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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Gift from Hugo...

Kirby and I spent Tuesday with my sister in law Zoe and Hugo. Hugo was asleep when we arrived and so we proceeded to have lunch and chat away. I was making coffee when Hugo emerged from his bedroom and trotted down the hallway. He looked at Kirby and walked by him, then looked at Zoe and walked past her, and then he came up to me with his arms upstretched to be picked up. Of course I picked him up and he snuggled in while he slowly woke up properly.

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

Other People in Our Lives

I have had two conversations this week that have made me think about the fact it is not only Kirby and me that are affected by us not being able to have kids.

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

Bye bye, baby, goodbye...

This is going to come as a complete surprise to our friends and family. A few years ago, for about six months, I thought about leaving our marriage. Kirby knows about this, so it won’t come as a surprise to him. I thought about leaving and being on my own – of having a life where I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and could define it any way I pleased. I could have my own house and my own things like I did before I met Kirby – I had a gorgeous little apartment for a while there – just me and Minerva.

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

Naughty Parents...

I was at the pedestrian lights near my work today waiting for the ‘go-ahead’ to walk across the road. A couple with their little boy (who was perhaps three or four years of age) were on the other side of the road waiting for the lights as well. The man had pressed the button to cross a few moments before I arrived at the kerb.
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

The 'Mummy' Club

I’m going to get to do what is generally ‘Mummy’ stuff. This week I’m organising to have a baby seat installed in our car so that we can pick Hugo up anytime without having to arrange to swap cars with Zoe. This will be particularly useful next year, when I will be taking Hugo to swimming lessons.

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

The Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying shopping for presents for our family and friends, as well as getting the tree up and strewing the decorations around the house. I love this time of year.

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.