On the Other Side of the In-Between . . .

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a woman's feet wearing brown shoes while standing on a brick sidewalk on "On the Other Side of the In-Between," on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog

There is a place where you know you must let go, but you aren’t quite ready to accept.  A place where you tentatively open the door to a new dream, albeit an unwanted one.  A scary place, yet a place that has the potential to bring relief.  A place known as “the in-between.”

I remember the in-between . . .

I remember the in-between.  I know I was there in 2013, perhaps before.  I was letting go of the dream of having a biological child with my hubby.  But I still desperately wanted a little with him.  So, I still prayed.  I still hoped for a miracle.  I still researched options…  I was still fearful of completely letting go and living that unknown and unwanted life without kids.

But on 26 December 2013, my hubby made me face those fears.  He didn’t want to try anymore.

So, in 2014, I stepped out of the in-between and into the what is…  For me, that means living a childless (but not childfree) life, redefining momhood, being uniquely me

Different Stages of this Journey . . .

When I started Not So Mommy…, I thought it was for those battling infertility.  I soon learned of the childless not by choice.  And my connection with this group was instant.  As I have shared over the past year and a half, I’ve met so many at various stages on their journeys.  Some are still in the midst of trying, others have fully accepted their childless life (or are trying to, at least) and some…  Some are in that place known as “the in-between.”

For those in the midst of the in-between . . .

For those of you whose mind knows it’s time to let go, but whose heart is having a hard time accepting, I am grateful that you are here.  Looking to others who have walked the path before you, seeing women (and men) living the what is joyfully, redefining, healing, moving forward, accepting, embracing…  I pray it brings new hope.  Not the painful wish for an unanswered dream, but the hope that life can still be amazing despite

As I once again face the in-between, knowing that I must let go of the wish that my friend, Jennifer, was still here and yet, not quite ready to accept life without her, I face the fear and uncertainty again.  The battle between mind and heart…

But I made it to the other side before.  I know I can do it again.  And you can too, fabulous one.

Keep moving forward…

The in-between is only meant to be a rest stop, not a final destination.  Don’t get stuck.  Keep moving.  Push past the uncertainty.  Doing this doesn’t mean you gave up.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  There is a bravery in accepting the unwanted…

And we are here to welcome you, support you, encourage you, and love you.  Yes, we are here.  On the other side of the in-between…


If anything I wrote resonates with you, I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

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Featured Photo:  Jessica Furtney on StockSnap.io

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Sandy Tan October 21, 2020 - 11:37 pm

Thanks for this blog. The term “in between” perfectly defines where I am now. I am almost 8 years married and constantly searching where do I belong in the society. I’m only 33 and thinking whether to stop trying or continue. Each day that I am trying, I feel like I am missing too much time instead of living a meaningful life. I am wasting what I have now, time. A 57 year old barren friend is advising me to do everything to conceive because I’m still young. I get her point because she has her regrets setting aside her infertility when she were at my age. I want to be free from this limbo yet I don’t want to have regrets like her. So letting go is still just an option. But I’m tired of people pitying on me. I don’t want them to be sorry for me. I think I really want to scape from this and declare that I already accepted that I am a barren.

Brandi Lytle October 22, 2020 - 9:05 am

The “in-between” is a very difficult place. I can feel your pain, the confusion about whether you should keep trying or let go… If I could offer one piece of unsolicited advice… Please, do not allow your friend’s regrets to make you feel as if you must continue trying at all costs. I, too, feared that I might have regrets. For me, changing perspective has helped me to not feel regretful. Do I wobble? At times. Do I still grieve? Yes, I do have the occasional grief attack. But accepting that I am infertile and deciding to embrace my childless life… Well, that helped me to let go of the pain and confusion. I’m always here if you need a listening ear, Sandy. Hugs…

Barbara March 10, 2019 - 7:52 pm

I feel like I’ve been in the in-between forever. Doing fertility treatments is like a full time job, but I had to have a real professional full time job to pay for them. I’ve been living in limbo so long idk what real life looks like anymore but I’m about to find out. I am currently waiting to have a DNC on Wednesday after finding out I have a blighted ovum that was conceived on our 3rd IUI. A year and half ago, I had an ectopic pregnancy-which was conceived naturally and one of the most traumatic, terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. All of our tests are fine. I’m just “old” and have “unexplained infertility” so we’ve been in a race to reproduce before I turn 40 in August. My husband and I have been trying for 4 years, and I think this is it. I see other people’s stories and think they are so much stronger than I am and that I would have given up long ago, but some people think I’ve been through a lot. At this point I’m emotionally, physically, and financially exhausted. I want to say I can do this with grace but right now I’m not sure I’ll ever get past angry and bitter.

Brandi Lytle March 11, 2019 - 9:55 am

Barbara, I am so, so sorry that you are struggling. And I am so, so sorry for your losses. My heart breaks, and I am crying with you…

I understand the exhaustion, and I remember the anger. It is okay to allow yourself to feel all the feels. You are grieving, and that will take time. Believe others when they say you are strong. They see things that those of us in the midst of the battle cannot. I believe you will get through this with grace and come out on the other side of the in-between able to embrace the what is… But this will take time. And that is okay.

I am here if you ever want/need to talk. Please, feel free to email. Also, if you aren’t following Not So Mommy… on Facebook and Instagram, consider it. Social media can be a tough place when struggling. I try to show up daily with inspirational quotes, links to blogs, and/or just for fun stuff. I try to make social media a nicer place to be. Also, there are lots of other blogs, closed FB groups, etc listed on the Resources page. (Find the link in the main menu.) You might want to check those out, as well.

Sending you love, encouragement, support, and hugs…

Melissa February 20, 2019 - 11:27 am

Your blog hit me right at my in-between. I stumbled across it this morning by accident, but more likely because of the grace of God. After 8 years of fertility treatments I’ve been pregnant 3 times. The first a devastating miscarriage at 11weeks in 2016. Which I thought would be the hardest part of my journey, but since then I had still born daughters Madison in 2017 and Mia just a few weeks ago. The fact that my body isn’t capable of sustaining a pregnancy has left me with few options. We’re devastated and because of the impacts to my health my husband wants us to stop. For the last six weeks since she past I’ve been asking my self and God what comes next if my prayer for children doesn’t get anaswered they way I want. Thanks for this blog I’m hoping it will help me find my way

Brandi Lytle February 23, 2019 - 5:04 pm

Melissa, I am so, so sorry for your losses. My heart aches for you. Like you, I believe you found this blog because of God. I am amazed at how He brings the right people here to Not So Mommy… just when they need to hear the words on my page. (And this blog in particular I wrote because He nudged me to.) I pray that reading about my journey helps as you navigate yours… Sending you so many hugs…

Yuya February 17, 2019 - 1:57 am

Thank you so much ? ❤️

Brandi Lytle February 18, 2019 - 8:42 am

My pleasure, Yuya.

Marisca February 15, 2019 - 6:32 am

And Yet Again God gives me what I need – Your Blog! Thank you so much. I’m exactly here (In Between), We finished our Third & Final IUI beginning of Nov 18, and it was negative, yet again. I can’t continue ” trying” , and this weight of all the hormones left me disgusted in myself, my focus is training and eating healthy – so far this has worked, but my emotional state is not yet there to let go and accept! I have convinced everyone around me (and I know it’s true but I’m hoping for that miracle) that I’m not emotional ready for anymore treatments, my body and soul needs a rest but I’m okay! But the true fact is I’m not okay! But this blog has given me so much perspective, Thank you! I’m so sorry for your journey, but you are such an inspiration.

Brandi Lytle February 15, 2019 - 11:14 am

Marisca, thank you so much for your beautiful comment. It still amazes me that God brings just the right people at just the right time to my blog. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on posting this blog on Monday, but the words just came… I’ve learned to listen to Him.

I am so sorry that your last IUI was negative (again). I remember the feeling. I also remember convincing others I was okay when, in fact, I was still a mess on the inside. For me, that was the first step towards letting go, however. So, be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to grieve and feel and wobble and move forward… It all takes time, and that’s okay.

I am grateful and humbled that my blog gave you a bit of perspective. Despite the circumstances, I am so glad that you are here! I don’t ever want anyone to feel alone on this journey, so always know that you can reach out when you need a listening ear. “Me too” moments make the rough times a bit easier…

Lots & lots of hugs to you!

Katie February 12, 2019 - 3:40 pm

WOW, I’ve never seen this stage written about until now and you’ve captured it perfectly. That last paragraph had me weeping.

Brandi Lytle February 12, 2019 - 4:48 pm

Katie, I’m grateful this blog resonated with you. Letting go was difficult for me. Luckily, I had the help of my hubby, supportive friends and family, and God. I truly want to be there for others to help them…

Although it saddens me to hear that you wept, I also know that I wept, as well. And I believe our burdens are lightened when we share them with others… So many hugs to you…

Mary February 11, 2019 - 7:03 pm

I’m definitely in the in-between! I’m 41 and my boyfriend of two years broke up with me a few months back. He wanted kids we talked of a future, but somewhere along the lines I was no longer his future. I’m really struggling right now because I work at a school(mostly female teachers) and currently 4 are pregnant on staff. It’s so hard to watch, I’m happy for them, but sad for me. Knowing that this dream is dying or more then likely already dead. Having a hard time moving on and am feeling very stuck!

Brandi Lytle February 12, 2019 - 1:26 pm

Mary, I’m so sorry that you are struggling! I am humbled that you trust the Not So Mommy… community enough to share your heart with us. I taught for 17 years and remember being around pregnant co-workers. It can bring such heartache, especially when you are at “the in-between.” And I’m very sorry about your boyfriend and the end of that relationship. I can understand why your heart is hurting right now.

Give yourself time to grieve your losses–your relationship, the life you dreamed of… And don’t be too hard on yourself about being sad because others are pregnant. At my best friend’s memorial service, the Pastor said something very profound. He said that we do not grieve for those who have passed because we know where they are and they are okay! We grieve for ourselves because we have lost someone we love. I feel that perfectly puts into words the grief we childless feel when others are pregnant. We are grieving for ourselves, and that’s okay.

Please know, I’m always here to listen. Plus, there is a very supportive, loving, and encouraging childless community out there. Check out the resources page for more blogs, closed Facebook groups, and other sites that might help you on your journey. Here’s the link – https://notsomommy.com/resources/

Lots of hugs…

Louisa February 11, 2019 - 3:33 pm

Your blog is such a wonderful help to, I am sure, all those like me who thought they were all alone. It’s particular post really strikes a chord with me at the moment. I thought I was doing really well with accepting my life as is, that I would never have a child of my own, but a recent trip to the gynaecologist really threw it up in my face. I have many ‘issues’ down there (as I am sure many reading this blog do) and, having told my doctor that I had given up fertility treatment, he suggested that one course of treatment would be a hysterectomy. It was then that I realised I had not given up hope! The thought of something so definitely final was something I jut couldn’t face. Hopefully one day I will have found the strength to truly and completely accept my lot in life, and until then I will just keep reading your wise and comforting words to help me along the path. Thank you for all you do.

Brandi Lytle February 12, 2019 - 1:33 pm

Louisa, despite the circumstances, I am so glad that you are here! And I am humbled that you trust me and the Not So Mommy… community enough to share your truth with us. I am so sorry that you are struggling and am humbled that my blog is helping you during this difficult time.

I understand the feeling of finality when the word “hysterectomy” comes up. Because of my endometriosis, I am considering surgery. When the doctor said I might lose one or both of my ovaries and possibly my uterus, I was surprised at the emotions this caused. While I believe that I have accepted being childless not by choice, this once again showed me that this is a lifelong journey, and there will be wobbles along the way. Thank goodness, we have a supportive childless community who really gets it that we can turn to when struggles arise.

So, keep moving forward, Louisa. I know that you can do this! Lots of hugs…


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