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Childlessness
Did you know?
One in four relationship pairs in developed countries is affected by infertility.
Reproductive health
About 15% of South African relationship couples struggle with infertility.
Infertility (Health 24)

GENERAL

Write anonymously

"What should I do if my lifelong dream can't be realized?"

I am married to my best friend. We both have the biggest dream of having children, but after many attempts, and a lot of money, the doctor told us it would never be possible for us, more specifically for ME.

My husband is supportive and keeps explaining how the two of us are enough for each other, but I feel there is no purpose in life if I can't bear a child of my own. Everyone's advice to me is to adopt a child, but it's not the same. I already dream of being a little girl from the day I was going to be a mother.

I don't know how to live with this. Every day I feel as if I am worth nothing, as if I am a failure. Every time I see my husband, I feel his dreams have been taken away. Isn't it better to divorce? It still gives him a chance to start a family with someone else. Please help me - I don't see a future for myself. ”

Many women in a similar situation will be able to identify with the author of this letter. As we mentioned earlier (see losses) also experiences such a person in a grieving process. Here are some frequently asked questions in our practice:

Ask 1
Whose fault is childlessness? Whether or not a person can have children is not something anyone can control. Why then do I feel so guilty for not having children?

Reply
This is a normal reaction during the grieving process of a woman who is unable to have children or who has had a miscarriage. You want to blame someone and because pregnancy only happens within a woman's body, she usually blames herself. It's an emotional response because that's how she feels, but the rational response is that it can't be her fault.

Still, she needs to articulate her feelings (rationally or irrationally), rather than pouting, because that is part of how she can process her grief.

Ask 2
What can I do or say as a husband / partner to help her feel less guilty?

Reply
Sometimes you don't think it is necessary to say the obvious things, but most of the time it is necessary for someone to hear them. So I would encourage him to say that he doesn't blame her (if that's how he feels, of course) and that he affirms his love and commitment to her.

If he does blame her for some reason, I would advise them to consult a psychologist instead and work through the situation with the help of therapy.

Ask 3
What if I don't want to adopt a child?

Reply
As the letter writer notes, adoption doesn't feel the same to her, because her dream probably includes the whole pregnancy process and the idea that a particle of her and her husband lives on in someone else. Adopting a baby is a completely different process. Yes, it may fill the void of "having a child", but may not be a substitute for the process of childbearing.

Adoption is an important and important process. If the couple does consider it, it is important to be sure that they are doing it for the right reasons, and that they are capable of acting in the best interests of the child.

Ask 4
From childhood, having children was my purpose in life, but that purpose has now been deprived of me. We all know that having a goal in one's life gives us meaning, so how can I shift my focus to finding a new goal?

Reply
It is important that she first mourn and make peace with her current situation, before attempting to redefine her dreams. Therapy can help a lot to process things and see other possibilities, but it is everyone's personal journey to get there. Still, it is important to say goodbye to the original dream and be open to cherishing a new dream.

Any person, with or without biological children, has a lot to offer to society. There are always occasions when someone's need to love and nurture can make a difference in someone else's life. Such an engagement can make sense of life. There are always opportunities in the normal course of life, often at work, in the family or family circle, through involvement in outreach / volunteer organizations or child / elderly care.

ADVICE

Advice on dealing with a joint loss within a relationship

Make and break
Every marriage / relationship has its good and bad times, as well as challenges. Dealing with a loss is a major challenge for sure. It can make and break a relationship. If the individuals within the relationship face each other and allow an emotional separation between them, it can seriously harm the relationship. Rather, understanding each other and working through it together can strengthen their relationship.

Communication
It is crucial that relationship partners talk to each other about what they are feeling and experiencing. A relationship can deepen a lot by dealing with such a crisis together. Open communication and respect for each other's needs is important.

Each one his space
Each partner should have their own “space” to handle the situation in their own unique way. They do not have to share everything or be in each other's company permanently to keep in touch. Allows everyone to also spend time with him / herself and his / her emotions. Read more below dealing with the loss.

EMERGENCY MEASURES

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health problems, we suggest the following options:
  1. call your GP (if available);
  2. go to your nearest hospital emergency room;
  3. call one of the following emergency numbers: SADAG (the South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 24-hour helpline: 0800 12 13 14 or suicide crisis line: 0800 567 567; or
  4. contact Wie is ek?