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The "So Now What?" Podcast

I am a Fertility Survivor.  The kind you enter into treatments hoping you will never be... childless.  After several rounds of IUI and IVF, at some of the leading Fertility Centers, I was told I was no longer a candidate for fertility treatment.  It left me asking myself...

So now what?

For the years that followed, I tried to put myself back together and tell myself I would be OK, but I wasn't.  I was shattered - I felt alone and failed by the whole process and especially, my body.  I yearned for others that felt the pain I felt and someone that could help me navigate a life without a child. 

I didn't find it, so I decide to create it.  

Fast forward to today. I am still childless, but my beliefs about my life have changed.  I decided that I can create meaning and purpose in my life even though I am not a mother.  I've learned to love myself and the body I felt failed me as a woman.

If you've been on this journey, hop on and join me as we create something we were not offered.  Let's create a sisterhood for the bravest women I know.  We brush ourselves off and don't let terms like: Failed, Unexplained, Miscarriage, Not-viable or Advanced Maternal Age define us anymore.  


Sep 20, 2022

I am freshly back from vacation; this is our first time we did any time away since COVID we went to wine country in Sonoma.

And hung out there for a few days. And then my sister and her husband came and had just such a glorious time. We really had a lot of fun Jack and I really travel well together. When we travel, I love that we're on the same wavelength because we are adventures. We just like to know where we're sleeping.

We like to know that we have a hotel room that we have a good clean place to sleep. And otherwise, we usually rent a car and just see where the day takes us. So that's exactly what we did when we landed in San Francisco, we took the long way. Which is, you know, something I've come to recognize about our relationship.

We always like to take the long way, check out the scenes and pull off the side of the road. If there's a sign that looks interesting for a tourist attraction or something that we've heard about, we figure our way out without having to plot the course. And ironically, that seems like what my life has turned out, like when it comes to our fertility journey.

So what we're going to talk about today is whether your marriage. Is enough, and this is something I work on pretty often with my students. There's a lot of question that we have when we find out that we can't become moms. And we look at who's beside us and ask ourselves, is our bond going to be enough? Is our bond going to take us and feel fulfilling enough for the rest of our lives?

So let's talk about it today because I think a lot of us Harbor a lot of judgment for ourselves and there's an element of shame and I would say probably feeling like a little bit deceitful to your partner or to your spouse for even questioning whether your marriage is enough, or your partnership is enough.

I'll tell you a little bit later about how this came up for me on my vacation. Let's first start to think about why we choose someone as our partner. And of course, we, we certainly look at somebody and think of qualities or attributes and wonder if our children are going to look like us or like them, or a perfect combination of the two of us.

I want to ask you, the reasons that you consider someone as a spouse or a partner only important if you procreate with them? I know that there are a lot of reasons. Why we marry someone whether we're going to have kids or not, but there is a level of fear that comes in and a level of question that does come in when you can't have kids and you look around and the realization sets in that it's just us.

And that can be very lonely, and it could shake you a little bit and that's normal. I would say that 80% of the students that I've worked with, that's one of our first classes together. Some of the things that they're trying to sort out in their mind is feeling okay with the fact that it's just the two of them, or maybe the two of them and a dog or a cat or some sort of pet.

I want to challenge you today to think about why it might be a problem, that it is just the two of. And maybe it's even the way that you're thinking it. Maybe you want to get rid of the word, just maybe it's the two of you. I've done a lot of work on myself around this topic. And so I thought today, I would maybe share some things that might be helpful to you and help you to navigate whether it's going to be okay to be the two of you.

And maybe it feels scary now and it's normal to feel scared because it's the. And you always thought that there would be some sort of buffer, some sort of focus of attention on something other than the two of you, but I've taken my opportunity in the work that I've done. to decide that it is such a wonderful opportunity that I have to spend the rest of my life with this person that I happen to call my husband and it doesn't have to be scary.

Of course, there's times when I wish that. We came home and we had kids to take care of or games to go to, but that's not what we have. So what we do is focus on what we want to do together or what we want to do individually. As I move forward in this episode, I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we did for our anniversary.

We sell celebrated our 13th anniversary back in June, and when we were getting ready to go out for dinner, we had a glass of wine together and we exchanged cards and presents and you know, all the good stuff. And I made it a point this anniversary that we would talk about what goals we have as a couple and what we want to do more of and what we want to do less of in our relationship.

And so notice how I frame that. What I want to do more of. And less of, so not what I want to stop doing or what I want to start doing, because when it seems like you're starting from zero, the. Pedal to acceleration feels like there's got to be so much effort. But when you think about what you want to incorporate more of into your relationship, it just seems a lot easier.

So, a lot of it is a plan words, because when you frame things or say things in a certain way, your mind doesn't automatically tense up thinking, oh my gosh, he wants to do less of this, which means I'm not doing it well, or maybe he doesn't like doing this activity with me, or maybe he wants to do something alone and not with me because I'm not enjoyable to be with.

Absolutely not. So when you think of, I want to do less of something or more of something, it just feels easy to start doing a laundry list of things from. I told you that I would tell you a little bit about how this came up for Jack and me in our vacation this past week. we love hiking together and we live in the Midwest, so there's not a ton of beautiful hiking, not a ton of Hills or mountains or anything like that. So, when we travel and we go somewhere there's mountains, we always know that we're going to do some hiking together. And we were in the middle of the Redwood forests, and it was just quiet.

And honestly, it was the two of us. There was not one car in the parking lot besides our rental car, when we rolled in. There was such a comfort in knowing that in that forest and in that hiking trail, the two of us were there. And I started to tell him about how I once felt scared and questioned whether it would feel like our marriage was.

I never shared that with him before, because for so long, I felt a lot of shame that I would even question whether my marriage was enough. And so, I told him that, one of the things that's come up for me for a long time. And one of the things that I've worked through a lot, and one of the things that I have the privilege of helping my students work through is deciding whether.

A union between two people is enough without children. He was so fascinated to hear that. And he was just such an honest and open listener, which I'm so grateful for. And he didn't ever make me feel like I was a bad person or that I wasn't loving of him or believing in our marriage. He was just really a quiet listener.

And he was so honest and so open to what I had to say. And so I explained to him how there's a big fear for us, because we always think that we're going to be moms and we'll have a husband or a partner that we're raising a family with or choosing to build a family with.

And from there, our attention will not be so much on the two of us. It's going to be on the kids. It's going to be on sports practices and college trips and overnights and all these different things. And for so long, I was really worried that our relationship and the foundation of our marriage wouldn't feel fulfilling enough to give me.

The love and the abundance that I thought a child would bring to me. And I looked at him and we had this hugest hug in the forest. It was like just such a perfect moment, knowing that it was just the two of us in there. And I basically professed to him and I told him, I was like, you know, I worried for so long

that we wouldn't be enough for each other. And I told him, like, I looked him in the eyes, and I hugged him so tight. And I told him, I know that you and I are enough. I know that our love is enough. And certainly, there's other things that we're going to grow and do. And maybe some separations that we'll find in our path.

But I know that the person that I married is enough for me. So as. Navigating that question in your mind and trying to come to grips with the fact that it might be the two of you be open to questioning whether that is enough and whether the reason that you chose that person to be your partner.

the reasons go deep enough. And, and you go back, and you remember what it was that attracted you to that person, what it was that made you want to say yes to that person and create a union together. Understand that there's going to be many challenges in your future. and knowing that there's someone by your side that loves you even knowing that there's no children in your life and somebody that sticks with you and stays with you, that is enough.

And it's such a blessing. And as I close out today, I want you to really think. And start to do some paper, thinking about all the reasons why your relationship is enough, start to list all the things that you want to do more of as a couple, and maybe some of the things that you want to do less of, maybe you want to do less of Netflix and more of walks after dinner.

Maybe you want more hobbies together and exploring together and less independent time together. There's just so many things. If you just let your mind wander a little bit, start to think about why your relationship is enough, have an awesome week. And remember, it's never too late to discover your meeting.

I'll talk to you next week.