As told to Brandi Lytle
As is often the case, I connected with fellow childless warrior, Natascha, via social media. Soon after joining her closed Facebook group, “Beyond Infertility and Unintended Childlessness,” I asked if Natascha would like to share her story at Not So Mommy… I am honored that she graciously agreed. So, let me turn it over to Natascha . . .
The Story of Natascha . . .
SENSITIVE STORY WITH POSSIBLE TRIGGERS: Discussion of endometriosis, infertility treatments, feelings of failure, and more…
How did you become childless not by choice? (Infertility, chance, circumstance?)
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis stage 4 during a laparoscopy. Up until that moment, my Doctor (and I) thought my reproductive health was perfect. Immediately after, we started fertility treatments to increase our chances for IUI (intrauterine insemination). But I had adverse reactions to the hormones, and we decided not to pursue further treatments.
After the procedure, I started having intense pain during my periods. Unfortunately, the symptoms of endometriosis became worse and worse over the years. I was able to manage them–mostly with exercise, diet, and holistic therapies. But the pain only truly subsided once I started menopause a couple of months ago.
In essence, we were hoping and praying for a miracle for about 20 years!
You are so much more than childless not by choice. Tell us about yourself!
During my infertility journey, I discovered acupuncture. I always felt so at peace afterwards. That prompted me to change my career in my 40s. I had a background in scientific research and business development, but I did a complete 180 as far as medical principles are concerned. I was able to graduate and get my national board certification as acupuncturist in record time. Then, I founded a very successful acupuncture clinic. I have been able to help many people with their health concerns from a natural and holistic perspective. I love that I am able to share my nurturing and caring nature with my clients.
What roles are you redefining for yourself? and How are you redefining those roles?
Looking back, I realized that I was overcompensating for my perceived failure as a wife and mother by being a perfectionist and overachiever. Once I established my acupuncture practice, I continued further studies in integrative medicine and many different certifications to the point of exhaustion. I had a profound “aha moment” while participating in a “soul-story” exercise. I realized that I had never truly processed my childlessness. Tucking my grief and despair away, I had not allowed myself to grieve, accept, and move forward in a healthy way. Because it did not exist for anyone I knew, I (subconsciously) did not truly acknowledge my emotional pain.
How are you Creating a New plan Bravely and Courageously?
Remember the trigger warning…
As an acupuncturist…
When I became an acupuncturist, I avoided treating women expecting children. I just could not handle it from an emotional perspective. I would treat women that were getting ready for IVF. But if successful, they agreed to see another acupuncturist during pregnancy and postpartum.
One month, two of my patients coming in for their pre-IVF transfer treatments were in tears. They said, “It is my last chance to get pregnant and I am so anxious.” They were sobbing, feeling guilty for not having given their parents grandchildren, for letting their partner down. They felt shame because they were thinking that they hadn’t tried hard enough.
It touched me to the core. I saw how much they were hurting even though they had dedicated months going through the difficult process of IVF treatments and were exhausted physically, mentally, and financially. This was an important moment for me because I realized that I needed to speak up. It is okay to NOT have children. My life is rich and wonderful. And I have been able to leave a positive impact on so many people’s lives – something that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had children.
As a childless woman…
So, that prompted me to start sharing my story from the perspective of someone who is in her 50s. This has been eye-opening to me. There are so many women–especially in their 50s, 60s, and older–that have never been able to share their grief and their story. Also, many younger women that are childless want to hear from my perspective and get some help.
I hope that I can give inspiration, hope, and courage to women whose heart aches because their dream of a child has not been granted in this lifetime.
Natscha, THANK YOU for bravely sharing your truth with the Not So Mommy… community! I have no doubt that your words will resonate with many…
Want to connect with Natascha?
- Learn more about Natascha’s closed Facebook Group, Beyond Infertility and Unintended Childlessness
If anything Natascha wrote resonates with you, fabulous one, please tell her about it in the comments. (You can just use your first initial if you’d like to remain anonymous.)
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Featured Photo: Created by me, using Canva