Difficulty being around kids during t... - Fertility Network UK

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Difficulty being around kids during this journey?

Foodie23 profile image

I’ve been looking after my friend’s kids one or two days a week for a year now. Around the time it became clear it was going to take longer than I thought to get pregnant, I started to become quite negative about the obligation and see it more as a burden. I’ve also noticed myself being really judgemental about some of the parenting choices my friend makes and some difficult behaviour in the older child.

I’m quite ashamed to be honest. It’s not who I am, I think I just find it really hard not to have my own child that I can raise how I want. I’m hoping someone can understand and you don’t all think I’m a terrible person. I obviously feel like a terrible person.

We’re due to start IVF at the end of next month. They’re 3 and 7 and love me loads. But, sometimes when I’m with them, it just feels so obvious what I’m missing and it really hurts. Sometimes though it’s really lovely to feel their love and connect with them. It’s also really hard to do the school runs. It makes me feel like I’m the only one without a child.

Should I keep forcing myself to do it? I feel like I can’t just disappear from their lives, it would break their hearts. If anyone could provide me with some guidance or perspective, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

19 Replies

It’s hard to admit, but over the summer holidays I didn’t see them for a month. It was really nice and I didn’t miss them at all. I don’t know if that helps anyone advise me, but it seems like just more to feel ashamed about.

Hi Foodie23

Do not feel bad or ashamed at all. It is only natural to feel how you do. It is also not fair at all of your friend to ask you to do this. Surely they must have an inkling of what you are going through.

I find it very bitter sweet being around children - I love them of course but it does make the pain clearer to me.

Perhaps whilst you are going through ivf you need to focus on yourself and your husband. That is not selfish at all.

Can you speak with your friend about it?


Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to Camillage

Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. My friend does know I’m having trouble getting pregnant and will be starting IVF next month. She’s never asked me how it is for me being around the kids during this time. I’m sure she’d understand though if I brought it up. I just haven’t felt like it was something I could ask for.

I thought I should be able to be around them because of the joy they’ve brought to my life and the help I was able to provide my friend. But, my negativity and dread and the emptiness I feel sometimes when I’m with them should be hints that maybe right now it is too hard. I think you’re right that I should talk to her.

Thank you.

Camillage profile image
Camillage in reply to Foodie23

Not a problem. I am sure your friend will understand. I love being around my friends children, but sometimes it is hard and they do understand.

Please please focus on you and your journey. If there was ever a time to be selfish then now is the time. And, by the way, it is not selfish! You are doing this for your soon to be created and snuggled child xxxx

I admire your strength as I couldnt have this before my bfp. For instance... my cousin has 2 little girls... I adore them... but every time I saw them I thought will this ever be me and it hit me right in the face what I was missing..... it’s an awful feeling and for me almost an outer body experience as if my life was passing me by.... so i advise do what’s best for you that makes you feel good so that you can put your all in becoming a Mum and not having any negativity in your mind....wish you all the luck in the world xxx

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to destiny121

You captured how it feels to be around my friend and her kids so beautifully. I'm sorry you've experienced that, but I'm also very happy that you finally got your bfp! Thank you for your kind, helpful words.

Definitely do not feel ashamed or guilty! I would at least cut down how much you see them, absolutely no school runs, but if you feel you need no contact whilst you’re going through this then that’s ok too. You need to focus on you, your health, sanity and your future baby. It won’t be forever because that baby will come.

I’ve had to tell a couple of friends that I can’t be around them whilst I’m going through this (they’ve recently had babies), I told them this makes me sad and I want to be able to be there for them and see them and their babies but it’s just too painful. I didn’t tell them how I felt whilst they were pregnant and I’m still dealing with the pain of hearing every little detail of their journey (good and bad), I wish I’d spoken up sooner.

Hugs xx

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to Arya10

Hi Arya10,

Thank you for your reply. I found it very comforting. I'll be chatting with my friend next week to let her know how I've been feeling. I definitely need to focus on myself right now and be more understanding of where I'm at.

Please don't feel bad you are very brave to admit your feelings and to have continued caring for them in spite of that your feelings are very natural but maybe this has become too much at the moment can you give up this arrangement but still see the children informally and less frequently? Good luck with your IVF fingers X'd for you x

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to Autumnmoon

Thank you for your response. I think that's a great idea. Keeping things informal will allow for me to follow how I'm feeling. I'm having tea with my friend on Tuesday to chat about it. I feel bad for letting her down, but I know I've already provided their family with a lot.

Hello, hun. Firstly I’m sorry your going through this difficult journey and I wish you all the best for your IVF.

I’m struggling to conceive having PCOS and no periods. I suffered an early miss carriage last month. I feel exactly the same as you, all our close friends are getting pregnant and each time another one announces it, I find it a little harder to smile for them. Obviously I’m so happy for them but at the same time I find myself feeling bitter and jealous. I look after our friends 1year old every so often, he is absolutely gorgeous and so happy - while this makes my heart break a little it also makes me realise that this is something I want so badly (both me and my partner) I’m trying to turn this sad feeling into determination to do something about it get my PCOS sorted and get clomid started and stay positive.

It is so hard though so don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way - it just confirms how much you want it 🙂 I’m sure it will happen for you and I wish you a lot of luck and love for the future xoxo

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to Scheepy18

Hi Scheepy,

I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. No one should have to experience that kind of pain. Thank you for taking the time and energy to comfort me while you're going through this.

I'm sure it will happen for you and your partner too. The wait can be hard to accept sometimes, but I'm confident it'll be beyond worth it. Hugs and much luck to you too Xx

No need to feel guilt or shame, I think you have done so well up to this point alone!

I think you absolutely have to put yourself first and if this is something that you have been thinking about for some time then you should speak to your friend. It doesn't mean you'll never see them but you can see them when you are up to it. It's so hard being around children and especially if you have to for work or other commitments.

I work in the nursery at the church I attend and it's getting more difficult to be around children I have to be honest. Sometimes I feel like I want to quit it but once I've done 'my turn' I'm ok....until the next one comes around.

I also used to look after my nieces and nephews most weekends, begging my family to bring the kids to stay but now I don't do it, I would if they needed me to but as a choice, I just don't, I want to focus on myself and my husband and have quality time with him or just some thinking time to myself.

Do what you feel is right for you, what you can manage. xxx

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to genten

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I spoke with my friend today and she was really understanding. I've cut out the scheduled pick ups from school, as I find that particularly triggering right now. Instead, I'll collect her daughter from her house a couple times a month to bake at my place. I think this will be a good compromise.

genten profile image
genten in reply to Foodie23

Oh that's good to hear. Well done to you.

That should be better for you and that's what it's all about, you being as happy and calm as possible whilst on your journey.


Really sorry to hear that you are going through this. I was working with young children when I went through IVF and, you know, after the transfer it was sort of therapeutic being around them and the possibility I might one day have a child seemed like a real possibility. It is hard and your are entitled to put yourself and your needs first (whether that's taking a break from looking after them or just going through the moptions and not being emotionally attached to them.at the time, but you might find they give you.hope when you start the ivf? Hope it all works out for you!

Foodie23 profile image
Foodie23 in reply to Kempton

Hi Kempton,

Thank you for sharing your experience with me and providing some great advice. I had a great chat with my friend today and it's going to work out. I just need to be understanding of where I'm at right now. I wish you the best too!

Could you compromise and reduce the amount of time you spend with them? X

Dont feel bad for how you feel. It is hard to be around children during this, I know as a step mum. I actually avoided my husband's children for a while when things got very low. I had to for my sake and theirs. After a break I felt stronger and now join in the activities (when we get to see them). Perhaps some time away from them is best and you do have to think of you. That is one thing I have learned. I hope you feel better about the situation soon x

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