Starting Out > Secondary Infertility

Talking to your only child about no baby

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its the hope that hurts:
Just wondering what you say when you are nearing the end of the road, to your child who really wants "a baby" and baby is not coming

He's had a vague awareness of doctors helping to try and have a baby, as he's often asked about a sibling/baby.

Now he's asking why won't we ever have a baby or will we never have a baby. I find it very painful. We have been moving on to adoption and just not done any Ivf for the 6 months for that. They want us to wait longer though but obv may never happen. Plus I had endo that needed sorting for health reasons.

I used to say I hoped we'd have a baby and were trying but needed help from doctors because there was something wrong with my tummy. Now I have started to say I am too old and it might not happen.  He was wanting me to explain it. I have said we are very happy with him ie nothing lacking with him. We often think about it and would like a baby still but too old etc..

I never bring it up. It's just poop.  Just wondering what people say to older kids?

Thank you

This is a devastating situation for me too. Interesting how when we were trying to have our son, I couldn't relate to anything regarding secondary infertility or longing for a sibling for a child, and like other IF patients I just wanted a child. But now, this is a real issue and a real grief. Ultimately I've said nothing either way about maybe one day or not gonna happen, as I'm still desperately trying. He was an OE IVF miracle 5 years ago and since then we've done 6 fresh IVF, some FETs, and 2 failed donor egg cycles. 2 early m/c along the way but mostly BFNs. If anyone knew the extent to how much we've tried in our 'secret' life of trying to find a way to have children, I'm sure they'd think it was long time to throw in the towel, but now we are looking to try donor embryos.

I'm not in a place to start cheerleading about potential positives to having one child, when it's not what I ever wanted, and now not what my son wants, and when no one we or he knows has one child. For now, I'm in a place of trying to protect him from thinking he is the 'only one', no matter how crazy that sounds. He can't avoid it when we are with our nieces and nephews, or when he has a playdate, those children have siblings now. I still say, "some families have 1 child" but really, it's just us. And I'm starting to become sensitive about things like books and TV shows, that are filled with siblings and the moral of the story being things like sharing your household toys with your brother or sister, loving them, the importance of family when family = you have siblings, and so on. I latch onto stories or movies where the family unit featured has one child. I went so far as to ask his kindergarten teacher for a recommendation of any only kids he could connect with with outside of school, and in a class of 28, he's the only one. It truly breaks my heart.

And I know this probably isn't healthy, but I find I'm pulling away from playdates where the child has a new baby or 1 year old. Up until now, his playdates have been with our friends' kids, not kids he's met anywhere on his own, before going to school. He just loves babies and small children so much, and would often rather spend the time with the young child than the friend or their toys, and this has been going on for 2 years now. I also worry about social situations that will be hard for me to handle, like him asking in front of people why he's the only one without a brother or sister, or if he can have a baby, and so on. Only a couple friends have ever bothered to ask us how we're doing (our m/c were known of, plus our infertility struggles over approaching a decade) so I'm generally not overly personally comfortable around a lot of these people now beyond superficial chatter. And of course they don't say anything when they have children or babies, it's their time, considering us or our child would likely be too much to ask of them during such a special time.

However, this past year when new babies have been born, we don't bring our son with us when we go to meet them. Ever since his cousins, who are younger than him, had siblings, we have tried not to make the arrival of a new baby be something huge that he witnesses and interprets the reactions to. We are happy for the babies born to friends or family, but it's too hard for us to continue bringing him along as the only, only child in these scenarios. When a couple friends had a third, that was really hard for us, though of course wonderful for them.

I have to admit that going to parties where people bring their kids, like a recent Christmas party between 5 couples for both adults and kids to celebrate, I had such a heavy heart. I hadn't socialized as much with these people over recent years, going through my cycles and commuting for treatment, and as they had one or two more children. But once or twice a year when everyone gets organized, we go and our son has a good time. This time, it was so hard to watch him there on his own, doting over all the babies and toddlers, another year passed, feeling sad about a recent loss and everyone talking about how hard it is to have two/three kids and me just feeling so sad, but mostly sad for my son.

Anyway, YES, I hear you and whether crazy or not, I still can't bring myself to tell my son it's not gonna happen, and I'm still trying. Initially it was my lifelong dream of becoming a mother and wanting a large family, but now, it's a dream for him, one he wants, an issue I always feel hovering above family and friend get-togethers, and in quiet moments too. For now I just go with "some families have no kids, some have 1 kid, some have 2 or a few, they're all shapes and sizes" and then try to distract him.

Happy to chat anytime.

I was in a different situation to you, as in I had a couple of children, but I wasnít ready to not have another, so I went down the donor egg route and was lucky enough to be blessed with twins, then a single. I went to the Czech Republic, now Iím still not sure if Iím finished so will probably move to donor embryos. If your definitely not finished, then donít be, donít let your age or lack of own eggs stop you from achieving another baby !

My son is not even a year old yet so this isn't a challenge we have had to face yet

However I am an only child so have personal experience from "the other side" :)

I went through a stage of asking my parents for a brother or sister. Eventually they offered me a gold fish - an offer I accepted. I'm not trying to be flippant, it's just that an only child doesn't always really understand the concept of siblings. When I got older and asked (much less frequently) my parents pointed out that children cost and although we didn't have a lot, we would have had even less and really couldn't afford it.  As I got older I began to value the importance of my bond with my parents: I would go to the pub for a drink and to watch the football with my Dad,  go shopping with my mum, go to the cinema with my Dad, the theatre with an Mum. The roles and activities that friends did with their siblings I did with other family members. I am very sociable and always mixed well with other children and adults because I had to do so: it wasn't a hardship. My parents were TTC from when I was born but I didn't know that until I got older.

The bond and relationship I have with my parents is very different to what I see between my friends and their parents. It doesn't mean it's better, it's just different and I honestly don't think it would be the same if I had a sibling. The only time I ever regret being an only child is now that I'm older and faced with the prospect of losing a parent: but even that is manageable by leaning on my friends and husband for support.

I would like lots of children because I like being a parent, but if I don't I know that my son will be ok. I hope all that makes sense :) xxx

There is also the worry of if I will be okay again, or come to terms with it, after the losses and effort and changed life to try and have children. Especially surrounded by friends and family who didn't face infertility, and have mostly proven to be avoidant or even cold regarding our scenario, we have secretly and silently trekked along, and then when my little one desperately wanted a sibling, I guess I told myself the years of struggle for him and a hopeful sibling followed by things eventually working out would help to heal.

I mean, it was my choice to try and have children as an infertile couple, it was always my greatest dream. I couldn't admit it anywhere else but I almost feel more sad and desperate now, after so many failed OE cycles, m/c, failed donor here and then not telling anyone I'm flying to another country and trying to make donor cycles work overseas... it's all a little crazy, and without support and compassion, I just can't relate to anyone I know anymore and very few seem to want to tap into or make time for my world.

Lots of love to you all this weekend, thanks for sharing your struggles and reflections and views. xo


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