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.

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You *bet* I "like" this!!

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Which of course, I immediately “liked.”

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

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

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<sigh>

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.

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

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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.

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** 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.

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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

16 Replies to “Wanted: Child-Free Infertility Support”

  1. Well said. And this is why I was so excited to find your blog! I had been searching for others like me and my husband…infertility treatments failed us, and adoption is not for us.

    I did like that there was a later commenter who pointed out that adoption isn’t right for everyone. It’s always nice to read (even if they are few and far between) comments that support our decision to live child-free after infertility.

  2. On a childless (not by choice) message board I was once on, someone observed that the childfree are the black sheep of the infertility community. I think that’s a pretty apt description. We’re most infertiles’ worst nightmare.

    It’s still very difficult to find support out there… but thanks to people like you who are willing to speak up/write about it, it’s gradually getting better! : )

  3. Great post. Choosing a child-free life should be met with more empathy rather than derision or an immediate suggestion to adopt. Each path we choose is ours to walk and we make choices that work for us, no one else. Everyone has that right not to be pressured down an undesired path.

  4. We adopted from foster care, it is challenging and rewarding, but it’s not for everyone and shouldn’t be trotted out as a consolation prize for those coming to terms with their journey. (((E)))

  5. I hear you on this one. You probably already know it, but the website “silent sorority” is awesome, and the woman who runs it is child free after years of infertility. She’s inspiring.

    Thanks for this post. Much needed.

  6. THANK YOU!! We are in the process of transitioning from treatments to child-free living. Mainly because of money. We have none left, but I also don’t know if I have the strength to go through the adoption process. And I’m not ready to give up my dream of being pregnant, experiencing childbirth, nursing, all of that.

  7. Two quick things because I really have to get to sleep!

    I am on the Resolve board and I would agree with you that the CF support is kind of odd on there, but lately there have been a couple of woman exploring it. Not a lot of activity…..I’ll refer them to hear if you want. I love your site. It is my support!

    This was kind of my problem with the FB post….have they been to a foster care meeting lately? We did. They did not tell us there “were so many children waiting for homes”. Not at all. They said you would get teenagers most likely if you got anyone and my DH and I looked at each other and said….we are not ready for teenagers! Give us 10 years or so maybe. My DH exact comment was “the kid would want to go out and do something…I’d be right there with them” I don’t know if I want my first experience to be teaching them how to drive our little hot rod CF car and teaching sex ed! 🙂 Ok, maybe I need to open my mind a bit but CF for now seems a-ok.

  8. I think maybe a shout out to Mel and LFCA could get some connections going and in particular connect people to you and this site could be a hub for people who are at the same place as you.

  9. Well said. It’s true. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for those who are infertile AND decide not to pursue adoption or any other means to have a child. And, it’s too bad. People are too quick to judge and give advice to us. Very frustrating, indeed.

  10. Thanks so much for the kinds words, Emily and InBetween! These conversations always seem to bring out extreme positions — and often harsh judgment. As LoriBeth said, within the infertility community, we’re the black sheep.

    When we stopped treatment, we evaluated adoption seriously and determined that it wasn’t a calling for us, but we didn’t stop loving and looking after the children in our lives. It took some time to heal my broken heart but I adore the relationships I have with my nieces and nephews and my friend’s children. We are generous with our time and help them in ways that their parents can’t.

    Those who want to categorize us as “selfish” seem to be projecting their own issues — bitterness, envy perhaps? — that we enjoy certain life attributes that they lack. In life we each have our fair share of surplus and deficits. Some might get the surplus of joy that comes with pregnancy and parenting while others get a level of freedom that enables joys of other kinds. There are two sides to every coin, though, and with joy comes sacrifice in different forms. The more we openly discuss our experiences the more likely we’ll be understood. Thanks for raising this discussion opportunity.

  11. I think when you’re entrenched in your own treatment cycles and your own infertility that living child free is the worst case scenario to many. The idea that IUI could fail or that IVF isn’t a guarantee is scary. Of course when that happens everyone rallies around adoption.

    So I don’t think its necessarily being uninformed, but rather petrified that this could “happen to you”

    For us we are very likely at the end of the road…and are facing this decision ourselves. When we started we NEVER would have expected to be here…and that is why I believe others can’t either.

  12. My response to anyone who suggests “just adopt” is “well why don’t you give me $20,000 so I can.” We opted not to go down the IVF route after 2 IUI. It wasn’t for us. We lived a year+ being CF. It was a relief actually. We weren’t on a break, we just ctopped everything. I felt like we could move on once we stopped treatments and stopped trying. Now we’re looking to foster, and we’ve decided to hold off on adopting at this time. Besides, in our system, something like 85% are reunified with their parents. We may adopt eventually, but if it doesn’t happen, we’re OK with that too. It’s not that we aren’t still IF, we just have a different direction.

  13. Interesting post. Maybe you don’t find as much support for the CF in the infertility community out there because once CF couples decide to be child free, they don’t frequent those sites because they are moving on. Just a thought. But I think it would be great if there was more support for those who choose CF.

    I don’t think that those who choose CF are the “black sheep”. I think through this whole experience we all just want to end up at peace at the end of wherever this crazy journey takes us. Those that don’t have any success w/ treatments essentially have 3 options–keep trying IF treatments, adopt, live CF. I don’t think any of those choices are wrong.

  14. Thanks for your contribution. I was looking for someone who had moved past TTC and had decided to live child-free. I am struggling with the “what now” and “for how long” questions, trying to prepare myself for a potentially child-free life as well. Your perspective will help.

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