How long did you spend trying to get pregnant? Did you try any medical interventions?
In 2012, Brian and I decided the time was right to have children. Brian had just finished grad school and had found a job in his field, I was established in my own career and we just purchased a home with three bedrooms. After several years, a number of miscarriages, one of which threatened my life and going through part of the adoption process, we became childfree by circumstance.
How did you know you were ready to stop trying?
Marriage is a partnership and there are times when both partners are not on the same page at the same time. My last miscarriage was an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening and at that point, Brian was ready to stop trying, out of concern for my health. After talking through it, we decided that we would stop trying to have biological children and that we would begin exploring adoption. Adoption is a wonderful thing to do but after going through a number of the steps required to adopt, Brian and I decided it just wasn’t the right thing for us to do. It was at this point we both knew that we were ready to stop trying and that we would be childfree.
What resources, support, or other things were most helpful in making the decision to stop trying and to help you work through grief?
Being in a loving, supporting partnership and openly communicating with each other about how we were feeling was the best resource in working through our grief and was the only way we were able to come out the other side of this experience together.
How long after you stopped trying did the shift from mostly grief to mostly at peace with your situation happen?
It was a process, not an event and it took years to completely work through grief and arrive at peace with our situation. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you envisioned it, arriving at this conclusion did not mean we immediately accepted how our lives had ultimately turned out, it really just meant that the grieving could begin for the life we had originally envisioned for ourselves.
Are there changes you made in your life that you wouldn’t have made if you had become a parent?
When Brian and I came to the realization that we would be childfree, we were both at a very unhealthy place in our lives. We were quite overweight, didn’t exercise and ate fast food far too often. This had a profoundly negative impact on both our physical and mental health. We had both always wanted to go on exciting adventures like climbing mountains and running marathons, but our lifestyles at the time made it impossible to have those adventures together. During the years we spent trying to have children, it had felt like we put our lives on hold, we let our physical and mental health take a backseat to our desire of having children. Realizing that we would be childfree came with grief but it was also liberating, we could stop living for tomorrow and instead, live life to the fullest with each other today. Together we changed our lifestyle, lost a combined 200 pounds. We have also climbed mountains and run marathons (well, half-marathons).
What are the aspects you appreciate most about your childfree life?
Making the lifestyle changes we did have opened up a whole new world of adventures which are much easier to experience together being childfree. Having the time and resources available to take on these adventures and seek out new ones is what we appreciate the most about our childfree life.
Are there aspects of your identity you had to shift in the transition to a childfree life?
I had to become more focused on living in the present moment and became happy with what I currently have, rather than focusing and spending time anticipating things that may or may not happen in the future. One positive outcome of this is that I’ve become much more relaxed and less worried about the future!
If you could wave a magic wand and have a baby in your arms, would you do it? Or do you prefer your current life?
It’s hard to know if we would have made the lifestyle changes we did if we had children, but I suspect that since we spent years putting the desire to have children ahead of our own physical and mental health, we would have put our children’s needs ahead of our own in a similar way. For that reason, I’m ultimately grateful that we are childfree and wouldn’t want a ‘miracle baby’ at this point, since not only are we living life to the fullest, but because of the lifestyles changes we made, we will likely have more years to enjoy together.
What advice do you have for those who have just made the decision to give up their dream of parenting?
If I were to provide one piece of advice to couples who have made the decision to give up their dream of parenting, it would be to work together as partners and make new dreams. It’s not an easy process, but it’s so worth it!
Interested in sharing your childfree by chance story through Chasing Creation? Drop me a line through my contact page.