Emotional infertility and other questions to ponder

Jody of Gateway-women.com,  https:/gateway-women.com, shared a link today for an article called “It’s Not My Fault That I Missed the Chance to Become a Mother” by Megan Lloyd Davies. This is a great article about “emotional infertility,” a term I had not heard before. It basically refers to people who don’t have kids because they never found the right partner or the one they found didn’t want kids. It also acknowledges, thank God, that this can be as painful as physical infertility. Give it a read.You may be comforted by the conclusions Megan reaches and join me in booing some of the thoughtless comments.

Question? How come I read so much more about childlessness from the UK than I do in the US press? A lot of those ladies over there are buying my book, too, via Kindle. Thank you so much. Are Americans less comfortable discussing the subject? Just wondering.

This whole childless thing varies by culture. Every few months I read about someone in India who had committed suicide because they couldn’t have kids. You may be grieving, feeling left out, or just plain pissed because life hasn’t given you children, but imagine living in a place where you’re shunned, harassed and completely shut out of the family if you can’t squeeze a baby out of your uterus. These men and women need our prayers.

In both the US and UK, about one-fifth of women reach age 45 without reproducing, but the statistics are more complicated than that. An article by Jessica Valenti in women’s e-news this week quotes a Pew Research Center study that showed the most educated women are the most likely group to never have a child. In 2008, 24 percent of women ages 40 to 44 with medical or legal, master’s or doctoral degrees had not had children. I have seen similar statistics many times. Why do you think this is? FYI, I have a master’s degree, and my late husband had one, too.

I welcome your comments.


16 thoughts on “Emotional infertility and other questions to ponder

  1. Well I “waited too long” (because of the education and career everybody told me was important to get) and “chose the wrong guy” because there wasn't much in my choice: He told me he wanted to have children with me, he tried to conceive together with me – and then he changed his mind and walked out. Talk about choices. I am sure I am not the only 40 year old well-educated woman who is left childless because of OUR PARTNER's choice. And it's a real shame men's role in all this hardly ever comes up. A German magazine (NEON) aimed at 20-30 year old people (but apparently read by the 30 – 40 year old ones as well) recently had an article written from a woman's perspective who says she notices that since she's turned 30 all the men she meets and dates are becoming increasingly commitment-phobic. As long as she was in her 20s,men would say they loved her, that they were committed to the relationships with her, etc. Now, over 30, that might mean REAL commitment such as marriage and children – as now all she get's to hear are things like “I'm not ready for that yet,” “I can't give you what you're looking for,” “let's just leave it the way it is,” etc. What are we women supposed to do about this?


  2. Not sure, but I just browsed an article in Good Housekeeping (in Canada, not sure if same as US print) discussing an infertile woman whose mom at 60 yrs old acted as surrogate. (thhhpppppp stupid ” happy endings,” I hate em) But being in Canada, I think it a thrill to read a few blogs from UK, one from NZ, and only one that I have seen from someone in Ontario.


  3. Certainly, I saw that story on TV here on a couple of different shows. Nobody talked about the specifics of how they did it, but they were oh so happy. It's really like the child has two moms instead of a mother and grandmother. They're entitled to their happy ending, even if we don't get one.


  4. Sue, I'm glad you pointed out that although I feel bad, at least I'm not literally persecuted for being childless. My MIL makes me feel like dirt, but my own family has come to accept it and they still love me. My hubby and I have a good relationship, so far so good. Anyway, I will keep those women in prayer. Thanks for posting about that. BTW, I would love to start a support group in the U.S., much like Jody Day is doing in the UK. I read that article. Yeah, I “waited too long”, too, because I wanted to be married before having a child, and I didn't get married until age 43! I was engaged twice before and both breakups were heartbreaking, but especially the second one because I guess I sort of knew that may have been my last chance…and it was, I guess. But again, thanks for the reminder that it could be worse. BTW, reading Elena's comment, that is so true about men becoming commitment-phobic once a woman gets in her 30's – and not only that, but EVERYONE seemed to be going on to me about my “biological clock” (um, gee thanks!). Though even in my 20's, marriage seemed to be the last thing on any guy's mind anyway. Unfortunately, I don't have the answers, as I used to wonder that myself. I mean, what was I supposed to do – pressure my hubby to marry me and give me a child? Um, yeah, that's responsible, right?


  5. Anon, you're so right. The bottom line is that men have lots of time to mess around before committing, and we don't, not if we want to have children.

    A support group in the U.S. would be good. Talking to each other here is a good start.

    Take care.


  6. I just discovered this blog and need it! I have been having the baby “itch” lately. I'm 32 and so is my husband. He has 1 son from a previous relationship and I have 0. He is “emotionally infertile” as you call it. He is unwilling to have another child and it breaks my heart. I'm going through the struggles right now of 1. Do I love this man enough to stay with him even though it is sacrificing a dream of mine? 2. Do I leave and hope to find Someone that I like enough that is willing to have a child? 3. Does he not love me enough to have a child with me? 4. He must not be happy with me, so I should leave and let him find happiness.
    So many thoughts of self doubt have consumed my heart lately. And yes this hurts probably just as much as physically not being capable of bearing children.


  7. Anonymous Sept. 23, I'm sorry this has happened to you. I wish I had the answers to your questions. I think the key is Number 1. Do you love him enough to sacrifice children for him? Is it a matter of him not loving you or does it have nothing to do with that? More talk is needed. Meanwhile, I'm glad you're here. Know that you're not alone.


  8. In my case the one infertile is my hubby. I”m 24 and he is 30. We have been trying for almost 5 years. We told our family it hurts us because they say they understand us but never ask about how we are doing. Another thing that gets me mad is that my husbands tells me to cheat on him but make sure I get pregnant. It hurts a lot because the only person I want a child with is with him. I think he only says that because he’s angry with life. But do you think is right for him to tell me that? And no, I wouldn't cheat


  9. Anonymous Oct. 15,
    Wow. This is the first time I've heard about an infertile husband encouraging his wife to have an affair to get pregnant. What a tough situation. It's important to remember that he is hurting, too, and to try to help each other through this. Is it right to tell you to cheat? No, but that was his pain talking. And maybe he's afraid of losing you. Try to remember your love for each other.


  10. Thanks for your words Sue! Yes I would never imagine him telling me this. And cheating isn’t in my plans. Even though I’m sure there might be other woman who would consider that option. His words hurt. I tell him I’m not that type of woman, but he said that sooner or later I’ll leave him, because I’m young. How can we deal with this pain? We just found few months ago that he can't [have children]. On top of that, he lost his parents this month. Any advice to help him with his pain? He feels very alone. Thanks


  11. Anon, All you can do is be there for him and try not to freak over anything he says or does right now. He's deep into grieving, and everything is a blur when that's happening. If you can, just stick by him and don't worry about the child thing right now. You don't want to add to his grief by leaving him. Mostly give him a lot of big hugs.


  12. Thanks! I’m very happy I found this blog and sure will buy your book. You might ask yourself why I’m telling my problems in here. Well, I feel that no one around me understands what we are going through. It’s so hard, especially when I thought I was pregnant since I hadn’t gotten my period for more than a week so I got checked and no I’m not. That crushed our world. I feel empty. But about him losing his parents, it’s been hard and yes all I can do is show him love, and support.. 🙂 and try to focus on other things in life.. Again thanks for your advice.. Have a great day


  13. Dear Sue,While some women are childless as a result of being educated, I am educated as a result of being childless. I would guess that the majority of women who are well educated have put off having children in order to pursue academic and/or professional goals. I, on the the other hand, attended graduate school because I did not have children and basically felt like I had nothing better to do. I'm glad I did; it has helped with my self-esteem tremendously. Five years and $40,000 later, I am still single and still childless. At this point, I am considering pursuing my Ph.D so I can stand to look at myself in the mirror, as the pain that accompanies the failure of not being able to secure a spouse and have a family is, on a good day, overwhelming, and on a bad day, quite unbearable. Thank you for posting about Emotional Infertility. I concur that the UK is very much ahead of the US in terms of acknowledging the condition. -Sarah


  14. Sarah, Thank you for sharing this. I guess I'm partially educated as a result of being childless. I got my BA before I got married, but I doubt that I would have completed grad school if I had kids. The money we spent on my education would have had to go for their education. And yes, it does help one's self-esteem, although degrees are cold comfort when you're spending the holidays alone, right?


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