Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Living a Childfree Life-The Freedom of Choice

Over the years, I have counselled thousands of infertile couples. There have been many hits - and a few misses too. Not every IVF cycle has a successful outcome and it’s not always possible for every infertile couple to walk out with a smile on their face. Though IVF technology and other infertility treatments have advanced in a significant manner, nature tends to throw curve balls at us every once in a while , and we are unable to do much about it.

Various Alternatives

When this happens and patients go through a number of failed IVF cycles, and are told that if they want to have children, they will have to consider alternative options such as adoption, it leaves them shattered.  I have spoken and consulted umpteen patients who are inconsolable when they are told that they will not be able to have a child via IVF. They delude themselves into believing that once they have a baby, all their problems will be solved; and they start feeling that a life without children will be empty and meaningless.  When I talk to these patients , I empathize with them, and offer them additional options.

Living Childfree

One option is to choose to live childfree.  Infertility creates a lot of stresses amongst couples and in some cases can lead to a breakup too.  But  if  your  sanity, peace  of mind and your  relationship with your spouse or partner is something you  want to keep,  choosing  to be childfree  can actually be very rewarding.  There are a number of myths floating around with reference to this topic. Take a look at what they are and let’s bust them:

Some Myths and Facts

Myth- Childfree couples are selfish
Fact- If you look at it objectively, opting not to have kids is far less selfish than actually choosing to have them. Many  people  have kids for all the wrong reasons-  they want  their  children  to care  for them in their old age, while some try to have children  in order  to keep  their marriage  together. When you choose to live childfree, you are  making a responsible decision for yourself , and defining who you are on the basis  of  the role  you  play as a human  being , and not just as a potential parent

Myth- Couples who live childfree never wanted children
Fact- Just as choosing to have children is a choice, so is choosing to be childfree. Some people  just  feel that  living  childfree is  right  for them, while there are others who have  gone through the rollercoaster ride of IVF treatments and have  eventually  decided  to  live childfree. Though the journeys of people may be different, the final choice of living childfree is about a personal choice and living a particular lifestyle

Myth- Individuals who live childfree have empty lives
Fact- Many people who choose to live childfree live a life is just as fulfilling, happy ( as well as problem-ridden ) as the life people with children do. The important thing is to recognize the advantages that this particular path presents , and live life to its fullest.  Childfree is not better or worse - it;s just different, and you need to have the courage of your convictions to pursue the untrodden and unconventional path.

Many  people  who do not have children find  they are free  of the  time, financial and societal  commitments  and burdens of bringing-up children; they have  the option  to devote all these resources  towards the betterment of society, their families , other people’s children, as well as themselves- and this  can add a lot of purpose and meaning to their  lives

The World Will Always Judge- Be Your Own Judge

I always  tell patients who eventually  take  the decision  to be childfree, that  it’s important  for them to do the things  they feel are right and which work for them. They need to decide what works for them.  It’s very easy  for people around  and society at large, to be  judgmental  of people who live  lives  that are  different  from theirs. But  I also know for a  fact, that  though  not everyone will admit  it, many people will also secretly  envy  your decision and  your independent lifestyle. Remember that childless does not  that your life will be any less meaningful than someone else's !

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