A reader asked how to live with the fact that she’ll never have children; she doesn’t want to feel sad all the time. I know how she feels, because we can’t have kids either.
To learn how she’s coping with infertility, read her comment and question on Accepting a Childfree Life.
And here’s something to think about: “Rigid beliefs make disappointments seem unbearable, whereas realistic beliefs help us to accept disappointment and go on from there.” ~ Eileen Kennedy-Moore.
One way to live a childfree life happily is to learn to cope with disappointment, my friends. Below, I give examples of rigid versus realistic beliefs when it comes to accepting infertility. One of my favorite books about living a full life despite pain, disease, and disappointment is Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen.
Every Drunken Cheerleader: Why Not Me? is an incredibly insightful, helpful book for couples who can’t have children. Don’t take this journey alone; walk alongside women who know how you feel.
And, read on for six suggestions for living without children…
Living With the Fact That You’ll Never Have Children
Learn the difference between rigid and realistic beliefs
Two examples of rigid beliefs are: “parenthood makes people happy” and “my children are my life.” Those beliefs don’t allow for other ways to be happy or other ways to live a fulfilling, happy life! On the other hand, two realistic beliefs are: “parenthood is one way for people to be happy – and there are other ways” and “every person has a different life focus, a different life purpose. Children may or may not be part of a fulfilling, meaningful life.” To cope with infertility, let go of your rigid beliefs.
Avoid idealizing the thought of children
When we can’t have children, we sometimes fall into the trap of focusing on only the good parts of raising kids. We idealize everything about families, and forget the fact that our own children may have brought all sorts of problems! It’s not often that I hear parents say they regret having children, but I have heard it – and I suspect regret is more common than parents admit. To live with the fact that you’ll never have children, be open to the possibility that you weren’t meant to have kids for some reason. Be open to the possibility that you were spared something, and that a childfree life may be better for you.
If you’re depressed about never having children, read Dealing With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant.
Reevaluate your reasons for wanting children
A long time ago, I told a friend that I want kids so I’d have someone to take care of me when I’m old. She said that’s not a good reason to want children – you have to want them for them, not so you have someone to take care of you later. Plus, there’s no guarantee that you kids will take care of you when you’re old! When you’re learning to live with the fact that you’ll never have children, take a look at your reasons for wanting them. Maybe you want them because you’ve been conditioned to want them…certainly, some people have kids because they were raised thinking it’s the “right” thing to do.
Spend time with childfree couples
If you spend a lot of time with families or parents who can’t stop talking about how great their kids are, consider limiting those visits. Instead, spend time with couples who chose to be childfree, or who can’t have kids but are okay with it.
Focus on other things that make your life meaningful
My husband and I might never have kids – I’m not thrilled about the idea of in vitro fertilization, and I believe I’d be fine with not having children. I’d rather have kids, but I can see the benefits of a childfree life. Plus, I love my writing and blogging career, and I love inspiring people to achieve their goals! If you’re having trouble living with the fact that you’ll never have kids, try exploring other areas of your life. What warms your heart? What do you love to do?
If your sadness and disappointment is overwhelming, please see a fertility counselor – or any trained therapist. But, talking to someone who specializes in coping with infertility might be make a difference, because she understands the precise issues you’re dealing with.
You might also find When Your Friends Are Pregnant and You Can’t Conceive or Overcoming Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant helpful.
I know how disappointing and sad it is to cope with infertility. But, I also believe that we be sad about infertility and still live a happy, fulfilling, meaningful life! Having children is one part of life…not the whole meaning of our existence.
If you have any thoughts on how to live with never having have children, I welcome your comments below.
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And for more tips for couples coping with a childfree life, read Ways to be Happy After Infertility.