Pain of grief

I am 38 years old, single women who lives with my cat. Not the scenario I wanted my life to be. I have spent the easter weekend trying to put on a brave face for the world because I am crippled by grief for the child I wont have. I actually feel physical pain and the ache of wanting to care for something and nurture a baby. I feel such a failure, and living the life I don't want to lead. I am not an ambitious person and have never placed my career before a family, it has just never happened for me. I have never met the person for me to have a baby with. I feel like I have gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson, I feel bruised and battered. Any advice would be most appreciated. Jen

5 Replies

  • Hi, first thing is you are not on your own! When I was going through the worst spells I didn't know of anyone else who couldn't have children and all you see everywhere then are people who can with all their children.  I totally know what you mean when you talk about a physical pain, it really does hurt deep inside. I think finding sites like this online have been so helpful to know there are others out there and what you are feeling is normal! It was also refreshing to hear about women who were choosing not to have children, and whilst we don't have that choice, it was good to see women standing up for the fact that we are more than just about ability or not to have children. Society really puts pressure on us to feel that we have to have children, and if we don't we are viewed as failures! When really there are enough children and people in the world and there are so many other things we can do with our lives.  Even though this doesn't really help at the moment, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am 39, and I love my two cats! I am reaching a place now where if I had a choice I am not sure I would actually have a child, and that's certainly something I never thought I would say. I realised, with some help, it is ok to just be me and I didn't have to prove anything to anyone. I often see others with babies and children who whilst they say to me they wouldn't change anything actually have a hard time with them and have admitted how envious they are of my situation and freedom to live how I choose. I guess we always want what we can't have, but at some point I found I had to move on, and whilst the feeling never goes it becomes more manageable. There are times still when it floors me especially at times like Christmas, Mother's Day, or finding out a close friend is pregnant, but those times are less than they were.  I found a session of counselling helped, as well as mindfullness- I got a couple of books to read. My counsellor recommended feel the fear and do it anyway, a book by susan Jeffers which I picked up in smiths and found really positive.  I am in the process of moving abroad to work, which is something I wouldn't have done if I had children, certainly all my friends with families are stuck where they are! So new doors and opportunities may come along when you least expect it. Sending you lots of love and let me know if I can help. Best wishes xx

  • Hi Jen, I can completely relate to how you feel. I am 42, a slightly different scenario, but the same outcome. I have a partner and we have had 3 rounds of unsuccessful IVF, and are facing the prospect of a childless relationship, but my partner already has children, so its not the same for him. I don't think there are any easy options. People say it gets better with time but never quite leaves you. Counselling is helpful and I found one through But ultimately its about finding a new purpose, something to focus on, which is easier said than done I know. Have you considered adoption? You dont have to be in a relationship to adopt these days?

  • Thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate all the support. I agree that adoption is potentially an option, however I also agree that I need to stop thinking myself as a failure for not having children. There is so much stigma in the media who imply that childless women are in someway odd! I have suffered from depression for a number of years and worry that if I had children it would be too much for me anyway, but it still doesn't take away the feeling of pain and failure. 

  • You are echoing my feelings. I'm not ready to give up at all but my husband is, and I feel so helpless, resentful, bitter and the ache in my heart is so painful. I have to believe things will get better. I'm having to take an hour at a time at the moment, it's awful feeling. I just want to reverse time and get back to being 20 again, and settling down early in life. I guess they'll be always be the what ifs...

    I've just joined MTL today, so on the road to healing.

    Feeling the grief is the only way through... I'm just not ready to move in yet.

  • Hi guys,

    I'm new to the forum.

    I've gone into a bit of a depression over the past few months due to different things.

    I am chronically ill with fibro, myofascial pain syndrome and severe endometriosis.

    I have also been told after years of misdiagnosis that I probably have had ME for the past few years.

    Last summer I had to give my job up due to physically and mentally being unable to do it.

    The depression has finally caught me up due to the chronic illness and life on hold feeling but also my realisation that I'll probably never have children.

    When I was diagnosed with severe endo in 2008 the consultant said it was everywhere and basically I had to get pregnant that year or forget it. I wasn't in a relationship so how on earth was that supposed to happen. I wasn't just gonna drag a man off the street. I don't mean to offend anyone but I don't believe in just getting pregnant by anyone. I want to be in love with the father of my child. That's just my personal preference.

    In 2013 I had another op for endo and was told by the surgeon my chances of conception were very low. I'm due another big op this year but that's mainly for quality of life purposes as the pain is debilitating. However I always carried some hope that I would conceive. Then I was diagnosed with aortic regurgitation. It's mild at the moment, thank God, but pregnancy is not advised with this condition.

    So over the past few months I've broken down crying when realising that maybe it's Gods will I won't get pregnant. I know I have to accept his will because without acceptance only comes misery.

    Like you jlpear1 I'm in my late 30's. I am blessed as I live at home with my parents. I wouldn't have been able to look after myself on my own. My illnesses have affected my employment opportunities and relationships. The last boyfriend I had, a few yrs back, broke up with me because I was " always ill".

    It has got me down a lot over the past few yrs but I know compared to a lot I'm blessed.

    At times I also think God doesn't want me to have children because he knows I wouldn't cope.

    I just wish we didn't live in a world where not having children is seen as failing at life. I get so infuriated. When you look at some of the women who do have children. All they've achieved is basically being fertile and they're applauded for it even though some of them are disgraceful mothers.

    I know a woman who's just got pregnant with her 4 child. She's younger than me.When this child is born she will have 4 children to 3 different men. That's sounds judgemental doesn't it, I know, but I can't help how I feel. She's actually not a bad mother so sometimes I feel bad about what I think.

    It's good to have a place to talk to other women and not forgetting the men!

    Don't feel alone jlpear1. I know how you feel.