Skip Nav
Tweens and Teens
What Happened When I Didn't Hold My Son to the Same Standards as My Daughters
Food and Activities
37 Scarily Cute Halloween Sweets
30 Insanely Creative Kid-Friendly No-Carve Pumpkins

Chasing the Dream of Having Children

Sometimes the shrieking, colic, and sleepless nights cause us to forget how lucky we are to be parents. How bad can a temper tantrum really be when you have a child to hold? Like many moms, I took my pregnancies for granted, accumulating a stack of ultrasound shots and occasionally complaining about heartburn and swollen ankles. But some women clinging to the idea of motherhood would welcome those ailments.

A recent New York Times story focuses on the 10 percent of couples that have trouble conceiving. The aspiring parents that exhaust their emotions, finances, even their marriages hoping to hold a baby of their own. The bleak truth is that those who aren't successful and open to adoption have to face life without offspring. It said:

It is unclear how many women are involuntarily childless. The stigma attached to infertility and living without children pressures many women to remain silent about their struggles, Mrs. Tsigdinos said, adding, “It’s not something you want to drop into conversation at a cocktail party.”

For a women who grew up pushing doll strollers, babysitting, and picking out names for their future children, relinquishing the dream may seem impossible despite scientific reality. It said:

Infertility treatment can be so all-consuming that many women keep trying long after the odds become prohibitive. Those who can accept the possibility that no treatment in the world will allow them to become pregnant may face the best chance of learning to accept a childless life.

So the next time your lil one tries your patience, think about the women who wish they could be in your position.

lfalardeau lfalardeau 9 years
Pinkrabbit--you know if you're ovulating if you have regular periods. No periods = no ovulation (for the most part). Start recording all your periods (beginning, flow level, & end) and ask your GYN to run a blood test too. I'm 29, and I found out that I have Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)--essentially my ovaries stopped ovulating and I'm in menopause. Although they can't tell for sure, based on tracking my periods I probably started declining in my mid-20s. No eggs = no babies. For someone who viewed children & family as her biggest goal this was, and continues to be, devestating. There is absolutely no treatment in the world that can make you ovulate if you don't have any eggs. :(
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
Pinkrabbit- I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 21 and my doctors told me that I would have a hard time getting pregnant (with each year that passed making it harder & harder- so nice of them to put a ticking time bomb in my head!) My sister has fibriod tumers in her uterus and her fallopean tubes have scar tissue that constricts them. Fertility issues run in both my mother and father's sides of the family.
Pinkrabbit Pinkrabbit 9 years
Jennifer777 How did you know your you and your sister had fertility troubles? I'm only 23 but I think I may be on this list. I've been off of birth control for 4 years and have just never gotten pregnant. I'm not sure if I ovulate or not but it's hard. I'm in a relationship with a man who has a 3 year old little girl and I've been a nanny (to different families) for 6 years. I love kids and CAN'T wait to have my own. If I can. I just don't know if that will ever happen. Sad to bring up but has anyone seen/read Children of Men. HEARTBREAKING!
macneil macneil 9 years
Having just complained on another page about losing my waist because I'm pregnant, I read this page with a lot of guilt and humility. I really feel for all the couples who are trying to conceive. There was a lovely episode of Brothers and Sisters where the Rachel Griffiths character talked about how it doesn't matter how a child enters your life, when they become part of your life they are your child. I wish children on everyone who wants them, they are lovely, and I will try not to be blasé and complaining for as long as this pregnancy lasts - which I hope is all the way.
Jennifer777 Jennifer777 9 years
My husband and I had been trying for 9 months when my sister got pregnant with an "oops" baby...actually it was more like a "WTF?" baby as she was not suppossed to be able to get pregnant. She lives with my parents and they were all very worried about telling me because they knew how upset I was about not being able to get pregnant. (For the record both my sister and I have fertility issues and we knew that getting pregnant was going to be an issue but that doesn't make it any easier.) I was so excited for her because I knew that her baby was a miracle, that she carried her to 35 weeks was an even bigger miracle and to top it off she had a hellacious pregnancy. Shortly after she found out she was indeed pregnant I found out I was pregnant. I have had an extremely easy pregnancy and I never complain because I know how lucky I am. My heart goes out to all who are stuggling and I wish you all the luck in the world.
kmckay kmckay 9 years
thanks for addressing this comment- we've been trying for 16 months and the comments we get from people that don't know our situation can be SO upsetting. i won't repeat all the ones i've heard because from the sound of it, most of you have been hearing them all too! also, these stories about abusive parents and all is too much to handle. i see pregnant women complaining (and some drinking and smoking!!!) and its so hard. also my friend just announced he's having an "oops" baby and he wants my sympathy. ugh stay strong you guys- i'm thinking happy conception thoughts for you all :)
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I think this article is right. Personally, I'm child-free by choice, but I know of a few women that struggled with conceiving. They also had menstrual issues, too, like infrequent periods, not ovulating, etc. I have regular ovulation and menstrual cycles. I KNOW when I ovulated, too. I know this sounds odd, but it's true. I have certain physical symptoms. Severe PMS also accompanies my regular cycles, but I try not to complain to my friends. They would do anything to have my cycles, and here I am child-free by choice, and they're longing to have children. I try to be sensitive, and keep my mouth shut.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
wakeup, lots of luck with your journey. I hope you can have a bio child, but its great you are open to adopting.
wakeupandora wakeupandora 9 years
I signed in for this topic! I am just beginning what I feel will be a longer journey than imagined into the world of infertility. I am 24, my husband is 27, we have been trying for two years this August with 1 miscarriage in late October 07. My best friend, 25, found out she was pregnant in November, 07, and was so upset because it was unplanned and she just got engaged and she would have to shotgun her wedding to fit into the dress she bought.. blah blah blah. She was being completely rude and frank and ridiculous about the entire thing that finally I shouted at her "LOOK AT ME - I want what you have been BLESSED with so badly - it is a miracle, a blessing, can't you see it any other way? If you cannot, i'm sorry, you will have to speak with someone else, I can't take it." She finally came to her senses and she is due next month with a healthy baby girl. I've been diagnosed with PCOS which may be the sole cause of my infertility or it may just contribute to a number of factors, as I am slowly finding out. We've already decided that if it comes down to treatments, we are not going to hold out hope for our own child, rather we'd use our resources to adopt a child instead. But that was a very, very difficult decision to come to. I'm lucky to have a supportive husband and family though.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
lawyerjenn...her so called friend hasn't a clue. My doctor assured me that my 5 yrs of smokingquit awhile ago) and my being overweight(read overweight, not obese)...have NOTHING to do with my miscarriage issues. We have been tested for a zillion things and we are both completely healthy. My doctors are all baffled. We are truly unexplained. That friend of hers is no friend. Lifestyle choices??? Give me a break...crackheads and prostitutes get pregnant every day. What about THEIR life choices. Ugh, people like that really piss me off!!!
lawyerjenn lawyerjenn 9 years
I think my biggest frustration with the whole infertility thing IS the social stigma. I think it's getting better but people make many unfair and inappropriate presumptions. I'm pregnant for the first time and getting pregnant was seriously the easiest thing in the world for my husband and I. We have a couple we are friends with struggling to get pregnant. I am very blessed and I know this and I know that for whatever reason, they did not luck out in that department. Anyways, this friend's husband is a smoker and she battled some gastro-intestinal issues earlier in life. She told me that one of her OLDEST friends made a snide comment to her about "if they just made some different life choices" then their issues would resolve. As if the infertility THEIR fault. This really truly angered me. How some of us who are lucky have the gall to be judgmental...just blows my mind and hurts my heart. I truly believe that part of fertility treatments should include counseling, both for couples and as individuals. Hearing the struggles and emotional toll the treatments can take, I think everyone needs that extra support. Course, that would only make it more expensive.
tyau30 tyau30 9 years
First of all, a huge thanks to lil sugar for addressing this issue. I was just thinking the other day that I wish there was a bit more talk here about adoption or about women who become mothers, but just with a bit more trouble and heartache. So thanks for this post. My husband and I began trying to start a family 4 years ago. We are both passionate about adoption, so our plan was to have 1 or 2 of our own then adopt. Well, we found out that not only can I not ovulate on my own, but if I do get pregnant (read: fertility drugs) then I can't sustain a pregnancy. After 5 miscarriages, we've decided that the emotional turmoil is just too much, and we're currently in the adoption process. I am sad to leave behind the hopes of baring a child, but we made a conscious decision not to do IVF or anything else. We're going to be parents through adoption and we're thrilled about it. I do remember in the early days, when we'd only had two miscarriages, some friends came to visit and the wife was pregnant. I asked how she was doing and she complained, a lot, about how bad the morning sickness has been and how tired she is of it. I had to leave the room because I was DYING to have morning sickness. I think we all need to remember that it's just not that easy for some women. And Faerymagick15. I'm so sorry about the 9 miscarriages and the tubal pregnancy. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that is for you. I hope everything goes well with your insurance company...
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
well, I have been on both ends of the spectrum here. I had 2 children during my first marriage VERY easily. I was on birth control pills when I got pregnant with my first. And after being off birth control for a whole 2 weeks I got pregnant with my second. Now...married for the 2nd time I can still get pregnant I just can't stay pregnant. NINE miscarriages and a tubal pregnancy! We appealed to my insurance company and they are paying for us to do IVF with PGD(pre implantation genetic diagnosis). We are hoping this works and I will stay pregnant this time. If it doesn't we are done. We can't afford the expensive treatments. And, I am 38 so time isn't on my side either. I had no idea years ago how lucky I was to be "getting fat" or "getting stretch marks". That is all I long for now.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
My husband and I both suffer from infertility and we are extremely blessed to have our baby boy after several years of various fertility treatments, and ultimately successful IVF last year. Every day I try to remind myself that so many others in a similar situation never have our luck. And how fortunate we were to be in a financial situation to cover the cost of the IVF (about $15K). It never bothered me to discuss my struggles with anyone willing to listen (and I'd be open to talking about it at a cocktail party if it were to come up), but having been there, I am definitely more considerate around other women. You just never know what they are going through. I can't imagine taking pregnancy for granted, but it's true that so many do. The message boards I visit have conversations involving birth control so they don't get pregnant again right away and I just have to marvel at how that could even be a concern. After 4 months of painful shots and tests before/during my successful pregnancy, it's hard to wrap my mind around the idea that getting pregnant is so easy for most. But for me it is what it is, and I know I just have to accept the challenge and work extra hard. I don't begrudge other women who have it easy, but hope they do realize that they are very fortunate. And hearing about women worse off than me definitely puts things in perspective when I realize the outcome could have been less favorable for me. So all in all, I am so thankful.
Mishell Mishell 9 years
Couples that "aren't open to adoption"? More like couples that can't afford adoption. Or fertility treatments for that matter. The price dor these things are insane. And having the money for them doesn't make some parents fit to have kids, just like NOT having the money does not exclude someone from being a fit parent.
MeganMac MeganMac 9 years
I completely agree. I don't think people think sometimes. I hear pregnant women complain about getting "fat." They don't know how I long to be gaining weight due to pregnancy. Many women don't know how hard the process of infertility really is. It is an emotionally exhausting, expensive and painful journey. I pray that someday I have morning sickness, swollen ankles and that I gain so much weight that I can't even see my shoes.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I would be devastated if I couldn't have a child of my own through some method... "old-fashioned way", in vitro, surrogate, adoption.
Husband Reacts to Wife's Pregnancy Announcement
Waiting to Have Children Until It's Too Late
What Causes Infertility in Your 20s?
Surrogate Mom's Experience
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds