By Lisa Manterfield
This month marks eight years since I wrote the first post for Life Without Baby. It will be nine years since I acknowledged that I would not be a mother by any means.
Nine years sounds like a really long time, doesn’t it? But I have passed so many milestones on the way to getting where I am now.
First there was the decision to get off the fertility crazy train. I passed that milestone several times, each time hopping back onboard for one more try. Eventually, I passed it for the last time. I cancelled my next doctor appointment and never went back.
I passed another milestone when I stopped envying/hating/coveting every pregnant belly I saw. I have since held other people’s babies, made it through Mother’s Days without tears, and gone shopping for baby shower gifts. Each was a significant milestone.
Eventually, after a number of years, I stopped being so sad about all I’d missed out on. I started building a new life and taking advantage of the benefits of not having children.
Nine years ago, I could never have imagined I’d look at my life, see how completely different it would have been with children, and feel satisfied that things worked out well after all. I hadn’t even known that milestone would be there until I passed it one day about a year ago.
None of this came easily. I went through dark periods of grief, of feeling angry and resentful. I’ve felt horribly lonely and alienated from people with “normal” lives. I’ve been in turns bitter, embarrassed, defiant, even vengeful about being infertile and childless. I’ve also felt relief and even slightly smug.
And after these nine years, I feel acceptance of my life that way it is, an understanding that when the motherhood door closed for me, others opened (although I sometimes didn’t see them at first.) I like my life just the way it is.
Maybe you can see yourself at one of these milestones. Maybe you’re making peace with the hand you’ve been dealt, maybe you’re moving on with a different kind of life, too.
If you see yourself all the way at the beginning of this post, wondering how on earth you’re ever going to be okay again, hang in there. You’re not alone. I, and many other readers on this site, are here to tell you that it does get better in time. Most likely, it will take longer than you ever imagined, but from my experience, the end result will also be better than you could have possibly foreseen.
Now for the Celebration
The other surprise outcome of my infertility is that I have written books about it. That was never part of my plan either. (I had always hoped to write fiction someday, which I have, but writing about infertility was an unexpected and rewarding detour.)
I wrote about my infertility journey and my decision to stop trying to be a mother in my first book, I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No the Motherhood. Then, after blogging my way through coming-to-terms with that decision and dealing with the loss, I wrote a guidebook to help other navigate their way. That book is Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn’t Happen.
To celebrate this blog-i-versary, both books are on sale in ebook format for only $2.99 (and a comparable price in other currencies) for the entire month of March.
And now I’d like to ask a small favor. If you’ve read either of these books and found them helpful, would you take a minute and leave a review on your bookseller site of choice? It need only be a couple of sentences about what you liked (or what you didn’t, if that’s the case), but it will really help others looking for this sort of book, and of course, it would be a huge help to me. You can click on the links above and they’ll take you where you need to go.