The decision to go childfree is a life-altering one. How one arrives at the decision to no longer try to get pregnant will be unique to each individual/couple. Below you’ll find two parts: the first is an exploration of my thought process, and the second is a suggested thought process for considering the childfree life.
Part I – My Journey to Living Childfree
When our RE suggested we move from timed intercourse and injections directly to IVF, I hit pause for a variety of reasons. For me, I had a hard time subjecting my body to additional cycles, because I was concerned what the drugs and repeat stress might do to me long-term. My concerns were mostly due to a coworker who went through multiple rounds of IVF (6+ rounds) and ended up with breast cancer. Even though my doctor reassured me there were no studies confirming a correlation between infertility treatment and cancer, I knew deep down I didn’t want to inject myself with infertility drugs anymore.
We also considered our financial situation and realized we would need to make major adjustments in order to save for just one cycle let alone two or three, and that would take time (more time than we wanted to spend). We looked into adoption grants, taking out a personal loan, and even a GoFundMe fundraiser, but we felt so much shame that the last option wasn’t possible. Going into debt to have a biological child or any child for that matter didn’t sit well with us.
This truth left us with fostering a child, exploring natural fertility treatment options (which I didn’t even know existed at the time) or living childfree. We looked into fostering a child briefly. I was so adamant on having a newborn baby of my own that fostering didn’t seem to be a viable option. Also, we didn’t have the resources or support system in place to care for a child who might need additional assistance. For these reasons, we didn’t investigate fostering any further.
We quickly learned that no matter what route we chose and no matter how much money we invested, absolutely nothing was guaranteed. To think we might invest $20K-$60K or more to have a chance at starting a family and that it might slip through our fingertips was unbearable to imagine. That was really hard for us to swallow.
By now, we were pretty much left with one option – to live the rest of our lives childfree. When I weighed this option, I quickly started to acknowledge the freedom available to us that we already had. We had the freedom to go wherever and whenever we wanted. We wouldn’t be limited by a feeding or nap schedule, or even a school schedule, ah (we’ll get into more of the freedom aspect in next week’s blog post). It was enticing for sure.
After much deliberation, childfree seemed the best route for us. The decision took about six months to make, and about 2-3 years to finally accept. Now, I live a happy life, and I believe you can too.
Part II – Process for Considering Childfree
We each have our own stories for how we arrived at this very moment. What you just read was mine. Your journey might be similar or drastically different from mine, and that is perfectly okay. How you arrive at your decision to move forward with living childfree or some other path is solely up to you. Here’s our suggested process for considering childfree as a viable option.
Many times we avoid making forward progress because we feel overwhelmed by what we do not know. I encourage you to take time to investigate all of the available options by reading articles, blogs, studies, or books, and talking to those who have gone down a similar path by joining a support group (if you haven’t already) or reaching out to someone you know.
Natural fertility treatments
2. Check-in With Yourself and Each Other
Infertility shattered me unlike anything before, and I didn’t realize until later that I had become a shell of my prior vibrant self. When I think back to how I felt physically, my shoulders were caving in around my broken heart, my head hung heavy with despair, and I felt a great burden on my shoulders. I was raw mentally/emotionally from repeat cycles of trying with no positive results. And energetically, my inner light had dimmed drastically, which was visible in how I carried myself and unknowingly avoided interacting with others.
Infertility takes a toll on us physically, mentally/emotionally, and energetically. It’s important for you to examine how this process has impacted you before deciding how you move forward. If any of this sounds familiar to you or rubs you the wrong way, I invite you to hit pause.
Self-reflection is a powerful tool for realizing the impact of your life story and the decisions you’ve made along the way. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on your journey thus far by answering these questions:
How do you feel (physically, mentally/emotionally, and energetically) about your situation?
How has infertility changed your relationship to self, to your partner, or with your family/friends?
What have you learned from your experience thus far?
How do you want to feel moving forward?
3. Take Your Time
We get it. It’s hard to give yourself some time when you feel like you’re up against a deadline. But trust me, you’ll be glad you did no matter which direction you choose. By creating some physical distance between you and what you’ve been reaching for for quite some time, you’re better able to witness the reality in front of you even if it’s one you don’t want to see.
We realize childfree isn’t for everyone, and for some, it starts to feel just right. Only you know what the best option is for you right now. Join me next week as we explore the glorious freedom available to you when you choose the childfree route.