Thursday, September 13, 2012

The big announcement (and it's not what you think)

I am feeling lighter this week. There's a spring in my step, and it's not due to the sunny weather we're having.

I trace the origins of this lightness to an announcement we made last week to my immediate family. The kind of announcement we felt it was time for us to make. Not at all what they were expecting, I'm sure.

"October marks the end of five years of trying to have our own family, without success".

I kept it brief.

"As people make positive announcements, ours is that we are starting phase two together as a childless couple. We have no idea what our future holds, but we can be excited about it again."

Confronting; perhaps.

I chose to email our news with an article that describes our situation quite well (you can see it here: Approaching Life Without Children) urging them to read it when they had five minutes of quiet time. Discussing it over the phone was never an option for us; not only would we struggle to explain ourselves without resorting to people-pleasing words, but they would have difficulty listening. It's a taboo subject: childlessness. People everywhere have trouble merely acknowledging there is such a thing as a real life without children.

Any wonder we were having trouble accepting it ourselves.

So I simply put the words on the screen and hit 'Send'. Self-preservation was critical in this instance; email seemed the logical format. We simply wanted to have our say without interruption or a barrage of questions. And to share the article which is really worth a read. Even if you cannot relate to a situation like this, it is useful for insight into this less-travelled path in life. It helped us make sense of our lives.

"Grieving is letting go - letting go of unfulfilled dreams and replacing them with a comfortable reality."

Deciding to make an announcement was something I wanted to do in a similar fashion to creating our own new 'tradition' recently, with 'Husband's Day' in place of the traditional Father's Day. Announcing ourselves as a childless/free couple is just another unique experience we face together, and something I feel is right - for us.

Five years may seem insignificant, but to us it has felt like forever. So I think the lightness I am feeling is akin to outing a long-held secret. By telling those closest to me, regardless of their reactions, I am speaking up... I am saying: I accept this. There is no room for black and white perspectives here, only open-minds.

I may crumble again in a few months when Christmas fever hits, and then again I may not. Right now though... this is a real moment. It's a massive milestone after a tumultuous trek. It is self-acceptance.

I feel I have so much more to say on this.


This Path In Life said...

I’m glad that you are feeling lighter at your announcement. I hope that it is well received.

I wrote my mom an email. It was about a year after we had decided to stop treatments. I could tell that she didn’t really believe our decision was permanent and the email allowed me to explain it fully and honestly to her without interruption. When she called me after she read the email and talked to me about the contents, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me. She finally understood and I could tell that she was accepting our decision finally.

loribeth said...

I so admire you for being so upfront & honest about this. We never said much about what was going on with us, one way or another -- although there did come a time when I confessed everything to my mother & let her know a(nother) grandchild was most likely not in the cards. :( As difficult as the conversation was for both of us, I had to admit, as This Path said above, I felt a weight come off my shoulders after that.

Eventually, after we both got into our 40s, the questions & comments gradually faded away & we just don't get asked any more. Thank goodness!!

Jen said...

I think too that it has removed some of the expectation we feel is lingering under the surface from everyone else. It is a little easier now that my family know the score, however my husbands family is the next big challenge. Unfortunately they do not use email, so will be a tougher experience, I think. Good to here about your feelings after doing this.

Alicia said...

Great new blog. You are very courageous. I look forward to following your journey!

Amel said...

I've also told my MIL through email about our decision to surrender to life without kids. I told her how we felt guilty at one point during our TTC journey 'coz we couldn't give her a grandchild. She told me not to worry about her and she knew how hard it was for us when we were still trying.

I've told my Mom verbally about this, but she still kept on telling us "miracle stories" every now and then that she heard from other people, so the last time we talked on the phone, I told her again that we're fine without kids. :-)

It does feel better for us, too, knowing that we've told both parties about our decision. :-)

Amy L. said...

October is five years for us, too. All we have to show for it so far are broken hearts, dead twins, and mass quantities of cash spent on failed cycles. We're not ready to quit yet, and are actually in the process of doing one expensive/fancy IVF cycle using my eggs before moving on to donor eggs. I'm unwilling at this poin to envision life as a childless couple. Havin children is something I've wanted for my entire life, certainly longer than I've ever wanted to be married. You are a brave soul to make a choice I cannot face at this poin in my journey.

~Maria said...

Found you via the Stirrup Queen's Friday Roundup.....and I'm so glad I did. What a beautiful, beautiful announcement! You say you have much more to say, and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the article as well...I'll be passing that long. :)

glitterandrainbows said...

Great post. As my husband and I have told only a few people (aside from the blog!), I never really knew what to do when it is over. I like your idea. Something like this should be marked. Thanks for your post.

Jen said...

It's great to hear from you all, and the different ways you've all dealt with this stage of life. No matter what stage we are at, making any sort of decision is tough. We are all brave for just making these decisions I think. Thanks for sharing your stories too.

Seriously?! said...

This is such an incredible and moving post. It was brave of you to take this risk, but sooooo important to your acceptance...but more importantly, it may open the eyes of those that are so ignorant to infertility, loss, etc. After my many losses, I started to shout it from the roof tops. I was so mad and just wanted to inform the felt soooooo great to 'let go'.

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts.

Pamela said...

What you've done here is so courageous, Jen. I look forward to reading more about your new adventures. Meanwhile, wishing you a lifetime of lightness...

makeyourownluckblog said...

What great way to share your news with those close to you. I agree with you that it's a lot easier to get your exact point across with email. It's hard for anyone who hasn't gone through infertility to even comprehend how life consuming it is and why we would want to stop trying. After 7 years I'm trying one more FET and if it doesn't work (and if you don't mind) I'll copy your announcement idea. Love the article too. So happy I found your blog!

Jaime said...

Love your idea of Husband's/Wive's Day! Always a difficult time of year. I get anxious weeks leading up to it!. Maybe thinking of it this way will help me cope. Thank you. And good luck. I look forward to following your journey.

Annie Z said...

My husband and I have just hit the same milestone. I am grateful to have come across your post on this.
I look forward to reading your more current posts and seeing how it is all going.

Love and light