Mar 292009
 

Living without having children doesn’t have to be sad, depressing, or futile. Here are seven ways to be happy after infertility…

“We were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility’, which sounds good in one respect,” says Cindy Margolis, actress, model, and spokesperson for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. “On the other hand, you almost want something wrong, so there’s a problem, so you can fix it.”

Whether you’re coping with male, female, or unexplained infertility, adjusting to the thought of not having kids can be difficult.

You may find Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children helpful.

What I find most helpful is being grateful for what I do have. I love my husband, dog, cat, friends, Quips and Tips blogs, and life in general. Some days I have to force myself to choose to look on the bright side, and other days it’s easy!

You can’t be depressed or bitter when you’re grateful.

A Childfree Life After Infertility – 7 Ways to be Happy

Focus on the benefits of not having children — there are some!

“Most studies have shown that psychological well-being tends to decline when people have kids,” says sociologist Amy Pienta, from the University of Michigan. “In mid-life, being married or having a partner has a greater impact on a woman’s well-being than whether or not she has children.” Enjoying life after infertility involves focusing on the emotional and financial freedom that a child-free existence can offer!

Find infertility and childfree living support groups

If you’ve recently discovered that you or your partner have fertility issues, you may want to investigate infertility treatments. Many treatment centers have support groups – and connecting with other couples coping with infertility is a great way to both research possible treatments and build a happy childfree life.

Support other couples coping with infertility

Cindy Margolis is an actress and model who faced “unexplained infertility issues” – and is now the spokesperson for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. You don’t have to be famous to get involved with an infertility treatment center or support group! Life after infertility – or any disappointment, serious illness, or major life change – can involve reaching out to others with the same struggles.

Be prepared for the effect of infertility on your marriage

I don’t know the statistics of divorce after infertility, but not being able to have children can negatively impact marriages and committed relationships. Some couples get a divorce after infertility or even during infertility treatments – it’s a stressful, difficult time. To be happy with a childfree life, be aware that your marriage may look very different in a year or more…for better or worse. If your marriage is shaky, read Keeping Your Marriage Strong in Infertility.

Think outside the box

Our infertility issues can’t be fixed with surgery; we’re considering a second round of sperm donor “treatments” (intrauterine insemination), but it sure gets expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining! If my husband and I don’t have children, I hope to take extended vacations every year, focus on building a strong writing career, and accept a childfree life.

Get involved with other people’s kids

To be happy after infertility, consider being a Big Sister or Big Brother, volunteering at a hospital for sick kids, or getting seriously involved in your nephews’ or nieces’ lives. There are kids all over our communities who are lonely and desperate for adult attention…and if your childfree life may benefit other people’s kids in deep, meaningful ways.

Consider options for infertile couples

Talk to couples who have adopted, fostered, or had children in unconventional ways. Enjoying – not just tolerating – life after infertility involves opening your mind to possibilities other than traditional childbirth (or traditional infertility treatments). To find these possibilities after infertility, ask your friends and family for examples of people who have built their families in untraditional ways. You’ll be surprised at what bubbles to the surface.

Here’s another article that may help: Is Your Marriage Suffering Because You Can’t Get Pregnant?

If you have any thoughts or questions on a childfree life after infertility, please comment below…

childless life

quips tips coping infertilityI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Kienlen; I've been married almost a decade. My husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I'd love to hear from you below - but I can't give health advice or counseling.

  24 Responses to “A Childfree Life After Infertility – 7 Ways to be Happy”

  1. Hmmm….now I’m looking at my quote “you can’t be both depressed and grateful”….and I’m rethinking it. You CAN be physiologically or hormonally depressed, and still be grateful for what you have!

  2. I’m very sorry I missed your comments! Sometimes life gets so busy, I can’t keep up. If you’re still around – if you see this – please stop by and let me know how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  3. Hi! My name is nataly I’m 16 yrs old and I’m about to b17. I’m really sad and worried about my future bc I had two stds and probably have p.I.d and Im scare it may damage my reproductive organs and lead to infertility. :’( I’m soo scared help me plz

  4. Hi message for jane
    i too am in the situation that my husband has children from a previous relationship although he does try it is very hard as aside from all the pain from what is going on i feel very sad and lonely that he will not be able to understand the feelings i am dealing with at all, we can not share the joy of having a child together and now we cannot share the pain of not being able to(to make it worse it now appears the problem is his side now so i dont want to get to emotionally messed up in front of him and him to feel terrible…. also his last girlfriend aborted his child!). so i am very much by myself, you could say i am lucky as i have children in my life but they are teenagers and so obviously not mine -there is no unquestioning love that i see between father and child all the time and i am not expected to care for them or rather am expected not to care-it is not my place. im sorry i started hoping i could be supportive and show you you were not alone but it has turned into a bit of a whinge. one thing i do know is that sometimes pretending to be someone that can deal with it all is the only way to deal with day to day and advenually it will become a little easier i hope! i count my lucky starts everyday for the good luck in life that i do have- this is much more than some people have in the world i know.
    YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
    with understanding and every best wish. x

  5. My sister and her hubby have three kids and can’t stop complaining and/or bragging about them. She boasts while she’s pregnant, then gives birth and boasts for longer for several months–until she figures out how much difficulty she’ll have with the child. Then she complains. I honestly doubt my older niece and nephew realize that she loves them–but then, my sis and I don’t have a chummy relationship and therefore I am unable to be involved in her kids’ lives. I am one who personally would rather have kids in spite of what parents say (ie. “enjoy your intimacy now,” and “kids make it worse.”). On one hand, I’m not naive enough to think having kids would “fix” things. On the other hand, even if I am changing diapers and cleaning poop, I always dreamt of becoming a mom, and infertility has robbed me of that dream. After more than 3 years of trying to get pregnant and trying to adopt, I’m at a point of giving up and looking at childfree living as our choice. Infertility treatments would be too difficult for us–emotionally and financially–and my DH doesn’t feel comfortable yet with the idea of becoming a foster parent (I’m not sure i could handle it, either, to be honest). So it is looking like childfree living is going to be our best bet, even though the thought still devastates me. I just wish people could see how it feels to live for three years waiting for that baby to come who never shows up–neither through pregnancy nor adoption–and would realize that sometimes we have to reach that dream in order to realize that it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.

  6. Dear Beauford,

    Thank you so much for your comment! I think parenthood is so difficult, and yet very few parents can honestly admit how hard it is. Thank you for your honesty.

    I included your comment in this article:

    Childlessness and Happiness – Why I’m OK With Being Childless

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  7. The grass is always greener. I love my kids but having kids makes your life suck. Enjoy your freedom. Kids have a way of zapping all the meaning out of life. You have to clean up poop all the time, your back hurts all the time, you can’t go anywhere, you lose intimacy, you go broke, they do stupid things, your house gets destroyed, they get you sick all the time, vacations are more stressful than your job…

    Enjoy your freedom. If it feels like something is missing in your relationship, examine the relationship. Kids won’t fill that void, only complete honesty can do that. Kids only make it worse. Parenting is different than people think it is before they have kids. Yes you love your children forever, but everything else in in life ends up sucking.

    I’m not a jerk, I’m just honest.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Dear Katie,

    Thank you for your comment! I understand exactly how you feel: there are good and bad days when thinking about a life without children.

    I, too, would much rather have kids than not have kids…but I don’t want to live in misery because I didn’t get what I want out of life. So, I too pray for happiness and acceptance no matter what happens. Children or no children.

    Never give up hope, my friend. My husband doesn’t have any sperm, so we have no chance of conceiving (unless God gives us a miracle!). But still, we hope and pray and think maybe one day….and if not, it’s okay. Like you, we didn’t want to go for treatment after treatment — I tried IUI six times, but it didn’t work. I’m 41 now.

    Anyway, thanks again – I really appreciate your comments!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  9. …oh and i should have mentioned that i’m 35..almost 36, have been ttc for 3 years and was also ‘diagnosed’ with unexplained infertility and had 1 failed IUI a year ago at which point we decided we didn’t want to be a couple that went for treatment after treatment and decided not to go for any further treatments and just see what life brings us.

    x

  10. Thanks Laurie for your 7 ways to be happy with a childfree life after infertility.

    This is exactly what i’m going through right now – my aim for this year is to be happy as we are…happy with the life we have and try not focus on what we have not got.

    I had already started to think about number 1 – the benefits of not having children…it was like a light bulb moment for me when i thought about it and having worked as a nanny some years ago i realise how much time and effort kids can be and i now try to believe that perhaps in a way it is best for me to cope with infertility than to cope with being a parent if perhaps i’d find that even more difficult…..well it’s one way of looking at the whole situation anyway and in many ways it can make it easier. (i’m by no means saying i’m completely ok with it all the time, there are still good and bad days)

    Up until this year i prayed for a pregnancy…..now i pray for happiness in whatever life brings us.

    xx

  11. Hi Tanya,

    The only way to find out if you can have a child is to keep trying to get pregnant, and to get fertility tests from a doctor. Also, get your husband’s sperm checked (male infertility is just as common as female infertility!).

    And remember that it takes a year on average for most couples to conceive a child.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  12. Hi There,

    I am married for a year and i am 27 years old. I have regular cycle (34 days cycle). Now i am trying to conceive last 1 year with no success. I do ovulate last month as i gave up & checked using OPK. I also using pre-seed. Is it possible for me to have child? What can do next? Thank You.

  13. No problem :)

  14. Josie,

    Thanks so much for your comment! It seems like I rarely hear from people who are finding ways to be happy with a childfree life after infertility, and I’m glad to hear from you :-)

    I hope you don’t mind — used some of your comments in a blog post, and linked to your facebook page.

    Can Your Marriage Survive Infertility?

    I like your Facebook idea, and will become a fan!

    Blessings — and best of luck with the fostering.

    Laurie

  15. Thanks for your article Laurie – I really enjoyed it.

    We are currently waiting to be placed with long-term foster children (waiting nearly a year), after 13 unsuccessful IVFs and 6 years in total TTC.

    I absolutely know it is possible to be happy after infertility – for us, we have even found value, meaning and purpose out of our deep suffering (we feel blessed that we will provide a loving and stable home to kiddies who have had a rocky start to life).

    That doesn’t mean to say that we don’t feel loss or sadness sometimes because we do. It has taken a huge committment on our behalf – years of couples and individual psychotherapy to work through our anger, loss and longing. Being part of a support group has also been instrumental to my healing – helping and supporting others through their infertility journey. I started a facebook page to support others http://www.facebook.com/infertilitycrisis Looking at the benefits of a child free life – all of these things have helped us to heal.

  16. Thank you, Compassionate, for your kind words. I’m grateful for your comments.

  17. While I have started to accept infertility in my life, I can imagine how painful it must be for Cindy to deal with it. We all go through the grieving process in our own way, and at our own pace, and I remember when I felt the way Cindy is feeling now.

    TO CINDY: I am sorry to hear that it continues to be difficult for you to deal with a “childfree life” — my heart goes out to you. Please continue to give yourself the necessary time and space to grieve and process your current life situation. In the meantime, I wish you much peace and comfort during this very challenging time…

  18. Hi Jane,

    I’m really sorry to hear that you can’t have kids of your own, and your husband has kids from a previous marriage…that’s really difficult to cope with.

    I don’t have any easy answers for you — probably because there AREN’T any easy answers for anyone! Coping with a childfree or childless life is difficult no matter what the situation. Maybe it’s harder when you see how happy your husband’s kids make him…I’d never thought of that situation.

    Have you thought of other ways to have a family? Many couples find adoption or fostering children just as fulfilling as having biological children. I know it’s not the same; but in some ways, it can be even more fulfilling because you’re opening your home to children who don’t have families.

    I wish you all the best.

    Laurie

  19. So how do you cope when you find out you can’t have kids of your own because your husband has become infertile but he already has kids from a previous marriage?

    I live every day with a step son. See the joy in my husbands face and know I will never have kids of my own.

    Jane

  20. Thanks, Nicole. I really appreciate your feedback, and hope Cindy reads your thoughtful message.

    I know that many women who can’t have kids are heartbroken beyond belief. It’s difficult to live in pain like that…and choosing to find happiness in other parts of life isn’t easy.

  21. Laurie,

    I appreciate the measured response you had the grace to write to Cindy. You recognized that she was coming from a place of pain where she couldn’t even see what was obvious to me when I read your article – that you too have struggled with infertility. Like you said, “I’d rather have kids, but I’m happy.”

    Cindy,
    I hope that you can take a moment to reflect that there are many of us other there who experience exactly what you are going through but we don’t judge and warp what people say just to make ourselves feel better. Laurie never said that she “found happiness in the fact that she can’t have children.” She said she is finding it DESPITE it. You might have too also. I did. Good luck to you but either way – be happy!

  22. Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, I appreciate it.

    I wrote this article, and have been struggling with infertility for three years now. My husband and I have been “forced into a childfree life”, but we don’t choose to look at it that way.

    It’s hard, and I’d rather we had kids, but we’re happy!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  23. Whoever wrote this nonsense article has never struggled with infertility nor do they have any concept of what it means to be forced into a child free life.

  24. If you think that any of the suggestions listed above are ways to find “happiness” in the fact that you cannot have your own children, you are sadly mistaken.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)