Options And Choices

Is living childfree the right choice for you?

No-one who begins trying to have a baby expects that there will not be a baby at the end of the road. Sometimes, however, that is the end of the story.

For some, the money runs out before the will to have a child does. Sometimes the diagnosis is so severe that there simply does not seem to be any more hope for a biological child. For still others, the constant pressure, stress, and pain of trying eventually leads to saying, "I just can't do this any more." This was my situation.

I see a vast difference between childless and childfree. The difference is not in how many children you have; it is in how you see your life. During my infertility, I was most emphatically childless. I felt as though I was less, my life was less, because I was not a mother. I felt cheated, furiously angry, and alone. On numerous occasions, I told my husband that I would never get through this, that it was completely unfair, and that life wasn't worth living without a child. ChildLESS.

When we went into our one year break and I began to calm down and think more clearly, I realized that there were a lot of great things in my life. My husband is absolutely wonderful, I have great friends, a terrific family, and very nice cats.

PLEASE do not stop reading now, thinking, "That's all very special, but you don't just change your mind like that". You are absolutely right, I didn't. But that was the start - seeing that there were good things in my life, and that I did have other things to live for.

The next step was beginning to shape my life (without children) into the one that I wanted. I had been putting up with a less than satisfying job because "I'll be quitting soon when I have a baby" (and because it paid well). In early 1999, I began to do every career exercise that I could find (and strongly recommend "I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was" by Barbara Sher for anyone else in this situation) to decide what I wanted to do with my life.

MY life. My life without children of my own. It was hard to imagine at first, as I'm sure many of you are well aware. It took me a good six months to get a good idea of what I wanted, and even then I tried to go for status instead of what really was me. The final decision? I have just graduated with my Bachelor of Education degree, and will start in September teaching physical education and computers to grades Kindergarten to 8. I loved the students in my practice teaching (and know I'll love the ones I'll have in the future) and love going home to a quiet condo with myself and my husband (and the cats).

My life is now full and complete, and I love it. The proof that it's turned around? A close friend just had a baby (July 2nd, to be exact). Yesterday, Liane phoned me to tell me all of the details. This would have destroyed me years ago. After I hung up the phone, I hugged my husband, and said, "We made the right decision." I wish the same for you.

This article was provided by Heather Wardell. Remember that there IS a life after infertility - and you get to choose how it will be!