Wanted: Child-Free Infertility Support

I wasn’t planning on posting anything on my blog today; didn’t have anything scheduled to post. In fact, I had other plans to work on another writing project I’ve been working on.

But then I saw something on my Facebook newsfeed in response to a RESOLVE posting. And, well I just had the need to address it on my little corner of the world.

You see, I subscribe to RESOLVE’s fan page so that I can get the latest infertility news that they post on Facebook. It’s been useful in reminding me to vote for my favorite infertility book and my favorite “What If” post from NIAW 2010. And it tends to post articles from their website about various topics dealing with infertility.

Since I’ve subscribed to RESOLVE’s page, I had seen multiple articles in regards to treatment options for Infertility ranging from IUI to IVF; donor eggs/sperm, surrogacy. But never had I seen anything about child-free living … until today.


You *bet* I "like" this!!


Which of course, I immediately “liked.”

Of course, that was swiftly followed by the first commenter.


Name erased to "protect the un-informed" ...



Sometimes people don’t get it. And what’s sad is that sometimes it’s people within our own Infertility Community.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are reasons why child-free living is right for Hubby & me.  We have deliberately and carefully thought through our other options, including adoption.

It’s so easy for everyone to say “just adopt” when there are thousands of hurdles (both tiny and large) to overcome. It’s financial. It’s emotional. It’s stressful.

I can tell you for myself that I could easily open my heart to a child; easily let a child into my life. But knowing the heartache I’ve experienced from infertility, I just don’t know how much more my mind and body … and quite frankly, my spirit can handle. It’s already been shattered to pieces and glued back together many times over.

It’s a matter of how many more times do I want to put my hand in a pot of boiling water and not know if my hand will be able to grasp onto something … or if I’ll come up empty-handed and burned yet once again.

As if the infertility diagnosis isn’t difficult enough, we’re faced with others who constantly feel as if having children by “whatever means necessary” is more important than simply moving past something that in my heart, I’ve already grieved. It’s like pulling a band-aid off when the wound is just about healed; making it seem to the infertile couple … that has invested a lot of time and energy (not to mention money) we spent on having children … was all for naught.


Even Ellie & Carl from "UP" decided to live Child-Free after Infertility ...


I just find it frustrating that even amongst our own Infertility community that there’s a lack of support for those couples trying to decide if a Child-free life is the right choice for them. It’s as if it’s taboo to speak of moving on with your life sans-children.

Even in the RESOLVE Infertility Support Community boards, there are only two communities of which you can choose. One is “Finding a Resolution for Infertility” and the other is “Living After an Infertility Resolution.”

Now when I signed up, I logically chose the latter group. After all, I had found my resolution to live child-free and I wanted to find others that came to that decision as well. Except, well … except when I started to see the message boards, I didn’t spot one single discussion about child-free living after Infertility.

So, okay … then I went to the “Finding a Resolution” community; thinking maybe there might be some discussion about making the decision to live child-free. Nope … struck out there, too.

What frustrates me is that I’ve already felt “different” than the general population by not being able to conceive a child; be a woman in all sense of the world … be able to procreate.** Now that Hubby & I have chosen a less traditional path … it seems as if the pool of couples out there, that are willing to talk or write about this chosen path is much, much smaller. And maybe they are out there in droves, but infertility is no longer the primary focus of their lives.

Maybe I’ll be there at some stage of my life, but right now I’m not. And right now it would be really great to find some other support out there to get through those moments. You know … the ones where I begin to question that decision again? The times where I feel pressured by others to “keep on trying” or “just adopt”?

Yeah, it’d be really good to have that support. In droves. Just like the rest of the general Infertility Community. The same community that helped me feel less isolated when I otherwise felt alone.

And hey … if you stumbled onto this post and are living Child-Free After Infertility and find yourself wanting additional support  out there*** … well, consider this blog or my Facebook page a place where you can hang your hat.


** And yes, I’m aware that being a woman is not limited to whether or not I can bear children. I’m just using this statement to elicit an example.

*** Because there are resources out there; like Pam’s Silent Sorority site and, in particular her blog, A Fresh Start.


Related Links:

RESOLVE’s Living Childfree Article

RESOLVE’s Infertility Support Community

Emily’s post about making the decision to live Child-free

Emily’s Thoughts on Adoption

Emily’s Reasons for Living Child-Free After Infertility

Emily’s List of Child-Free After Infertility Bloggers

Emily’s Facebook Page

Common Threads

Not quite the "suprised" look I was looking for in my batch of pics ...

Wow. Oh, wow! I woke up to a great suprise this morning.

Well, okay … technically I was at work where I should have been updating all my staff’s databases for 2010* … but yeah. Instead I was tweaking some stuff on my blog.

Which, by the way. Like the new look? I figured it was time to shake it up a little, as it’s been about two years since I’ve changed my look. (Really, I’d love to do my own little design … but yeah, that would mean the cheapskate in me would have to shell out moolah.)

ANYHOO ... As I was saying, I was on my blog do some admin stuff when I noticed a particular person’s <clears throat> Mel <cough> website URL kept popping up on my “Referrers” section. So imagine my suprise when I found out some WONDERFUL person wrote a little ditty about how much my blog inspires them.

Wow. That just totally blew me away. I feel like I should be standing up behind the magic mike stand (you know, the one that disappears once the person is done speaking?) to thank the entire blogoverse for allowing me to write as freely as I do. And specifically to thank everyone for actually reading my words.

Oh, and did I mention this was all done anonymously ?! So … seriously, *THANK YOU* to whomever wrote such beautiful words about me. You honestly don’t know how much it means to me …

The "Stirrups Queen" herself (with the Tiara) along with me, Io and Aunt Becky (left to right) at BlogHer 2009

Anyway, for those of you that aren’t familiar with Mel from Stirrup Queens … she is one of the ALI (Adoption, Loss and Infertility) community’s biggest chieftans. She is *the* person who has managed to organize the lot of us ALI bloggers under one roof … and she’s typically the one who puts the “shout out” to all of us when one of us in need of good support. That’s why it’s perfect that she used to blog under the name “The Town Criers.”

Okay … so yeah, getting sidetracked here again. But I thought it’s very important for those that may stumble onto my site for a variety of reasons to know where to find a comprehensive list of resources for Adoption, Loss and Infertility.

HOWEVER … I *am* finally getting to the point of this post and how it ties (ba-dum-dum) into February’s NaBloPoMo theme. And it’s this …

One of the reasons I started blogging about my Infertility journey was because I felt extremely alone. I felt that there was no one in my immediate surroundings that would even begin to understand what I was going through. Throw in the fact that I’m Filipino-American, where being a mother is seen as a woman’s main purpose in life and where infertility or loss isn’t ever talked about amongst even the closest of close family members … well, yeah. Let’s just say that, other than my Hubby, I didn’t feel as if I had any support AT ALL.

Visiting Kara in La Jolla, Aug 2008

But as I began to peruse through other IF-er’s blogs, I began to feel less alone … less isolated. And stumbling onto Mel’s blogroll? Well yeah, I totally hit the jackpot.

From there I managed to find a bunch of other bloggers that have since become closer to me in the blogoverse than some of my IRL friends. I’m sure that part of the reason is the vast internet space that separates us; which, in turn, allows us to be more open and honest to each other than those who might even live under the same roof.

So how does this relate back to the whole “Ties” theme for NaBloPoMo? It’s simple.

Sometimes there is one common thread that ties one complete stranger to another one. In my world … specifically my Blog World … it’s my infertility. And now, as I travel down a new path … it’s my decision to live with my husband child-free after infertility.

Again … thank you Miss (or Mister?) Anonymous for such lovely words. Sometimes it’s those little suprises in life that keep propelling me forward … especially in my quest to find the next grand adventure in my life.


*What can I say? I’m a month behind? And isn’t that the story of my life?!


July had been a pretty busy month; and now, here we are in August and I feel as if I haven’t accomplished much lately. And when I mean “accomplish,” I mean sitting down and feeling satisfied that I’ve produced something that would be worth writing about … let alone have others read.

Lego Boy and DS Boy (with their parents) on their first El ride
Lego Boy and DS Boy (with their parents) on their first El ride

I’ve started many a posts over the past couple of weeks; all in an attempt to at least write. Except they never made it past the first few paragraphs because … well, I’ve been just plain exhausted.

Oh, who the h*ll am I kidding?! I’ve got major writer’s block and I’m not sure how to solve it other than rambling endlessly of seemingly trivial things.

Like how for Hubby’s birthday on the 19th, we got new iPhones. (So. Frickin. Cool!!)

Or how work had sucked royally from the end of June until about midway through July (when my manager took a two week vacation).

Or even how excited I was to meet Alexa and Mel. And Aunt Becky and Io. (BlogHer Chicago, bay-beh!)

The Mysterious Io and Aunt Becky
The Mysterious Io and Aunt Becky

Or how much frickin’ fun Hubby and I had when his Aunt and Uncle along with three of his younger cousins (which included future “Lego Engineer“) came to visit. (Wii Rockband + Lake Michigan Beach = Tons o’ Fun)

Nope. Got nothin’ in this brain of mine that I’ve felt have been in depth or insightful. Not that I haven’t had those thoughts … I just can’t seem to get them down on paper — er, on my laptop.

At the very least, I wanted to share some pictures from my meet-up with some awesome bloggie friends from Blogher Chicago. (Un)fortunately, I didn’t get a chance to actually attend the conference. But seeing that it was literally being held across the Chicago River (just one short jaunt across the Columbus Drive bridge) from where I work, I had to at least try to meet up with these women who have provided me with such incredible emotional support over the past three years.

The "Stirrups Queen" herself (with the Tiara) along with me, Io and Aunt Becky (left to right)
The "Stirrups Queen" herself (with the Tiara), Mel along with me, Io and Aunt Becky (left to right)

Unfortunately, as Hubby’s been slammed with work lately, he was not able to Photoshop us into Super-Hot Uber babes. (Sorry, chicas … but we’re all beautiful anyway!)

Io with Mel's Book. And a Bobble-head Robert Osbourne.
Io with Mel's Book. And a Bobble-head Robert Osbourne.

Anyhoo … I just wanted to, at the very least, refresh my blog for now. Well, at least until inspiration strikes, anyway.

Oh, and to wish the wonderful Io a most excellent birthday. Here’s hoping you get to spend more time with A. instead of Robert Osbourne.

But seriously peeps … anyone got any good cures for Writer’s Block?

NIAW 2009, Pt V

(Hellooo … Part Five of a six-day series to celebrate NIAW. I’d say it’s because I “planned” it that way … but the truth is, the series started out as one extremely looong post. To start at the beginning, click here.)

273First, let me pose this question. Do you remember that childhood rhyme that starts off with a boy and a girl “sitting in a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G”? Well, if you do, you’ll remember that it continues on to falling in love with the next step being marriage. It finally concludes with this particular “couple’s” child in a baby carriage.

The reason I bring this up is because this “path” in life is something that is taught to us at a very early age. A path that “society” expects every person to follow. It’s also this type of rhyme that often has little girls already imagining falling in love and planning their “dream” wedding. And that the next “obvious” milestone in life is all about having a baby.

However, the reality is this: As much as the majority of American society look down upon it … or simply “ignore” it … love (as in “couple” love) is not always about a boy and a girl.  Furthermore the US Vital statistics state that 51 out of 1000 live births in 2006 were to unmarried women between the ages of 15 to 44.* So much for marriage before the baby carriage.

The truth is that every person’s life takes a different path. And sometimes a person’s life doesn’t follow what society considers as “normal.” But because such thinking is ingrained into the general population at a very early age, anything that doesn’t follow the customary flow is considered unorthodox. The unfamiliarity of any person deviating from this path brings about awkwardness amongst the rest of his/her surrounding company.

And how does all this pertain to infertility and loss of contact amongst the rest of society? Well, when the general public considers the concept of a “nuclear family” (a couple comprised of partners of the opposite sex and their children all living in the same household) the “norm” … it makes it quite difficult for the infertile couple to “fit in.”

Adding on to that last statement, modern society today has obviously placed an emphasis on family and children. When everything from advertising and marketing to politics involve the importance of that “nuclear family”, how can you not find yourself involved in a conversation surrounding children?

Eventually when others find out that your married with no children, the first reaction is typically “Why?” Which is then followed closely by “Isn’t your biological clock ticking?” To me, this reaction is society’s way of trying to “include” you in a conversation about children and how important it is to have them.

For those experiencing infertility … it’s akin to “preaching to the choir” … believe me, we know how important children are. We wouldn’t be going through all the work-up, testing and heartbreak if we didn’t comprehend the importance of having children.

And for those of you brave enough to share with society your experiences with infertility, I’ll bet that the most common reaction of those “fertile” people is to redirect the conversation … quite frankly out of pure awkwardness of not knowing how to respond. In turn this action, whether intended or not, effectively separates you from that particular social connection. Because (and be truthful, my fertile friends …), how many other conversations can one have with you that doesn’t somehow develop into something related to their child? Especially since their lives (rightfully) revolve around their children and their needs.

This loss of connection amongst other couples, whether intentional or not, is lonely. It’s difficult to go through all the emotions of infertility by itself; however, adding the element of isolation creates gargantuan roadblocks when seeking even a little bit of support.

Let me use this as an example. For my “fertile friends” out there … when you started “planning” your family, was this topic something that you discussed with anyone and everyone? Chances are, you’ve answered this with a “No.”

That’s because “polite society” dictates that these topics are best discussed at home. Behind closed doors. I mean, really … as crude as today’s society can be … family planning is still considered a private affair.

Now put that in context with a couple experiencing infertility. And add to that the pressure that society places on every human being to procreate. How would you try to find support for an issue that is considered by society as both private and paramount?

Because of the privacy of such a topic, the average person is simply not equipped to discuss such “sensitive” issues such as infertility. Nor would they be able to understand some of the reasons behind their infertile friends’ behaviors (avoiding baby showers, for instance … or the lack of excitement about any pregnancy news). And because of that, the average person wouldn’t feel comfortable in providing any support to a friend traveling through infertility.

This is when learning about what kind of support you can provide to a friend becomes important. This is when it’s essential to bust the many myths you might have about infertility; to know what might help your infertile friend feel less uncomfortable about discussing such a sensitive topic. This is when understanding infertility and its effects on a person’s daily life is crucial.

Because ultimately … and I’m not just referring to infertility here … it’s often the misunderstanding of such matters that drives the wedge between what society deems as “normal” and “abnormal.”

(It concludes. Tomorrow.)


* Heh. Apparently, the latest statistics for 2007 are even more staggering!

NIAW 2009, Pt IV

(This is the fourth installment of a six-day series to celebrate NIAW. I’d say it’s because I “planned” it that way … but the truth is, the series started out as one extremely looong post. To start at the beginning, click here.)

273Finally there’s one last loss that those experiencing infertility may or may not have experienced in their unique journeys. It’s a loss particularly felt by those infertile couples/individuals who have decided to forgo medical treatment all together. These couples could simply be “in limbo,” deciding whether or not going through the grueling adoption process is their next step. Or they could have decided on the “child-free” path of life.

And while on this discussion, I must state that there is a difference between being a “childless” couple and “child-free” couple. Being a couple that is “child-free” indicates a methodical decision to live a life without children. It’s a choice that this couple made, for their own personal reasons, to remain a “family” of two. I’m sure that individually, each one has their reason, but the point is that there was choice in the matter.

However, living a “childless” life is simply a path in life that was given to them. It’s a path that was reluctantly forced upon them. “Childless” living may not have been the life these couples imagined when planning their future together, but it’s unfortunately the twist of fate that has taken them on their childless journey.

An ideal “childless” course … well, it would end up with the ability for any infertile to miraculously become pregnant … but that’s not what I’m getting at. (Besides, at this point in my life, it very well may be an “immaculate conception.”) In an ideal “childless” course, I would hope that a person would be able to progress from perceiving their life as “childless” to being able to live”child-free.” Because then this person (or a couple) would consciously and deliberately be making that choice to live “child-free.”

But wow … how I’ve digressed. So going back to the losses experienced with “childless” living … this last loss is one that not many like to discuss. But because this is my blog and it’s a loss that I’ve experienced, I will forge through this and write about it. And what I say isn’t meant to be received by the readers as a method to elicit sympathy or empathy. It isn’t meant to sound bitter or angry. It’s simply a fact.

And the fact is this: Couples experiencing infertility, particularly women, feel a loss of connection amongst other couples or women that have achieved pregnancy and ultimately a family. While I admit, part of that loss can be attributed to that bit of envy an infertile is *entitled* to feel. However, the loss of connection has more to do with the inability to be part of a lifestyle that is “natural” in every day society.

Let me explain this a little more.

(Tomorrow, of course … )