Coming to Terms with My Infertility

Pregnant womanI got divorced in August of 2013. One of the many issues that lead to the downfall of my marriage was that my ex badly wanted to be a father – of his own biological child – and after 4 failed fertility attempts, I was done trying. He wasn’t.

Soon after the divorce was finalized, he found himself an insta-family: a woman who had 2 children already (and thus was obviously fertile). As much as it smarted that after 21 years he ‘replaced’ me less than a month after our divorce was finalized, I was more hurt by the the fact that he got what he always wanted – a family. Whereas I got nothing, but my infertility rubbed in my face again.

No worries, I said to myself. I’m okay with my infertility. I didn’t want children anyway. I was 40 after all. My biological clock had ceased ticking a long time ago.

But somehow, somewhere underneath the ‘I don’t want kids’ exterior, I still felt flawed. Jilted. Like my goddess-given right to have children had been prematurely and unfairly taken from me.

So I made it crystal clear to every man who expressed interest in me that I couldn’t have kids. I thought it only fair to both of us to not even pursue a relationship without him knowing I was ‘flawed.’

Because you know, I was fine with my infertility. I wasn’t.

As I’ve said before, I believe the universe gives us just what we need when we need it. When we don't listen to that message/lesson, the universe keeps sending us increasingly louder reminders until we get it. Gentle nudges turn into shoves. Shoves become cosmic 2x4s.

I thought I had dealt with my infertility. I thought I had accepted it, gotten over it, moved on. Apparently I hadn't.

I met a man two months ago. I told him I couldn’t have kids. He said he was fine with that; said he didn’t know if he wanted them anyway. We chatted almost daily; talked about meeting again (we don’t live in the same state – we met at a wedding of a mutual friend of all places). I was apprehensive, wanting us both to be sure before we tried to make a long distance relationship work. He finally broke down my reserves and I agreed to meet him. We only had to work out the when and where.

Two days later, he changed his mind. He wasn’t sure if he wanted kids or not and I couldn’t have them… He needed some time to think it through.

I was devastated. It's apparently still a very sore subject for me and it felt like I was being rejected by yet another man for something I could not control. I spent more time in my office that day crying in between my classes and meetings than I care to admit.

You see, I thought I had dealt with my infertility, but I hadn't. So the universe sent me this man – yet another cosmic 2×4 for me.

The shock I felt, the betrayal hurt like hell. Yet, I am grateful to him for inadvertently pointing out another lesson I need to learn. A lesson I didn’t know I needed to learn, but can now deal with it so it doesn't come back to bite me in the ass again. And now I know that I need to be even more clear with any man I might want to date about the kid issue. To make sure that he gets it and is okay with it before either of us invest any of our time or ourselves in the potential relationship. It just hurts too much to keep going through this. And I now know that's something I need to deal with and work on. I owe that to myself.

And so I told him I was finished. I wasn’t going to wait for him to ‘think about it.’ My heart can't take another beating for something I have no control over. I have worked so hard to not see this as a flaw in myself. It's not like I asked for this or brought it upon myself somehow. Endometriosis is hereditary (although my ex seemed to blame me for it anyway). I cannot pursue anything with a man knowing he sees me as flawed. I have too much self-respect for that.

I wished him well and said I hoped he could find someone who can meet his needs. I think we both deserve that. Everyone deserves to be happy.

If there is a plus side to this it’s that it did in fact make me re-think the kid issue. It made me ask myself, “Do I want children?” And I came to terms with the fact that regardless of my endometriosis, at age 40, I actually don’t want kids. There – I said it. I know that statement will make me a pariah to some, but it’s my truth. I feel that I have many gifts to share, but they will be with friends, family, students – children of my heart, not of my womb. And I am okay with that. I can move forward knowing that I am not flawed for not being able to have – or not wanting – children in my life at this point.

I also realized something. I am a good catch – for the right guy. I just need someone who wants the same things in life that I do. I need someone I can pursue my dreams with (and he with me) without feeling like I am letting either of us down. I've done that before. No more. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to my future Mate.

So I’m putting it out there for the Universe to hear and deal with. I want a romantic partner who is also my Soul Mate – not because I need one, but because I want one. And I am more than willing to wait for the right man at the right time and the right place in my life. Someone who won’t judge me or see me as flawed. Because I’m not. I’m perfect just as I am – infertility, deciding I really don’t want kids, and all. Even if it takes months, even if it takes years. I will wait.

Finally, I surrender.

 

15 Comments

  • David Wood says:

    Great sharing Mary,

    We can certainly drive ourselves crazy with things we have no control over and cannot change. Even to the point of letting those things make us miss good things right in front of us that are going by. Way to push through and focus on all the great things you have to offer this world. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    David

  • karleen says:

    So many women face this. I wonder if you feeling the in and out of wanting a child “attracted” a man in the same position – going in and out of the idea? I wonder if once you resolve your position, that having a natural born family, is not in your world, if a man will come along who has surrendered the same. Likewise, if you resolve to be open to a ready made family, would you attract that kind of man. Just thinking out loud. Thoughts?

    • Mary E. Pritchard, Ph.D. says:

      You are a wise woman, Karleen! I will put that out there for the Universe to provide. 🙂

  • Vicki says:

    Beautiful article Mary! Very brave allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. You just never know what will happen now that you have put that out there. It’s awesome that you have come to your truth!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hello Mary

    I know how you feel because I felt it for 7 years. I was told that I would never have children (after over 15 assisted fertility treatments), that I had advanced endometriosis & that there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

    So I did what you’ve done, gave it up to the universe & decided that I had to start spending my energy on other things. I did that & within a year, I was NATURALLY pregnant (at 37 & then had a 2nd at 41) & my endo was gone. I’m not a doctor so I won’t go into what I did & how here but if you would like to know more – I’d be happy to tell you about it. I totally believe that I couldn’t get pregnant for all of those years because on some level (or probably many) I wasn’t ready. I too had come to terms with the fact that having children didn’t have to be the centre of my universe. It’s a hard thing to do when everywhere you look, you see babies…. I know, I know.
    You are right to give your self some ease about this very personal topic.
    I enjoy reading what you write & remember that every piece you write is an act of giving birth – having children is only ONE way of being creative.

  • Sheri says:

    God bless you Mary & may the Universe reward you with your soul mate. You are brave, you are woman (even without children) & you are magnificent. Those that fail to see that aren’t worth wasting your energy on. I’m so sorry you had to go thru this pain & heartache – but clearly this is part of your journey. I suggest you don’t even have to put it out there about not being able to have children anymore when you meet a new man. At 40 the odds are against you – even assuming the technology & fertility processes would work in your favor. People don’t realize what a miracle conceiving & bearing a healthy child really is. It is something most people just take for granted. I was one of those people. I was never one of those little girls who dreamed of getting married & having babies. I did dream of getting married – but not about having children. Ironically it wasn’t until I met my soul mate, my husband that I decided I really did want children – because I knew he’d make a great dad. Well it wasn’t meant to be. We tried for many years, we utilized medical intervention, we prayed all to no avail. We never even received a clear explanation whether it was me, my husband or why we just couldn’t conceive a healthy child. Now 12 years later after the door slamming shut on our dreams of having a family I can honestly admit having children wasn’t our destiny. Do I still long for them & feel cheated every once in awhile? Absolutely. But I also know we are great parents to the 4-legged little angels in our lives. We are better human beings & more compassionate because of our struggles. And I’ve also become a parent to my own parents as they age & face difficult medical issues. Unlike your ex – my husband early on told me he would be perfectly happy in our marriage long-term even if we were never able to have children. I’ve been blessed to find my soul mate because those words made my (our) struggle much easier – we’ve been able to travel this journey together & come out the other side stronger. And that’s what these great life adventures do. They either make you & your partner stronger together or they clearly point out you are with the wrong partner & should not be together. Keep the faith friend — I just know your true soul mate & partner is out there, waiting for you — Mary Pritchard — the magnificent, whole & perfect woman — just the way you are!

  • Goddess says:

    Dear SisterGoddess Mary,

    You are a great catch not just a good catch. Thank you for sharing your truth and saying it out loud. I honor your words and where you are at.

    The Goddess within is just waiting for you to get your juicy on with you so that your vibration attracts this mate that you desire. The one who loves you just as much as you love the Goddess you are. “All of you. All your curves and edges. All your perfect imperfections.” The song states it so well.

    No need to wait, my love. She’s within you ready to give you whatever you desire as fast as you choose.

    Thanks for being a LOVECat and sharing your HERstory.

  • Chara says:

    I appreciate your insight into your own truths here, Mary. You can probably ‘get it’ when I say, life with children is joyful but difficult–there is the tremendous pain of infertility, and then there are the large stresses of raising children today. I believe that child-free people and those who are parents all make compromises; joy and challenge exist on both sides, rewards and sacrifices on both sides. I uphold you in choosing the path that is right for you.

  • Crystal says:

    I have struggled with my infertility for years and it always made me feel like my goddess given right had been taken away. What did I do wrong? Is what I would ask. I am writing my book to be released June 21st titled the Empty Womb by Crystal Starshine I would love for you to read it and I would like to get to know you.

    With love,
    Crystal Starshine

  • Judy says:

    My dear friend. I know many successful happy people who have chosen not to have children.
    I never thought for an instant that they were “flawed”. The flaw comes from your own thinking, not the thoughts of others. Simply tell people you have chosen not to have children. I have things I used to consider flaws that made me feel I was never good enough. I finally realized it was my own thoughts that were pulling me down, not any sort of reality. There is only one thing I can truly change in this world, and it is my mind. So I did. You helped me see this. If anyone tries to manipulate you into feeling less than amazing, remember they are a poor fool who needs to tear you down so they feel better about themselves. They don’t deserve an acknowledgement or even a response. They are like dust under your feet!
    You are like a lotus blossom just beginning to open. I can’t wait to see you in full bloom!

  • Katie says:

    Bravely said! Thought I wanted kids when younger – only if the right person came along, not just for the sake of having them. Much older now & taking stock I have to admit to realising that I’m not that maternal, I’m ok without them, & probably didn’t really want them at all. Just that the family thing was ‘how it was’ back then. Struggle sometimes with references to that all encompasing love one has for one’s own child – only because it’s an experience I will never know & can’t imagine. It is ok to be childless and to be ok with that. Being who you are is important as you say. Happily I found my Soul Mate & feel sure you will too.

  • Brandy says:

    I admire your strength and honesty. You have a beautiful soul, and I am honored that you choose to share it with all of us.

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