How to Cope When You Can’t Have a Baby

Not being able to conceive a baby is one of the saddest, most heartbreaking things for a woman. I don’t have any easy answers or solutions coping when you can’t have a baby – but here are a few tips from women who know how you feel.

“My doctor told me I’ll never be able to have children,” writes Jessie on Do You Resent Your Pregnant Friends? “Just recently two of my friends have become pregnant, my partner’s 18 year old sister just had a baby, and most of my other friends already have children. Only my partner knows I can’t have a baby, as I’m not courageous enough to tell anyone else. A lot of his family expects me to get pregnant, which is really hard to cope with…I just wish I could become pregnant even just once.. I want to be a mother more than anything.. It’s so unfair how some people can have kids but others can’t.”

Dear Jessie,

I’m so sorry to hear how difficult it is for you, not to be able to get pregnant. I know how hard it is – all my friends seem to have kids, and four of my coworkers are pregnant! Tomorrow is yet another baby shower at work, and it is hard. I don’t resent them, but I wish I wasn’t missing out on such an exciting, natural, important part of life.

I’m 42 years old. I always believed we’d have a baby. I really thought that even though my husband doesn’t have any sperm, a miracle would happen. I don’t want to try in vitro fertilization, and we’re not keen on adopting. But now I’m just beginning to accept that we will never have children…and it’s difficult.

What helps is planning our future. My husband and I both love to travel, so we’ve decided to go on big vacations every year. He’s planning to retire at age 55, and we think we might move toHawaiior somewhere exotic! And I’m going to grad school in the fall, and love my Quips and Tips blogs. I work with Big Brothers as a Mentoring Coordinator, and I love my job. I love my husband very much, I love our house, and our dog.

I think the best “tip” for coping with depression when you can’t have a baby is to create a life that you love. You’ll always feel a bit sad that you can’t have kids, but at least you’ll have what you have.

You’re right that it’s not fair that most women can have kids, and some of us can’t. Life is unfair in so many ways – some people get cancer, others live in third world countries, others are refugees, others have to work in factories, others lose their children or families, others are abused…and some couples can’t have babies. Life is equally unfair to all of us, I believe. We all have bad, heartbreaking, or sad things we have to cope with.

It makes me feel better to know that I’m not alone in the unfairness of it all. And it’s not just women who feel the pain…

“Men get depressed about infertility, too,” says J. on Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive. “My wife and I are having a devil of a time getting pregnant, and we’re not getting any younger. Both of us were in our 30′s when we married. So, the clock is ticking. My depression comes and goes in waves. I’m grieving the loss of never being able to participate in the creation of life that birthing a newborn would allow. I’m grieving the loss passing on the family name…I am the only son of six children. I’m grieving the loss of many, many things that comes with bringing your own biological children into this world.”

Jessie, my heart goes out to you. I wish you all the best, and hope you find ways to build a happy, content, and even joyful life despite the fact that you may never have a baby.



Coping When You Can’t Have a Baby – Tips From Women

Realize you’re not alone – spend time with women who haven’t had babies

“If you’ve spent any extended amount of time in ‘trying to conceive’ limbo, you know that it’s not easy to move away from the overpowering biological urge to conceive a baby,” writes Pamela Tsigdinos in Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found. “It becomes all but a second job what with monitoring, doctor appointments, more monitoring and still more doctor appointments. As I moved forward in my 30s, I found myself working my way through a slow but progressive set of steps. I started at acknowledgement and ended in my early 40s with acceptance.”

One of the best ways to cope when you can’t have babies is to connect with women who know how you feel – and who emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy.

Talk about infertility – it is nothing to be ashamed of

One of the reasons Tsigdinos called her book SILENT Sorority was because women don’t talk about their infertility. Jessie is not alone in her reluctance to tell her family that she can’t have a baby! But, the more you talk about it, the better you’ll feel. Trust me, it gets easier with time.

Reading books written by women who have coped with infertility will help. Here’s a full list of books to help women cope with not having babies on Amazon.

Stay away from pregnant women

“It might sound a bit cruel but my strategy is to stay away from pregnant friends and relatives (and there seem to be a lot of them) if I’m having a bad day. I’ve been trying to conceive for 2 years and have good days and bad days – some days I just know it’s not the right time to be around pregnant women or small children and I just arrange to be out of that situation. Other times I feel fine and make sure I show how happy I am for those people.” ~ Saralucy.

Be grateful for the love you have

“I know it’s gotta be tough being married and trying to conceive, but try being single and not even having a partner on the horizon! That said, we can ALL find reasons to feel sorry for ourselves. The trick is to let yourself feel the sadness without becoming bitter, I think.” ~ kbot.

For more thoughts on not being able to conceive, read Why Infertility Isn’t the Worst Thing to Happen to You.

If you have any comments or tips on how to cope when you can’t have a baby, please share below!

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5 Responses

  1. Sheila says:

    I myself unfortunately got pregnant when I was 15 …My mother by way of my grandmother’s shaming me and her forced an abortion (as they said, “I was still a baby myself and they weren’t going to raise another child!”)
    Needless to say…years down the road I developed Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and wound up losing a tube and ovary to 2 large grapefruit size cycts at which time doctors told me I had less than 20% of conceiving…2 years later I had the other tube removed to the same condition.

    I grieved then…and still do…as the one child I did conceive and did want…was taken from me through no choice of my own. (Our province did not allow teens under 18 to make abortion decisions at the time.)
    Now I read of 8 years old being forced to deliver babies they don’t want from rape situations …and mother’s drowning/killing their children…and teenage girls popping out kids like they are accessories…and I have to submit a 20 page essay of why I am deserving of being able to adopt a child who wasn’t wanted…then told me (and my then husband) are not qualified.

    God forbid I post any of these feelings on my FB wall… or I’d get a tirade of, “You need to pray harder or accept God’s will, or try and look on the bright side of things.” type sentiments…
    It all makes me want to just and just scream, “Why is life all so slanted towards the unjust/unworthy?”

  2. Sheila says:

    This is great for those who are so blessed (I actually cringe and shrink every time I hear people say that…as if to indicate that the rest of us are not blessed to be able to conceive… for whatever the multitude of reasons…be it financial, or other circumstance/s) to have had their wombs graced by life and the ability to fulfill their life long family dream via perseverance or sheer miracle.
    But… tell me…where do the rest of us who are not so graced or blessed by miracles or determination/money (who are well over the child bearing years) go for emotional support? Many of us struggle (sometimes daily) to keep our chins and attitudes up to be supportive in our communities when babies come along and women become pregnant…

    I have found nothing for the rest of us… where is the support for us?

    I resent being told God has a greater plan for me… or that I need to pray harder…or to be thankful for having no children.
    How can people be so thoughtless heartless and callous?

    It would be nice to find groups online (Facebook or other forums) for women who are permanently barren and/or who have not adopted/or are fostering for whatever their reason/circumstance – financial or otherwise?

    While I try to be grateful for the many things that not having children affords me at my age, I still struggle a lot on and off at times when faced with either people pushing their photos of their kids or newborns in my FB newsfeed, or I read about the horrendous things that people do to their children.
    Please help
    Lost & alone in Western Canada

  3. Wanda says:

    Thanks for writting this I’ve been feeling so miserable because of my situation not being able to have my own baby but for some reason everyone around me are pregnant and I can’t really talk about my feelings with my partner or other family cause to then its you’ll be k I cry myself to sleep sometimes because they don’t understand where im coming from they think its easy just forget about it my partner is k with cause he has a child already but it hurts me and he doesn’t understand me.

  4. Lily says:

    It seems like everyone around me is having babies. And somedays are harder than others. My husband had a vasectomy before we got married and he has two children of his own. I don’t think he really understands how I feel. Im so happy I found this site, and books on here that I’m going to read that will make me feel better.

  5. Jessie says:

    Thankyou so much for writing this, for some reason i feel it is easier to talk to strangers about this than people i actually know. I found out another friend of mine is now pregnant last night, and when i went for a shower later i just sat in there and cried :'(. My sad story began when i was 17 and i had the right to have children taken away from me by a very bad person. I’m not like other people who were born with this. :(. I think every day why did this happen to me.. I shouldn’t have gone to that party and all other thoughts that go through my head. But i have to learn to live with and deal with everyone having kids cos whether i like it or not thats what is going to happen :(

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