of us… where is the support for us?

    I resent being told God has a greater plan for me… or that I need to pray harder…or to be thankful for having no children.
    How can people be so thoughtless heartless and callous?

    It would be nice to find groups online (Facebook or other forums) for women who are permanently barren and/or who have not adopted/or are fostering for whatever their reason/circumstance – financial or otherwise?

    While I try to be grateful for the many things that not having children affords me at my age, I still struggle a lot on and off at times when faced with either people pushing their photos of their kids or newborns in my FB newsfeed, or I read about the horrendous things that people do to their children.
    Please help
    Lost & alone in Western Canada

  • Wanda

    Thanks for writting this I’ve been feeling so miserable because of my situation not being able to have my own baby but for some reason everyone around me are pregnant and I can’t really talk about my feelings with my partner or other family cause to then its you’ll be k I cry myself to sleep sometimes because they don’t understand where im coming from they think its easy just forget about it my partner is k with cause he has a child already but it hurts me and he doesn’t understand me.

  • Lily

    It seems like everyone around me is having babies. And somedays are harder than others. My husband had a vasectomy before we got married and he has two children of his own. I don’t think he really understands how I feel. Im so happy I found this site, and books on here that I’m going to read that will make me feel better.

  • Jessie

    Thankyou so much for writing this, for some reason i feel it is easier to talk to strangers about this than people i actually know. I found out another friend of mine is now pregnant last night, and when i went for a shower later i just sat in there and cried :'(. My sad story began when i was 17 and i had the right to have children taken away from me by a very bad person. I’m not like other people who were born with this. :(. I think every day why did this happen to me.. I shouldn’t have gone to that party and all other thoughts that go through my head. But i have to learn to live with and deal with everyone having kids cos whether i like it or not thats what is going to happen 🙁