Embracing Childlessness Post Infertility

I'm living a life that isn't what I expected. I'm living a simple, quiet, and childless marriage, which has been an unexpected reality I've grown accustomed to.  Instead of the pitter-patter of little feet, I have the soft taps of little paws. I don't have a large house filled with children but a minimal apartment that efficiently accommodates two average adults. I'm not the stay-at-home mom I'd dreamed of becoming. Instead, I'm a woman in my late thirties transitioning to a new chapter in my life because I realized I wasn't going to have children.

Embracing childlessness hasn't been an easy task. Primarily because of the grief that comes from letting go of all the dreams and plans I had of creating a family. And then there's the guilt for not living up to everyone's expectations and giving them what they want. Then the feelings of failure for not being able to do the one thing that my body should be able to do.

It's a harsh and isolating experience, especially defending myself for not "trying hard enough" constantly. But what does that even mean? You can only try as hard as your body allows you to. And mine had given all that it could. So was it my fault that endometriosis destroyed my reproductive organs? Am I to blame for losing an ovary? Is it selfish to prioritize my health and well-being over fertility treatments that I couldn't afford and offer no guarantees?

For a long while, these questions haunted me. And they compounded my grief and guilt. Because how could they know I watched mommy blogs and dreamed of my life with children. Or how I followed fertility experts and took the pills, followed the diet, charted my cycle, and still wasn't pregnant. They didn't know I found inspiration watching others undergo fertility treatments and get their dream family. I wanted that to be me, but it wasn't possible for me. It wasn't even an option. 

No one talks about the financial expense of infertility, especially when coupled with a chronic illness. Instead, everyone blames you for not trying hard enough but fails to see the medical bills that pile up. Or the long recovery from surgical procedures. Nor do they understand the health risks associated with fertility treatments for women with endometriosis. 

Yet you're expected to persevere despite the odds. If fertility treatments fail, you must adopt. Yet again, no one mentions the complications involved with fostering and adoption. The expenses, training, and various other factors aren't considered. Everything is made to be simple. But it's not simple. Infertility is messy and ugly. It eats you up emotionally and mentally. You're constantly bouncing back and forth between grief and guilt. There's self-loathing, feeling like a failure, intense marital pressure, and financial strain. 

And that's only scratching the surface of what life with infertility is like. Yet, no one wants to talk about these realities. Perhaps if more people did, I wouldn't have struggled for so long. 

But after years of being in limbo and fighting infertility, I reached a point where I was ready to move on. I chose to embrace childlessness after infertility because I didn't want to live my life stuck with the emotions, expectations, guilt, and grief of infertility. I was tired of crying and battling my body. And I knew that pursuing my dream of a family would cost me my financial,  emotional, mental, and physical well-being.  And I wasn't willing to sacrifice these things anymore. 

I was yearning to make peace and build a new life. A simple, quiet life. One that didn't include children.

Kat H. 

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