Even with infertility treatment some couples are not able to conceive after years of attempting. If couples choose not to pursue other routes to having children (adoption, surrogacy, donor eggs or donor sperm) the couple needs time to grieve not being able to have children. However, at a certain point it is healthy and helpful to make new dreams with your partner. Having children forces couples into a certain lifestyle—not having children gives couples opportunities in life that many with children cannot have. Once you and your partner are ready, begin to chart a new life course by exploring these possible opportunities:
- Reevaluate Your Career Path: Sometimes people choose a certain career due to its family friendly appeal or because they feel they need to make a certain amount of money to have a child. Not having children will relieve you of a significant financial burden. Some people decide to pursue a different career that is more meaningful to them or is something they’re more passionate about once having children is no longer an option.
- Pursue a Hobby: Not having children will give you the time to pursue other interests and hobbies. Hobbies could include anything from a sport, an artistic pursuit, musical pursuit or perhaps a side career in something you’ve always wanted to do.
- Retire Early: Some couples who are unable to have children make a new financial goal or trying to retire early. With an early retirement some people choose to pick up a second career or move to their dream location.
- Move: Has there been somewhere in the United States or abroad that you have always dreamed of living? With the financial flexibility and the possibility of changing jobs, this dream can become a reality.
- Volunteer: One of the struggles of couples who are unable to have children is feeling lost about the meaning of their lives. One way to make life meaningful is to get involved in a cause that you feel strongly about. There are many ways to make a significant contribution in the world that does not involve raising children.
- Adopt An Animal: Many couples have found meaning in adopting and caring for animals that need homes. Pets can also give us unconditional love and bring a lot of joy to our lives.
Struggling to come up with ideas with your partner? Think about making a “bucket list” with your partner. Imagine being 80 years old and looking back at your life. Which activities or events will you be happy you devoted your time and energy towards? What places would you feel proud to say you traveled to or lived in? What causes will you be glad you devoted your attention to? Write down at least 15 different “bucket list” items with your partner as a starting point. Pick the most achievable three to start with and get to work!