You are here
Living Child-Free after Infertility Treatment: Part One
a blog by Helen Adrienne, LCSW, September 19, 2013
When the hope of a pregnancy runs out, then what? Resolving the infertility crisis demands navigating one dilemma after another. But, the final decision has to do with choosing to live child-free. It is a choice that demands careful scrutiny.
The key to moving on is metabolizing grief and loss. There is much that is attached to this process. There is loss of sharing the process of pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding. There is the loss of the feeling of physical normality. There is the loss of reproducing if you check out physically, but your spouse does not. And what if your spouse is opposed to sperm, ovum, gamete donation or adoption but that is your hard-won choice? There is the loss of dreams and the loss of feeling the power to be in control of life choices.
It is hard to see these discrepancies as a problem that belongs to both of you, but it is. It might be hard to navigate your own grief, never mind your partner’s. Whether child-free living becomes your choice, grieving the loss of reproductive potential is important. But grieving cannot be legislated. It has its own time, space and way for each person. Life gets complicated if spouses grieve at different paces and with different styles. But grieving is healthy and will free you to go to your final choice with an unburdened heart.
Navigating grief necessitates giving up one kind of hope, but accessing another.
Despite the fact that there are questions to ponder which can funnel you in the direction of your answer, the ultimate answer lies deep within you. Considering these questions is very different from using a recipe. The profundity of this issue does not allow for cookbook answers. These questions will only point you in the direction of the mirror. Your truth will not stare back at you in the form of your face. Rather you must go inside your face, indeed, inside your very being to your inner world – the place where the rough and tumble of your life history and circumstances collides with the essence of who you were born to be. You may be at a loss if you’ve never gotten in touch with that place where your truth resides. Although it may seem like an oversimplification, this can best happen if you can quiet down the mental noise of every day living and listen to that inner whisper. It is important to breathe fully and deeply in an undistracted place – a park, an easy chair with the phone shut off – and be solidly in the NOW, the present moment, tuning in to what comes into conscious awareness.
(In this blog post, I share some questions to ask yourself to help with the decision-making process.)