I am a 40-something European woman doing what I once thought wasn't possible: finding happiness after infertility. While it's been a long, difficult and emotional journey (10 unsuccessful IVF treatments), each day I take another step down the path toward a fulfilling new life. This is my story of reinvention.
I will be happy to hear from you: klara.soncek (@ ) gmail.com
I have been doing very well lately. But still, there are plenty of remainders that I am not healed. I might never be, at least not completely.
I have just met a distant relative, he is only few years older then me. I know that his daughter will have a firstborn soon so I wanted to be polite and asked when the child would be born. He replied: "After 9 months." I found the reply not funny at all. To make the thing even worse - he commented further - that now it will be a very difficult time for him. Silly me - but I asked him what did he mean and replied: "From now on I will always have to sleep with a granny."
That kind of joke is completely ridicolous when you tell it to an infertile woman.
I had to put the anger somewhere so I went cycling. On a way home I saw my school-friend with his babies, both aged under 2. As a dear pen-friend of mine wrote - it is not fair that men so easily get a second chance (he already has adult children). I am over 40 so my child-bearing years are long over. And what is even sadder - they never began at the first place.
I have been enjoying teaching a teenage boy (he is almost 17 now). It is lovely to observe his transformation from rebellious teen to a kind polite young man. I don't want to boast but I really think that his mom (who is more or less my age) adores me - the way how I adjust my teaching techniques. Teaching is good for me as well - I have improved my English and German a lot!
I like chatting to the boy's mom. The conversation is mostly about her boy - but it is nice. Talking about him never hurts me. After all, somehow the boy became part of my life, after teaching him for two years. But last time she had the need to share with me a sweet story how she announced her pregnancy to her husband. This story hurt, I didn't want to know the details that I know now. I listened but then I used the first opportunity to escape.
There is a good news. I have a good colleague at work who is pregnant. As far as I can remember, this is the first pregnancy after my infertility that I am handeling very well. I am actually looking forward that her daughter is born. So I guess it is a small step towards healing.
I have just returned from Milan, from a short business trip. It was lovely to be able to walk every evening in the beautiful historic city centre. But it was aweful to ride in hot overcrowded metro every day. I didn't feel safe at all. I am very glad to be back home in my small green country.
So basically what I wanted to say is that I am still here. I am just too busy right now to write. And what's even more important - I don't have time for any negative thoughts regarding my childlessness.
It feels good, living my life. It really doesn't make any sense to regret not having the life that obviously just wasn't meant for me.
I have been very busy lately. Gathering offers for the house, deciding, making financial projections, doing the strategies for dealing the price is stressful. But overall it is great. It feels good - to take the destiny in our own hands and plan for our future.
Somehow I am grateful that we didn't have enough money to build the house when we got married. We have learnt so much from then. For example: a) that we don't need much space, a small house will do just perfectly for the two of us b) house will already be equipped with a bedroom and a bathroom for guests in the ground floor. We hope that this will serve this purpose for many decades to come . But this is also a back plan for an old age - if one of us won't be able to walk the stairs any more, we will simply move to the bedroom downstairs. So when a young sales person tried to persuade us that it is much better idea to have downstairs just a huge living room, my husband and I looked at each other and smiled. It felt good, taking destiny in our hands. We really don't want to be dependent on anybody when old.
I am not quoted, but it is lovely to see my thoughts in the article. For example here:
Some feel the term childfree doesn’t reflect the emotional pain that brought them to this life situation. Childfree, they argue, is for those who actually chose to be without children from the beginning. Childless is the term for those who wanted children but could not have them.
I have some wonderful news. We managed to arrange some unsolved issues with the land that we bought many years ago. So now we are in the process of choosing the right prefabricated house for the two of us.
If everything goes well (please, do keep your fingers crossed) we will move to our new home by Christmas 2018.
I have been planning to write down some beautiful news today, but the only thing that I have in my mind is something horrible that I saw yesterday.
I had a lovely 2-hour-long walk with Wolfie. I love walking with him so much! When walking to a neighbouring village, I heard some animal crying. I looked ... and saw people slaughtering a pig. The pig was hanging with back legs from the ceiling, trying to free itself. Obviously it couldn't.
The picture of the pig haunts me.
This is so sad, all the animals suffering.
Do you know what is the worst part of my business trips to Italy? Seeing hundreds of trucks, full with living animals from cheap European countries, headed to west Europe, where they are then slaughtered. I find this extremely sad - that in European Union this is allowed - transport of living animals, also in hot summer, and distances over thousand kilometers.
If women's time is considered less valuable than men's, childless
women's time is devalued even more so. For example, there is an
expectation that we will cheerfully pitch in to cover for parenting
coworkers who need to stay home with a sick child or leave early to
attend their child's school event. Our own requests for flexibility are
often deemed less important or "legitimate".
In the same vein, there's an expectation that childless women will
be available to care for aging parents, help them with errands and take
them to appointments, more so than our siblings with children (even if
they live closer to Mom & Dad than we do).
Parents assume that, because we don't have children, we have a lot of discretionary income to spend as we please.
We are expected to show interest in the children of our siblings,
friends and relatives, and to listen attentively and sympathetically to
parents' problems and stories about their children -- while our own
interests and problems are often dismissed as less worthy of attention
or ignored completely.
We are expected to defer to parents in all matters related to
children, even if we have our own knowledge and experiences to guide us
and to share (e.g., childless teachers are often told they don't know
anything about children, even though they spend the entire day a room
full of them, 9 months a year, year after year).
Parents expect us to attend gender reveal parties, baby showers,
christenings, first communions, confirmations, graduations, weddings and
birthday parties to celebrate their children and the milestone events
in their lives (oh yeah, and bring gifts!). Yet our own birthdays or
other milestones are not always marked or celebrated in the same way.
If we decline invitations to these events or fail to show sufficient
enthusiasm for them, we are expected to provide explanations and/or
made to feel like something is wrong with us.
We are expected to justify our decision to continue
living without children, while parents are rarely expected to justify
why they decided to have children. Similarly, we are expected to explain
why we didn't pursue this or that path to parenthood ("Have you thought
about adoption? surrogacy? donor eggs?") -- even within the infertility
community, where childless living (still) remains an unacceptable
outcome for many pursuing treatment or adoption.
Advice for future bloggers (who blog about life after infertility): never tell your best girl friend about your blog. Since the people you love the most, can hurt you the most. I know that not intentionally, but still..
We have our walk&talk date agreed for weekend, but then very last minute she cancelled me since she had other plans (=some friends with kids had a party).
It hurts, being dumped so easily as soon as the better offer arrives.
And you see - all things that I do with my friends, are simple. Like walk & talk dates. Or just long talks over a coffee. I never organize any exciting parties (=infertility robbed me of lot of things; in reality I don't have many people left). So I can not compete with grand plans that other people are offering.
What I realized this week is this: I always thought that when my friends' children will grow up, I will get my friends back. But then I realized - the mothers who focus so much on their children, will also focus that much on their grandchildren. Which basically means I could get my friends truly back when their kids are 20, but only for about 7 years, until the time that the first grandchildren will start to arrive.
I'd better start to enjoy my alone time. Luckily with this handsome guy I am never alone (photo taken on Saturday, on our 4-hour-walk):
PS: My husband is Wolfie's master. But I am Wolfie's favourite person in the entire world.