Nina’s Story: Acceptance the key to happiness

Nina Steele

Nina Steele

At 38, after trying to conceive for 9 years including going through fertility treatments, my husband and I decided to call it quits and move on with our life. It wasn’t an easy decision of course as it took us 9 years after all! However, once the decision was made, we never looked back. It helped that our marriage had grown stronger and that overall, we were in a good place.

My husband had always made it clear to me that I would have the last word on the subject, and after another disappointing outcome at fertility treatment, I decided that enough was enough. The devastation that I felt when our last attempt failed, taught me how easy it was to forget about the many blessings that were already part of our life, and to fall into a sense of despair and hopelessness.

To my mind, the main challenge of the whole process of trying for a baby when faced with fertility issues, was to keep trying, while staying positive at the same time. However, it comes a time when one has to ask oneself the question that many couples in similar circumstances dread and that is: when do you stop? For, to ask oneself when to stop is to admit that the process might not have a positive outcome after all, which is understandably a scary thought.

All this changed and dramatically for that matter, when our last attempt failed. Just a few weeks later, I felt a sense of detachment from the whole process that I had not felt before. I had reached a point in my life when I came to the realisation that I had it pretty good as it were, and that I was putting myself through unnecessary strain and my husband felt exactly the same.

Making the decision to stop trying suddenly brought a sense of peace to our life. We both felt as though a huge cloud had lifted and we started making plans to travel more among other things. We also started to discuss difficult issues such as who would inherit our assets when we both die and what do to in old age once one of us dies and the other one is left alone.

Once we both moved beyond the fear that these subjects brought, particularly the latter, it became clear that far from being a subject only reserved for childless couples, being lonely in old age is a problem facing many old people, whether with or without children.

Today, we are the happiest we have ever been as a couple. It is now clear to us that this is the path that was meant for us, and accepting that path was the key to our happiness.

You can read more about Nina’s Story in the following publications:
The Telegraph
The Daily Mail Online

First published on November 19, 2013

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Nina Steele


  1. GemmaRowlands says

    I am so glad that you have managed to find peace. A lot of the time, it is more to do with having a decision finally made that brings that peace rather than which way the decision has gone. Of course, it would have been lovely to have had a child, however now that you know that isn’t an option you are able to plan your new path in life, and live it on your terms the way that you want to.

  2. Hi Gemma, yes finding peace is the right word. I had to let go of a dream that I was in no doubt was going to materialise. I had visions of a daughter running around in our garden and my mother, who is a traditional African woman, told me a while back that a clairvoyant had told her I would have two children. And so I was certain that we would eventually have at least a child based on these beliefs. Once I realised that I was becoming a prisoner of my own beliefs and that I was putting our life on hold, I made the decision to stop trying and yes the inner peace that I feel since I have come to terms with not having children is beautiful.

  3. I can imagine that the decision to stop is an extremely difficult one. Like you said when do you decide to stop.

    My mother was lucky enough to have me with my father and experienced a miscarriage within 2 years of having me, several years later she was in a relationship with my step father. She’s been with my step father for nearly 20 years and left it till about 5 years ago to try for another child as she felt it was right. Unfortunately this meant she was at 40 and among her fertility decreasing and one of her tubes were blocked (she’s now had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 46).

    My point is, that she went through the task of trying to conceive with fertility treatments, all were unsuccessful. It’s hard to explain but I remember looking at her each time after the treatments failed and seeing a little bit more of her destroyed. She kept going and didn’t try for as long as yourself but the decision to stop nearly destroyed her, it was extremely hard for her to admit that she was never going to have another child.

    Of course she was extremely grateful for the one she had (me) but she never felt complete. She’s like you said, at peace with the decision.

  4. Julez Fitzmond says

    I expect making a decision felt almost like a release from the stress that you had to go through whilst trying. A lot of the time, you don’t even realise just how much stress you’re really under until you take away the situation that was leaving you stressed in the first place. I hope that you can enjoy the life that you have made for yourself now, and that talking to other people who are in a similar situation is proving helpful.

    • Release is a good word and letting go is another. Fate hands you a card that you were not prepared for and it either makes you a stronger person or it destroys you. Whatever the outcome, it is ultimately up to you how the story ends.

  5. Knowing when to stop trying is a decision that plagues many couples when they’re trying for a baby, but it is good that you have finally managed to come to that decision because it means that you can start to think about what you’re going to make of your life. It might take a different direction than you would have planned, but there is nothing wrong with that – and never let anybody tell you that there is.

    • Julez Fitzmond says

      You make a key point when you mention planning. Most people will have an idea of how their lives are going to turn out right from the start and, even though most will have small changes here and there, I’m sure that the majority will stick to the “plan”. When a plan changes it can be hard, but we’re brilliant at adapting to changes, and can thrive all the same.

  6. I think one of the reasons why some people never move on from the shock of not being able to have children is because they just cannot get over the idea, since as you say Dawn ‘it is not a direction they had planned’. And that is the main problem. People just aren’t equipped to deal with this, since they grew up believing that every one ends up having children. The alternatives were never presented to them. Had they been told from a very early age that some people will not have children and that it is ok, then I am in doubt that those struggling would cope far better.

    • Julez Fitzmond says

      There do really need to be lessons on what else you could do other than have children. When a woman first gets a job she is given information about maternity leave, even though she might not want children now, for years, or might never want them (or be able to have them). There is just no concept of the fact that it might be something that people CHOOSE not to do, and people need to know that it’s actually okay to make that decision.

  7. It is clear from this generation that having children is increasingly not being seen as something that will automatically happen as was the case for our mothers’ generation. Having a career means that most women will not have children in their early twenties, which is when most of them are at their most fertile. Realistically, for a woman to increase her chances of becoming pregnant, she should start trying to conceive in her early twenties, thus putting her career on hold. With the cost of living on the increase, I don’t see this becoming a new trend any time soon.

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