Planning your entire life around something that might never happen. Injecting aggressive stimulants into your belly and shooting up hormones. Spending hundreds on obscure supplements or thousands on fertility clinics. Going gluten, wheat, sugar and everything-free (just in case). Endless waiting.

All worthy reasons in my book to want to stop battling infertility, but these daily deprivations won’t garner you much sympathy.

There is, however, one excellent mental-health reason for never feeling guilty about saying goodbye to the miserable rabbit hole of trying and failing to conceive:

Limbo

*(Noun): “An uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which there is no progress or improvement”.

I’m talking about people who have got to the stage where they feel that their lives are in suspension. They might be considering whether to bother having low-odds IVF. They might be trying to conceive via donor egg, and failing. They might be wondering whether they want children enough to put their lives in cold storage for another year.

The sensation that your life is on hold. That the rest of your life is pending rather than happening. These are common threads throughout the narratives of people who decided that something had to give, that they had to stop in order to continue.

I used to compare it to repeatedly sitting an impossible, esoteric exam that I failed time and time again: I’d never do that in real life; I’d put it to rest and find something that was more attainable and would make me happier.

So you exit the lottery. There might be a couple of years of serious malaise as you work out what to do with your life, while everyone around you is busily distracted with kids and chaos. You may feel that there are no new chapters ahead, no milestones or markers.

To those immersed in early fertility treatments, I’m the grim reaper. I get that. But I’m here to say that my life is better and more fulfilling at 44 (knowing that I will never have children) than it was at 37 (not knowing whether I would ever have children).

One day, you simply start to feel better about it.

Facts

  • Civilians (family members; fertile friends) might not empathize with your motives for stopping. You may not have the energy to explain IVF failure rates, or why adoption is not for you, AGAIN.
  • Said friends and family will probably then forget all about your ‘flirtation’ with infertility.
  • The general population will either not care or have an offensive opinion (see any newspaper comment thread on the topic).

Rehabilitate yourself in the aftermath by finding your people. Here are six of the best targeted websites for resources and forums (rather than personal blogs), which I had on my Favourites in 2010 and which still act as great havens and launchpads today:

1. Life Without Baby. One of the original and best. Its mission is to provide resources, community, compassion, and support to women facing a life without any children:

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2. The “Moving On forum of Fertility Friends, for the sole use of members who face a future without any children. This link should take you straight to that forum (thus avoiding the TTC boards):

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3. Coming To Terms. The original incarnation of Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos’s Silent Sorority site. This link offers tons of resources for those embarking on a new life after confronting infertility:

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4. The On The Fence forum of The Childfree Life, which offers support for the undecided. Lots of input around the question ‘But what if I regret not having kids?‘. Not just ‘breeders vs non-breeders’ rhetoric. Click on link & scroll down to find this forum:

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 5. Stirrup Queens: the “Living Child-Free Room“. The Stirrup Queens site has been around for years and is a mega-resource. I like this particular page as it’s targeted at those who have opted out of adoption and donor:

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6. I think I found Jody Day in or around 2010 but Gateway Women has since developed into a mammoth resource for those living without kids:

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There are loads of us out there.

If you have any other suggestions for resources like those above please let me know.

*Cambridge Dictionary online
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