Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forced to Live Child Free

When starting TTC the idea of living "child free" wasn't even on my radar.  Through my journey through infertility I have met many women.  Most of them reach their goal of becoming a mother but there are a few who chose were forced to live child fee.

Recently, one of my dear friends was put in this position.  Her TTC journey has come to an end and she is trying to cope with living child free.  On one hand I understand how she feels but I have a child.

Back Story:
Around the time I found out I was pregnant, she found out she was pregnant also.  We were so excited to have babies so close to each other.  It was just perfect.  Sadly her pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  After a few FETs she finally got pregnant again.  We were so excited when she made it past the 12week mark but this pregnancy ended prematurely also :(

My friend and her DH saved up for one more IVF but before ER they found out her DH didn't have any moble sperm and this equaled the end for them.

I want to support my friend in her forced choice to live child free but I don't know how to help.  For someone who loves to help, I am at a loss. 

Suggestions?  How would you help your friend deal with being forced to live child free?


  1. I wouldn't know either. I always say ask the person what you can do instead of trying to guess. It sounds like you are close enough that she may be able to be honest in her wishes for support. Good luck to you both.

  2. I don't agree that being unable to conceive a child means you have to choose to live child-free. If she wants a child, she can adopt. It costs as much money as another fertility treatment, sure, but it's still an option, and one that has a much higher success rate. Choosing to stop trying to conceive, and mourning the loss of that dream, is NOT the same as choosing to live child-free. Having a pregnancy and being a parent are two related but different dreams.

    That said, though, you can still help her grieve the loss of carrying a child to term. Help her find ways to affirm her own woman-hood. Let her take part in your family as much as she chooses.

    With our friends whose four-day-old baby died last fall, we've often asked them to help out with our family. Even though there's pain in knowing that the child isn't theirs, they tell us often that they love playing with our son and holding him, knowing that their arms are able to give someone the love they so desperately want to give to their own child.

    It's important to give her room to feel sad, too. Even in the middle of what seems like a fun moment, she may feel sad just knowing that she's not going to have that moment of her own. And sometimes people are afraid to express that - make sure you let her know that it's ok to re-experience sadness.

  3. For me I like it when I can still meet my friends, go for a drink or a walk without their child(ren). To not feel left out because I'm not a mother, to talk about other stuff than kids. And sometimes like Amy said, be part of their family and carry/feed a child...

  4. I don't know what you would say to someone in that position but I'm sure whatever way you can be their for her would be apprecited.

  5. Not sure if this will help or not, but at one stage (before my sister offered to donate some of her eggs to me), my husband and I examined the possibility of being childfree. I wanted to turn our infertility around (if we couldn't control it then we had to learn to live with it and be happy).

    I subsequently read a book called 'Sweet Grapes', by Jean W Carter and Michael Carter. This book helped us examine this possibility. You could read the book yourself as it might give you some ideas on how to help your friend. You may even decide to give it to her if you like it.

    Good luck - how nice that you are at least taking the time to be as understanding as possible for your friend.

  6. Infertility struggles are heartbreaking, and many people end up with children in ways they didn't imagine. I have friends who have concieved through IVF and friends who have adopted children.

    But yes, there is that second group of people who don't ever get to tell the story of how difficult a time they had trying to bring their little one into their lives, because there is no little one at the end of their story.

    I am one of those people.

    To offer the suggestions, "have you tried ..." or "have you considered adoption?" is to avoid the truth. Instead of dealing with their loss, you imply that they just haven't done it right yet. I BELIEVE you when you say "this equaled the end for them." I'm absolutley positive that when someone wants a child, they'll figure out all the ways it can happen, and do every one that's in their heart. If they are beginning the journey to imagine their life without kids, don't second-guess them.

    All you can do is speak honestly ~ tell her how much you hate seeing her suffer, that you share her questions about the nature of a universe that would deny her babies. Tell her when you feel a twinge of guilt about your . In social situations, never lose sight of her pain. When a conversation about preschools goes on too long, just meet her eyes across the room. Think about the things you like about her besides the concept of sharing mommyhood, and nurture those things in her.

    There's a book I read called "Silent Sorority," written by a woman who shares this crushing circumstance. I found it helpful that the writer shared all of my feelings when no one I knew could.

    I know this post is a little late, but the grieving over being childless doesn't end. I hope this helps someone.