By Lisa Manterfield
Do ever feel as if you’re in a constant battle with yourself? So often I make a decision and forge ahead on the path of my choice, only to catch myself looking longingly at another paths and wondering if I ought to have taken them instead. As soon as I make a decision I lose sight of all the things I’ll gain from choosing that path and can only see all that I’ll be losing from walking away from the other paths.
I certainly did that when I chose the “life without children” path. I knew what I would gain by opting to stop treatments and I knew what I would gain by walking away from the adoption route we were on. I knew that my sanity and my marriage would benefit from that decision, and that I’d claim back the life that was passing me by. But I could also see clearly everything I would lose from walking away from the possibility of motherhood.
I know I made the right choice, and I’m glad I kept walking on my chosen path, but it doesn’t stop me looking back once in a while to see where I might have been.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend who was making some difficult life decisions. She talked about the idea of trusting that the path you’re on will take you where you’re supposed to be.
At first glance, this reeks of “everything happens for a reason,” a philosophy that makes me bristle. Personally, I do not believe that I was denied children so that I could take a bigger, more important path instead, or that I wasn’t granted motherhood because it was more than I could handle. I have an untreatable medical condition; I cannot reproduce; end of story; $#it happens.
And yet I’m intrigued by the idea of trusting the path.
There is no doubt that not having children will take me on a very different path than motherhood; it already has. But what if I stopped fighting that? What if I stopped looking over my shoulder at all that I’ve lost and trusted that the path I’m on will take me where I’m supposed to go? Granted, I might not have much to blog about with my new peaceful self, but perhaps I could just enjoy the journey and see where it takes me.
What do you think about the idea of trusting the path?
I agree that I bristle at first with that thought. And yet when I take out the mother/childless comparison I love that idea. I’ve been finding that when I let my resistance go and embrace my gifts and blessings – I can have a beautiful life.
Brilliant! I find myself, lost, confused and stressed trying to figure everything out and why it is happening to me .. why i have unexplained infertility, why has my treatment failed me despite good numbers .. somwtimes i just want to step back and not pursue anything and i find myself so peaceful doing that .. not having to deal with disappoints, bills etc .. trying to trust the path that is destined for me
Hi Lisa, hi everyone,
I do believe that things happen for a reason. Although we are free to choose our path, I also believe that God has as specific plan for everyone. I pray to listen what God wants for me because I think that his will is for me to be happy so, What does God thinks that will make me really happy?
I struggle with anything that resembles “everything happens for a reason,” but I’m thinking on the “trust the path” and I can see value in it. I feel like for me, the value is in trying to look forward in the decisions made and trying to limit (because who am I kidding, I’m human, I can’t eliminate) looking back to what-ifs and if-onlys and trying to determine at what point a decision may have led us to where we are today, coming to terms with two months left in our adoption journey and then saying ENOUGH. There is a peace I think (I hope) that comes with accepting the path and trying to make the most out of that one. I have tried so many things to make parenthood happen, and to face reaching the end of my stamina without what I sought is a hard path, but also a freeing one, maybe more so if I look towards that path as something that will take me to where I’m supposed to be. Even if that’s just not going so crazy and living a life with the normal amount of uncertainty in it.
Last week one of my Christian coworkers told me to “let go and let God” also in that aspect of my life. The resistance was incredible, it was that dream that was leaving me. It was no easy, but I did let go. I trust God and I know that he has something else for me in my life.
In fact I am planning a support group for women who have never been able to have kids. Just
I hope I could create awareness, involve more people and help other women so they won’t have to face it alone…
Lisa and each one of you have inspired me !
Thank you !
I still struggle with “let it flow”/”trust the path”. I won’t deny that the moment the decision to put a stop sign was made, I took it really hard, since it was a final line made on concrete (not sand) by my husband. So weighing the pros and cons, the latter ultimately won. And in a sense it’s been great, I’ve taken new challenges, changed my lifestyle and I am embracing (not-baby-related) healthy habits. But social landmines are still an issue, intimate relationships are frightening and I am simply incapable to be super happy around children and pregnant people, let alone be cheerful around those topics. So I have a bunch of ups and downs and I can become really bitter, which leads to isolation. Always hated roller-coasters…
I know exactly how you feel. My husband and i have been married for 7 years and all of our friends who got married around the same time all have babies. We are the only ones in our circle who remain childless. I am lucky that he loves me and has told me if we don’t have children it is God’s plan and he will stay with me. We have seen 3 fertility specialists and have tried non-medical treatments (massage, acupuncture, etc) to no success. I am really struggling right now to just draw that line as you said and accept so i can move on. This roller coaster ride is not healthy. Every time we tried something new i was so hopeful and when it didn’t work i fell down hard and broke into a million pieces. I just don’t have the energy. Seeing kids and pregnant people is hard. Especially when they are your friends’ kids or pregnant bellies.
So sorry Marie for all the sadness that you have been through. I had 2 unsuccessful IVF’s and kind of lost the count of how many miscarriages I’ve had. It took an emotional toll on my husband; until many years he wasn’t able to express his fears and traumas, I thought it was worse for me while he was struggling for us both. So I understand his reasons and I am trying to accept the situation because we love each other very much and we still want to be together. We’re still able to laugh together and value our time and its little moments of joy. We’ve been through so much together and he was there all the way. If I’m really honest with myself I have to confess that amidst the dubious and confusing feelings, I get so anxious envisioning being pregnant that I know that I will not be able to enjoy it, with a constant fear of loss. I don’t want that again. But as Jane P said, triggers will always be there, there’s only so little one can control. I also gave up FB and all social media with a sniff of any trigger. But the rest of the world, well, we just can’t avoid everything. I was deadly serious towards my mother when I told her that I didn’t want to hear “prego news” of any kind. And nowadays I feel confident enough to answer the awkward questions in a matter-of-factly way (years of training) by just keeping it short, true and simple (not everyone deserves an answer). I just say yes, I have x kids, but they are dead. And then I just ignore the “it’s for the best” and all the mostly well intended replies, if they come. Most people don’t know what to say and that’s normally the end of the conversation. Because only you know what you’ve been through. Today I feel great but 2 days ago I felt like I was literally broken, with nothing left. Then I had to find my triggers to bring me back to a better state in order to lift up my spirit and feel sane again.
Mischa I am so sorry for all of your losses. I cannot imagine going through that. We have never been pregnant. My husband tells me that God may just not want that for us and only hr knows why. I am thankful that our love for each other is so strong that we continue to have fun together. I just wish i could live in a bubble and not have to see babies and pregnant women. On Christmas Eve of last year our good friends who I introduced and were married after my husband and i told us they were expecting. I took the news very hard and broke into a million pieces. I stopped looking at Facebook because i couldnt take all the announcements and baby pics. I kept looking at Instagram and when i saw their ultrasound announcing their pregnancy to the world i broke down again. It is so hard to see others so easily get something i have tried so hard to get. To add to my situation, my husband’s sister got pregnant and wasn’t even trying. She has a boyfriend, they are not married and don’t even live together. I keep thinking on how life is so unfair. I get angry at God and angry at everyone who can have kids. It makes me mad to see ungrateful parents who don’t know how to appreciate the blessings they have. I need to find triggers that get me back on track to sanity as well. This whole journey is a tough one. I hope you have a solid list of uplifing triggers.
Jane P (UK) says
I love the idea of trusting the path – if we could remove TV, social media, pregnant mums, parents, announcements, comments from well meaning colleagues, friends, my own mother; Facebook; mothers day, fathers day, (I could be ranting now) …….. I’d have no trouble with this path. Everyday is a trigger of some sort that has me looking over my shoulder – would love some peace from it all. I remind myself that I didn’t choose this path of no children and that I owe it to myself and my husband to grasp what we do have with both hands and say make the most of everyday. I’ve taken some practical steps too – like, no more facebook, limited TV and fewer visits to Mum! I’m sad about the latter but she doesn’t get me and she keeps hurting me with careless comments.