I am a 40-something European woman doing what I once thought wasn't possible: finding happiness after infertility. While it's been a long, difficult and emotional journey (10 unsuccessful IVF treatments), each day I take another step down the path toward a fulfilling new life. This is my story of reinvention.
I will be happy to hear from you: klara.soncek (@ ) gmail.com
One of the best silver linings of my infertility is connecting with kind souls all around the world. I met this week already my 4th bloggie friend! And she is all the way from Australia.
It was awesome - we spent one day in our capital:
And few days later I drove to Italy, to meet them in this city:
My friend was travelling with her mom and siblings. It was touching to see how kindly the children (who are around my age) are looking after their mother. My new friend and me didn't have a lot of time where we could talk alone - but we did agree that we have to travel now since there won't be anybody to travel with us when we are old.
There is a really nice couple our age that I met through husband's work. I want to make a long story short, so I will tell you only that they did something really kind for us (that not many people would do). I am sure we could become friends if they didn't get their first child very soon after we met.
You know how it goes. I was very happy for them - they were almost 40 and got a beautiful healthy baby boy (and sad for us at the same time). We sent a card with a small gift to congratulate for the baby. But I never saw a child. Once they visited us (they live in neighbouring country, 6 hours driving for us) - but there was only my husband to host them, I was on one of the business trips (and to be frank, I was glad I could avoid meeting them with a baby). When visiting, they told my husband that they are expecting the second child.
We never got the birth announcement for the second child, but since we weren't in contact any more, I didn't think it was strange.
Then, almost two years later we needed some advice regarding building the house so I wrote to him. I started an email by how are they doing and if I may ask - did the first boy got a little brother or a sister?
I got back immediately a reply: "yes, our son got a little brother. But he was born with (name of disease) so he never even got the chance to leave the hospital. He died in our hands when he was two months old."
When I read the email, I started to cry. I just couldn't stop. I was so sorry for the little baby boy who didn't even have the chance to live. I was sorry for his parents. I was sorry for their first son who will never have a sibling. And I was sorry for us two - infertility took from us possibility to make & keep new friendships.
Later that day I met a friend very close to me and I told her the story.
She (mother of two) said: Yes, it is sad. But I guess they just have bad karma and they had to pay.
I was furious, what bad karma??
She explained that she truly believes that in their previous lives they had to do something bad and had to pay in this life.
I remained speechless. I don't believe in nonsense like that.
My friend had cried with me and for me - during the horrible years of all the failed IVFs.
Later that day I realized that she probably thinks that my infertility is punishment for something I did in my previous life. Just plain silly. I did not have a previous life. And I did nothing bad in this life.
I survived another 1st of September, first day of school in my country. All the talks everywhere were about it.
When I was a kid I was always looking forward to the 1st of September. I liked the rituals like buying new books and notebooks, wrapping them, putting stickers with my name on. I loved glancing through the books, curious of all the things I would learn.
1st of September is now only a hurtful reminder what I will never be able to experience with my children.
It is cloudy cold and a bit rainy day. I never work on Saturdays, so I took my bike and did some errands. Nowadays almost everybody uses cars to go anywhere, even if it is only short distance away. I always cycle (and walk in winter). It takes longer, but it is good for my body and for my soul.
I went to the library and took one book for me and lots of books for my mom's cousin who has terminal cancer. She has always been one of my mom's closest friends. And her mom (my mom's aunt) was my favourite aunt of all. The kind of aunt you cycle when you are 12 for a cup of tea and cookies and for a chat (when everybody else in your world is too busy to take time for you).
My mom's cousin asked me two years ago if I could bring her some books from the library from time to time. I started bringing her books and she loves reading them. They mean a world to her. With books, she can travel anywhere she wants to go.
My annual membership to the library recently expired and as a gift she gave my mom money to pay for my membership. I really appreciated her kind gesture.
It makes me think - who will be there for me, when I will need books when old or ill?
I've decided not to worry about it. There will be a way for me to get the books. After all, also my mom's cousin couldn't know 25 years ago, who will be the person to help her with the books.
When cycling back home I felt good. It is a nice feeling, being able to help somebody.
On a way home a car passed by and stopped. It was a friend from my youth. Not a close one, but we did spend few beautiful summers together, walking in the mountains, there were lots of us.
She was very happy to see me. I was actually glad too, to see her after 15 years. But it was ackward - she in the car with two little girls. Me alone on the bike. I knew it was coming, the question: "So, how are your kids? How old are they now?"
I replied that I don't have kids.
She was surprised - like - it was the first time ever that she heard of an adult woman without children. She said: "I don't know why I thought you have kids?"
I was tempted to answer - Because everybody has them. Well, everybody but me.
I've just had my birthday and my husband bought me a wonderful birthday gift. The Danish police series "Forbrydelsen", season 3. We had already seen the season 1 and 2 together and had been looking for season 3 for a long time. Yes, on Amazon they have everything :)
Friends who live abroad and have one child visited us. It was nice evening. Since we haven't see each other for almost a year, there were lots of news also from our side. We showed them the plans for our future little house.
They were looking at the plans of the rooms and then she explained - "Great, you have even one child's room upstairs!".
I quickly corrected her that that will be our office, with 2 desks and place to store all of our papers.
Nothing further was said on that topic.
The evening left me empty. Why do I even bother spending time with people who don't bother to understand me? I have known this friend for 25 years (we were in university together). And she knows about all the failed IVFs. How could she think that now, aged 44 (when we will move to the house I will be almost 46) we need a room for a child?
"Truth is, life is not
fair, and life has no rules. Life is much better than that. We're not at
school. It's not the hardest working or the wealthiest or the most
virtuous that succeed at "perfect" happiness. Sometimes, the most we can
do is nothing. Just let life decide and fall in love with our destiny.
That's what we chose to do, for now.
complete even if we don't check all those stupid boxes. We're complete
without a shiny job. We're complete without a shiny wedding. We're
complete without a shiny baby."
I was having a busy day at work, attending a whole day meeting. I felt good - until I let one silly coworker ruin my day.
To make a long story short - she is approx 10 years older then me and has just got her second grandchild. She just couldn't stop showing newborn's photos to various coworkers - some of them are grandmothers, some hope to be soon, most of them are younger and have small kids.
If you have children - how easy it is to participate in small talks like this.
It is still hard to me. It is way easier to talk work related stuff.
This experience left me worried. How will I handle arrival of grandchildren of people I know? I am afraid that I will be hurt all over again.
My original plan was to write a blog for few years until I am healed and then stop. But I guess I will be needing my blog in the years to come.
The next day I was having lunch with group of younger coworkers (they are all around 30 - 35, they all have two kids) and one of them started to talk about a woman we all know who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. They told how they check their breasts every month (so do I). I added that I had already had two mammographies. They wanted to know why and I told them that because I am in endangered group so I was sent already now (not when 50 as usually in our country). They wanted to know what I meant by endangered group and I replied that it was because I had never given birth. It was easier to say this then to say that because I never breastfed.
The young coworkers were kind and intelligent, talking to them didn't make me sad.
It is what it is. Now it is up to me what I make out of my life.
Swimming with beloved Wolf in my favourite part of our country, in the crystal clear lake.
Today, when going for a walk, Wolf found wounded little hedgehog. He was stuck in hot sun, on the road, so I took him with me to my vegetables garden and put him in the shadows, together with water and food. When I returned home it was gone... I was so happy! I hope it gets well soon (I think it will, it was very vivid).
And here is the cutest story possible. I was walking to the library when I saw a young mother with two little daughters, twins, aged around two. As I was passing by one of the girls said something to her mother and pointed at me. I didn't really hear well, but then a mother repeated after a child: "Yes, the aunt is beautiful." I smiled at the baby, thanked her and returned the compliment. (a note: a lot of times with young children they use word aunt instead of Ms./Lady/woman). Perhaps the child only liked my white dress with flower ornament. But since she was looking directly into my eyes I prefer to think that she liked my smile. Her comment made my week. Because I know that only few years back I could not smile to any child and now I can. It feels good.
Another kids' story. The other day I took three kids to the swimming pool. Cousin's daughter is now eight and as I was in my swimming suits she was observing me. And she asked: "Klara, are you pregnant?" (a note: yes, I should do push-ups more often then twice per year).
"No, I am not."
"But don't you want to give birth to a baby?????"
"Well, I am just too old to have a baby now."
The child remained speechless. For the very first time she heard that there is such a thing as being too old for having a baby.
The niece who is 9 said nothing. She just listened.
But the cutest was the girl's little brother, aged 5. He asked with disbelief: "So Klara, you are old???". For him - his granny is old. And his great-grandmother is old. And I am not :)
As always, I lack time in the summer. So I will say goodbye and will be back with the first rainy days at the end of the summer. I am attaching some photos from Croatian seaside, it was lovely to swim for couple of days.
I am busy growing my vegetables:
My favourite sweet is terragon potica, here I backed half of potica terragon, half with blueberries:
The traditional potica is with walnuts, but I like to be creative.
News from few weeks back: the pope asked American first lady about potica, it was nice to see how many articles were published on this topic, here is one of them: Potica
I have spent many beautiful walks with husband and Wolfie. This Sunday we were lucky to pick up these:
Spagetti with porcinis were delicious, so was the jam that I cooked.
A new highlight of this summer: I love to swim and my nieces and a nephew love to swim, but their parents not so much. I love taking them to huge open swimming pool for a swim. I love being their aunt.
There were also some moments in July that I felt my childnessness again.
I was invited to an uncle's barbecue and nobody bother to tell me that also a distant relative was invited with her newborn, aged 4 weeks. It was aweful, all conversation involved talking about the baby, memories of giving childbirth, breastfeeding etc. Did I have to contribute anything to the conversation? Social gatherings like that remind me that I don't fit and that I never will.
I spent some lovely moments with our distant family from Australia. I loved talking to them. We were talking about something and I know that I was thinking how easily I bond with some people. But then there was a comment (said by couple 15 years old then me, with 3 grown up children): "Yes, the wheels of life are turning." (the remaining of the sentence had to do something about their children and grandchildren). I don't have children, so what are my wheels of life?
I love the impact that my pen-friends have on my life. I got a book recommendation from my beloved pen-friend, I just love this book:
Some quotes from the book that I liked:
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have."
“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”
“When we're connected to others, we become better people.”
This is all for now... enjoy the summer! (or if you are from the opposite part of the world, enjoy the winter ;)
My language is spoken only by two million people so that's why it is important to speak many foreign languages. I am glad I do, otherwise I wouldn't understand this lovely video. It is in German, I got the link on Elaine's blog. Since I have lots of visitors also from German speaking countries I am attaching the link:
The couple in their early 30s is telling their story about stopping fertility treatments and living without their own children, but yet surrounded with other people's children. I just love this couple! I wish them all the best.
The moment that I loved the most in the video is when she is telling her memories, how she couldn't live with the guilt that he would remain childless because of her. So she told him that he has to leave her. And he replied: "My family is you."
What a wonderful answer!
I read this novel yesterday in one day, I just loved it!
Some of the quotes from the novel:
“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself
are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?”
“One morning you wake up with more life behind you than in front of you, not being able to understand how it’s happened.” “You have to understand that when one is just standing there looking,
then just for a second one is ready to jump. If one does it, one dares
to do it. But if one waits, it’ll never happen.”
“A few years turned into more years, and more years turned into all years. Years have a habit of behaving like that.” “A human being may not choose her circumstances, but she does choose her actions”
Just like me, Britt-Marie never had children. And she found part of her happiness in engaging in other people's children.*
My favourite part of the book is when a kid asks her if she had ever been in Paris.
Britt-Marie replied that she had always wanted to go but she never went.
The kid wanted to know why she doesn't go now.
She replied that now she is too old.
And the kid asks: "How old is Paris?"
Whenever I will think I am too old for something, I will ask myself this question!
*The teenage boy with whom I have been learning German for the last two years just got back his final German test. He scored 75 % . I am very happy! Additional benefit of teaching this boy: with him I realized why the success of their children mean so much to their parents. This boy isn't even mine and I am very happy for him!
I couldn't be happier.
Me and my husband have just signed a contract with a producer of prefabricated houses for our little house.
We have been very busy with meetings, visits, analyzing, deciding... for the last few months.
And we both decided at the end for the same producer, so it was an easy decision at the end.
If everything goes well, we will move to our new home before Christmas 2018.
First 5 % of the house are already paid. Only another 95 % remain to be paid :)
I am looking forward to many things. But most of all I look forward having a little garden that belongs to us. Having a private parking space. And - having a guest room for friends and family.
After experiencing failure after failure for the whole decade it is so refreshing to have something to really look forward to!
We were too young to have the money to buy the tickets, so we listened the concert (together with bunch of her friends) outside. It was great, but how we wished to have the money to listen to it inside.
I will have Maria in my mind and in my heart when listening to the great music.
I spent a whole day with my mom, working on my vegetables' garden. It was nice, I am still learning so much from her. We had a lot of time to talk and this is the story that my mom told me.
My mom recently talked to my niece (aged 9) and the niece asked her how come that in her best friend's family there are 4 children and in her family there are only 2.
My mom replied that each person should have as many children as one can afford.
My niece said: "But Klara has a lot of money* and she doesn't have any children!"
My mom told her: "Everybody decides for him/herself. And you should never ask this Klara unless you want her to be sad."
I didn't comment anything.
You see, I never talked to my mom about my infertily.
When can you start talking about it? After it doesn't work out for few months? After first few medical examinations? Before 1st IVF? After 10th failed IVF?
And now my beloved niece has already knowledge how you deal with infertility (and other unpleasant issues) in family: you don't talk about. You pretend that nothing happened.
This makes me sad.
* A note: I don't have a lot of money. But to a child an aunt that can easily pay for the icecream and cakes for 5 children equals being rich :)
And I loved one of the comments: "I don’t think those with kids survive a loss any better, just
differently. Everyone finds comfort and value and fulfillment in
different places and someone’s ‘my kids saved me’ could be another
persons ‘my friends or my work or my rose garden or my novel I am
writing’ saved me." (Mamajo23)