Monday, April 11, 2011

Childless not by choice

As much as I try to make light of infertility and find some humor in it, many of us will never have children - borne by us or anyone else. And, quite simply that sucks.

I actually think that there isn't enough support or awareness for those of us who never have children, not by choice (full disclosure: not my term). I've been to Resolve meetings and to their Web site, and I believe that they have a definite message of hope, which isn't necessarily bad, but I think some reality checks are necessary, too. They also stress different options for building your family, but I haven't seen much for those of us who may never have that option (we are still desperately waiting for our now 40-month old son in Vietnam).

After years of being womb warriors with no success, many of us are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted, and using a gestational carrier, adopting and fostering isn't an option any more. So, we become childless, not by our own choice, but by other difficult circumstances.

I have recently become acquainted with two amazing women, who also fit that far-from-ideal description, Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos and Lisa Manterfield. They have both written incredible books detailing their experiences of infertility and their decisions not to be mothers.

Lisa's book, I'm Taking My Eggs and Going Home is a beautifully woven, but raw and honest tale of her journey through infertility and making it out on the "other side" - that is, the one where she decides not to be a mom. I plan to write a proper review of it later this week.

I'm only a few chapters in to Pamela's book, Silent Sorority, but I am riveted.

I highly recommend them to anyone who's made the painful decision not to be a mom, for whatever reason.

I'll be writing more on this topic over the next week or two. There are more of us out there than you might realize.


  1. agreed...reality checks are needed...not all of us can/will come out of the battle with a kiddo. but we'll still be ok. just a different kind of ok.

  2. Thanks for introducing these books, I am going to keep my eye out for them. I'm a mom, but it was a long haul to get here (cancer, then surrogacy).

  3. Yes! Reality checks would be very helpful. My husband and I talked a lot about what we would do if IVF didn't work, and when I told a friend what we had decided as our "back-up plan", she responded with "I don't think your situation is so bad that you need to be thinking about that yet." I'm sorry, but needing IVF in order to even attempt getting pregnant definitely warrants a back-up plan in my logical mind. I know she was trying to be supportive and optimistic, but it felt more like she was brushing aside my concerns. And I feel the same way about Resolve's take on things.

  4. You are so right, on all counts. There is not much in the way of support out there for this option -- but there are more of us out here than most people think. ; )

  5. i agree - for many of us we are childless not by choice but rather by circumstance and it's not as "easy" as adopting or fostering or surrogacy for most of us, those boats have long sailed.

    there needs to be more discussion about us - the "group" that people rarely want to admit exist!