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, November 26, 2013

Empty arms and sweet cats…

The other day I was on Facebook and checking out the activities and latest photos of my friends.

It suddenly struck me that most of the photos I was looking at were of my school friends with their children.

There was one photo in particular where my friend was pulling a face in a photo with her son and daughter (they were also pulling faces). It was a gorgeous snapshot of an ordinary, but special, family moment.

My arms suddenly felt very empty.

It doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but sometimes my arms ache to hold our children. I feel like there is a heaviness in my arms where they should be, and I almost feel that if I held my arms out long enough they would come into being and smile up at me.

I could almost believe it if it weren’t for the heaviness that is in my heart because they are not here with us.

That night I went to bed and had a bit of a cry. Our cat, Minerva, was curled up on the pillow next to me as always, and then our black cat, Frankie, jumped up on the bed with a chirrup and stared at me. She then nestled her body and head into the crook of my arm and put her paw over my stomach (as much as she could anyway). I’ve never heard her purr so loudly!

My animals always amaze me by how they can pick up when I am upset and will sit with me and do what they can in their own ways to comfort me. It’s especially touching when I am missing my children.

I should add, though, that later on when I had stopped crying Frankie bit me because I wasn’t patting her in quite the right way! That’s my girl!

You won't believe this, but the song The Lovecats” by “The Cure” just came on!! Great song! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

You don’t know unless you have kids…

I get quite frustrated and upset when people say or write this statement followed by whatever it is that they think people who don’t have kids don’t know.

Okay – it’s true that because I don’t have children I can’t possibly know exactly what it is like to parent a child 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I know that. But I’m not totally ignorant about children either.

These kinds of all or nothing statements completely disregard the knowledge I do have about children and the feelings I have for the children, and other people, in my life.

There are many things people who don’t have children supposedly don’t know.  I want to mention a few of them:

Kids are gross and dirty. Trust me – I know. While changing my three week old niece’s diaper she did an almighty, runny, smelly poo and then stuck her foot in it. It’s not the only time I’ve changed pooey or wet diapers, or cleaned up snot, or wiped up vomit (sometimes all three substances end up on me…) And, oh my goodness, the smell of poo when children are teething! Nothing else quite like it…

Kids take their time. When you’ve sat with a child for an hour trying to get them to take a few more mouthfuls of their dinner, it’s not that far of a leap to realise this is a regular occurrence.

Kids need you. On many occasions when I’ve looked after children there have been times when whatever I was doing was put aside to hold a crying child, a child having a tantrum, a child who wants a cuddle, a child who is tired, or a child that really needs me to play with them right now.

Kids are too honest – meaning they may say things that hurt feelings. I’ve been told that I didn’t need that extra biscuit by one of my nieces. I ate it anyway - it was chocolate...

Kids break stuff and hurt themselves. Yep – we’ve lost ornaments and dishes to the hands of children, and the kids we love have taken tumbles and falls while we were looking after them. That’s why we have children’s paracetamol, Disney character band aids, sunscreen and insect repellent for children, cough medicine for children, and a dust pan and broom at the ready, in our own home.

As a parent you would put your life before theirs – you would plead that your life be taken in place of theirs. You would put yourself in danger to make them safe. I would do anything to make our nieces and nephews safe, even risking my own life – and I would do that for our friends’ children too.  I don’t have to be a parent to have that level of protective instinct and love.

Speaking of love – one of my least favourite sayings is “You don’t know what real love is until you’ve had children.” Seriously? So my love for Kirby, my love for my family and friends is not real? I actually find this offensive. I love my nieces and nephews with a love that is so tremendous that I sometimes feel like I must be shining with a boundless happiness. That is real love as far as I’m concerned. And, let’s face it; there are parents who don’t love their children. Parenthood isn’t a guaranteed path to knowing what real love is.

Nobody can know what it is like to live anybody else’s life. I get it that I don’t know what being a twenty four hour, seven day a week parent is like – but I do have knowledge and feelings and fears about the children in my life. These are real and I will not let them be disregarded. My experiences and feelings are mine. I feel deeply, I care deeply, I love deeply, and I know stuff.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Life passes by...

Twenty one years ago, almost to the minute, I was studying for my final high school exams which were being held the following day. My parents were both at work and I had books, pens and papers scattered over the dining room table.

Suddenly the roller door to the garage went up. I looked outside to see Mum and Dad in the car – Mum’s face was white and Dad’s expression was grim. Something was wrong.

Mum and Dad came inside and told me to sit down. I didn’t want to because I knew when I did I would hear words I didn’t want to hear. I had no idea what, and I didn’t want to know.

I sat down and Dad said “Ben was killed in a motorcycle accident last night.”

I remember feeling like I had been punched in the chest, I couldn’t breathe, and there was no sound from my mouth – no scream, no cry, nothing.

Ben and me
 Ben was (is) my older cousin. We actually didn’t know he was my cousin until after he died – Mum and Ben’s Mum found that we had a common recent ancestor about four years later. Even so, I had always felt that he was like a cousin to me.

Ben was only twenty one when he died.

Ben has been gone now for the same number of years that he was on the Earth. I wonder what he could have and would have done by now if he had lived. And, it’s made me reflect on what I’ve done in the past twenty one years, and who I am now.

I have done many things – got three degrees including a Masters, owned my own apartment, worked at different jobs, fought my way through different health conditions – even if it is to the point of living with them rather than getting rid of them. I’ve found my soul mate and got married. Obviously, with Kirby, I’ve gone through trying to have children and the hope, fear and grief that accompany that journey.

This is all important stuff, and I’m not dismissing any of it as every single thing I’ve done has brought me here and helped to make me the person I am.

The only thing I wonder about now is – if this is me, is this the me I want to be? Without a doubt I want to be married to Kirby, I love my friends, my pets, my family – but who am I really in all of this? What do I want to do with this life?

I think I’m going through the kind of crisis that most people go through when they are around my age – the kind of crisis that leads one to wonder, “Is this it?” A few months ago one of my precious friends said to me “this isn’t what I signed up for.” I can relate with this right at the moment. Life is good, don’t get me wrong, but I want to do something more – I want to be something more.

The only problem is that I don’t really know what something is.

I’ve always thought that since we can’t have children I would do something else – something that matters – with my life. In the past few years I’ve thought about it, talked about it, made some steps towards it – but then I seem to get a bit scared and run back to hide behind a rock or disappear behind a grove of trees.

My brother, Paul, me and Ben
Well – enough already. I need to get some gumption and start doing. I need to stop thinking and start acting. I need to stop worrying about whether I’m on the right path, what people will think, and anything else that is holding me back.

I need to do this for Ben and I need to do it for our kids.