"I can't have kids, now what?" was one of the top search terms bringing people to Celery and the City. Although I have several posts about my own infertility journey, I have never written directly to those struggling with this question— a question with which I wrestled for quite sometime. But I am happy to tell you, I am now at a place of complete peace and acceptance. So for those of you who are lost and confused after this devastating news, this one is for you—and I'm giving it to you straight up, as always.
Getting Past The Guilt
As women, we fall into the trap of thinking it's our most important job to bring life into the world. I mean, why do we even have a uterus if not for baby baking? Or, in my case two uteruses. Should I be bringing in double? We feel like we are defective in some way, or perhaps we did something to cause this? But that's not all— we also feel bad we can't give our partner a child. And our parents a grandchild. And the list goes on of burdens we take upon ourselves, when we had no control over ANY of it.
After sulking and feeling all of the aforementioned guilt for about a year (by the way, we are the only hope for grandkids on either side), I decided that it served neither me nor my health to feel this way any longer. And when it came down to it — my loved ones cared more about my well being than their own desires to have babies around. FLIP THE SITCH. Would you be mad at someone for a biological issue they have no control over? If so, you're kind of a horrible person. Well then, they aren't mad at you either.
Dealing With Pregnancy Announcements
I've been there. I skipped a baby shower once. I'm pretty mad at myself for it, but I had just gotten the news THAT DAY I could not carry a baby. And that kickstarted a very teary six months where I really had to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be.
The way I see it, there's two options. Do you want to be the girl who is a continual basket case whenever anyone gets preggers? Or the girl your friends feel like they can't even discuss motherhood around because it's uncomfortable? Do you want to be the one who gets left off the shower invite list?
Being happy for others has nothing to do with you but also everything to do with you. Your bitterness will is a barrier to your ability to be a good friend. I'm not suggesting this happens over night, but I think if you do some serious soul searching, you'll discover you don't want to be the bitter, sad version of yourself. Maybe for six months. But not forever. You want to be happy for others because you know deep down they couldn't control getting pregnant any more than you could control it not happening.
Don't hold it against them.
Realizing Plans Are Just... Plans
One of the reasons why the whole infertility thing is hard to digest is because we start envisioning our lives with kids from the time we are.... kids. I think our first step to moving on is realizing that plans are just that — plans. They aren't guarantees. They aren't destiny. They are just IDEAS of how we THINK things should turn out.
I actually wrote a whole post about what do do when all your plans go to shit. What if you allowed yourself to LET GO of those plans you made when you were a kid, when you knew nothing about life or the possible struggles you might encounter? What if you stopped being upset about the unfairness of it all and accepted that everyone isn't owed a biological child? Our anatomy isn't something we can just use to cash in on a child when we feel like we're ready.
It sounds harsh, but it's really just the truth.
Rethinking What Life Looks Like
It's interesting how many of my friends with multiple children often tell me how envious they are that I can essentially do whatever I want, whenever I want. No surviving on caffeine and twenty minute naps between fits of chaos. No having to make arrangements when I travel, or just want an afternoon to myself. No being strapped financially or having to move because of school districts. We always envy the life we don't have.
Don't mistake what I'm saying — both of these versions of life are incredible for different reasons. So what if you stopped wishing for the parent life and welcomed the incredible gift you have of freedom and time? Maybe there's a different purpose for your life, that you couldn't accomplish if you were busy raising kids? The possibilities are endless, and so is the sleep you'll be getting. Everything changed for me when I stopped dwelling on the things I felt I was missing out on — and started embracing my fabulously free life.
Change your perspective.
I hope whatever path you choose, you find peace my friend.
Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.