If you could wave magic wand or be given the secret elixir that would give you a baby tomorrow, would you do it?
For many of you, I know the answer would be a resounding yes. And it would have been for me, too, once. When I was in the thick of trying to have to a baby, and for a long time after we stopped trying and starting trying to come to terms with the idea of not having children, magically having a baby was the thing I usually wished for whenever I blew out birthday candles, broke a wishbone, or had some other imaginary chance to get exactly what I wanted.
But here I am now, a few years removed from that time and my desires have changed. It’s been a long, bumpy journey of acceptance, of coming-to-terms, and of finally making peace. And now I find myself making plans for a future that children won’t easily fit into.
There are some who’ll say that I can’t have really wanted children that much in the first place if I feel this way. These are the same kinds of people who implied that my widowed mother couldn’t have cared as much for her late-husband as they did for theirs because she went on to find love again. What those people don’t seem to grasp is that part of healing, part of moving on, is taking the life you have and shaping it into the best it can be. If that means falling in love and marrying again, that takes nothing away from the first, lost love. And if it means building a full and happy life that doesn’t include children, that in no way diminishes the original desire and the subsequent loss.
Recovering from loss isn’t about dragging the weight of what’s missing around with you forever. It’s about finding a place in your heart for what was lost and building a new life new around it.
For me, the fact that my plans no longer have room for children of my own signifies that I’m making excellent progress down that road of recovery.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post SO MUCH on so many different levels. I think my fave sentences are these: “Recovering from loss isn’t about dragging the weight of what’s missing around with you forever. It’s about finding a place in your heart for what was lost and building a new life new around it.”
I completely agree with the previous poster. That sentence was particularly moving for me, as well.
Every post I read on this site helps me come to terms with what may be my future. It is always just what I need to read to become comfortable with the idea of being child-free. Thank you.
To come to grips with this is no eat feat. I’m glad you share with the world in this triumph. Thanks!
Lee Cockrum says
I am partially in this place now. If the wish could go into the past, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But now I am getting older, less energy, husband was always on the fence (at best!) about having kids. So I know that having a baby now would not be the best thing. I am also ready to travel, do other things in my life that are not as easy with kids. What I still struggle with is the loss and mourning over what I did not get. That still hurts so much.
Wow, this was such a timely post! My husband & I have been trying for almost 3 years with no luck. I have always pictured myself as a mom, but a few months ago, a sense of peace come over me and I started imagining our life without kids. I loved the sentiment about thinking others will say that you can’t have really wanted children very much in the first place if you feel this way now. I have really been struggling with that as well. My husband is all for adoption, but for whatever reason, my heart doesn’t feel it. And that makes me feel so guilty (especially because I have two adopted nephews who are just amazing little guys.) Thank you so much for this website and for sharing your thoughts.
This post speaks volumes to me and where I am in my journey. The plans we have now for our future don’t include a child at all. Now approaching our mid to late 40’s, we do have less energy and a strong desire to travel more. I will admit though there is still a tiny part of me that would have responsed an immediate “yes” to that magic wand or elixir, but when I start to think about all our upcoming plans, I hear my inside voice say “no” and I am really fine with that. I love the part that says “part of healing, part of moving on, is taking the life you have and shaping it into the best it can be.” This best describes how I am making this childless life that has given to me the best it can be.
Beautiful post, Lisa!
I am not there yet… but hopefully I will get there in a year or two.
Well-written, thro I’d say too soon for me… Like Klara- hopefully, we’d get there in a year or two…
I really love this post. I cant say the same thing for the moment, but on some occasions, I am able to think that I am okay with not having children. I am moving on toward acceptance even if I still struggle with grief from time to time.
What resonated with me is: These are the same kinds of people who implied that my widowed mother couldn’t have cared as much for her late-husband as they did for theirs because she went on to find love again. What those people don’t seem to grasp is that part of healing, part of moving on, is taking the life you have and shaping it into the best it can be.
Having also lost a spouse, I can relate to that feeling of self-consciousness about moving on in both situations. When I started dating after the loss of my first husband, I was met with sketicism by some people. Those where people who felt I didn’t mourn long enough.
To the same effect, my efforts to embrace parts of my life that don’t require facing the hurt of childlessness (vacations with friends, etc), are met with impatience from other who don’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be around pregnant women or babies. If I’m smiling in my vacation pics, then I must be okay, so what’s my problem?
The truth is that it’s no one’s place to say. Just because someone is doing the best they can and trying to embrace joy does not mean they are not processing their grief.
If I could go back in time 10, 15 or 20 years ago, most definately I would say YES. But I turned 50 in August, and I realize that time for being a Mother has past. I am trying to focus on new adventures in my life. I am trying to have closer relationships with friends. I am wanting to go back to college. I want to travel more. I would like to find a companion, My life is still full and I am ready and able to enjoy it.
Thanks so much for this wonderful post.
I’ve lots of ideas that don’t include a baby. I guess that means I’m one step further with my healing. Thing is, I don’t have a magic wand, and I don’t even have a husband/partner. What I’m trying to come to terms with these days is that I will HAVE to work at least nearly full time and pursue my career in a clever way FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, because I will have to feed myself. This might sound common place but for me it is actually only now (three years after stopping TTC, two years after splitting up) really sinking in and it comes as a new shock. My perspective has always been that work will be part of my life but not the main one. When having a baby and family has started to look unrealistic, all my “magic wand” ideas went into directions that would give meaning to life, fulfil my dreams… but won’t feed me, realistically. No I won’t study music, write a book or become a full-time blogger, simply because there is no breadwinner in the house, I’m the breadwinner that’s the end of it. “shaping my life into the best it can be”, yes. But I’ve come to realize that it’s not about fulfilling all my dreams and wishes I have “instead” of the wish of having a family. After all, magic wands don’t exist.
I came to this realisation 5-6 years ago. I always said I didn’t want to ttc beyond 41. And so by the time I was in my mid-40s, and had a very late period, I went and bought that HPT fearing that I might have been pregnant. Whereas a few years earlier I would have been delighted at the prospect. About to turn 50, it is definitely a “no thank you” from me. Aging really does help. But realising I’m surviving, and living well, helps too.
I feel exactly the same way, & went through almost exactly the same scenario. ; ) At 51, I no longer wish for a baby, much as I once wanted one. And while I still wish things had been different, my focus these days is not so much on what I don’t have as making the most of the life that I do have.