Something was wrong, but nobody could tell us what - and they still can't to this day. We tried IVF three times but our results were not good. We were devastated.
Eighteen months after our last IVF cycle, we knew we would not be having our own children. And, somehow, we have moved to a life that is much different to the one we thought we'd have.
This blog is about what we do now we know we won't be having children - the thoughts, dreams, realities, sorrows, and joys that have become our new life path.
I hope you will enjoy what I will be sharing, and I hope that if you are at the point where life without children is a reality for you, that you might find some hope and inspiration here.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sometimes I get a little jealous of other people when their children only want them. When, at the end of the day, their child will go home with them and have bath time and story time. I think that it will never happen for me with a child, because I don’t have a child of my own.
Well, Hugo has taught me that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. For that moment I was the most important person and the one that could offer him the comfort and security that he was seeking. It was really special.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I went out to lunch with one of my dearest friends and mentioned the blog and the book I hope to make out it. She said that the book would be good for relatives and friends of people who can’t have kids as well, as it might give them some insight into what it is like for the couple concerned.
I was talking to my Mum on the phone just now and she mentioned that the daughter of a friend of hers had recently had a daughter, and she felt jealous; jealous for her and jealous for us.
Not having kids does affect Kirby and me, but it also affects our friends and family. They grieve for us and for themselves as well. My friend wonders what it would have been like for us to raise our children together (they would have been about the same age), our Mums and Dads hurt for us, as do our sisters and brothers, when they hear of other people having children. It doesn’t mean they resent other people for having children, just that they wish it could be us as well.
One insight I have had is that, in some ways, it might be easier for us. Sure, we do have moments where we are sad and sometimes angry at the way things have panned out, but for the most part we have got used to the idea and we are filling our lives up with other things such as pets and writing and Hugo and spending time with each other more than we perhaps would have been able to with kids. We see ourselves every day as being okay and moving forward (with little steps backward and times of tears amongst it all of course). Our friends and family know we are okay, but they don’t see every day that we are.
Our family and friends don’t see the alternative life we are creating every day, and instead are more likely to be impacted by news of other people’s children as in how it affects or could affect us. I guess it must seem like there is a hole in our lives that is always there and can never be filled, and it must seem that that hole is so huge to people looking in from outside.
It’s true that there is a hole, but the hole is not as scary as it once was, and we acknowledge its presence and fill it up as best we can while giving it respect. We see our lives as what could have been, but mostly for what it is, and we see that every day.
Monday, December 19, 2011
These thoughts interrupted me quite significantly, and, basically, scared the you know what out of me. I felt so guilty, and I didn’t know who I could talk to about it. I didn’t want to talk to our family or friends because I felt like such a bad person. I didn’t want to talk to Kirby about it because I didn’t want to hurt him and I wasn’t sure what I really felt. At times I wanted to leave, and at times there was no doubt at all that I wanted to stay as Kirby was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Eventually there came a point where I couldn’t deal with these thoughts and feelings on my own – so I fessed up to Kirbs. You can imagine my surprise when he told me he had had similar thoughts and feelings. It was relief that I wasn’t the only one, coupled with fear that perhaps our marriage was going to end.
Kirby and I talked and talked about how we felt, and eventually came to a realisation. For our entire relationship we had pictured a large part of that being parents to our kids. We were going to be a team raising a couple of children – sharing the highs and lows, teaching them, caring for them, standing together for them. We expected this would happen from the first day we met. Now that this wouldn’t happen – what were we? There was a black hole right where the parenting bit of our relationship would have been, and running away from it seemed the only way to deal with it, except that this also meant running away from each other.
We had relief with the realisation that what we needed to do was redefine our relationship as a couple. We needed to work out who we were as individuals and as partners in life, and that is what we have being doing since. There is certainly never going to be a point where we have it all sorted (where would be the fun in that?), but we are pretty damn happy with our relationship now. To be honest, since opening up to each other about our thoughts of leaving, it’s almost felt like we dated again – getting to know each other again. And that was kind of cool.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The lights had not changed for us to walk and the man stepped out onto the road taking his little boy with him. There wasn’t any traffic – luckily. My first thought was that if their little boy is hit by a car one day then they will only have themselves to blame.
On the way home tonight I was driving up a one way street (going the right way I should add) when a woman came the other way on her bike in a way that that meant I had to stop and wait for her. I was annoyed, but I was really annoyed when I saw she had a tiny child on the back of her bike. Way to go lady – teach your kid bad habits from a young age.
I was incensed at the thought that these people had been able to have a child and I was unable to. I quite often feel this way when I see a parent doing something stupid that could put their child in harm’s way. Surely I would never have done such a thing if I had a child. Well, maybe in a perfect world.
It is very easy for me look at parents and think harshly about what they are doing or not doing – to put a judgement call on what I see in comparison to what I think I would have been like as a mother. The reality is that nobody is perfect and everybody makes decisions and takes actions that are not so smart – including parents. This doesn’t mean that they love their children any less or that they would not give the whole world to keep them safe. I should add that I’ve made plenty of not so smart decisions too!
I know that I’ve done dumb things in the past, and I’m sure that, as a mother, I would have made bad decisions as well. I guess I need to suck up my judgemental attitude and realise we are all just human – although there is a line and people deliberately harming their children…well, that’s another post.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
When Zoe and I talked about swimming lessons, I said to her that it was something I always wanted to do with Kirby’s and my children – then I started to cry. It sometimes isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t swap Hugo for anything.
You know what is really funny – it feels like I’m going to be a part of the ‘Mummy’ club in a small way. Other women will see the baby seat in the car and have that knowing look that I am one of them, even though I’m not really. Taking Hugo to swimming lessons will be fantastic one on one time with him, and again, people will assume he is mine. I like that. I know that I am not his Mum, but the idea of other people thinking I am a Mum is kind of bitter sweet.
Does that sound strange? Probably, but I don’t get to have the full on ‘Mummy’ experience, so I will take whatever I can get to get a taste of it. I mean, if you couldn’t have the whole block of chocolate, would you say ‘no’ to someone giving you a square of it?
Friday, December 2, 2011
There is a tinge of sadness this year, though, and not for the reasons you might think. It’s not necessarily because we don’t have our own children to share Christmas with, but because my Nan passed away in July this year, and this will be the first Christmas without her.
Nan loved Christmas. She would make Christmas cakes and puddings with pennies in them. She would decorate her tree and home, and be there ready for Christmas hugs and kisses for everyone.
My Mum and I went Christmas shopping last Monday. We had a lovely time picking out this and that for various people – thinking about what colours one likes, the music that is the favourite of another, and what the right size of clothing is for this one. We were looking at Christmas decorations in one of the department stores and I noticed that Mum became teary. She told me that Nan and she had a Christmas tradition where each year they would buy a tree ornament each and put it on their trees. I suggested that perhaps she and I could carry on that tradition – and so we have. We each bought (well, actually Mum shouted me) a beautiful little red bell for our trees. Mum has also given me Nan’s Christmas tree and the red bell now hangs alongside the dancer ornament that was the tradition ornament Nan bought with Mum last year. I love having Nan’s tree in our home. Christmas was magical for Nan, and I know that I have inherited that from her.
Why am I talking about this on my blog? Well, it has got me thinking about Christmas and what it means given we don’t have our own children. In honesty I don’t think the meaning of Christmas has changed for me from what it might have been if we did have children. My Nan lost both of her husbands (one was in his forties and one was in his sixties) and two children (one at two years of age and one at seventeen). She could have been forgiven for pushing Christmas aside and doing only what needed to be done, but she didn’t. She always had this love that surrounded Christmas and made it special. I want to be like her – I want to carry on that legacy.
Christmas is about family and friends. It is about being with those I love, while respecting that I might feel sadness about not having children, and, of course, about Nan not being here.
Christmas is special for me.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
My niece Hannah (she is nine) asked me the other day 'Have you ever thought about having children?'. She is so sweet - and sounded so grown up!
I don't believe in 'lying' to children, so I told her that I can't have a baby, because the babies can't stay inside of me.
I also told her that I was very lucky because I have nieces and nephews who I love so much.
It's not always easy to answer questions like that - especially with children. But, it is getting easier and having some 'ready to go' answers has helped.
I might leave it there I think - my nephew Hugo and my sister in law Zoe are getting back from Prague today and they will be here for breakfast in a few hours
I can't wait!!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
This is probably going to sound strange, but sometimes I resent my uterus. I hate the hormones and mood changes and bleeding. I resent it because the whole thing doesn't have a point. I'll never get pregnant, so what's the point of having a womb that lines and empties every month?
This has especially become the case in the last year or so. I've been diagnosed with Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This syndrome is controversial in terms of its diagnosis, and it affects something like 2-9% of women. Basically it is PMS, but doubled, tripled whatever. Every month I become extremely irritable, angry, depressed, teary...sounds like normal PMS, right? But, I also struggle with feelings and thoughts of being beyond help and perhaps not being here would be better for everyone concerned. I know that these thoughts aren't real and I'm able to just let them be and don't delve into them – they will pass – but jeez it sucks.
And, the suckiest thing is that having these cycles is they are all for nothing. At one point I even thought about asking for a hysterectomy, but I realise that would not be a good idea (the risks and complications and recovery aren't worth it unless it is absolutely necessary). So, I'll be going on the pill starting from next cycle. I don't want to – I don't like taking medication unless I have to, and I admit I feel like a bit of a failure having to take it.
I think I'm having a bit of a blah day today. I keep thinking that my womanhood is so totally mucked up – I can't have a child, and my menstrual cycle is ridiculous. I think I'm going to have to read my blog entry from April 18th again – I don't feel like much of a woman in tune with her cycles.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
This year was both wonderful and hard. With the birth of Hugo we got to celebrate Zoe’s first mother’s day and it was beautiful. We also had the privilege of organizing a present for her from Hugo. He has very good taste and got her a wooden necklace. I wrote a poem as well (from Hugo) in a card. It was a lovely day.
But there is always a tinge of sorrow for me – I don’t have a child that looks at me the way Hugo looks at Zoe. This year was particularly hard because it was the first Mother’s Day where there was a baby with us – before it was Zoe, Kirby and I celebrating our mothers.
Zoe and Mum B (my mother-in-law) have decided that Mother’s Day will also be Auntie’s Day. Hugo had a special little present for me as well. I was blown away. I held it in, but I wanted to cry because it was such a thoughtful and amazing thing to do. It is true that Hugo will never look at me the same way he looks at Zoe, but he does love me and he reaches out for me and he trusts me. He loves me in a different way – and it is absolutely precious.
Kirby and I do celebrate being parents to our fur-kids though. We have five of them (I’ve put pictures with this post, top to bottom and left to right - Minerva, Frankie, Felix, Ari and Odi). We figure – why not? They are our children. This year they got me a soda-stream – but I have to admit they were exceptional naughty on Mother’s Day for some reason – fighting with each other, stalking each other (this is the cats I’m talking about), and Frankie did a freaky flying cat thing out of the front window blinds and scratched my hand (she was sorry and wanted cuddles not long afterward – I think she may have thought I was Felix who had been annoying her).
I love Hugo as an Aunt as well as my nieces Hannah and Ella and my friend’s children too, and I love my fur-kids as their Mummy. So I guess, in a way, Mother’s Day is for me too –just in a different way.
Friday, May 6, 2011
I was at the supermarket this evening picking up something for dinner. I was almost done when this kid threw a small tantrum. Apparently he needed to have m&ms for dinner. You know the first thing that popped into my head? I was going to go home to peace and quiet and that sounded pretty good!
Well, did the guilt come along with a great big kick in the side of my head! I mean, how could I think such a thing? Clearly I would have been a horrible mother if kids had come along...
It would be so easy to give guilt free range on my thoughts, and I used to, but I don't do that anymore. There's absolutely no reason why I should feel guilty for enjoying what is. I don't have kids, and if I did I would be looking forward to bathing them, cuddling them, disciplining them, etc. I can't spend my entire life wasting away what I have for what I don't.
One of my friends was reminiscing the other day about the time before kids, when it was just her and her husband, and all the time they had. She wondered what they ever did with their time! She loves those kids, but her time is not really her own anymore.
Mine is. If we want to go away on holidays we don't have to wait for a school break. If I want to go and learn to play the cello, I can organise it without thinking about after school activities. If we want to go see a movie, we don't need to organise a baby sitter (although our dogs and cats might disagree with that - they'd either like to come too or have someone come over and play). If I want to go and see Hugo (my nephew) I can and I can spend one on one time with him (that is just the most precious thing).
Don't get me wrong - if I had kids I wouldn't swap them for all the time and movies and cello lessons in the world. But, the fact is I don't, and I never will. So I figure there's nothing wrong with enjoying the fact that I can come home, relax, eat when and what I want, pursue any hobby I want, and write a blog entry!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
One of my favourite books about women, spirituality and growth is 'Women who Run with the Wolves' by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I pick it up every now and then and flick through a few pages - it's kind of like visiting an old mentor to remember a lesson or hear a story again.
Yesterday, when I was revisiting the wolves, some of the words really made me think. They were 'We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to chase, to birth, to create a life.' And, further, 'This vitalising 'taste of the wild' comes during pregnancy, during nursing their young, during the miracle of change in oneself as one raises a child.'
I am unable to birth or create a life, and I cannot taste the wild through being pregnant or giving birth. Does that mean I am less creative, or less of a woman? I used to struggle with this a great deal. I felt a failure, I felt I wasn't whole, and I felt I didn't have anything of value that I could give that would be deeply and soulfully from me.
I still feel like this from time to time, though the feeling has mellowed.
I ask myself what my value is, what my creation can be, if not that which comes through having a child. Because I am a woman and I am creative.
So, how do I taste the wild? I look at the moon, I feel the pain that comes with menstruation, I let any anger and grief that I feel wash over me, I play and laugh with the children in my life, with my pets, with my family, I watch a spider weave its web, I bury the body of a baby bird that has fallen from its nest.
How am I creative? I write, I cook, I clean, I talk with, play with and love the children in my life, I care for my garden and my animals, I work on my marraige.
There are some women who have had children who will never even sense that the wild is there, and nor will they be more creative for having had a life in them.
And I've realised that not being able to have a child does not take the wild away from me and it most certainly does not mean I am uncreative. My way is different - that's all.
Oh, and I still love 'Women who Run with the Wolves' - it is far more than the two sentences above - they need to be read in context...
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
If our first round of IVF had worked we would have been celebrating the second birthday of our child this month. The estimated due date was the 8th April 2009. I remember thinking it was a sign, as that is also our wedding anniversary. I guess not every coincidence is a sign.
There is an acceptance and understanding that women who have miscarraiges have had a great loss - there is an expectation that there will be grief and sadness and a wonder at the child that might have been.
It is unlikely the embryo attached to me, so I guess technically I didn't have a miscarraige. But it hurts the same. Along with this post there is a photo of the embryo that was put inside me. That was our child. It existed, even if just for a few days. That tiny little thing was already a boy or a girl, may have had straight or wavy hair, perhaps they would have had hazel eyes like me, perhaps they would have loved music, or swimming or...
Does it sound strange that I love that little tiny thing? I wonder about it. It was real.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
There appears to be a bit of a gap between my first post and this one. I think perhaps I wasn't quite ready to do a blog on not being able to have children. It's not easy to deal with sometimes, and it's not easy to write about.
The past few weeks I've found myself in tears from time to time - when hearing of friend's new babies, when having to leave from spending time with a friend or family member's child, when watching Mamma Mia' when Donna sings 'Slipping through my Fingers'. My heart breaks.
I love being with those babies and children, and I am thrilled at the birth of the children of my family and friends. But, much as I know these kids love me and I love them, I'll never have that special relationship with a child that a parent does. Nobody will ever call me Mummy.
Don't get me wrong - I am, overall, happy (extraordinarily happy) at being an Aunty to these little angels and I wouldn't swap them for anything. But I realise now that there is always going to be a scar that opens and closes in my heart - and it won't ever go away.
I think this realisation has brought me back to wanting to write this blog. Life is good, but the hurt will keep popping its head up from time to time. That's the way it's going to be - I can write honestly about not being able to have kids now. I couldn't before.