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February 28, 2020

Childless without choice: stepping into the light

After a busy day, ready to relax and unwind, I read the FB story on Fertility Breakthrough (for 99c) the other day. It kind of caught me off guard and left me with so much thoughts filled with ambiguity. And I‘m still feeling the need to write it off my chest. Before I do, I must also admit that the words became increasingly more painful to read, so I probably skipped a few lines here and there. Please don’t hold that against me.

It’s a wonderful story for couples who got pregnant despite adversity, no doubt. As a woman who is childless without choice, this however, doesn’t resonate with me. In fact, it makes me feel worse. Inadequate. Should I have persued this option, this manoeuvre, when I still had the chance? When I still was ‘young enough’ and had enough mental space before the IVF treatments got too overwhelming to the point I could no longer function? Professionally or otherwise?

The work that comes from having to deal with finding my way and dealing with such a loss is all mine for sure. I guess what I am missing in this story and the article behind it, is the acknowledgement that conceiving is not self-evident. It is not something that will ‘magically’ happen just as long as a couple continues to try, despite any previous setbacks, disappointments and heartbeaks. Sometimes it doesn’t have to do with trying even harder and not giving up, but it’s about not losing yourself in the process.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but I believe that there has always been a significant number of women, couples and men who have had to deal with not being able to conceive and who had to mourn this ‘invisible’ loss. And from what I have known to be true: it is tough. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to face, and still have to deal with in my life this far. It started with not being a mother, feeling an outcast, and now I am getting to the age where I am not a grandmother. And still, as years have passed, I feel that I have learned to come to terms with my grief, my pain of being childless. Until I’m reading the success stories, all of a sudden. Then it still hits me.

Who doesn’t like to read a success story, right? Of course we do. It’s just that I don’t want my story, or those like mine, to remain in the social shadows any longer just because it may be uncomfortable for others to hear.

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