"America's Leading Experts in Reproductive Health"
Child-Free Living or
Adoption are Options
for Many Infertile Couples.








(Continued from Adoption and Child Free Living.)

Child-Free Living

The way in which people cope with childlessness will depend on many factors, but remember that:

  • There is no "right" way of coping with childlessness. Each person's way of coping will depend on their own experiences and emotions and has to suit that individual.
  • You have to give yourself time.
  • There will be times when it is easier to manage than at others, and your level of coping will fluctuate. There are bound to be moments of doubt and questioning - what if ...?
  • Denying that it is hurting doesn't help. The more you express your feelings in words, tears, writing down your thoughts or whatever, the easier it will seem.
  • You may feel angry because the thought of childlessness might be so hard to contemplate. This might be directed towards your partner, yourself, your doctor. Recognize that this is a start to acknowledging your feelings.
  • Try not to apportion blame - there is no one to blame.
  • You should constantly remember that many others have survived this crisis and gone on to lead happy and contented lives and so can you!

Even as you get older, you may still find that other people treat you as "odd" or "different" because you have no children. You have to accept this - and learn that you need not conform to others' norms in order to lead a happy life.

Creating a new identity without children is an important part of asserting control over your infertility. This involves trying to think beyond children and deciding what you want for yourself. The only effective way to cope with childlessness is to build up your self-esteem which may have been battered by the experience of infertility. Creating a new identity does not mean abandoning your reasons for wanting a child. Just as those reasons shaped your infertility experience, so too do they affect the form that your resolution takes. For example, you may choose to spend time with a children's organization as a volunteer.

Taking an interest in other people's children on a regular basis may also be helpful. When you were a child, remember how you longed to see that special auntie or uncle? Enjoy the children around you - use your energies for a child that exists. Another useful outlet for the longing to nurture is to keep pets. A lovable and furry pet such as a dog or cat are most popular, because they can give love back, but infertile couples report pleasure in almost anything alive - from fish to flowers to gardens.

The passage of time heals but it can't be hurried. Time brings a sense of perspective or the "larger view of life" for those who have had tunnel vision focused on infertility for a number of years.
Soul searching can be helpful - and try answering these questions together - honestly.
  • Why do you want a child?
  • Why would you not want to have a child?
  • Think of the time before you tried for a baby. What made you happy? What did you do with your time? What did you look forward to?
  • What are your other dreams and ambitions besides having a child?

Remember that the value of, and reward from, a firm resolution are what you make of it. If you select a child-free life, and then treat it as a second-rate existence, that's exactly what it will become. But if you invest it with all your interests, pleasures, energies and talents, this lifestyle can be creative fun, delightful and filled with accomplishment. Such a lifestyle may not be for everybody, but it may be just right for you!


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