Are We Just Kidding Ourselves? Pun Intended.

The life of not having children is something we had never contemplated before our first miscarriage. Naïvely, like the vast majority of people, we just always assumed we would have a couple of kids. It turns out, chances are pretty good that we may not.

We now catch ourselves, saying when we have kids, and then we start over and rephrase our sentences to if we have kids. And, sometimes we now even default to if not when.

My husband and I often talk about the merits of not having kids. Things like:

We can travel the world.

We can buy a 100 year old house, remodel it and turn it into our home.

We likely won’t worry about finances because we won’t be supporting children.

We have enjoy expensive meals on Wednesday nights, and Friday nights, and even Monday nights too.

We will not have to plan ahead.

We can afford the Eames Chair I dream about.

We will not have to schedule vacations to match the school calendar.

Early retirement.

Focus on ourselves and our career advancement.

Buy our dream cabin in the mountains.

Sleep through the night. And Sleep in on the weekends.

Drink too much and not need to worry about child care.

No babysitter and daycare costs.

Worry about a child constantly for the rest of our lives.

No more family cars, bring on the fun sports cars.

Live more adventurously because you are less worried about the consequences when you have no-one else to worry about

Spoil the kids you do know – nieces, nephews, friends, etc. and then send them back home.

Increase investment in ourselves through continued education.

So, even though we are very much invested in our next attempt at pregnancy (both financially and emotional at this point), we find that we keep talking about the merits of not having kids. Why?

I think it’s purely to help ourselves accept that our reality may not include kids.

I think, it is one thing to choose not to have children because you knew it was the right decision for you. While the end outcome is very similar, it is a completely different thing to choose a life without children because you are unable to have them. So, as two people desperately wanting kids, we find ourselves frequently painting ourselves a pretty little picture of what life will be like without kids. A life we never planned, but a life that we may end up with.

We both know that if our life does not include children of our own we will not let the outcome of failing at procreation destine us to a life of self-pity and sorrow. Surely, there will always be a small part of us, wishing for the kid(s) we were unable to attain. But, I firmly believe in the long run, so long as we have no regrets about putting our best effort forth, it will just be a small part, and the pain will ease with time. We both know, and are absolutely certain that we will enjoy our lives, and make the most out of them, with or without children. We are not two people who sit around and sulk, and mope around after a bad day. We will face what life hands us, and make the most out of it.

But honestly, I cannot help but question, are we just kidding ourselves with our typical line of thinking?  Can our defiant attitude, of we will have a great life in the face of disappointment, actually work in this circumstance? And, heck, is there even any point of trying to brace ourselves for this potential final outcome, will it even help lessen the reality of the disappointment?  Are we just spending time trying to convince ourselves that we will enjoy our lives without kids just as much as we would a life with kids? If we don’t have kids will we spend the rest of our lives doing fun things (i.e. everything on the list above) just to prove that we can? Or, will we actually end up loving our childfree life? And, how will we know the difference between genuinely loving life without kids versus forcing ourselves to enjoy life?  And, does it even matter if we know the difference?

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54 Comments on “Are We Just Kidding Ourselves? Pun Intended.

  1. I think it is healthy to think about the what if’s! I definitely have done this!

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  2. You’re not alone in this…I find myself doing the same thing. I often think about the places we can go and the traveling we can do if we don’t end up with children. And I totally love my sleep…so yes, I do spend a bit of my time convincing myself that there are plenty of pros to not having children. I definitely think it’s a coping mechanism.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can I be honest?

    “The chances are pretty good that we may not (have a child)”

    I refute this because statistically, given your history, the absence of a diagnosis (that would indicate poor odds), and the fact that you are seeking treatment…

    The odds are in your favor.

    Not to dismiss your concerns, but your statement struck me. Are your doctors leading you to believe you won’t have children? Or is this your personal feeling? Because if you expressed this idea to a doctor, then they should reassure you that statistically (assuming you keep trying and do not have DOR or genetic issues) then the likelihood that you will eventually carry to term is still greater than 90%.

    I personally *cling* to statistics when nothing seems to make sense and when I feel doomed–I find them comforting. So I offer them to you, for whatever it’s worth.
    XOXO

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this comment. Medically, based on our current RE, our odds are 50% of having a successful next pregnancy, with no safe date (i.e. passing through the first trimester will not increase our chances of success). Where did you get the 90% statistic? We definitely have never been given numbers in that range.
      And, while I haven’t written on it yet, while Dr. B’s confident he can find the solution, it already appears that the solution will be substantially beyond what we can afford – more to come on that in the next day or two.
      Personally, I’m not sure how many times I can survive going through more miscarriages. I know there is an end in sight. I’m just not exactly sure when it will occur, or how it will happen.

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      • No I get the 50% per pregnancy statistic–that sounds right. But overall given what we know (can’t factor in the unknown) chances are likely that even if you had 10 miscarriages, eventually you would carry to term.
        And yeah given your history I wouldn’t go to Braverman. I would see Dr. Kwak Kim in Chicago–she will run immune protocols with timed intercourse or IUI’s, and apparently you don’t need IVF (given what we know). I was going to see her. And I did see Dr. Sher in Las Vegas and I hate him for wasting my money on obscure tests and then shoving me towards IVF for no f*ing reason other than his bottom line $$$.
        Check out the blog of a woman who actually had the odds stacked against her and had at least 8 miscarriages and was told by Dr. Sher that she would need a surrogate. She saw Dr. Kim and had a baby boy. And then spontaneously conceived her second child.
        http://www.lisabttc.com
        XOXO

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for all your thoughts – I do appreciate them!
        After a lot of research, we did choose Dr. Braverman, and had our first in person visit with him a few days ago. Honestly, we have more answers right now then we have ever had based on our ultrasound and his review of our history. We are still waiting on the immunological results to come back to confirm a few things, so the picture is not complete. That said, based solely on what we have learned so far, and his opinion that our current RE’s plan for us to use clomid and eventually IVF is absurd, right now we absolutely believe we made the right decision in choosing him.
        Although, we know we may not be able to afford the anticipated treatment plan, our first hope was for an answer. And right now, we are very confident on what the answers will be and there is some relief associated with that. So, for now we will wait until all the results and therefore the protocol is designed before making any final decisions on what we will do next.
        As the story you shared says, miracles do happen, I’m just not sure we will continue living the RPL life in hopes of a slim chance, considering the emotional impacts on my husband and I.
        Honestly, there is a lot in our minds right now, and a lot more to come in some way shape or form.

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      • I understand–I don’t doubt Dr. Braverman’s competency, but I wanted to suggest Dr. Kwak Kim as an alternative if Braverman is cost-prohibitive–obviously, I wouldn’t personally recommend Dr. Sher–and these are the 3 leading RI’s in the USA.
        I understand that you may choose not to pursue treatment for myriad reasons–I think the decision (or the necessity) to stop is the hardest so my heart goes out to you if and when you make this decision.
        But I wanted you to feel you have options–that 5 miscarriages does not mean that you can’t have a bio child. That there is hope. XO

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  4. My husband and I also find ourselves saying “if” not “when”. And you’re right…there is a significant difference between choosing a life without children and having that choice made for you. Hoping your story is one of “when”.

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  5. Yup. Word. This ALL DAY LONG.

    You can still live a beautiful life and not have children. It’s different, but it doesn’t have to lose meaning and purpose. It also doesn’t mean that it makes not having children any easier.

    At the risk of being preachy, might I recommend reading Stumbling on Happiness? It’s not self-help, but more research based. It made me realize that we are wired to seek out happiness, no matter the circumstance. Regardless of the outcome, you will find happiness again. It’s what humans do.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know that this is a possible reality. I never played this mind game in our two years of trying without success and losses before I got unspeakably lucky because whenever I tried I felt like a fraud. I knew I would not be “just as happy”. Having a child and nearly killing myself to have another, I feel just as stuck. I know I have to be okay if this is as good as it gets for me. But I know I will probably also need a lot of medical and other help to survive the transition and my broken heart will never be truly whole. Even if I fake it.

    This is such a personal thing. You are being genuine in entertaining these thoughts. You are trying to detach from the outcome you cannot control. I know your obstacles look huge right now. And they may be too big to overcome. But your shared desire to have children means more than any Eames or Starck or other fabulous furnishings. That much I know for sure.

    You’re in my heart and thoughts, dear friend.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing.
      You are right, we are sitting here trying to detach from the outcome we cannot control (or rather afford). I know we have to wait a month before we really know what’s going on, but I can pretty guarantee the next month will be spent trying to detach and let go of the dream, or at least alter the dream.

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  7. I don’t believe you won’t have children as two people that want them as much as yourselves will find a way. ❤ However, the life without them you drafted sounds fun.

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  8. I totally understand your thinking because my mind wanders there too but I think there is so much power in our words and as hard as it is (because I know it is for me) try to always say “when.” I think your odds of having a child are much higher 🙂

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  9. My hubs and I have these types of conversations frequently. Sometimes we even play the “I guess I’m thankful we don’t have kids yet because then we wouldn’t be able to do _____”. I think we all do this to a certain extent. It’s part of the adaptation of our circumstances. You are SO not alone in this. BUT, I remain hopeful frequently that we all can have success and get our little ones to our arms!

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  10. I think all of these thoughts and considerations are just part of healing.
    I’m curious about something, which maybe you have talked about previously and I just wasn’t following your story yet. If you cannot carry to term, would you and your husband consider adoption? Or surrogacy? I know a former coworker of mine had lots of problems with her first pregnancy, so they are now using a surrogate, though it was her egg and hubby’s sperm, she just can’t carry herself.
    I’m sorry if you’ve already talked about these things, just wondering if they’re things you’ve considered or believe in. I truly hope though that things end up working out for you and you do have your own little one some time soon!!

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    • We have considered adoption, quite a bit. We’ve met with a local family who has adopted locally, and we’ve also met with a local adoption agency. That said, we decided to take adoption off the table for the time being to focus on trying one more time. I do have a few past posts on the topic of adoption.
      And surrogacy is definitely something we are considering. The only thing is, that in Canada, you cannot hire a surrogate. So we’d either have to find a willing friend, or go international. I haven’t done the research on this yet to know if its really a viable option for us.
      I’m not sure what we will choose, but I do know there are potential alternative options available.

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      • Hopefully things will finally work out for you soon, and you won’t need to look into these options further!! Glad you’re open to other options though…just hope you won’t need them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve had all of these thoughts myself and more than once. It’s such a hard place to be in. I think these are very valid questions and obviously people in our positions do think about them. Hugs.

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  12. Great post! Hubs and I have the same conversations frequently and have started to say IF we have kids. I think what you wrote is a very realistic way of looking at things and I love it 🙂

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  13. I recently read an article on Nicole Kidman who has been on an Aussie radio show this week and she said she had many miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy plus fertility treatment and then her miracle happened. I’m not saying this in a bid to give you hope but as a reminder that although things might not work out for you now, they still might when you least expect it.

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  14. I could have written this post myself. T and I find ourselves saying ‘if’ and not always ‘when’ too and we often talk about things we’d do if we don’t have children. Our list would also include restoring an old house. Sometimes I even sometimes wish I could just look into the future to see if ‘yes I will have a child’ or ‘no, move on’ but instead I often feel stuck. Your last paragraph summed it up pretty well. Again.. your posts continue to challenge my own thinking and allows me to know that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    • I can absolutely relate to the desire to just know – one way or another. As we just saw Dr. B, and didn’t get the ideal results (we kinda got the worst case scenario results), and right now I am really holding on to the fact that we went for an answer and we may have just got our answer. And while there is very likely a solution, the solution is most likely beyond our means. I will post more on this in the next few days, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that although I’ve dreamed for an answer, I’m not sure that accepting that answer will be as easy as I anticipated.
      Also, than you for your kind words – I truly feel the same way about you and am thankful you are sharing your story.

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  15. I really enjoyed this post and am going to REread it.

    Sometimes I find myself doing the opposite … wondering WHY I don’t want children as much as everyone else. My choice was basically made for me and although I didn’t hardcore it through IVF and / or the adoption process … I still wanted a child on some level. BUT NOT AS BAD as the the ENTIRE US / CANADA / EUROPE … WORLD wants one. I question my lack of desire to have or pursue having a child to the nth degree … I simply didn’t severely want one enough to make it my life’s purpose and I question why I’m not like everyone else. Everyone wants babies & children, right?! I question my lack of being “normal” like every other human on this planet and wanting to produce a child (or have one by whatever means).

    I also think people would like me more if I had children. I also think they would like me more if I was vocal about wanting to have a baby. I don’t ever say I don’t want children … I used to tell people when they asked if I was going to have kids, “If I’m able to have a baby great and if not then that’s what is.” I think I’m strange in this era of science and reproductive technology that I don’t force it upon myself to make myself make a baby by using all resources available to me. Am I lazy? I don’t want to make this great of an effort to have a child … I wanted it to happen naturally and it didn’t … so, here I sit with my lovely cats, my best friend husband, visiting my young niece & nephew and my past memories of painless periods cured the permanent sterilization of hysterectomy — no more baby house!

    Anyway, I hope you get a healthy child in your pursuits of trying to have one and if you don’t have one I hope you realize your happiness exists without actually having a child of your very own … what I’m trying to say is that I wish you success in your endeavors, peace in all times, acceptance of what is and general happiness in life.

    I enjoy your posts as always.

    Much ❤
    Etc.

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    • My husband and I both read this comment more then once while we were away in New York. Your words spoke so much to us, and we were both so grateful for your perspective.
      Given the very nature of our early test results, things are not looking for good for us right now. While, we are 100% confident that Dr. B will find a solution for us, we are also 80% confident that the solution will be beyond our means – or at least beyond our comfort level. As you said, “I don’t force it upon myself to make myself make a baby by using all resources available to me.” What does it mean, if we are unwilling to spend the exorbitant sums of money and effort to try to have a successful pregnancy. What does that say about us? Does it mean I just don’t want it badly enough?
      As for people liking us more if we had children, we absolutely agree with this sentiment. Being childless will definitely result in an altered perception of us by others. I suspect those who don’t know what we went through will likely judge us as selfish. Those who do know, will judge us for not trying hard enough, or just pity us. (I suspect I’d rather negative judgement then pity).
      Anyways, your last comment, “I wish you success in your endeavors, peace in all times, acceptance of what is and general happiness in life” is truly beautiful. And, I am not working on acceptance of what is.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I just love your heart. You are transparent in your honesty and share you concerns with such love and depth. I can understand much of what you’ve written, since R and I have done an emotional autopsy after each loss. Yes, there are positives (sleep being Very high on my list) and ways to be grateful for being Here instead of There. But I also think this thought process is part of a greater healing process. For me, knowing that I’ve done everything possible would only allow me to move toward a childless life with peace in my heart. Perhaps it is the same for you.

    Many blessings to your and yours,
    Dani

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    • It sentiment of knowing we have done everything possible is the exact same for us – the exact same! That is precisely why we chose to go to see Dr. B. Even if the answers are horrible (as we now expect they are), we hope we can more forward in accepting a childless life.

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  17. I remember thinking the same thing not that long ago and thinking I had to at least try everything we could so that we wouldn’t have any regrets. I know Dr. B is expensive and there are no guarantees, but I feel so hopeful for you that this is going to work. I hope you had a good weekend in NY and can’t wait to here how it all went.

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    • Thanks so much! I will post soon on our visit to Dr. B. We went with a lot of hope, more then we’ve had in a long time. We’ve returned home more uncertain about our future and less hopeful then we have ever been base don the preliminary results. I will post more shortly, but for now, we are reevaluating and waiting for all the results to come in.
      That said, we made sure to have fun in NYC, and made the most of our time away. 🙂
      Thank you for your love and your encouragement. I know things will work out somehow, it just may be very different then we expected.

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  18. Pingback: Having A Family – What’s Next For Us? | My Perfect Breakdown

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