Infertility Choices Include Childfree Living
When a couple is childfree, there is often a set of assumptions made about them. One such assumption is that they have free time to do all the things that people with families and “real lives” don’t have time to do. I know this, because I speak with my younger sister often. She and her husband chose not to have children together, and so she has not raised or parented a child.
She is not the only one. There are several other people who I speak with regularly who have not had children. Some because they could not, some because they chose not to. Childfree is a phrase that was made popular by a wonderful couple, Jean and Michael Carter. The Carter’s wrote a book called “Sweet Grapes”, one of my all time favorite books.
I have written about the book before. I come back to it again as it is a book that empowers choice. Infertility takes away our choice. Or does it? It certainly seems that way. It certainly feels that way. I know it probably even looks that way to others. Childfree even looks like a person or couple has had no choice.
Yet we still have choice. We may not have a child in our homes the way that we once dreamed of. They may come as a foster child, an adopted child, a donor egg or donor sperm child; yet they are all children. They may not even live in our homes; they may be a beloved niece or nephew we dote on. The child in our life may be someone we mentor or teach to read or take on trips to a museum.
Childfree does not mean we don’t have a “real life” or that we have nothing to do with our time but lament our loss. Childfree is the life that we embrace when we are ready to make a choice to end treatment. Childfree is the life that we choose when we decide to move on and explore new possibilities in life.
So before you make assumptions about that person or couple who doesn’t have to find a babysitter for a Saturday night or who can take a vacation on the spur of the moment, just take a moment to consider what it may have taken for them to have gotten there. They may have been on a road similar to the one that you are on. They may have made a different choice than the one you are making.
We all get to make choices. Even when struggling with infertility.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.