What happens if this doesn’t work out how you planned?

Mar 11, 2024

When you’re struggling to conceive, or to stay pregnant, this is a question we ask ourselves all the time.

What if this doesn’t work out?

What if all the shit I’ve put myself and my family through is all for nothing?

What if we don’t get our baby in the end?

But even though this is the first thing we think about in the morning, and it haunts you at night, we don’t speak it out loud. It’s considered a taboo topic, for so many reasons.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that just because it’s taboo, doesn’t mean I won’t talk about it. Because when we push these questions down, they don’t go away. They get louder and louder and louder. And they cause a disconnection between what’s happening inside us, and what we’re showing the outside world. Which is lonely, and is a breeding ground for shame.

Why don’t we like to talk about the question that we’re all asking ourselves?

Firstly, we think that if we explore this line of questioning, we’re putting it out into the universe. And we’ve been brainwashed to believe that if we think it, it will come true. Which is complete bullsh*t, because if that was the case, you’d be at the end of your fertility journey with a baby in your arms.

We also feel pressure from the people around us NOT to think about it. They tell us to just have faith, and to stay positive and hopeful. And if we think about the worst-case scenario, it feels like it’s going against that. In reality, people tell us to stop thinking about it, because they don’t have the capacity to hold you in that space. That’s on them, not you.

And then there’s the catch phrase…..don’t give up. Ugh, I hate this one. I wrote a blog some time ago about my dislike for this comment, which you can read HERE. But basically, this puts a whole truck load of shame on us.

It’s such a naïve way of viewing our situation too. There is this misconstrued idea that if you try all the things, and stay at it long enough, you will get a child in the end. That this is the reward for having stayed on the path. But we know this isn’t the case.  “Don’t give up” and working harder, is not always the cure for infertility.  

We need to start viewing, making the decision to end your fertility journey, differently. Walking away is not a sign of failure or weakness. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a sign of strength, and self-respect.  It’s us saying that we matter too. And that is a beautiful thing.

Why else do we resist this question? If we don’t keep pushing forward, we’re worried about people judging us. The message that’s pushed upon us when we’re trying to conceive, is that you should sacrifice everything and anything to get to the goal of parenthood. And if you don’t, it’s once again a sign of failure, or weakness, or because you didn’t want it enough.

And then there’s the momentum. Once we get on the fertility rollercoaster, the momentum keeps us moving. And before we know it, it becomes an obsession. We would do anything to get to the other side. Plus, we’ve sacrificed so much – our mental health, our time, our physical health, our money, our relationships, our happiness, that it feels too hard to stop. Because we don’t want it to all be for nothing.

As you can see, there are a truck load of reasons why we don’t explore this question openly. It’s a complicated and triggering conversation, which may make you feel a little uncomfortable.

But while you’re considering all your options on your fertility journey i.e. IUI / IVF / donor / surrogacy / adoption etc. it could be helpful to consider this question too. Yes, I’m suggesting you put “a childfree life” as an option as well.  Not because it will be your reality. But because doing some research on this, may give you some relief. Knowing WHAT this would actually look like, rather than how we think it would, can take some of the scariness out of it.

This is where my expertise on this subject runs out. I don’t know what it’s like to be on the other side, so I invited Katy Seppi, who is the founder of the Childless Collective, a community for those who are involuntarily childless, to step in. Katy is embracing life without kids, after 4 years of unsuccessfully trying to become a mom, so she is more than qualified to speak on this from a professional and personal level.

So how do you go about researching the child-free option?

Just like you found the infertility community over on Instagram or Facebook, you can do the same for the childless space. There are certain hashtags you can search, that will help you get some information - #childless #childlessnotbychoice #embracingchildless

Another way is to speak to others who are childless not by choice, like Katy, to get the real picture.

We often have this idea that there are two roads. We imagine that one path (a life with children) will lead to fulfilment and joy and bliss, and the other path (without) leads to you feeling miserable, lonely and awful all the time.

You can watch our full conversation over on Instagram HERE.

A question I get asked a lot in my messages is; how will I know when it’s time to close this chapter on trying to conceive?

Now, I wish there was a 5-step process, or a checklist of things you could work your way through, to know the answer, but this is real life here. And it’s such big and complex question that it deserves more than a cookie cutter response.

Firstly, let’s reframe that question, because you don’t have to know WHEN it’s time. Because we never know how we’re going to feel in the future. You only need to know how you feel right now.

When we’re in that energy of what’s next? it can be hard to stop and pause. But taking stock of your situation, what you’ve sacrificed, and are being asked to sacrifice moving forward is important. It’s a form of self-care. And even though you may feel resistance to it, take some time to ask yourself - Is this still worth it? Is it worth what I am sacrificing? Is this something I still have energy for and feel like I can do? Because this is your life too.

If you decide it’s time to step off this ride and shift your priorities, this can feel just as daunting as well. So here are a few tips that Katy provided in terms of the tough transition from the trying to conceive community, to the childless not by choice community.

  1. Find a good therapist to help you work your way through the grief and self-limiting beliefs that may come up. The grief is the first step, and the hardest.
  2. Connect with others who are also childless not by choice. These are the people who understand the level of grief and pain you’re going through, and who can hold space for you, and really get it. Through connection, it will also give you new language and context to explain what you’re going through. You can find out more about Katy’s community, The Childless Collective HERE.
  3. Tap into the resources out there. There are books you can immerse yourself in, such as Jody Day’s, Living The Life Unexpected. There is world childless week run by Stephanie Phillips, and the Childless Collective Summit hosted by Katy.

I know this is a tough thing to open yourself up to. However, I always find that it’s helpful to be prepared. And it’s nice to know that if or when you step out of the trying to conceive community, that there is somewhere to put your foot, so you don’t just fall over that cliff. You can step onto solid ground, and there will be people there to hold you.

When I asked Katy what she would say to someone who is trying to make that decision to end their fertility journey, she said that the in-between is the hardest part. But no matter what – you’re going to be ok. It’s possible to have a life that you love without kids. And it’s possible to have meaning and joy and fulfillment and love in your life without kids. There is research which consistently shows, that people’s life satisfaction is great without children.

It’s difficult because the grief part is immense, and that comes first. There are pieces of that which stay with you forever. But it doesn’t always feel like it did at the beginning. Eventually, you can start to find some perks of not having children, and it does open up some freedom in terms of where you want to spend your time and energy.

But more than anything, you don’t have to do this alone. There is community. And in that, there is power and strength.



Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward?  My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.  

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