Finding happiness again after trying for a child for 20 years is quite an achievement

By Nina Steele 

I am most grateful for the many stories and experiences that people are willing to share on this website. When times are tough, we often believe that what we are going through is as bad as it can get. That is of course until we hear other people’s stories.

I have heard stories of couples trying for a child for many years, however, I have to admit that I haven’t come across many stories of couples trying for 20 years. That is until Liz, a user of this website replied to an article I wrote recently entitled: When is it ok to give up on a dream? The article was challenging the fad for advising people to ‘never give up’, even when that means encouraging them to chase improbable dreams.

And Liz’s experience is a case in point. She was courageous enough to accept, after 20 years of trying, that it wasn’t going to be, and as a result, she has now found peace. Imagine where she would be today, had she taken the advice to ‘never give up’ at face value? It makes for a great sound bite to say that one must never give up, but what happens in reality is often a different matter.

Liz’s reply to the article was: “I really really wish I hadn’t spent 20 years trying to get pregnant because life is so much more enjoyable being childfree. I was living a good life and didn’t realise it until I stopped trying for the impossible. When I stopped and took a step back I saw what I had all along, my life wasn’t going to be better with a child, it was already better as it was.”

I am sure there will be those who will argue that 20 years is a long time and that she should have come to her senses sooner. And I totally understand that argument. However, what I also know to be true is that, there are some people among us who never manage to find peace. Their entire life is spent grieving for what they believe should have been their ‘real’ life. No amount of telling them otherwise will ever make them change their mind. And that to me is the real tragedy.

What Liz’s experience shows is that ultimately, it is not how long people take to move on that matters, but rather, that they manage to move on at all.


  1. nuttyalmond says

    20 years is along time and yes i should have come to my senses earlier but when you’re desperate,staying positive and reading inspirational stories of miracle babies you keep going in the hope it’ll happen to you.I always thought a family involved having kids.
    It wasn’t until i read a cookbook of all things written by a childfree lady who said a family is who you want it to be did i see a family can be just hubby and i and we can be perfectly happy being a family of 2.
    I do regret having spent so long trying,i wish i had realised that i was living a good life being childfree during that time.I live a happy and full life now with a strong marriage from all we’ve been through and i’ve got the rest of my life to enjoy doing what i love.

  2. I love your story, because it proves that regardless of how long you spend trying, you can still find happiness without children, if you set your mind to it. I have read quite a few stories of people in their old age, still grieving the fact that they weren’t able to become parents. I hope that reading your story help some of them.

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