Accepting A Childless Future - Julie's Story
For some people, fertility treatment never has a happy outcome, and they have to resign themselves to a future without children.
Julie Kendall, from Saffron Walden in Essex, 51 at the time of this interview, has finally accepted that she and her husband will never have children of their own.
“We tried for years and years to have a baby. It started with visits to the GP, then there was 18 months of temperature taking, then courses of fertility drugs, followed by two failed attempts at IVF.
“We had what's known as ‘unexplained infertility’. All the tests came back normal, and there was no obvious medical reason why I wasn’t able to conceive. I think it’s almost easier if you’re diagnosed with a medical reason for your infertility because you've got something to focus on, and support is available.
“Life was especially hard during our thirties as our friends produced children, but it wasn’t happening for us. We endured our fertility treatment in silence, and didn’t discuss it with family or friends. That was my way of coping.
“I found IVF so painful and traumatic that after the second attempt we both decided it wasn’t worth going through again. I was in my mid-thirties at the time.
Accepting a childless future
“My husband wanted to move on and make a fresh start, but I needed to go through a period of mourning, because realising that you'll never have children is similar to a bereavement.
“Accepting a childless future was a gradual process for me, and it didn’t happen immediately after treatment came to an end. A part of me hoped that I might get pregnant spontaneously, but that never happened and, now I'm 51, it never will.
“Right at the end of treatment was the only time my husband and I saw things differently. At every other stage of our infertility treatment, and up until today, we’ve been very close and supportive of each other. We’re lucky. Infertility and the years of treatment can wreck marriages.
Support for childless couples
“Long after we accepted we would never have children, I found the support group More to Life by accident through an article in a magazine. Here was a group of people who were also childless and had experienced many of the same things.
“Being a member of More to Life has really helped me look towards a brighter yet child-free future. I’d recommend the group to other women facing up to childlessness, because members are there to offer you emotional support, if you need it. Also, the social events are very good. It’s great to be able to spend time with other people who you know aren’t going to be talking about their kids all the time!
“If you’re a woman facing an involuntarily childless future, you have to deal with it in your own way. There will be times when your friends and family can’t seem to do anything right. Everything they say will be wrong and upsetting, and you will snap at them. But that’s inevitable, because you’re so emotionally vulnerable.
“I would urge other childless and grieving women to remember that you will eventually get through this. There's light at the end of the tunnel.”