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I Want a Baby but I Can’t Get Pregnant!

I want a baby!

I want a baby!Dear Lynn,

I am really going through a tough time. I can’t get pregnant, and everyone else in the world has a baby — my siblings, my friends, people in my church, people in the grocery store. I have to go to baby showers and baptisms and ooh and aah over everyone else’s baby. It is killing me! It’s especially hard at Christmas.

I know I sound like I am whining, but I am in extreme pain. I can’t think about anything else. People tell me to calm down and then I’ll get pregnant, but that doesn’t help. Even the nurse at the fertility doctor is pregnant! What can I do? I am so upset; I am starting to understand women who steal someone else’s baby from the grocery store. I used to be a sane person.

Desperate, Frustrated and Alone


Dear Desperate,

I am really sorry you are in such severe pain. I know you feel alone, and probably people don’t help much when you reveal your situation. I’ll bet you get advice about adopting, as if you can just go out to the baby store and bring one home. Or you get stories about how fertile some other person is, or advice about getting a sperm donor, etc. etc. Christmas is a particularly difficult time of the year, because it is a time we focus on making memories, and family, etc. I want you to know I understand how awful this time is for you, and I am sending you hugs right now. That said, here are some things that may (or may not) help you. Please just take what helps and throw the other stuff out.

  • Although you may see the world in terms of the haves and have nots right now, we are really all in the same boat.
    Having a baby can feel like survival. Not having a baby can feel like dying. However, we are all vulnerable to the pain that having children brings. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean that part of your life will be good. For example, the woman who “flaunts” her pregnancy in your presence could have a baby with severe health problems, which is heartwrenching. Just because she can get pregnant, doesn’t mean she “is safe” or is getting something you aren’t getting. Besides having a severe health problem, the baby could also be born a psychopath. That is a strange thing to think about, but it does happen. Sometimes someone’s child is so overwhelmingly difficult to deal with, and can be dangerous to the rest of the family that people move with no forwarding address.
  • Babies turn into teenagers.
    You may notice that you have a strong urge to have a You probably don’t see many fourteen year olds in the grocery store that you would like to run off with. Most people think that their child will be “different”. And I am not saying that you would not love your teenager. But just understand that the part of your brain that is interested in reproduction is going to leave you high and dry when it comes to raising the little darling.
  • Sometimes we feel that having a baby means we are sexually “whole”, and that we have fulfilled part of our destiny.
    On the contrary, having a baby does not mean that you will be a better person. Having a baby is a biological event which occurs to cats and dogs as well as humans. If you are a parent, you have the opportunity to sacrifice yourself for another human being, which may help you not be so self-centered. Animals will do the same to protect their young, until it’s time to run them out of the forest. If you don’t have a baby, you still have the opportunity to put others ahead of yourself. There are many mothers who are not nice, and who do not take care of their children. Just because you are a mother does not mean you have any particular set of attributes.
  • You may feel that you are not as important as your siblings who have babies.
    Your parents turn into grandparents and ignore you in favor of the siblings who have children. This can be incredibly painful, but it can also allow you to have freedom. I know you don’t want freedom right now – you want a baby. But you may be glad about it later.
  • Even if you do get pregnant, it may not relieve you of this high level of angst you are in right now.
    The idea that we have very little control over an area of life that feels so vital is scary and can shake us deeply. But the fact is we don’t have control over a lot of things in life. Life is a gift, basically. Often it doesn’t seem fair. Why did the good person die and the bad person live? Why did that awful woman in the grocery store have a baby, and you, who would be a great mom are having trouble getting pregnant? These questions can’t really be answered. Perhaps we should ask some different questions like, “How can I treat myself with love and kindness during this very difficult time in my life?” “How can I treat my spouse with love and kindness?” “How can I prepare room in my life for something new, whether it is a baby, or a different way of life than what I had previously imagined?” “How can I love and appreciate the people who are already in my life?” “How can I breathe through this pain and grief, and allow myself to come out on the other side of it when it is time?”