Not being able to get pregnant or carry a baby to term is one of the saddest, most heartbreaking things for a woman. These ideas for coping when you can’t have children are from women who know how you feel. They, too, are living without the babies they longed to have.
“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. How do you cope when you can’t have a baby? It’s so unfair.”
Every woman copes differently, but we’re all facing the same grief: not being having to have children when it seems so easy and natural for other couples.
Most of my friends have kids, and four of my coworkers are pregnant! Tomorrow is yet another baby shower at work. It’s hard, but I don’t resent them. I’m almost 50 and have learned how to be happy even though I’m childless. Still, though…I will always wish I hadn’t missed out on such an exciting, natural, important part of life.
I always thought my husband and I would get pregnant and have at least one child. I really thought that even though my husband doesn’t have any sperm (he has a genetic abnormality called azoospermia), a miracle would happen. I didn’t want to try in vitro fertilization, and we’re not keen on adopting. It took me a long time to accept that we’ll never have children, but eventually I did. I didn’t just learn how to cope, I really did grow into a healthier, happier woman.
It took time…but one benefit of being childless is that you do have more time! 🙂 These tips for coping when you can’t have children are from me and other women.
Coping When You Can’t Have a Baby – Tips From Women
It’s important to remember that husbands need to learn how to cope with infertility, too. My husband wanted six kids (which made it ironic that we were dealing with male factor infertility).
“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.”
Accept your life for what it is
Recently I learned that resisting something – or even a toxic person – gives it energy. The more you fight it, the bigger it grows. Learning how other women coped when they couldn’t get pregnant and have children is good…but dwelling in the pain and heartbreak of childlessness will destroy your spirit and soul.
How do you accept your life for what it is? By embracing and highlight the things you love to do! For example, my husband and I love to travel. We decided to treat ourself to an exciting vacation every year.
I worked with Big Brothers as a Mentoring Coordinator (covering a maternity leave, of all things), then went back to school for my MSW (Master of Social Work). I created and write my “She Blossoms” blogs…and I even wrote Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back.
Nurture and grow the things you love
I think the best “tip” for coping with depression when you can’t have a baby is to create a life that you love. Accept that you’ll always feel a bit sad that you can’t have kids. Find ways to weave it into your life in healthy, peaceful ways.
It really isn’t fair that most women can have kids and some of us can’t. But the thing is, life is unfair in so many ways – some people get cancer, others live poverty 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 isn’t fair. It’s hard. But life is still a gift – and it can be precious and beautiful even for women who can’t have a baby.
Spend time with women who don’t have children
“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.”
Pamela accepted that she is an “infertility survivor” – and her purpose is to help other women cope with childlessness. Spend time with happy, healthy woman who understand the pain of infertility. Learn from women who transcended the pain and are living fulfilled, meaningful lives.
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.
Infreakinfertility: How to Survive When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard by Melanie Dale is a fantastic resource for women who are dealing with infertility – and who have a sense of humor!
This is the funnest book you’ll ever read about the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Each chapter covers a different challenge with infertility and is broken into sections, a little of Melanie’s story and concerns. She includes blurbs from her husband, Alex, as well as practical tips on how to cope when you can’t have a baby.
Tip from a reader: avoid 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,” Sarah on How to Stay Positive When You Can’t Get Pregnant. “I’ve been trying to conceive for two 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!” says Kath on Living With Infertility? 5 Tips for Women Over 40. “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.”
Read through the comments below. You’ll see that you are not alone. Feel free to share your experience – you may find that writing about how you’re coping with not having a baby will help heal your heart. And, know that your story will help other women survive their own pain.