Author Topic: Childlessness  (Read 8268 times)

Imma

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Childlessness
« on: November 17, 2019, 02:03:25 PM »
This is an issue I'm struggling with, and I was just wondering if someone is in the same situation, or even better, 10+ years from where I am now so they can tell me everything will be allright.

I've always wanted to be a mother, but as I've been having health issues since I was a teenager, I've been aware for a long time that it might not actually happen. I've always pushed this thought to the back of my mind but I've always known there was a chance it may not happen. My partner has been aware of this since day one. He wants a kid but not at all costs. The feeling is not as strong for him as it is for me.

Over the years I've tried a number of treatments to get in a better health situation (not infertility treatment) to maybe make it possible to have children. So far the situation hasn't improved, it's actually slowly declining. We're 30-ish now and together for 6 years. I feel too young to make a permanent decision about this now, but we've talked about this over the years and had a few good conversations about it again recently. It boils down to we're not going to try to have kids anytime soon, unless my health spontaneously improves (which is unlikely but not impossible as I've exhausted all currently available medical options) .

I'm getting older and not in the best of health. Realistically, that means it's getting less and less likely it's going to happen at all. I've known this all along but always kind of ignored the possibility. It kind of feels like the whole life I'd imagined for myself is falling apart and I'm trying to come up with some alternative paths for my life, but I don't want any other kind of life. My partner has another big passion in his life which means he doesn't feel this loss as much as I do. He's more rational about this than I am and he's been the one who initiated the conversations about postponing having a child, possibly forever. I know deep down he's right.

My plan has always been as follows: save up as much money as possible, as young as possible. Have a child as soon it's medically possible (I'd planned on having a child fairly young on purpose because of this health issue, but I've never had a medical green light). My partner has always wanted to be a SAHP and I was going to be the breadwinner for a while - I already figured that working in an office all day long is probably much easier than running after a toddler all day  - and then hopefully be FI by the time I medically can't work anymore - if my health continues to decline at this rate I might be able to work for another 10 years but not much longer.

I always wanted a family of my own because I come from a cold and distant family. I've tried to become close to them but they are not interested. I have a very strong maternal / nurturing urge. We don't have (and are very unlikely to ever have) nieces and nephews. I've tried to be involved with friends who have families but for obvious reasons my friends with children are more interested in other friends with children because that's what they have in common. I still go to all their kids' birthday parties etc but we're not close. I'm mum's friend Imma with the nice presents. We have some childless friends, I have one friend in particular who's also involuntarily childless, but most of them live the 'work hard play hard' life that I don't care about at all. I know more than most that having a family isn't the be all and end all of things - but still it's all I've ever wanted.

Right now everything feels pointless. I'm in a boring but sensible career. The jobs I was interested in were either not physically possible or wouldn't earn enough money. I'm pretty good at what I do, I work parttime for a decent company with nice coworkers, but I honestly couldn't care less about it all. I'm in grad school to get a Master's degree, so I can get jobs in the future that will allow me to make more money, so it will be easier to live off one income when my partner is a SAHP. I want to be FI so my family has some stability when my health becomes worse.

Now my only goal is further away than ever I just don't know what to do with myself. Way back when I was in college I took some extra classes for fun and I recently asked around about putting those credits towards a liberal arts degree which turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I still want to become FI because my health is still declining and I want to be able to quit when I feel it's time, not when I finally qualify for disability. I drag myself to my office job every single day but it's hard to get out of bed very early every morning because everything feels so pointless.

On top of that we've started the most difficult time of the year when everyone is gathering with their families to celebrate and I don't. We've always celebrated the holidays with friends, but more and more of them are celebrating with their own families now. All I want is a full table at Christmas and right now it looks like I'll be alone on Christmas Eve and it'll be just the two of us the next day. My partner is good company, but our life is becoming so quiet and empty. So far from the big lively family I've always dreamed of.

Dee18

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 02:31:02 PM »
I wish you peace in whatever you decide.  Iím a parent by adoption and am so happy I took that path, but I know it is not for everyone.  My daughter just finished college and is teaching overseas...we still talk almost every day. 

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 02:56:37 PM »
In my case, adoption wouldn't be an option either. Infertility isn't the issue - as far as I know, at least. We haven't tried. With my medical issues I wouldn't be approved as an adoptive or foster parent. The issue is that I am barely healthy enough to work parttime and look after myself. Adding raising a child to that is just too big of a risk - the risk would be an even quicker decline and a possible shorter lifespan for me and a child growing up with the burden of a severely ill parent.

It sounds like you have a great bond with your daughter. I've always wanted to have such a bond with my own family but it hasn't worked out that way. My mother was in my town the other day for work and we had dinner in a restaurant, which was nice, but she doesn't really feel comfortable visting my home so that doesn't happen.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 11:59:23 PM by Imma »

Omy

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 03:19:18 PM »
I am childless by choice. My mother died young from cancer. I didn't know if I would also die young and leave my future children motherless - or possibly pass on this condition to my children.  So I chose to fill my life with work and extended family and friends. Because I made this decision (and felt very strongly about it) in my late teens, I never had a very strong maternal desire to contend with. It sounds like you are dealing with depression (in addition to your other health issues) and you should explore therapy to treat that. I am so sorry you are going through this.

Villanelle

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 03:45:59 PM »
I'm child-free by choice so I can't offer much about certain aspects of your situation.  I'm sorry you are struggling with this though.

I do want to comment on your description of your relationships with your friends with children, and with those children.  Of course this is no substitute for actual parenting, but because I got the impression you may wish that those relationships were deeper, I will say that I definitely think it's possible.  I offer to babysit my friends' kids.  Going to the dermatologist?  I can hang out with Junior for an hour.  (Assuming your health would allow that.)  I also offer up outings with the kids.  "Hey, I saw that X museum as a new kids' exhibit starting next week.  Do you want to go with he two of us and Junior and Juniorette?"  It allows me to build meaningful relationships with the kids, and to strengthen my relationships with the parents as well. 

It took a lot of conscious effort on my part to do those things, as it didn't come entirely naturally to me.  But I knew the choices once friends entered the parenting phase of life were to make the effort to build up the relationships (with both my friends and their kids), or have those relationships atrophy.  And it's been far more rewarding than I imagined. 


Cranky

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2019, 03:50:47 PM »
If you want to be closer to your friends with kids, offer to babysit. ;-)

You need a group. People used to find that at church, or bowling, or bridge club. There are modern equivalents, depending on where you live.

Volunteer. Get a dog? Work at an animal shelter. What programs does the United Way run in your area? They do tons of stuff with schools here.

kei te pai

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2019, 04:12:17 PM »
Here we have respite foster parents, sort of foster aunties and uncles. The idea is that child or children form a relationship and visit one day or weekend every month (or fortnight) while the foster parents have a break. There are also similar roles organised through a support charity for single parents. Is that something that would work for you?

meghan88

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 04:21:44 PM »
In addition to what previous posters had to say while I was typing:

- The holidays can definitely be a very tough time.  Have you thought about making a "stray cat" Christmas gathering or meal for others who might not have a place to go?  Someone from your grad school program, or other program, at your school?  Exchange students who can't afford to go home?  Those who can afford it, and/or those who can cook, can bring a dish.
- For some people (even healthy people), bearing a child can do a real number on a mother's health.  Is that a chance you are ready and willing to take?  If something happens to you, is your partner willing to be the caregiver for you and a child?  If you're not feeling healthy enough to cope with an adopted child, IMO - and admittedly not speaking from experience here - you may be faced with a huge mountain to climb to recover from childbirth, physically and mentally.
- Families can suck, whether you've inherited them, or you make them.  Parents and siblings can be assholes.  Kids can turn out very, very bad; spouses can leave.  The family you choose to make comes with no guarantees.  Friends and social groups can often be kick-ass proxy families.  If you have friends with kids, you can continue to be present in their lives ... you'll be surprised at how much you can mean to the parents and the kids.

For some inspiration, especially for when you're not feeling well - check out Seun Adebiyi - article and TEDMED talk: http://www.thepostgame.com/seun-adebiyi-never-let-nigeria-olympics-dream-die and https://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=528924.  Bon courage, and stay well.  The holidays, and all of the unrealistic expectations that come along with them, shall pass :-)

nancyfrank232

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Childlessness
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 04:36:42 PM »
Seems selfish to have a child

But thatís the case with having a child over adopting or remaining childless for everybody anyway
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 04:38:27 PM by nancyfrank232 »

hops

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2019, 05:17:55 PM »
I'm sorry you're going through this. We're in a somewhat similar spot right now, but with a couple of big differences, such as people with our illness (if you're referring to the one we've discussed in previous threads) can adopt in the US. It continues to amaze me that you're barred from adopting due to this.

If you're not part of a support group for your illness, finding one online, possibly one aimed at women, might be helpful. I've found it more freeing to discuss these issues with people who are intimately familiar with the realities of the illness. We've been assured by healthy friends that "there's never a right time" to have a child, which is probably true. But they say this without an understanding of how different our idea of "not a good time" is from theirs, or of the resentment and regret one feels when a disease takes so much from them.

Finally, if all medications have failed you, is there any possibility at all that you could be a candidate for surgery? My guess would be no. I only ask because sometimes medications that did not work pre-surgery are found to be efficacious when tried again post-surgery.

minimustache1985

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2019, 08:54:32 PM »
Iím so sorry.

A friend of mine volunteers with CASA (court appointed special advocate- for foster children) which involves building a relationship with them and advocating for their best interests as their case workers have too many kids to keep straight let alone get to know.  That may be a good fit for you.

Cassie

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2019, 09:09:31 PM »
I am sorry for your situation. Could your husband do more of the child care or is it actually physically dangerous for you to be pregnant?  Having a illness sucks.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2019, 10:04:43 PM »
Just my point of view, but as an only child (introvert) married to an only child (introvert) who had an only child (likely extrovert), our adopted aunts and uncles are a godsend. I second the "offer to take a friend's kid to a movie and dinner" or similar.

MaggieD

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2019, 10:35:26 PM »
Iím sorry for your illness and grief of the motherhood youíd dreamt of.  You might want to look into the following Reddit group: https://www.reddit.com/r/IFchildfree/

The infertility group on Reddit is welcoming to all types of infertility, including yours, so Iíd hope the same of the IFchildfree community.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2019, 12:30:21 AM »
Thanks everyone for your kind words :)

I am a member of some clubs, I volunteer, I occasionally go to church (and will certainly do do at christmas eve). There's no lack of social contact in general. I do find it hard to connect with women my age although I do try. At this age women don't even ask if you have a family anymore, they just ask how many.  I also don't really think I'm depressed, I think it's more like grief. A big thing I've always thought would happen, now probably isn't. All the choices that I made with this big thing in mind are now open again (I guess this is a great thing once I've figured out what else I want to do with my life).

We always used to host a 'stray' Christmas dinner but for the very first time I don't know anyone I could possibly invite. I keep my eyes open as always around this time of the year.

I do try to spend time with my friends' kids but it's not as easy as I thought it would be. There's a long line of people wanting to spend time with them (bio aunts wnd uncles, godparents) and while I do babysit sometimes usually the family or friends with children are the first choice for that (so Junior has other kids to play with). I really value the time I spend with them and the outings that have happened are treasured memories but it doesn't happen more than a few times a year.

@hops yes that's it + some side effects/complications from that. After your comment I did research adoption from the US and it seems that's the only country people with chronic conditions can adopt from. It's because the birth parents get to choose who adopts their child rather than some government agency that sets the rules. At a cost of 2-3 times our yearly income it's not a realistic option for us though. My partner also feels more strongly than I do that we should learn to live with the hand we've been dealt.

I haven't had surgery but it's been discussed. I'm not an ideal candidate but I have been offered it as a last resort. I used to have real life friends in the same situation but they're all parents now. Seeing how much they struggle has been an eye-opener for me. A friend (with a different condition) may never walk again because of childbirth and that's something she knew in advance. I don't want to be a parent at all costs.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2019, 01:59:42 AM »
I am childless by choice and currently 46 years old. I am a bit surprised that you sometimes feel your life is pointless because you don't have children. Do you really feel that people have no value of their own apart from being breeders/parents? I personally feel that I have the right to be here as well as anyone else and that the planet itself doesn't need me to produce offspring (enough people on this world already). If you don't have children, you will need to find more hobbies/activities, as you don't have children who will use up most of your time.

I have felt that a working life can be very stressful, even for someone without children. In those periods of stress I am very glad I don't have children to deal with as well, as it might have broken me. I don't really know how parents are coping with the stress of full time work combined with being a responsible parent. It is challenging for them.

I also enjoy the freedom of not being depending on children in choices of vacations and places to live. And with the pending climate changes, I am glad I didn't put children on the world who might suffer from collaps of our society, something I think will happen in a few decades.


reeshau

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2019, 02:42:49 AM »
@Imma,
Thank you for reaching out to the community, and I'm sorry for the pain you are going through.  While it's very difficult to try and give advice--nobody can know your whole situation, and I know it drives us crazy to have "expert" advice given on our own complicated situation with little context--here is some background and my own thoughts.

I am 48, my wife is 47, and we are parents to a 4 year old boy.  My wife wanted kids, but throughout her 20's it was "some time later," she never felt ready.  When she was 29, she ran into several types of migraine and persistent headaches; these initially left her bedridden.  We did eventually get treatment for them, but the drugs she used all start with "do not take while pregnant."  As she eventually learned to deal with the headaches, (she still has them, but much more self regulation / lifestyle management now) we found ourselves at the doorstep of 40, with the typical bad prognosis on fertility.

So, after 3 rounds of IVF, we tried again with a donor egg, and got our miracle.  They say a child costs $250k in the US by 18.  Well, that would be a bargain, because ours cost $75k before day one!  Along the way, though, we had to think through life as older parents:  we have more resources, but less energy.  And we committed to make sure our son spends time with his geographically-diverse grandparents, as he will have less time with them, then we did with ours.

So, to advice:  have you thought about a surrogate mother?  This of course would be expensive, but if you are contemplating saving for FI, it might be possible.  It might also give meaning to your work--you are on the way to a big goal, rather than just carrying your burden.  Now, I list that first to get your attention, but I also have to say there is a lot of other things to really be ready for such a step.  First and foremost, are you talking to any kind of counselor to sort out your and your husband's feelings?  You do need to be on the same page as this; it is a good thing to be grounded on the realistic possibilities, but this is also clearly a central dream of yours.  Other preparation:  can you obtain some kind of long-term care insurance, or plan for that phase of your life, if it comes sooner rather than later?  (e.g. more savings--include that as an FI spending plan)  It is natural and right for you to expect your husband to support your dreams; in return, though, you need to think from his perspective, and the role you are asking him to play in fulfilling your dream.  If you can help reduce his future burden, that can be a gift from you to him.

Please forgive the overly-reaching advise of an internet stranger.  I hope you find your way, and find peace.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2019, 05:51:31 AM »
@Linea_Norway no, I don't think life is pointless if you don't have children, but this was the whole point of the path I have chosen so far. I wouldn't have made those choices otherwise and I'm really at loss about what I should do next. This may even involve a change in job/career. You have clearly found the life you want to lead.

I also don't know how people do it, both working fulltime and having a family. We wouldn't be able to do that, which is why my partner wanted to be a mostly SAHP for the first years. Currently we work oppposing schedules which means we barely see each other. That wouldn't work with a family.

 @reeshau Congratulations on the birth of your son. It's good to hear your wife feels better now than some years ago. I hope the combination of parenthood, work and her health issues isn't too much for her.

We have decided early on we're not open to artificial fertility treatments in our situation. That issue of pregnancy is only a small part of the issue. We also need to be confident about my health situation before making the decision to have a child. Because a large part of the practical care would be done by my partner his opinion is especially important. We are lucky to live in a country where my Ä50k/year healthcare is completely paid for and we don't have to worry about the costs of future care. On top of that we have both made arrangements so the other is well taken care of should the worst happen.

Malkynn

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2019, 06:15:13 AM »
I'm in a similar but very very different situation.

I have a serious chronic illness that would make parenting just atrocious for me. I never planned a life around kids, I doubled down on a really rewarding career instead. Well, surprise! Thanks to my illness worsening dramatically, my career has now been almost entirely taken away from me as well.

I'm pretty okay with it though, because life is full of so many incredible opportunities to do amazing and satisfying things.

Am I sad? You bet.
Am I angry? Sure.
Am I letting that stop me? Nope.

It's normal to feel the way you feel about not being able to fulfill your dreams, but there's a healthy way to experience that grief and frustration and there's an unhealthy way as well.

The level of despair and hopelessness in your posts is worrisome, and definitely suggests that however you typically cope isn't really cutting it right now.

It's okay to be in a bad mental health space. It's not a failure, it's not a weakness, it's not something to try and tough-through. You are suffering, so you should get some proper medical care for that.

You and I are both sitting here, probably both in a lot of physical distress, contemplating our dreams falling apart after we worked towards them for years. You feel despair and I feel actually really excited about all of the new possibilities that I can explore.

The only difference between us is that I aggressively treat my mental health as my most critical health issue. I'm not in better shape emotionally because my problems are less traumatic or because I'm stronger than you. I'm in better shape because I treat feeling hopeless as a medical emergency and seek appropriate care.

I promise you that you can handle this, you just probably can't do it without help.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2019, 06:26:15 AM »
I obviously don't know the details or seriousness of your health situation but I guess I lean towards the get pregnant ASAP (if that is OK with your health condition) either spontaneously or with assistance and see what happens.  Having only one child is significantly easier than two or more so maybe limit yourself to just one?  If your partner is a SAHP it will be even easier as you won't need to worry about random sick days, getting the kid to daycare in the morning and you can concentrate on paid work. He will be able to take care of the household stuff.  We both work full time and have 2 kids and no family help that is truly exhausting but one kid and one job outside the home will not be quite so diffcult IMO.  You could also work part time to cut down even more on the exhaustion factor.

You didn't say that pregnancy is dangerous with your health condition - just that you weren't sure if you'd have the energy for a child, which is why I say this.  Of course if your doctor says that pregnancy would be dangerous to your health and advises against it, ignore what I just said.

I developed a serious/life threatening health condition when my first child was a few months old.  I was, of course, devastated but one of things which devastated me the most was the idea that I wouldn't be able to have a second child.  Anyway, after a long road and alot of time in hospital, surgery etc, I got pregnant with #2 when #1 was around 2.5 (and I was 39).  The pregnancy was tough - I was constantly exhaused and had to see lots of specialists - but I live in a country with really great sick leave so I ended up going on pregnancy sick leave 3 months before the due date.  To me it was 110% worth it to have a second kid despite my exhaustion.  But I'm someone who always wanted to be a parent - I've never been the least bit on the fence about it.  Obviously, everyone is different.

Hirondelle

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2019, 07:34:20 AM »
Hi Imma, just wanted to say that I'm sorry that your illness is making some of your main dreams in life fall apart. As someone around the same age, I can imagine how hard it is to see everyone around you getting pregnant while not being able to go through the same thing yourself while it's all you ever wanted.

 


I am a member of some clubs, I volunteer, I occasionally go to church (and will certainly do do at christmas eve). There's no lack of social contact in general. I do find it hard to connect with women my age although I do try. At this age women don't even ask if you have a family anymore, they just ask how many.


This stood at to me as well. Although it's maybe not something that's got to do with your current grief or that you should start fixing right now, I think this is not universally true. You probably had a collection of random friends from high school/uni/life in general and now they've started getting families. However, when I look at my social circle, which is a similar age group to yours, I don't get that same vibe. I personally think that's because I hang out with a bunch of grad students and broke backpacker style folks. Could you try to tailor some of your friendships to your own lifestage (e.g. in my case some folks start to cohabit so I see that the average age of my friends has started to shift down a little to 'match' my lifestyle) so that you have more in common with them. You are in a university city too, so I'm 100% sure that, although the % of women will be less, you should be able to find a community of like minded women around your age who are still busy studying and building up their lives. That doesn't solve your problem by any means, but it may make your social life feel a bit more fulfilling :)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2019, 07:49:50 AM »
Hi Imma, just wanted to say that I'm sorry that your illness is making some of your main dreams in life fall apart. As someone around the same age, I can imagine how hard it is to see everyone around you getting pregnant while not being able to go through the same thing yourself while it's all you ever wanted.

 


I am a member of some clubs, I volunteer, I occasionally go to church (and will certainly do do at christmas eve). There's no lack of social contact in general. I do find it hard to connect with women my age although I do try. At this age women don't even ask if you have a family anymore, they just ask how many.


This stood at to me as well. Although it's maybe not something that's got to do with your current grief or that you should start fixing right now, I think this is not universally true. You probably had a collection of random friends from high school/uni/life in general and now they've started getting families. However, when I look at my social circle, which is a similar age group to yours, I don't get that same vibe. I personally think that's because I hang out with a bunch of grad students and broke backpacker style folks. Could you try to tailor some of your friendships to your own lifestage (e.g. in my case some folks start to cohabit so I see that the average age of my friends has started to shift down a little to 'match' my lifestyle) so that you have more in common with them. You are in a university city too, so I'm 100% sure that, although the % of women will be less, you should be able to find a community of like minded women around your age who are still busy studying and building up their lives. That doesn't solve your problem by any means, but it may make your social life feel a bit more fulfilling :)

This is indeed an issue for women without children, we are a small minority and everyone else in the 30-ies is usually very occupied with children (both mentally and physically).
Here in Norway it is usual for divorced people to have their child for one week on and one week off. Those parents are often available for adult contact in the week they are not parenting.
Otherwise, try to build up contact with elder people who's children have already moved out. It will get better when you reach an age where people of your age have children who have moved out.

parkerk

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2019, 11:07:49 AM »
First of all I'm so sorry you're struggling with this and I hope that whatever happens you can find peace, happiness and fulfilment in your life.  I had something come to mind reading this but it's certainly not the same as raising a child, so feel free to skip the rest of my post if you're tired of hearing "well, have you thought of..." 

When you say you have a strong caretaking/nuturing side I thought of a program in my community where people provide housing and support to adults with developmental disabilities.  These are people who don't require constant care; they're still functional enough to be active in the community, have part-time jobs, et cetera, but not independent enough to live alone.  It's a government program so basically you get paid a certain amount of money per month in exchange for providing a room for the person, meals, and assistance with stuff like doctor's appointments and that kind of thing.  As far as I'm aware there aren't the same restrictions regarding health problems that you'd encounter with adoption or fostering.

As I said above obviously this isn't the same at all as raising a child, and I don't know where you live so this kind of program may be different or nonexistent where you are.  But if your options for having a child go from "maybe not" to "definitely not" and you continue to find that you're longing for some way to provide a loving home for someone and a sense of family it may be something to look at.

mm1970

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2019, 11:16:46 AM »
I am childless by choice and currently 46 years old. I am a bit surprised that you sometimes feel your life is pointless because you don't have children. Do you really feel that people have no value of their own apart from being breeders/parents? I personally feel that I have the right to be here as well as anyone else and that the planet itself doesn't need me to produce offspring (enough people on this world already). If you don't have children, you will need to find more hobbies/activities, as you don't have children who will use up most of your time.

I have felt that a working life can be very stressful, even for someone without children. In those periods of stress I am very glad I don't have children to deal with as well, as it might have broken me. I don't really know how parents are coping with the stress of full time work combined with being a responsible parent. It is challenging for them.

I also enjoy the freedom of not being depending on children in choices of vacations and places to live. And with the pending climate changes, I am glad I didn't put children on the world who might suffer from collaps of our society, something I think will happen in a few decades.
Whoa.

So I think probably what you are missing here is the "by choice" vs. "not by choice".  I had never planned on having children (I have two). It took some talking and negotiation with the spouse on that one, and I love being a mother.  But I honestly feel like my life would be JUST FINE if we hadn't gone down that path, because I was ambivalent in the first place.

I have many many friends who are child free by choice, a few that were unable to have children.  I also have some friends who wanted nothing more than to become a mother.  It can be VERY HARD to accept a child free life if that's all that you want in the world.  Some have adopted, some went to the sperm bank.  Others have large extended family and are great "aunties" and "uncles".  Everyone has to choose their own path - if you want children and it doesn't happen, how do you accept that and structure your life?  Wanting children desperately and not having them is VERY different than being ambivalent and not having them.

If you truly want to be a parent (but cannot), then how?  Some of my friends got pets.  Others have joined Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, or volunteer with youth groups, or volunteer at schools, or get jobs where they work with children.

Misstachian

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2019, 11:28:44 AM »
Iím sorry. Infertility is such a specific grief; it changes so much about how one thought/hoped life would look. And it can make the future feel very unclear.

Since the friendsí kids feels like the easiest point of entry, Iíd just wonder if youíve said to them, "I am missing children in my life and would love to babysit/take on outings, so think of me when you need help/letís plan a biweekly date"? Maybe you have already, but now that I do have a kid (after years of infertility), someone saying that would be my favorite person. Right now Iíd never ask a childless friend to babysit for free unless it was an emergency, because it would feel like imposing, even on those who I know love my child. But if I knew someone genuinely wanted to and would see it as an equal favor, Iíd be thrilled beyond words to help make that happen.

Not that that makes up for wanting a child and picturing life as a mother and not having that happen. I think itís okay to really feel that grief and think about, if you canít have what you want, what you do want the parts of life you can control to look like, even if that means big changes. Iím sorry youíre going through this.

Malkynn

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2019, 11:51:32 AM »
Iím sorry. Infertility is such a specific grief; it changes so much about how one thought/hoped life would look. And it can make the future feel very unclear.

Since the friendsí kids feels like the easiest point of entry, Iíd just wonder if youíve said to them, "I am missing children in my life and would love to babysit/take on outings, so think of me when you need help/letís plan a biweekly date"? Maybe you have already, but now that I do have a kid (after years of infertility), someone saying that would be my favorite person. Right now Iíd never ask a childless friend to babysit for free unless it was an emergency, because it would feel like imposing, even on those who I know love my child. But if I knew someone genuinely wanted to and would see it as an equal favor, Iíd be thrilled beyond words to help make that happen.

Not that that makes up for wanting a child and picturing life as a mother and not having that happen. I think itís okay to really feel that grief and think about, if you canít have what you want, what you do want the parts of life you can control to look like, even if that means big changes. Iím sorry youíre going through this.

The worst part of this specific grief is that it's so easy to minimize it and not see the devastation as "legitimate".

I've been close to a lot of women who struggled with infertility and the psychological strain is profound, and very few of them felt like they were entitled to be as emotionally injured as they actually were.

It takes a lot of hard work to process that kind of trauma, especially the kind that feels invalidated either by society or self or worse, both.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2019, 11:53:20 AM »
I'm so sorry you are in this situation.

A friend of mine is also childless but she does wonderful volunteer work through Child Advocacy (one sentence description: you support the children in the foster system in court) and she seems to really love and bond the children she works with. Maybe it would be an option to offer you fulfillment in a way that works in your life. I think there are many opportunities to help children in need once you go down the rabbit hole. We have a local group here called Mary's Place that helps moms and children that are homeless/transitional with getting their lives back together. Right now I just donate money and items but would like to someday donate my time to them.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2019, 02:50:17 PM »
Hi Imma, just wanted to say that I'm sorry that your illness is making some of your main dreams in life fall apart. As someone around the same age, I can imagine how hard it is to see everyone around you getting pregnant while not being able to go through the same thing yourself while it's all you ever wanted.

 


I am a member of some clubs, I volunteer, I occasionally go to church (and will certainly do do at christmas eve). There's no lack of social contact in general. I do find it hard to connect with women my age although I do try. At this age women don't even ask if you have a family anymore, they just ask how many.


This stood at to me as well. Although it's maybe not something that's got to do with your current grief or that you should start fixing right now, I think this is not universally true. You probably had a collection of random friends from high school/uni/life in general and now they've started getting families. However, when I look at my social circle, which is a similar age group to yours, I don't get that same vibe. I personally think that's because I hang out with a bunch of grad students and broke backpacker style folks. Could you try to tailor some of your friendships to your own lifestage (e.g. in my case some folks start to cohabit so I see that the average age of my friends has started to shift down a little to 'match' my lifestyle) so that you have more in common with them. You are in a university city too, so I'm 100% sure that, although the % of women will be less, you should be able to find a community of like minded women around your age who are still busy studying and building up their lives. That doesn't solve your problem by any means, but it may make your social life feel a bit more fulfilling :)

I think my partner is much better at that than I am honestly. He has lots of broke backpacker/musician/artist friends in a wide age range. Some are even mustachian instead of truly broke! He's a bit more social than I am, and tbh, it helps that he's healthy. They do things like take super low budget trips to music festivals all across Europe. That's the kind of stuff I'm just not able to do - I like to go to concerts too, but I'll go see one band and have to make sure I have nothing scheduled the next day. I'll invite his friends for dinner but I'm usually not joining them on their adventures (I try to when I can, but that's not very often).

I'm not really sure what my lifestage is honestly. I've been out of (fulltime) uni for almost a decade, I really have no energy or interest in going out to bars every weekend. I've been in a serious relationship for years and years, but we're not 'conventional' in the sense that we don't do a lot of stuff as a couple for various reasons. We grew up as punks and that's how we know each other, but these days I could pass as conventional and after work I like to cook, bake, read a book, craft etc.  My life is way too boring for the young crowd who still want to party but in the 'conventional' world I'm the odd one out too.

I'm in two groups with a shared interest (members are probably aged 25-45, so pretty mixed) and in both I'm the only childless person. Before it clashed with my grad school schedule I was in a sports group too, with women who are a bit older than me (because that's where I belong physically). Even they kept talking about their grown kids all the time. Maybe I should get interested in programming or D&D instead :)  I'm sure there are plenty of interesting, fun, childless women in my city but I just have no idea where to find them. I really don't mind hanging out with women with children and I want to hear all the stories, but I would also like some grown-up conversation every now and then.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2019, 04:01:16 PM »
I'm in a similar but very very different situation.

I have a serious chronic illness that would make parenting just atrocious for me. I never planned a life around kids, I doubled down on a really rewarding career instead. Well, surprise! Thanks to my illness worsening dramatically, my career has now been almost entirely taken away from me as well.

I'm pretty okay with it though, because life is full of so many incredible opportunities to do amazing and satisfying things.

Am I sad? You bet.
Am I angry? Sure.
Am I letting that stop me? Nope.

It's normal to feel the way you feel about not being able to fulfill your dreams, but there's a healthy way to experience that grief and frustration and there's an unhealthy way as well.

The level of despair and hopelessness in your posts is worrisome, and definitely suggests that however you typically cope isn't really cutting it right now.

It's okay to be in a bad mental health space. It's not a failure, it's not a weakness, it's not something to try and tough-through. You are suffering, so you should get some proper medical care for that.

You and I are both sitting here, probably both in a lot of physical distress, contemplating our dreams falling apart after we worked towards them for years. You feel despair and I feel actually really excited about all of the new possibilities that I can explore.

The only difference between us is that I aggressively treat my mental health as my most critical health issue. I'm not in better shape emotionally because my problems are less traumatic or because I'm stronger than you. I'm in better shape because I treat feeling hopeless as a medical emergency and seek appropriate care.

I promise you that you can handle this, you just probably can't do it without help.

I'm sure some day down the road I'll be excited about the other options I'll have in my life that I haven't thought about before, but I'm not there yet. I think that for most people, it takes a while to find an exciting new path when the old path is blocked. It's not a matter of pushing a button, but rather a process you need to go through. I think in many cases people manage to do that without professional help, but I'm not opposed to seeking help if I would stagnate somewhere in that process. 

For the past couple of years, my life really has been in the 'preparing for parenthood' stage. When we came up with the plan of him staying home (+ small side hustle) and me working, I decided to focus on my career to get a decent income, I enrolled in grad school with the idea I'd make more money with an advanced degree. At the same time I contacted all the experts in my condition to see if my health could be improved and tried several types of medication, some experimental. It turns out that all I've been doing over the past couple of years is running head-first into a concrete wall with not much to show for it (except, next year, my degree). Frankly I'm exhausted. I'm a pretty well balanced person and I don't think I'm truly hopeless, but right now I don't see any way around that concrete wall (yet). If this plan isn't going to happen, why do I have this job, why am I going to grad school? Why am I living in this city? All these certainties are question marks now.

@Hula Hoop  If it was only up to me, I'd finish up this degree, take some time to relax (finally use up all my saved up vacation days) and then I'd like to start trying. So maybe a year from now. But it's not just up to me. I know we went through the same kind of big health issue and even though there's no reason to believe it would happen again my partner is especially scared about it. I fainted last year when I had the flu and when I came round again his face was pure terror. He's very scared of losing me or ending up as a widower with a young child. It must have been difficult for both of you to decide to get pregnant again after such a big health scare.

In a couple of months I will be back on my old meds after some experimenting and my doctor will likely give me the go-ahead for pregnancy when I'm settled on them (for the first time since I was 17). But it's more a 'if you must' than 'please go ahead'. There's no reason to believe my fertility is strongly affected but there's simply only one way to find out whether my body is healthy enough to sustain a pregnancy. There's a higher risk of premature birth and stillbirth and babies are usually delivered by planned C-section. There's a small chance that a child would inherit my condition but for most people the illness is not severe. As my condition is sometimes linked to hormones pregnancy could actually have a positive effect.

Two generations ago people in my situation died before they reached my age. One generation ago most people would be severely disabled and in hospital a lot. I'm part of the first generation of women to lead a fairly normal life due to medical developments. But I've been taking really heavy and fairly experimental medication for almost 15 years. I've already had a few freak complications that could have turned out much worse than they did. There's basically no one who can tell me what the future will hold. Of course that's true for anyone but my odds are likely worse. I can absolutely see where my partner is coming from and I don't blame him for feeling that we have a good life as it is and shouldn't take unnecessary risks. It's really a complicated situation where I'm not exactly healthy but also not severely disabled and obviously unable to have a family.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2019, 09:55:15 PM »
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.

I navigated infertility and after pretty extensive treatment had a child through IVF so obviously, my situation and experience are not yours.  But when I was pursuing treatment, I partook a LOT in a pretty active online community and remember a woman named  Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos who wrote a book, The Silent Sorority, about her experience of childless-ness-not-by-choice (and in her case, after treatment for infertility that was unsuccessful).  She also maintains a webpage / blog that is still active -- https://blog.silentsorority.com/ .  In case any of that is useful.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2019, 02:54:33 AM »
I feel your pain and can relate all too well. One solution, without seeming glib or trying to minimize what youíre going through: become a pet parent. Itís not the same, wonít be the same, but the research is that people with pets love them as much as people who love children. They will tick more boxes than most people realize. Otherwise, live your best life. It may not be kids, but it doesnít have to be lonely and empty. Go to the theater, host dinner parties, travel, learn new languages, check out meet ups, learn massage and spice up your sex life. Your limited by only your imagination. This is your life and itís not over, not having children isnít death. It may not be ideal, many things arenít ideal. Still though, you live, you breathe, you think and feel, love for you. Nurture you and your partner with all the fierce love you have for children. Be your own child, and donít hold back a thing.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2019, 03:39:42 AM »
@Hula Hoop  If it was only up to me, I'd finish up this degree, take some time to relax (finally use up all my saved up vacation days) and then I'd like to start trying. So maybe a year from now. But it's not just up to me. I know we went through the same kind of big health issue and even though there's no reason to believe it would happen again my partner is especially scared about it. I fainted last year when I had the flu and when I came round again his face was pure terror. He's very scared of losing me or ending up as a widower with a young child. It must have been difficult for both of you to decide to get pregnant again after such a big health scare.


I guess in a way I'm "lucky" as my husband is more the head in the sand pretend everything is normal kind of person.  While he was really scared that he'd lose me during the health crisis 10 years ago, he's clung onto the doctor saying "everything is fixed, you're as good as new!" and uses that as a mantra whenever I stress out about my health issues and longevity. 

Anyway, he never comes to doctor's appointments with me and I got the green light from my cardiologist to get pregnant before my second pregnancy but there was a lot of "if you must".  Obviously, I would not have done it if I'd thought it was life threatening for either me or the baby.  In the end, while it was a tough pregnancy mainly because I was exhausted and running around after a 2-3 year old at the same time, the baby was completely healthy and the birth went really well. 

Obviously, it takes two to tango and I understand that you wouldn't go ahead withour your partner's consent but maybe if he came to the doctor with you to hear him/her tell you that it would be OK?  Do you think he's at all persuadable?

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2019, 04:53:53 PM »
Iím so sorry for your loss. The loss of the vision you had for your future. After our second 2nd trimester unexplained pregnancy loss I was staring down the same kind of uncertain future you are now. Wanting really badly (in our case) to become parents and facing the very real possibility that it might not be possible without extraordinary measures like surrogacy.

That is a special hell to live in, in my opinion. I do think the grief of the loss of the dream is hard because it is invisible and isolating. 

Iím going through a very different situation now but also starting to confront the idea that something that is very dear to me, that I have been working very hard to achieve, may just be unattainable. It is really hard on me mentally. I am reaching out to therapists and a support group and generally doing everything to prioritize my mental health. But my therapist was saying to me just today that we need to get some more definitive answers on whether this may be possible do I can stop being stuck and start moving forward, however that future will look.

Is there any counseling or support groups you can reach out to? Grief, loss, etc.?

This is a wild idea and feel free to reject it, but some of us from the baby and pregnancy journal chat thread have a separate WhatsApp group chat just for people who have had losses. You are welcome to join if you like and want to share. Granted, your loss is a little bit different, but pretty similar in my opinion.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #33 on: November 20, 2019, 08:34:58 AM »
Hardy anyone of us understanding what your condition is, I wonder where the advantage for you lies in not openly talking about what we are talking about here? ( admittedly there could be many)
I am a nurse and work with disabled people only. From my perspective you could gain a lot from putting your question out ( not necessarily here!) and get some answers from people with the same condition and hear and maybe get to see how life is working out for them, especially if they dared to have children. Obviously we are all individuals, so no two situations are the same but I do feel a lot can be learned through this.

Just as an example I work with disabled children and young adults. The handicaps are very diverse and while generally people are absolutely scared of conceiving a disabled child, 99% of my clients are well able to live a pretty "normal" sometimes happy, sometimes unhappy life with their conditions. Normal for them obviously often includes being dependent, but off from a lot of things, experiencing pain, progressive conditions...
I personally did not know that before I started working there, I was just as scared as the rest of society.
So my thought is to try and talk to / meet women with your condition and find out how they make things work/ cope with their inability to make things work.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2019, 04:34:26 PM »
Maybe keep an eye out for transplants who live far from their families? When I had first moved to Colorado with two toddlers and no support system, I would have been happy to know someone like you!

I'm sorry for your situation. It sucks.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2019, 01:58:15 AM »
There are several reasons why I'm not open about my condition - not just on MMM but in real life as well. I'll usually leave it at 'it's an auto-immune disease' except when I'm talking to other people with the same condition or medical staff.

The first reason is that I'm not interested in receiving any kind of medical advice - I've already consulted the experts. I really don't want to hear 'you shouldn't eat chocolate/start to eat paleo/exercise more or less than you do/have this guy pray for you.' People say they mean well but what they imply is 'it's kind of your own fault that you're ill because you didn't do X'. All the things mentioned have been serious suggestions, I'm not making this up. In reality my condition is mostly genetic and there's no quick fix.

The other reason is I have a fairly common condition that many people's neighbour's cousin's best friend suffers from too, but my condition presents itself in a very unusual way (which is why treatment has been difficult) and also in a much more severe form than most. Most women with this condition will thankfully never face this problem.

Through hospital I know a few young women with a similar medical history and many of them do have children. Most chose to have children very young, when they are still relatively healthy and not using medication yet. I've been on medication since 17 so that wasn't an option. There's quite a lot of reassuring going on from women I know from hospital that you can never regret having a baby, the sacrifice is worth it etc etc. It sounds more like survivorshop bias tbh. Of course once you have a child you can't imagine not having it, but it would be taboo to say you struggle to cope.

It seems the ones without children made that choice for other reasons than health. The close childless friend I mentioned earlier is the only one I know in the same situation (although the cause is very different) and we don't deal with this in the same way.

For my partner especially the unknown future risks are also a big thing. I've had a complication that could have been fatal and a serious cancer scare already and it's likely that my medication puts me at a higher risk for a lot of terrible diseases. May not happen but it could. For me, day to day, I feel pretty normal, but I know why an outsider would be worried.

Malkynn

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2019, 05:48:23 AM »
^ I totally get that. I've been ill my entire life but only very recently was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. I generally am pretty cagey about naming it unless talking to a fellow medical professional. The questions and advice are beyond aggravating.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2019, 06:22:15 AM »
^ I totally get that. I've been ill my entire life but only very recently was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. I generally am pretty cagey about naming it unless talking to a fellow medical professional. The questions and advice are beyond aggravating.

I get that too - even from my own family.  I don't mind answering questions but the advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about is really aggravating. 

Malkynn

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2019, 06:50:18 AM »
^ I totally get that. I've been ill my entire life but only very recently was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. I generally am pretty cagey about naming it unless talking to a fellow medical professional. The questions and advice are beyond aggravating.

I get that too - even from my own family.  I don't mind answering questions but the advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about is really aggravating.

It's such a balance of wanting people to be able to understand and respect our functional limitations but not wanting that to be an invite to ask invasive questions and offer unsolicited advice.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2019, 06:59:41 AM »
I wrote a long piece on this topic a year or so ago. I think someone posted it in the "Best Post...Today " thread. I'm off to see if I can find it.

Spoiler:  It all worked out in the end. I'm 61 now and have no regrets, which amazes me even as I write this.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2019, 10:30:58 AM »
I have a sister with a severe auto-immune disease.  It took her doctors quite a while to diagnose her illness as a teen. Medication helped her live a mostly normal life into her 30's, but eventually her response to medication waned. She moved back in with Mom in her mid to late 30s. I don't know if she gets a similar response of suggestions from people who learn about her disease. I think when that does happen she does take it as them meaning well. She has an amazing attitude about her condition, facing it with incredible serenity of accepting things that she cannot change. In addition to getting the help that medical experts can provide, she has explored on her own and found a diet that works better with her body.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2019, 11:20:40 AM »
I have a sister with a severe auto-immune disease.  It took her doctors quite a while to diagnose her illness as a teen. Medication helped her live a mostly normal life into her 30's, but eventually her response to medication waned. She moved back in with Mom in her mid to late 30s. I don't know if she gets a similar response of suggestions from people who learn about her disease. I think when that does happen she does take it as them meaning well. She has an amazing attitude about her condition, facing it with incredible serenity of accepting things that she cannot change. In addition to getting the help that medical experts can provide, she has explored on her own and found a diet that works better with her body.
I know you donít mean to come across this way, but what you wrote could come across subtly as chiding the OP for not having the same serenity as your sister, or implying that she isnít optimizing diet and exercise. I just want to be sensitive to her feelings here as she has obviously been living with this for a long time and it has profound impacts on her life.

Malkynn

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2019, 01:49:35 PM »
I have a sister with a severe auto-immune disease.  It took her doctors quite a while to diagnose her illness as a teen. Medication helped her live a mostly normal life into her 30's, but eventually her response to medication waned. She moved back in with Mom in her mid to late 30s. I don't know if she gets a similar response of suggestions from people who learn about her disease. I think when that does happen she does take it as them meaning well. She has an amazing attitude about her condition, facing it with incredible serenity of accepting things that she cannot change. In addition to getting the help that medical experts can provide, she has explored on her own and found a diet that works better with her body.
I know you donít mean to come across this way, but what you wrote could come across subtly as chiding the OP for not having the same serenity as your sister, or implying that she isnít optimizing diet and exercise. I just want to be sensitive to her feelings here as she has obviously been living with this for a long time and it has profound impacts on her life.

Yeah, that's totally how I took it as well...

Cassie

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #43 on: November 22, 2019, 12:50:21 AM »
I read it as totally opposite the last 2 posters. But it only matters how the OP perceives it.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #44 on: November 22, 2019, 06:58:56 AM »
I am childless by choice, and in coming to that decision, I had many discussions with women who were childless, including those who are involuntarily childless.

Will it be all right? Absolutely.

Will the grief ever truly go away? Probably not. The women I've spoken to who are involuntarily childless have all eventually come to peace with it. But they also all admitted to ruminating occasionally on what could have been. Wondering if they should have made different decisions in their younger days that would have allowed them to be become parents, wondering if they should have adopted, etc.

Unlike childless-by-choice women, involuntarily childless women never seem to get to the point where they are happy not to have children.

But that doesn't mean they are unhappy.

Volunteerism helps, because it gives an outlet to your nurturing side. Fostering animals, volunteering with needy children or needy adults, and even gardening may be helpful to you.

For the holidays, I suggest looking for outlets: animal shelters will be short on volunteers, food banks and homeless shelters will need volunteers, Meals on Wheels may have a particular need for individuals who can spend a little bit of extra time on a holiday.

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #45 on: November 22, 2019, 07:45:47 AM »
I think it's important to have someone or something to care for. Some people find that in having pets. I know that might sound terribly flippant to some here, but it's been very important to me to have something to care for, something that's relying on me for their wellbeing etc etc.

I also think it's important to have children in your life. They don't always have to be yours. I've done a lot of things for other people's kids that are "parenty" - making them birthday cakes, teaching them to drive, attending special events, shopped for school supplies, shoes, taken for haircuts, read endless stories to a sick one and got chicken pox myself as a thank you, driven around in the middle of the night looking for errant teenagers (!) etc etc. Obviously with the parent's permission because they're close family/friends! I guess I'm saying that it takes a village, and you're part of the village whether or not they're biologically yours.

Of course nothing will take away your grief. You will have to go through your own process. I can only offer up some minor suggestions that have helped me.

robartsd

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #46 on: November 22, 2019, 08:34:04 AM »
But they can't possibly understand what it is like to live with such a thing.
Even with a close family member its impossible to understand.

I didn't really communicate very well that my point was that my sister's care from medical professionals and her personal choice to pursue lifestyle adjustments are what has helped to the extent possible, I don't know of any unsolicited non-professional advice that has.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #47 on: November 22, 2019, 08:43:53 AM »
I have a sister with a severe auto-immune disease.  It took her doctors quite a while to diagnose her illness as a teen. Medication helped her live a mostly normal life into her 30's, but eventually her response to medication waned. She moved back in with Mom in her mid to late 30s. I don't know if she gets a similar response of suggestions from people who learn about her disease. I think when that does happen she does take it as them meaning well. She has an amazing attitude about her condition, facing it with incredible serenity of accepting things that she cannot change. In addition to getting the help that medical experts can provide, she has explored on her own and found a diet that works better with her body.
I know you donít mean to come across this way, but what you wrote could come across subtly as chiding the OP for not having the same serenity as your sister, or implying that she isnít optimizing diet and exercise. I just want to be sensitive to her feelings here as she has obviously been living with this for a long time and it has profound impacts on her life.

Yeah, that's totally how I took it as well...

I agree.  I'm glad that your sister has found peace with her disease though.  I'm sure it was a long road for her.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #48 on: November 23, 2019, 01:28:32 AM »
I've received quite a few PMs with personal stories, I will reply to all of those this weekend. I was a bit busy the last couple of days but all of those wonderful supportive message deserve a proper answer, not a few rushed words.

I'm not easily offended about the type of advice people give me, because I know most people mean well and just want to help me get better. There are just three things that sometimes lead to heated discussions because they are so stupid:
- the power of positive thinking bla bla bla. Yes, that's something that might help people cope and if it does, good for them. But it's not going to magically cure a genetic condition in the same way no amount of positive thinking will ever turn your hair from brown to blonde
- do your research! I did and that's why I turned to the most specialized practitioner of evidence-based medicine in my country. But that's not what they mean.
- people who go on about healthy diets when I'm handed a piece of birthday cake at a party. A generally healthy diet and some exercise is going to be helpful to most people, with our without chronic conditions, and I really don't want to develop type 2 diabetes on top of everything I've already got. But while a healthy lifestyle may improve your sense of wellbeing, it's, again, not a cure. I can get very blunt if people go on about this and say stuff like 'yeah but think about it, 50 years ago no one had even heard of your condition and now I know X people who have it, must be something to do with a modern western diet'. Yeah no 50 years ago people just died before they were diagnosed. My greataunt was raised on a self-sufficient farm and had it all her life. She was only diagnosed in her late 80s after I was diagnosed. She must have had a mild form to survive this long but she was always in pain.

Imma

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Re: Childlessness
« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2020, 12:44:09 AM »
So, this was a couple of months ago. Since then my health has worsened (it often does during winter, but this year has been worse than most) which makes me glad I don't have children to take care off on top of everything else. It's only after this thread that I realised how often people ask when you're having children and I still don't know what to answer (4 times since the start of this thread, so maybe once a month). I say something like 'nah probably not' now and I almost sound like I believe it by now.

I'm still at loss about my career though. I still don't find a lot of Joy in my career and it's been hard to focus on my grad school text books now there's no reason to take this path anymore. I've been spending time with my sewing machine when I should have been studying, which is unheard of for me. I've always been really strict with myself.

I'm not looking forward to a family party this weekend. I'm approaching 30, unmarried, childless with a boring sounding job in a boring sounding company, still living in that tiny house in the city, still no car. I find it very hard to deal with that kind of criticism and not getting defensive or emotional.