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A Childfree Life After Infertility – 7 Ways to be Happy

Living without having children doesn’t have to be sad, depressing, or futile. Here are seven ways to be happy after infertility, inspired by my own experience of living childfree (though I do think of myself as “childless”).

A Childfree Life After InfertilityIf you’re struggling with the idea of living childfree or childless, read Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance. Ellen Walker guides readers through the positive and negative aspects of childfree living, taking into consideration the different issues faced by men or women, couples or singles. As a woman who is childfree by choice, Walker draws upon her personal experience while also offering the reader numerous interviews with other childfree adults, revealing behind-the-scenes factors that influenced their personal journeys.

Have you grieved the end of your dreams of having children. If not, read How to Survive the Grieving Process. It’s important to go through the grieving process, regardless of why you can’t have kids. “We were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’, which sounds good in one respect,” says Cindy Margolis, actress, model, and spokesperson for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. “On the other hand, you almost want something wrong, so there’s a problem, so you can fix it.”

Whether you’re coping with male, female, or unexplained infertility, adjusting to the thought of not having kids can be difficult. What I find most helpful is being grateful for what I do have. I love my husband, dog, cat, friends, Quips and Tips blogs, and life in general. Some days I have to force myself to choose to look on the bright side, and other days it’s easy! You can’t be depressed or bitter when you’re grateful.

A Childfree Life After Infertility – 7 Ways to be Happy

“Don’t let the muggles get you down.”

Focus on the benefits of not having children — there are some!

“Most studies have shown that psychological well-being tends to decline when people have kids,” says sociologist Amy Pienta, from the University of Michigan. “In mid-life, being married or having a partner has a greater impact on a woman’s well-being than whether or not she has children.”

Enjoying life after infertility involves focusing on the emotional and financial freedom that a childless existence can offer. You will always feel the heartache of not having a baby, but it’s much easier to bear when you focus on the good parts of your life.

Find infertility and childfree living support groups

If you’ve recently discovered that you or your partner have fertility issues, you may want to investigate infertility treatments. Many treatment centers have support groups – and connecting with other couples coping with infertility is a great way to both research possible treatments and build a happy life even when you’re childless.

I find it helpful to spend time with other women who don’t have kids, or with women whose children are grown.

Support other couples coping with infertility

Cindy Margolis is an actress and model who faced “unexplained infertility issues” – and is now the spokesperson for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. You don’t have to be famous to get involved with an infertility treatment center or support group! Life after infertility – or any disappointment, serious illness, or major life change – can involve reaching out to others with the same struggles.

Be prepared for the effect of infertility on your marriage

I don’t know the statistics of divorce after infertility, but not being able to have children can negatively impact marriages and committed relationships. Some couples get a divorce after infertility or even during infertility treatments – it’s a stressful, difficult time. To be happy with a childless life, be aware that your marriage may look very different in a year or more…for better or worse. If your marriage is shaky, read Keeping Your Marriage Strong in Infertility.

Think outside the box

A Childless Life After Infertility Ways to be Happy

A Childfree Life After Infertility – Ways to be Happy

Our infertility issues can’t be fixed with surgery; we’re considering a second round of sperm donor “treatments” (intrauterine insemination), but it sure gets expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining! If my husband and I don’t have children, I hope to take extended vacations every year, focus on building a strong writing career, and accept a childless life.

Get involved with other people’s kids

To be happy after infertility, consider being a Big Sister or Big Brother, volunteering at a hospital for sick kids, or getting seriously involved in your nephews’ or nieces’ lives. There are kids all over our communities who are lonely and desperate for adult attention…and if your childfree life may benefit other people’s kids in deep, meaningful ways.

Consider options for infertile couples

Talk to couples who have adopted, fostered, or had children in unconventional ways. Enjoying – not just tolerating – life after infertility involves opening your mind to possibilities other than traditional childbirth (or traditional infertility treatments). To find these possibilities after infertility, ask your friends and family for examples of people who have built their families in untraditional ways. You’ll be surprised at what bubbles to the surface.

I wrote another post about living childfree, in response to some of the comments to this post. Read How to be Happy When You Can’t Have Kids to learn more.

If you have any thoughts or questions on a childfree life after infertility, please comment below…I can’t offer advice, bu you rmay find it helpful to share your experience.

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32 thoughts on “A Childfree Life After Infertility – 7 Ways to be Happy”

  1. Although this author means well–I do not share her experiences with fulfilling travel, new opportunities, a loving partner, etc. etc. Some of us really have nothing–no career–I’m a typist/secretary, a formal loving partner who left because of the stress and hell of infertility., and bills we can’t pay. So excuse me if I don’t revel in travelling around the world, relishing “new” experiences (that cost LOTS of money that I don’t have), and embarking on new exciting job opportunities that are not forthcoming. This is BS. There are some of us out there that desperately wanted children, because that’s all we would have that was meaningful in this life. I’m happy for the wealthy self-interested woman who can focus on higher education, lifestyle changes, pedicures, manicures and travelling the world. But all of us are not in that boat. Not helpful–I would say God is good–for some of us. I am now researching for ways to end my life. If I need to, I may travel to Oregon–where I may be able to attain euthanasia for deep depression.

    1. Please don’t end your life!!!!! I, like you, would love nothing more to have a child… but you must be strong for yourself to prepare for that unborn child, that sweet precious soul that is waiting for you to be their mother. The worst thing about TTC is the waiting and the feeling of disappointment every single time your period comes… but if all else fails, reconsider the adoption option…just go to one meeting and see how your spirit feels about it. It may even re-spark your drive to continue to get your rainbow baby…maybe do both. God works in mysterious ways….they may suck at times, but something usually happens in our favor that makes all this stress worth it. Choose Life. <3

  2. You know what is salt in the wound? The bit about having a husband at midlife has more effect on a woman’s well being. Does no good for those of us who are childless thru the circumstance of not having ANYONE.

  3. I know of so many people who chose not to have children. The one big positive is they have a very nice lifestyle. I find that even those who made a conscious decision to remain childless do a little mourning once they reach midlife. I became a mother at 19 years of age and enjoyed every moment of it. I think our desire to reproduce is instinctive. Biology programmed us that way. Now that my children are grown with families of their own and I rarely see them, I sometimes ask myself why did I have children? I told one of my sons and his wife who choose to remain childless to invest time and energy on their nieces and nephews. They may need them someday.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Jacquie, I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you find peace and joy in your life, despite the pain and heartbreak of not having biological children.

    It’s a hard idea to live with, but it does get easier. And then you see a baby or a pregnant woman, and it’s hard again. And then it gets easier….it’s not possible to be 100% happy with a childless or childfree life after infertility, but the difficult times do become shorter and less painful.


  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for your thoughts, Rachel! God IS so good, and He is the key to peace and joy no matter what suffering we’re facing. Whatever is true and good and right and pure, think of those things.

    Let yourself be used by God, to be the woman He created you to be.

  6. Thank you for this post! I have recently reached the point in the grieving process of acceptance, I want to enjoy the life God has planned for us. Thank you for this encouragement :). God is good.

  7. Laurie,
    Thanks for putting this blog out there. It is helpful for me to know that someone else has struggled with infertility too and has found peace in her life even in the midst of heartbreak.

  8. Hmmm….now I’m looking at my quote “you can’t be both depressed and grateful”….and I’m rethinking it. You CAN be physiologically or hormonally depressed, and still be grateful for what you have!

  9. I’m very sorry I missed your comments! Sometimes life gets so busy, I can’t keep up. If you’re still around – if you see this – please stop by and let me know how you’re doing.


  10. Hi! My name is nataly I’m 16 yrs old and I’m about to b17. I’m really sad and worried about my future bc I had two stds and probably have p.I.d and Im scare it may damage my reproductive organs and lead to infertility. :'( I’m soo scared help me plz

  11. Hi message for jane
    i too am in the situation that my husband has children from a previous relationship although he does try it is very hard as aside from all the pain from what is going on i feel very sad and lonely that he will not be able to understand the feelings i am dealing with at all, we can not share the joy of having a child together and now we cannot share the pain of not being able to(to make it worse it now appears the problem is his side now so i dont want to get to emotionally messed up in front of him and him to feel terrible…. also his last girlfriend aborted his child!). so i am very much by myself, you could say i am lucky as i have children in my life but they are teenagers and so obviously not mine -there is no unquestioning love that i see between father and child all the time and i am not expected to care for them or rather am expected not to care-it is not my place. im sorry i started hoping i could be supportive and show you you were not alone but it has turned into a bit of a whinge. one thing i do know is that sometimes pretending to be someone that can deal with it all is the only way to deal with day to day and advenually it will become a little easier i hope! i count my lucky starts everyday for the good luck in life that i do have- this is much more than some people have in the world i know.
    with understanding and every best wish. x

  12. My sister and her hubby have three kids and can’t stop complaining and/or bragging about them. She boasts while she’s pregnant, then gives birth and boasts for longer for several months–until she figures out how much difficulty she’ll have with the child. Then she complains. I honestly doubt my older niece and nephew realize that she loves them–but then, my sis and I don’t have a chummy relationship and therefore I am unable to be involved in her kids’ lives. I am one who personally would rather have kids in spite of what parents say (ie. “enjoy your intimacy now,” and “kids make it worse.”). On one hand, I’m not naive enough to think having kids would “fix” things. On the other hand, even if I am changing diapers and cleaning poop, I always dreamt of becoming a mom, and infertility has robbed me of that dream. After more than 3 years of trying to get pregnant and trying to adopt, I’m at a point of giving up and looking at childfree living as our choice. Infertility treatments would be too difficult for us–emotionally and financially–and my DH doesn’t feel comfortable yet with the idea of becoming a foster parent (I’m not sure i could handle it, either, to be honest). So it is looking like childfree living is going to be our best bet, even though the thought still devastates me. I just wish people could see how it feels to live for three years waiting for that baby to come who never shows up–neither through pregnancy nor adoption–and would realize that sometimes we have to reach that dream in order to realize that it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.

  13. The grass is always greener. I love my kids but having kids makes your life suck. Enjoy your freedom. Kids have a way of zapping all the meaning out of life. You have to clean up poop all the time, your back hurts all the time, you can’t go anywhere, you lose intimacy, you go broke, they do stupid things, your house gets destroyed, they get you sick all the time, vacations are more stressful than your job…

    Enjoy your freedom. If it feels like something is missing in your relationship, examine the relationship. Kids won’t fill that void, only complete honesty can do that. Kids only make it worse. Parenting is different than people think it is before they have kids. Yes you love your children forever, but everything else in in life ends up sucking.

    I’m not a jerk, I’m just honest.

    Hope this helps.

  14. Dear Katie,

    Thank you for your comment! I understand exactly how you feel: there are good and bad days when thinking about a life without children.

    I, too, would much rather have kids than not have kids…but I don’t want to live in misery because I didn’t get what I want out of life. So, I too pray for happiness and acceptance no matter what happens. Children or no children.

    Never give up hope, my friend. My husband doesn’t have any sperm, so we have no chance of conceiving (unless God gives us a miracle!). But still, we hope and pray and think maybe one day….and if not, it’s okay. Like you, we didn’t want to go for treatment after treatment — I tried IUI six times, but it didn’t work. I’m 41 now.

    Anyway, thanks again – I really appreciate your comments!


  15. …oh and i should have mentioned that i’m 35..almost 36, have been ttc for 3 years and was also ‘diagnosed’ with unexplained infertility and had 1 failed IUI a year ago at which point we decided we didn’t want to be a couple that went for treatment after treatment and decided not to go for any further treatments and just see what life brings us.


  16. Thanks Laurie for your 7 ways to be happy with a childfree life after infertility.

    This is exactly what i’m going through right now – my aim for this year is to be happy as we are…happy with the life we have and try not focus on what we have not got.

    I had already started to think about number 1 – the benefits of not having children…it was like a light bulb moment for me when i thought about it and having worked as a nanny some years ago i realise how much time and effort kids can be and i now try to believe that perhaps in a way it is best for me to cope with infertility than to cope with being a parent if perhaps i’d find that even more difficult…..well it’s one way of looking at the whole situation anyway and in many ways it can make it easier. (i’m by no means saying i’m completely ok with it all the time, there are still good and bad days)

    Up until this year i prayed for a pregnancy…..now i pray for happiness in whatever life brings us.


  17. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Tanya,

    The only way to find out if you can have a child is to keep trying to get pregnant, and to get fertility tests from a doctor. Also, get your husband’s sperm checked (male infertility is just as common as female infertility!).

    And remember that it takes a year on average for most couples to conceive a child.


  18. Hi There,

    I am married for a year and i am 27 years old. I have regular cycle (34 days cycle). Now i am trying to conceive last 1 year with no success. I do ovulate last month as i gave up & checked using OPK. I also using pre-seed. Is it possible for me to have child? What can do next? Thank You.

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    Thanks so much for your comment! It seems like I rarely hear from people who are finding ways to be happy with a childfree life after infertility, and I’m glad to hear from you 🙂

    I hope you don’t mind — used some of your comments in a blog post, and linked to your facebook page.

    Can Your Marriage Survive Infertility?

    I like your Facebook idea, and will become a fan!

    Blessings — and best of luck with the fostering.


  20. Thanks for your article Laurie – I really enjoyed it.

    We are currently waiting to be placed with long-term foster children (waiting nearly a year), after 13 unsuccessful IVFs and 6 years in total TTC.

    I absolutely know it is possible to be happy after infertility – for us, we have even found value, meaning and purpose out of our deep suffering (we feel blessed that we will provide a loving and stable home to kiddies who have had a rocky start to life).

    That doesn’t mean to say that we don’t feel loss or sadness sometimes because we do. It has taken a huge committment on our behalf – years of couples and individual psychotherapy to work through our anger, loss and longing. Being part of a support group has also been instrumental to my healing – helping and supporting others through their infertility journey. I started a facebook page to support others. Looking at the benefits of a child free life – all of these things have helped us to heal.

  21. While I have started to accept infertility in my life, I can imagine how painful it must be for Cindy to deal with it. We all go through the grieving process in our own way, and at our own pace, and I remember when I felt the way Cindy is feeling now.

    TO CINDY: I am sorry to hear that it continues to be difficult for you to deal with a “childfree life” — my heart goes out to you. Please continue to give yourself the necessary time and space to grieve and process your current life situation. In the meantime, I wish you much peace and comfort during this very challenging time…

  22. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Jane,

    I’m really sorry to hear that you can’t have kids of your own, and your husband has kids from a previous marriage…that’s really difficult to cope with.

    I don’t have any easy answers for you — probably because there AREN’T any easy answers for anyone! Coping with a childfree or childless life is difficult no matter what the situation. Maybe it’s harder when you see how happy your husband’s kids make him…I’d never thought of that situation.

    Have you thought of other ways to have a family? Many couples find adoption or fostering children just as fulfilling as having biological children. I know it’s not the same; but in some ways, it can be even more fulfilling because you’re opening your home to children who don’t have families.

    I wish you all the best.


  23. So how do you cope when you find out you can’t have kids of your own because your husband has become infertile but he already has kids from a previous marriage?

    I live every day with a step son. See the joy in my husbands face and know I will never have kids of my own.


  24. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks, Nicole. I really appreciate your feedback, and hope Cindy reads your thoughtful message.

    I know that many women who can’t have kids are heartbroken beyond belief. It’s difficult to live in pain like that…and choosing to find happiness in other parts of life isn’t easy.

  25. Laurie,

    I appreciate the measured response you had the grace to write to Cindy. You recognized that she was coming from a place of pain where she couldn’t even see what was obvious to me when I read your article – that you too have struggled with infertility. Like you said, “I’d rather have kids, but I’m happy.”

    I hope that you can take a moment to reflect that there are many of us other there who experience exactly what you are going through but we don’t judge and warp what people say just to make ourselves feel better. Laurie never said that she “found happiness in the fact that she can’t have children.” She said she is finding it DESPITE it. You might have too also. I did. Good luck to you but either way – be happy!

  26. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, I appreciate it.

    I wrote this article, and have been struggling with infertility for three years now. My husband and I have been “forced into a childfree life”, but we don’t choose to look at it that way.

    It’s hard, and I’d rather we had kids, but we’re happy!


  27. Whoever wrote this nonsense article has never struggled with infertility nor do they have any concept of what it means to be forced into a child free life.

  28. If you think that any of the suggestions listed above are ways to find “happiness” in the fact that you cannot have your own children, you are sadly mistaken.