Childfree

I’m 37 and I Can’t Have a Baby

Two years ago, I published one of my most popular posts: I’m 35 and I Don’t Know If I Want a Baby. People still leave (awesome, in-depth) comments on it, so I’ve decided it’s time for a follow-up.

Shortly after writing that post, my husband and I decided to go for it. We knew we didn’t want a big family (as in, two kids would be too many for us), but one child seemed doable.

After trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get pregnant, we both went to doctors to get checked out. Test results uncovered a fertility issue we hadn’t known about.

Receiving definitive test results was a relief. There is a diagnosed issue. I’d rather know about it than wonder every month why it hasn’t happened yet. There is no more ambiguity.

A fertility specialist told us getting pregnant naturally isn’t impossible, but the odds are very low. The odds are so low, I asked my husband to stop saying “If we have a baby,” because if we decide not to pursue an alternative method I’ve accepted it will not happen.

*****

I questioned for many years whether I wanted a child or not, so I’m sure that helped me receive the news as readily as I did. I know it’s not the same for women who’ve known they wanted a child from a young age, or have pined for success for many years.

If you were to ask me how I feel today, I’d say I’m a little bit sad, but I am mostly resigned.

I’ve known about this for months now, so it is not fresh. It has sunk in and I’ve accepted it. I am disappointed but not devastated.

Family and friends have told me this situation seems unfair. We would make stable and loving parents. That may be so, but infertility happens to potential good and bad parents alike. We are not special. Just because we would make good parents doesn’t mean we deserve the opportunity more than anyone else.

I have moved on to thinking how my future will be different, now that I know my husband and I will likely remain a two-person family.

*****

We could choose to undergo infertility treatment, but we’ve been told the only procedure with any reasonable chance of working would be IVF.

I know people who have been successful with IVF, and I know people who have gone through multiple rounds unsuccessfully. I’m not going to list my personal reasons here; rest assured this topic has been extensively researched and well thought out. My husband and I have had long conversations about it. I know what my options are and I choose to decline.

*****

Adoption has made many families very happy. I recognize it is an option for us, and I’ve done some research (domestic and foster care), but that’s as far as I’ve taken it. I have a good idea of what’s involved and it doesn’t seem appealing.

While I don’t plan to change my mind about infertility treatment, I could possibly change my mind about adoption. It’s not something I want to pursue right now, but we may decide to revisit it down the road.

*****

If I was going to have a baby, I wanted it to be easy.

You know what I mean: positive pregnancy test, expanding belly, morning sickness, maternity clothes, checkups, mood swings, purchasing a crib and stroller, healthy baby. That kind of easy.

I realize pregnancy is not easy, but it seems a heck of a lot better than going through infertility treatment before you can even start with the whole pregnancy business. It’s also more appealing than all the red tape, stress, and potential despondency involved with adoption.

*****

In the meantime, we live our lives, we get a lot of uninterrupted sleep, and we do things like take spontaneous weekend trips to Toronto (complete with wind-blown hair) just because we can.

Paul and Zan in Toronto

*****

These are some books I’ve read over the past few years that I found helpful:

Previous Post

You Might Also Like

20 Comments

  • Reply Denise May 9, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Infertility sucks. xo

  • Reply Anya May 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Hubby and I were in the exact same situation about 3 years ago. I never wanted kids and he was back and forth so we decided to see what happens. Turns out he’s infertile. We were sad for a second (I felt tremendous guilt for making him wait too long), but got over it and honestly – best thing that could’ve happened. I love our life together. We have a lot of pets, we travel, we save for retirement, we hang out with our nieces and give them back at the end of the day..couldn’t ask for a better situation.

  • Reply Leah May 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I’m sorry to hear things have not been easy for you. We are routinely grateful that our path has been relatively easy and smooth (tho know that even among friends who got pregnant easily, there have been other road bumps).

    I’m glad you are embracing life to the fullest still. Spontaneous weekend trips and full nights of sleep sound amazing!

    • Reply Leah May 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Gosh, you recognized pregnancy isn’t always smooth in your post. D’oh — apologies for not reading carefully enough the first time through.
      I’m also glad you’re able to be a fabulous aunt (and, I imagine, “aunt” to your friends’ kids). There are many ways to celebrate the joy of children without having them in your house.

      • Reply Zandria May 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        Even though things haven’t been easy for me, I’m always glad when it’s “easy” for my friends and loved ones (relatively speaking, of course). It may have been “easy” for you to get pregnant with two babies but now your life is exponentially more difficult than mine. 🙂

        And yes, I do indeed enjoy being a real aunt to five nephews and an “aunt” to friends’ kids!

  • Reply Janet May 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    As always, you approach this with thoughtfulness and level-headedness. Still, it sucks to have the option of an “easy” path to parenting taken away from you, and I’m sorry that this is the case. I hope that new doors will open for you as a result of this – and send love and hugs your way too. xo

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you, as always, for your kind words and support. I wish we could have had this conversation while walking around Yards Park, because I still remember that long walk we took years ago and kick myself that we didn’t make it happen more often. If I had a child, that would be amazing, but I’m also positive I can be just as happy on the childfree path (the thought of early retirement is pretty appealing). Love and hugs to you, too!

  • Reply Melanie May 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post. I still go back to your first post from 2 years ago from time to time as my husband and I continue to question if we want to have a baby or not. I appreciate you sharing these books – I think he and I should look into them.

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Reading these words make all the effort in writing these posts worth it. Thank you for sharing! I’m glad to know my experience has helped you.

  • Reply Lara May 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I was actually just thinking about you and this post the other day. Sending a big hug your way. Really admire your honesty here. Know dealing with finding out something like this can’t be easy but you have such a great perspective here for all of the options and why they are or aren’t for you — which ones you don’t want to rush. In the meantime, know you and Paul will continue to be the great pair you’ve always been and take advantage of all of the great opportunities that come along with that.

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you so much, Lara! It means a lot to me that you would say this. I figured if I was going to write about it, there was no need to beat around the bush. I also decided to address the infertility treatment / adoption questions in advance, because if I hadn’t said anything people would have been curious if I was contemplating one or the other. Better to go ahead and get it out in the open. Hugs to you!

  • Reply Christina Klein May 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I was given the same news about 5 years before I was to get pregnant with my first daughter. Zandria knows very well how much I wanted to have kids and being told I would likely never have them was heart breaking for me. However my dreams came true in 2006 when I gave birth to Lily and again in 2009 when I had Kylie. The body does what it does and it finds a way of doing what’s right when it’s right. I had even taken hormone treatments when I was diagnosed and nothing changed, until everything changed.

  • Reply Wendy May 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I love reading your posts. You are so open and honest, and I respect that so much.

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      You are the sweetest. Thank you! Who would have thought I’d still be writing my thoughts on the web, almost 15 years after I started? I often hesitate over writing the honest posts but I’m always glad I put them out there once it’s done. I get such amazing feedback.

  • Reply Brett May 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Oh Zan. This hits so very close to home. I never wanted kids, either, except possible adoption, but I know my husband and I would make great parents. Specifically, he would be a wonderful father and it would make him so happy. I toyed with the idea and then learned that pregnancy could be detrimental to my health- as well as the health of the baby’s. It was part relief, part sadness, part guilt… I still grapple with this. But I really like my life as is. I like being selfish. I don’t feel a ticking clock in my ovaries. It’s a lot of conflicting emotions, and you articulated this better than I could.

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you for sharing this, Brett. Your experience sounds similar to mine, at least as far as the emotions go. Like you, I agree that getting this diagnosis “was part relief, part sadness, part guilt.”

      Relief because, well, babies are a lot of work! And I’ve read all the studies that say children make you happy, but it can negatively affect your relationship with your spouse. Sadness because having a sweet, cuddly baby to spoil and nurture seems like an awesome opportunity (and my husband would make an amazing father!). Guilt because sometimes I think I should try harder to make it happen, but I relate to your “I like being selfish” because I really don’t like being guilted into something I’m really not sure is what I want to do.

  • Reply Colette May 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I love you!! If or when you are ready to adopt … walk across the street and we will talk…no pressure. Ever! I’m always here!! Xoxo

    • Reply Zandria May 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      I will most definitely do that. 🙂

  • Reply Jaclyn May 11, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Oh, Zan! This post brought tears to my eyes. You’re right that you and Paul would make wonderful parents, but that infertility doesn’t take that into account when it strikes. I know it has been a journey but it sounds like you’re in a good place, and I am happy for you.

    I think that the key words to your post are “two-person family.” You and Paul ARE a family and a family of two. So often it gets forgotten that a couple don’t “become a family” when they get a positive pregnancy test or welcome a baby – all that is, is adding another person to a family that already exists. You two are an amazing family (and I’m more than a little jealous of your uninterrupted sleep and spontaneous weekend getaways!)

    Love you!

    • Reply Zandria May 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I am in a good place! Thank you for pointing that out. There are many things I’m looking forward to, and (as nice as it would have been) I don’t need a wee one around to make me feel fulfilled.

      I’ve always considered Paul and myself a two-person family, so I’m glad you pointed out that wording. We are our own family, and our family is part of a network of larger families spread over multiple states. It’s a wonderful thing. 🙂

    Leave a Reply