As it is fertility awareness week starting tomorrow (31st October – 6th November) I felt inspired to write about falling in love with a childless future.
I’m aware that not everybody wants children. And if two people meet who do not want children, then surely that’s great right?
And if two people meet who do want children and go on to have them, then surely that’s great too. But what happens if two people meet, one wants a child and one doesn’t? Or, you both want children but find out you cannot conceive due to one reason or another. And what happens if you are single and know you have a childless future?……
If I am honest, I am not quite sure there is an answer, but I wanted to share some thoughts and feelings with you, as I am sure I am not the only one in this situation…..although it can feel like it at times.
I have always been more than comfortable being single, I love my independence. But since finding out I have early menopause and premature ovarian failure (POF), suddenly the future seems more daunting than usual.
How do you tell someone you may be dating you cannot have children? When should you tell them? When is the right time that you should even embark on a potential relationship after learning you cannot have children?
The answer, is entirely down to you. Only you will know when the right time is to seek or accept a relationship even though it may be an incredibly scary experience. Only you will know when the appropriate time is to tell a potential partner that you cannot have children, although advice from others suggests the earlier we are honest about this the better. I feel that it is important to be honest early on but perhaps keep the emotional, psychological and physical experience private until you know and trust that person, therefore avoid any vulnerable situations you may put yourself in. Some women I have spoken to have had fantastic relationships since diagnosis, I believe this is mostly down to meeting someone who is empathetic and supportive. This is someone I hope to find.
I remember one of the first things I thought when I was told I had POF; ‘How will I ever meet someone now? Who is going to want me? What can I offer a man?’
It was an extremely upsetting time and I did/do worry about my future when it comes to ‘Love’. I know for some women they accept this is their life now and some women may be relieved as they don’t want children anyway.
After speaking to another woman in a similar situation it was brought up whether it was better to find a partner who doesn’t want children, then it’s almost OK to be going through what you’re going through. But let’s face it, every woman who is told they cannot have children naturally thinks about IVF, Adoption and other ways of having a child. So, if this option could one day be a reality, is meeting a man who doesn’t want children actually a bad idea and not a good one? I guess there are so many questions that unfortunately we won’t find the answers to until the time comes to face them. I am sure that many women, whether in a relationship or not will find this time a very lonely experience.
Fortunately, there is support out there. Unfortunately there isn’t always enough knowledge or awareness of it. This is where I feel it is SO important for fertility issues to be spoken about more, awareness needs to be raised. Women (and men) should not feel alone during some of the darkest days of our lives. If anything, we should all come together, share our experiences and stories to support one another and hope that there will always be a rainbow after rain. Although every experience is individual and personal, our stories can offer advice, guidance and inspiration. Sometimes, it’s even nice just to hear someone else say ‘I know what that’s like and it’s awful’ or ‘I don’t know what to say but I am here’.
One place I have recently found support is the Dovecote community. It is an organisation and community set up around 2 years ago by a very dedicated individual, Kelly. It is a safe haven for individuals to feel supported through their involuntary childlessness, share stories of our own childlessness and encourage one another with our renewed life and purpose.
The organisation also offers everything from workshops, courses and retreats. The community page can be found on social media (links posted below) and is a comfortable place to be able to share our deepest, darkest experiences and inspire others. After a short time of joining the community, I have been in contact with other women who have felt the same or have been through the same experience as I and we have supported each other offering advice and more importantly sympathy and empathy.
Please do take a look, let’s give strength and encouragement to this fantastic organisation and community.
The Dovecote organisation – http://www.thedovecote.org
The Dovecote Facebook community – https://m.facebook.com/thedovecote.org/
Headline pic is thanks to the founder of Dovecote, Kelly.
Much love all