We always thought we would have kids. We started trying when we believed we were ready. A month went by, then two months, six months, a year. Nothing happened.

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.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

This is MY life...

One of the hardest things about not having kids is sharing your plans and dreams with those who do have kids. We’ve had to rethink our lives and create new dreams that don’t include having our own children. Our dreams include travel, me being a writer, Kirby developing computer games, doing volunteer work and pursuing other adventures. Many of these ambitions would be very difficult, if not impossible, if we had children.

A year or two ago we were out to dinner with a few friends (all who have children) and the conversation was mainly about children. Kirby and I had recently decided that we would like to go to Alaska to see the glaciers. I was very excited and wanted to share this with my friends and did so. It is a long term dream, but one we are steadily working towards. The response from the group was to say how they couldn’t do that because they had kids, and then the conversation turned straight back to being about their children.

I love hearing about the children our friends and family have, but it is not our life. The life Kirby and I have is different to what we thought it was going to be and we have worked hard through our grief at not having children and have worked hard to develop lives that have meaning, goals and happiness.

I want to share our anticipation about our plans with our friends and family, but sometimes it feels as though because we don’t have children our news and our plans are not interesting enough. Sometimes I want to share what’s going on in my life – and sometimes listening ears are not there, or they are there only for people who have similar lives to them  – in that they have children.

Don’t get me wrong – most of our family and friends are very keen to hear about our plans and excitement at those plans and we are very, very lucky.

Perhaps I’m just in a down mood today – you know – when you see the negative rather than the positive.

One of our babies would have been five in a few weeks. I can’t talk about him or her and their first day at school and their attempts at calisthenics or swimming or whatever else they would have been interested in. I can talk about all the children in our lives who I love so much. But, sometimes I feel very lonely in this life – so very different to most of those around us.

Next time I will be more positive – I promise…

Monday, August 19, 2013


The biggest creative act I thought I was going to do in this life of mine was to have a child. Whoops! I guess that didn’t go quite as planned!

For a few years after we realised we weren’t going to have children I felt torn away from my creativity – I thought I was completely empty of a creative life because I couldn’t have a child. It took a while for me to realise that I can be creative in so many other ways. My garden is one of them.

When we bought our house, our front garden looked like this…
Our house when we bought it
 It had an ornamental olive tree, daisies, a formal square of bricks, stones and bark (with no weed prevention measures at all), and some daisy type bushes which like to reseed themselves around the place.
This was not a good garden for our area for many reasons, some of which are:

  • It is hard to maintain – we are continually have to weed, remove the plants that reseed (especially if they end up the neighbours’ yards).
  • Watering is a nightmare – we live in southern Australia and water is by no means abundant. The plants are not indigenous or even native to our area and so require watering.
  • The plants are bad for the environment – this especially goes for the olive tree. We live near a wetland and across from a small waterway that feeds the wetland. Water hens are everywhere and like to come across to our yard and get the olives. This is dangerous for them as they have to cross a road and could get run over, and they also they take the olives back to the waterways where it is very easy for the seeds to travel with the water to other locations and grow. Olive trees grow very easily around here.

The wetlands
The waterway across the road

A water hen
So, I (we) decided to change our yard completely. Gone are the olive tree and the daisies. Out came the formal square of bricks, and the stones are in a pile of sorts in one part of the garden.

Knobby Club Rush
Ruby Salt Bush
Our plan is for a fake creek bed to run from one part of the yard to another, three fake water holes along the driveway, to paper under the bark to help stop weeds, get fresh bark, and plant only plants that are indigenous to our area – knobby club rush, ruby salt bush, a bottle washer, pig face, wattle, creeping boobialla and maybe even a nodding chocolate lily. I’ve already dug the creek and water holes and Felix and Frankie (two of our cats) love running up and down the creek  - it is a whole new adventure for them (they are easily entertained!)

Bottle Washer
Pig Face

Creeping Boobialla
Nodding Chocolate Lily
Gold Dust Wattle

At the moment, this is what it looks like…a bit of a construction site! But it is all part of the journey.
I feel really good creating what I know will be a beautiful front yard. I may not be able to have children, but I realise I can put my creative energies into other things – including my garden.

The removed pavers...

The creek bed...

The creek bed again...

The three waterholes...

The three waterholes again...

I’ll put a photo up when it’s completed with baby plants, and then another photo when the plants have grown up a bit.

Photo Credits:

First three photos from Google Street View
"A Water Hen" from http://www.mdba.gov.au/what-we-do/education/students/fun-and-games/kids-memory-game
All plant photos from http://www.ala.org.au/
Last five photos from own photos

Monday, August 12, 2013

A realisation...

Last night, after writing the blog entry yesterday “The darker side of me…” I had a startling realisation which I wanted to share with you.

When Kirby and I did our second round of IVF (the first where fertilisation of my eggs was actually successful) only two of the eggs survived to become embryos (well, technically zygotes – but I hate that term). On the day of transfer the doctor said that due to my age they would only put one of the embryos into my womb, and freeze the other. I was under 35 years of age and they only transfer two embryos after 35.

I didn’t fall pregnant, and sadly the other embryo died the night after the transplant.

While this is very different to the decision Mary and George had to make, are there not some similarities?

The doctor didn’t want to transfer both embryos because of the potential complications with twins. I wasn’t happy about this, but neither Kirby nor I argued for the chance of life for both embryos. Perhaps the one that wasn’t transplanted might have survived? Did we not choose one embryo over another because of the potential risks of having twins, even though we knew there was a risk we would lose the embryo that was not transplanted?

While Mary and George’s decision was much later on and Mary was pregnant, we still were in the position where we made a choice between our two embryos, and this could well have led to the death of both. We trusted what the doctor said, and we lost both.

We could have potentially sought other opinions, although time was a factor, but we didn’t. We could have demanded that both embryos were implanted, but we didn’t.

We were devastated to lose both and I felt much guilt and sorrow afterward.

I cannot comprehend what Mary and George went through, but the similarities, small as they are, with regard to choices has increased my compassion for them even more.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The darker side of me...

I know that everyone has thoughts that come along that they would rarely admit to as they point to a darker side within them. Nobody wants to acknowledge that they have a side of them that thinks things that are horrible and sometimes mean, let alone admit to other people that these thoughts occur.

I have had such thoughts this week, and as I mentioned in my last blog entry I thought long and hard about whether I should write about them and share them with you all. I have decided that being honest and sharing them is good for two reasons – firstly, by writing about them and acknowledging them I believe I will take away their power, and, secondly, by sharing them perhaps some of you who have had similar experiences will realise you are not alone.

So, here’s what happened…

There was a show in Australia from the late 1980s to the early 1990s called “Acropolis Now”, which was a comedy based on Greek heritage. One of the actors, Mary Coustas, played Effie and she was hysterically funny.

Last Sunday night, on a current affairs television show, Mary and her husband, George, shared their story about their difficulties in having a child. I didn’t see the show, but I read about it a few days later and I was naturally moved. They had tried for 10 years to have a child, and Mary had recently had a book published “All I know: a memoir of love, loss and life.”

Mary fell pregnant in 2010, when she was in her mid-forties. A scan revealed she was having fraternal twins. It would have been such a joyous occasion. But, at the nine week scan a third heartbeat was found. There were triplets – two paternal and one fraternal. But, was it good news?

Mary and George’s doctor was not happy and explained the risks of having three babies, especially when two of them were paternal. There are risks of cerebral palsy, low birth rate, and complications for the mother in terms of gestational diabetes, among others.

After consulting with five different specialists, Mary and George decided to do a reduction, where the twins would be aborted by having a substance injected to stop their hearts. They would die and would most likely be reabsorbed into Mary’s body.

The reduction was undertaken, but a few days later a scan revealed that one of the twins was still alive. They did another reduction.

There is a risk to the remaining baby when a reduction occurs, and sadly the remaining baby, a girl Mary and George called Stevie, was still born at 22 weeks.

The good news is that Mary is now pregnant again with one baby, due at the end of this year, and everything seems to be going well.

 As I read the article and found out about the triplets, the reduction, the stillbirth of Stevie, the book and that Mary is now expecting again, I felt my rage growing stronger and stronger. I was fuming. I cried my eyes out in frustration and the unfairness of it all. What was it that bothered me?

Here is the dark part – my thoughts as they were then:

           Multiple pregnancies:
o   It’s not fair that they got a multiple pregnancy when I can’t even get pregnant with one baby.

Then the reductions:
o   How could they kill their own children?
o   How come they got pregnant with three children, only to throw two of them away? Why couldn’t I have had them?
o   How could they go through a second reduction? Why did the remaining twin have to die?

The book:
o   It’s not fair that just because she’s famous she got her book published. And it’s a bit raw waiting to announce her pregnancy until after her book was released. What about my book and my experiences?

o   Why did they get to hold Stevie when I never got to hold my children? I would give anything just to hold my children for just a little bit, instead of having only two black and white photos of embryos to remember them by.

Pregnant again:
o   It’s not fair that they are pregnant again, when I can’t have a child and I have done nothing wrong.

So, I’m not always the understanding and compassionate person that I would rather the world think that I am.

These thoughts and questions and the associated feelings lasted into the next day. I was so ashamed to think that these were coming from me. How could I think so badly about someone I didn’t even know? I didn’t know their full story, and I know that they are not bad people – so where was all this coming from?

To be honest, I still don’t know where it all came from or why. I could say it was unacknowledged grief on my part, or that there’s a hidden rage within me at the unfairness that we can’t have a baby, or that I am frustrated that my experience seems to be less important than someone who is famous, or that…

I’m not sure it’s any of those reasons.  I can’t make excuses for what I thought or how I felt. It was all what it was. The scariest part for me was that I didn’t know how I was going to break out of those negative and shameful thoughts and feelings. I hated it and I detested myself. It was like another me had taken me over and it was dark and cruel.

In the last few days I’ve learnt something more about compassion – something that I never realised before. Compassion isn’t always a natural response. Sometimes we have to make a decision to be compassionate. And that is what I realised I had to do. I had to decide to be compassionate.

So, I have been practicing this. I can never know what it would have been like to be in the position that Mary and George were in when they considered the risks of having triplets and then making the decision to do the reduction. I don’t understand the decision because I’ve never had to make it. But I can try to understand what a terrible decision it must have been for them to make. Having to choose one of your children over another must be one of the most heart wrenching experiences anyone could go through. I am so sorry that this happened to them. After reading more about their tragic experience I found out that they consulted five different specialists – it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. It wasn’t easy. They are not bad people – if anything they are people who truly wanted to do the best they could for their children. Thinking about it now I want to cry and I want to wrap my arms around all of them – Mary, George and the triplets.

In thinking about it – all the other thoughts and questions were secondary to my upset at the reduction. These were side-issues. It seemed as though Mary and George were being rewarded after they had the reduction – at least that’s what it felt like to me initially – and I didn’t understand why they were being rewarded for such an act.

But, they aren’t really being rewarded. I’m sure that, except for being pregnant again, Mary and George would give everything back just to have Stevie turning three this year.

I think I will finish this entry now. It’s been a long one. I realise there may be negative criticism about me after this post and I am open to it, but please remember that I am only human and I am being honest where I could have chosen to keep all this to myself.

There is still a hole in my heart which sometimes is filled with negative thoughts and emotions, but I am trying to fill it with love and compassion. It is not easy – but I am trying.

And – I have decided to read Mary’s book. I think it will be helpful for me, even if Mary and George’s story is different to mine and Kirby’s. No doubt I will write about it in a future blog entry.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Totally besotted...

I met Ruby Grace (my second-cousin) last Friday, and I am completely in love.

She is a sweet little girl – so tiny and snuggly. Dale handed her to me as soon as I got there and I got to hold her for quite a while. It was wonderful. She started to fuss a little when she was getting tired and didn’t want to go to sleep. It was lovely to be able to settle her by moving her dummy slightly from side to side and gently patting her. Her eyes flickered while she slept and I wondered what she might be dreaming of.

Dale commented that I knew about babies and I said that I had had a lot of practice over the years – including with her fiancĂ©, Josh! I was ten when he was born and I remember changing his nappies! Below is a photo of Josh and me when Josh was checking to see if my Cabbage Patch doll, Cleo, was really asleep – I have already told him that if Ruby is asleep he’d best not check by poking at her eyes.

It was the first time I met Josh’s fiancĂ©, Dale, as well. We hit it off instantly – big hugs as soon as I walked in the door. We even share the habit of accidently putting on odd socks on a regular occasion! Dale and Josh are besotted by Ruby (understandably), but are so relaxed with her as well. That little girl has been born to two wonderful people.

I gave Ruby a gorgeous little romper suit from Eternal Creation, but it will be a while before I get to see her in it as it is size three to six months – but I reckon with her light auburn hair she will look so gorgeous in it! Check out Eternal Creation if you haven’t already – their clothes are beautiful and the company is doing such great work in India. http://www.eternalcreation.com/

I was only planning to stay for about an hour, but two and a half hours later I finally had to tear myself away. I offered to take Ruby with me, but Josh and Dale said no…hmmm…perhaps I should have just snuck her away? Just kidding…kind of…

As I was leaving I told Josh how proud I am of him. I really am so proud of Josh – he is a great Dad and no doubt will continue to be so.
Ruby and me
The romper suit for Ruby
My little cousin, Josh, and me.

I wanted to briefly mention the next blog entry I have planned. I will be writing it over the weekend or early next week. It will be about something that happened this week that I am not proud of. I have thought long and hard about writing about it, but this blog is meant to be about all the experiences and emotions I have now I can’t have children. That must include those experiences that are difficult to talk about because they have made me ashamed, because other people who can’t have children may well have similar experiences and I want them to know they are not alone.

Not having children brings about such a range of emotions and the darker ones can’t be ignored, especially by me in this blog as I want to be honest and I want to share things that might help other people to realize that the darker emotions are normal.

One of my favorite writers, Thomas Moore, says in his book “Care of the Soul”:

“The soul presents itself in a variety of colours, including all shades of gray, blue, and black. To care for the soul, we must observe the full range of all its colourings, and resist the temptation to approve only of white, red, and orange – the brilliant colors.” Moore, Thomas (1994) Care of the Soul, HarperCollins, New York

So, next time my entry will be a little bit darker.