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DD & infertile SIL won't have kids- I am grieving hard -how can I cope?

Started by Hear2day, October 03, 2011, 01:49:06 pm

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How am I to cope? 
It is natural to expect when you marry and have children, those children will grow up, go to college, 
marry and have children. 

      Yes, I understand that it is their decision, their bodies and their money. I keep common sense boundaries - visit only when invited, call before you drop packages or mail, don't take sides if they tell you something, don't offer unasked for advise or even when asked, invite but don't order adult children for holidays, don't expect too much because they have lives and commitments, listen more than you speak, respect their life choices and try to make a life separate from them (volunteer) because you will be more interesting to them and because life goes on with or without you so live a life worthy of the gift of life.

   Those are only a few of my beliefs and how I try to conduct my relationship with them.  When my DD married, sil asked me to speak to my DD about starting a family. My response is always " you both are already a family. Speak with each other, your doctor and God".  I believed it was a diplomatic response and true. It is their marriage and their decision together.

   Well here they are. They have told me SIL has zero sperm, will not adopt, no donor sperm, and they will wait to afford medical fertility intervention & it will probably not work ( so says CDC statistics). I offered to help fund their efforts because they are in pain but SIL has pride & will wait until they have extra money ( maybe 10 years & 
DD is 30 SIL 34  - her fertility is less every year). (DD doesn't care if they never have kids )Commendable about money, but impractical because on top of this illness( yes infertility is classified as such by the CDC), my DD lost job and lost apartment. They asked if in an emergency and they cannot find an apartment, could they move in with us. Answer - yes and take my house and we can live in the basement den.
Luckily, They just found another apartment. But no to money for fertility treatments. He wants my DD to find a job that has benefits to cover infertility.  Hard enough to find a job but almost impossible because fertility treatment isn't covered in our state. ( my anger at health care is mounting because Viagra is covered but simple Medications to increase fertility for couples is not available)
She is now going back to school to become RN ( she has BS in marketing/management & is taking as many civil service exams as offered).
  Not asking for pity. Just trying to cope with the empty arms and a hole in my heart. I was Koolaid mom for the whole neighborhood, girl scout and boy scout former leader, baby sitter of neighborhood at all hours, doll and Teddy bear artist, child advocate volunteer and former teacher for special education for a few years.  You get the picture. Two rocking chairs for children - no waiting. 

  I am so heartbroken that I cannot look at children anymore. I have gone to baby showers & Baptisms ( 7 this year) and now I become physically ill at the thought of another invitation. Glad for my neighborhood kids but I cannot go to another event and it is not jealousy. Just wanting my little family to grow too. Lost my family- death has called all my extended family & parents( only child) extended family( cousins have died in their 20's ( army), serious illness(30's & 40's) and accidents. Aunts and uncles have passed and last two cousins will not see Christmas(cancer). No family on DH side either. And my DH is very ill and doctors are concerned about his  health and lifespan. He just turned 60 but looks an unhealthy 70. 
I am not menopausal yet but doctor calls me lucky - no symptoms and so far so good.
    My DS will never marry or have children because he is differently abled and doesn't want to raise a family. He has a job, large home and many friends and jokes that he is living his lifelong  goal  of becoming a priest without the vows.
And yes he helps many people.

     I want to say I am sorry for ranting here but don't know where to turn. I am deeply religious( former nun but only first vows) and I have poured out my heart to God. I don't tell my few friends because I don't want to spoil their joy. Once tried but was stopped in mid sentence when told they will conceive eventually or miracles happen or you are lucky to have no responsibilities. 
This is from people with grandchildren & are on their way to parks and family only functions.

    So please wise women be thee mom, daughter, sister,  grandmother and/or wife  - HELP! I need your strength and encouragement. I am an optimist but even I reach a limit.

 I do not I will not discuss this topic with DD and SIL. My daughter says although she is very fertile, she will live the way her husband chooses.
But I can see him leaving her and her chances to have a family of her own will be gone. Why should he stay? He can enjoy his life and not be saddled with children. He can find new relationships without worry.

     I am holding tight to my thoughts and will not say a thing to hurt them. And I am holding on to God's love and mercy. For those who have read my few posts know I have a sense of humor.  God has us as his children and He doesn't have grandchildren either. Mary didn't 't have grandchildren from Jesus. But I am holding on - barely. Praying as hard as I can.
     I love & train dogs and have a new one but they are not a substitute for children. I have spent my life caregiving and volunteering but that is not enough. Most women my age are becoming grandmothers and have no time for friends. When I was young & newly wed, I didn't fit in any where because my neighborhood is family first and only. Lost friends to grandchildren and I always sent cards and gifts for their Grandchildren's. But they don't have time except with other grandmother's so they can have playdates.  

I am losing myself and my heart. Tell me what to do. This is unlike any pain I have ever had. I have been a caregiver for sick, dying and dead family since I was 5 so I know too much about dying and I have had a knife to my throat and a gun to my head and was raped 2years ago. I need the normalcy of love and new life to go forward. but where is forward from here alone?

Thanks to anyone who reads this and double thanks to any suggestions, prayers or anything at this point.


I'm not sure why you are worried that SIL will leave DD and then she wouldn't be able to have kids.  Earlier you said she did not want children.  Did I read that correctly?

Quote from: Hear2day on October 03, 2011, 01:49:06 pm
Yes, I understand that it is their decision, their bodies and their money.


I see that you are in pain, but I feel it's self-inflicted.  As you said, it was your own personal expection, not DD's.

Maybe I'm missing something but all I can say is, stay calm and keep moving forward.  At least they are alive and healthy and in touch with you.  Be happy for the lives they are building.


hear2day, I almost didn't chime in to post but the re-thought it.  I am experiencing secondary infertility (had a child 10 years ago in my early twenties) and now cannot conceive.  One of the last issues that DH had with my MIL was over *my* infertility, she pretty much just said everything you said and more.  I wish someone would tell her what I'm about to tell you.

It's not about you. 

I'm glad to hear you do not say anything to them.  MIL doesn't say anything now, but she is so lost in herself and her grief over our situation that she is not a support for us at all. 

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I thought about it some more and something else stuck out at me concerning the fertility treatments.  Fertility treatment is not an easy decision for any couple, ideally, they should take a long time to decide if it is what they want to do.  Long term effects from fertility treatments can be devastating, you're at a higher risk for cancer and other diseases and side effects can permanently end any fertility you might have.  It's extraordinarily expensive.  It's time consuming.  It's very painful.  And even after several cycles, it might not work.  Or if it does work the chances of miscarriage are higher.  Emotionally it is very exhausting, generally unless someone has been there, they don't understand it.  Many infertile couples say that the lack of support from family and friends make it that much worse.

Simply put, it is not just about funding fertility treatments.  Your DD will have to find a job that is ok with many weekly absences, which is very unusual.

DH and I have been in treatments a little over 6 months now, we've had success and then a miscarriage this last cycle.  I was put on bedrest for complications of treatment for over two weeks one time and then a handful of times after that (less than 2 weeks.)  I am also waiting to find out if a complication of this last cycle will have permanently stopped any chances of our treatment continuing.

And during all this, we can't speak to anyone on his side of the family.  We both could really use some help, a friendly ear to talk to but we go to my FOO for that even though they are further away. 

Your DD and SIL need to talk to their doctor and really research fertility treatments if it is something they are willing to do, it's not an easy choice, even with the money to do so. 

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


You've been a good mom & you've also been through a lot, Hear2day.  With little family left; that must impact your world.  It's not what you were accustomed to, nor the image you had for your family.   I came from a large extended family & thought, wrongly, that picture perfect world would continue as I knew it, too.  I have two dd's, 32 & 34.  I waited a long time to become a gm, & I was very, very patient, I might add.  : )  Odd has two dc.  I'm allowed little interaction with them now.  Ydd is single.  I have no way of knowing that will change or if she'll ever have dc of her own.  I had to wrap my brain around that fact.  It took some doing, but I've learned that's okay, so long as she's happy.  I've lived the life I chose for myself, & they have to do likewise.  Truthfully though, I think more so than giving up my expectations on what family should be, it was really menopause that was driving my emotions.  It was that feeling of having raised my family & "now what?"  I was lost because family was literally everything.   I was a SAHM.  I was also lost after babysitting ogc for two years.  Now I'm neither needed, nor wanted much of the time.  The hardest thing was stepping back from dd's.   I'm actually happier now than I've been in a long while.  I've spent my entire life pleasing people.  Now I'm busy pleasing myself & dh.  Like most women, I'm sure, my name was rarely on the to-do list.  Try not to focus so much on dd & more on yourself.   I was miserable & had to remember way back, to that that girl I once was.   That girl was a lot more fun & a lot happier.   Nurture the old Hear2day, that girl before she had dc.  Do you remember her?  She does still exist, though you may have trouble recognizing her off hand.  Invest your time & energy on her & on what brings her happiness.   Dh will appreciate seeing you happy, no doubt, and it may well improve his state of well being, too.  If I can do it, I know you can, too, Hear2day... 


I understand this is a complicated issue.  But I truly believe it is an issue that needs to only be with the husband and wife.  Period.  If the DS or DD attempt to involve the parents, I believe this is time for parents to step aside.  Nobody can predict the future. 

Like Pam1 said "it's not about you."  I agree. 

Step back.  There are some things that are best not discussed with parents, IL or friends.  This issue is one between partners.  Just MHO. 

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


Agreed.  I'm sort of surprised that you (and now we) know as much about this as we do.



Sorry you are going through all of these.    The most important thing for moms is that their children be happy.  If they are, with or without children is ok.  We do hope and expect someday to become grandparents and it hurts when things do not have the outcome we expected.  In this life we do not get to choose.  It is how it is.  I am a grandma of 3 kids which I adore, now I cannot imagine my life without them.  But this kids are my son's kids....(so lot more restrictions lol) and my other two daughters....dont know if they will ever have children.  My oldest wants children but do not have a boyfriend lol, and youngest has a boyfriend but says that maybe she doesnt have any children because the world is awful to bring children to suffer. 

I do respect your suffering... I will keep you in my prayers.  Let God decide....put your worries in a basket and let him take care of them. God know best!
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


I've yet to become overwhelmed with a desire for GC, so it's a little hard for me to relate. I like to think that I'd be fine with whatever DS & DIL end up doing. I do know women who suffer greatly when their AC decide to not procreate, and I am sorry you are in that kind of pain.

Is it cruel for me to suggest finding alternative outlets for the love you want to lavish on a GC? Do hospitals still need people to rock newborns in the intensive care unit? Or perhaps a homeless shelter or some other agency has a need for surrogate GPs?

I hope you find some peace and fulfillment soon. In the meantime, please try not to add to the stress your DD & SIL are feeling.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


First I thank you for all of your suggestions. 

Doe, I thought if DD's DH left her, she might have a change of heart and may want children. By then it may be to late for her. I've seen it
happen  with distant family. It was heartbreaking for her. But that was in the 60's. 
   Rose, thanks for suggestions, kind words and sharing your story. I know it is my DD & SIL's problem and if I can't help I keep my opinions to myself. We don't see them very often and I want them to be happy and live their own lives whatever & where ever they go. I know it's not my life but their own and must mind my own business.  But you have  gc's in the world. May God bless them and you. I have tried everything to substitute for gc. For me all my volunteer work, caregiving my husband and fixing house( I put in windows - don't wash them).  Those activities just keep me busy. The heart wants what it wants. 
I know I will have to live with this hole in my heart and keep it to myself. Won't be the first and won't be the last time. I will not make my DD more unhappy. Many families die off. So I will start quietly giving my family treasures to distant cousins who would appreciate them. My DD already said to throw it all out and get rid of past ( she and DS  are not sentimental and have made many comments about not wanting family heirlooms.) I started by giving photos to cousins who have expressed interest. They were so happy to receive them. It's a start. 

Begonia, I hear you. It is their business only and I do keep my thoughts and opinions to myself. They don't need more pain. Just needed to vent or  I will explode.

  Pam, I am grateful to hear this situation from your point of view. I send you my prayers for whatever your heart desires. You have been through so many heartbreaks and sorrows. And those IF chemicals wreck your body and heart.  You and  Begonia are correct. This is their problem.  Period. Step back. Been there. Done that. 
     Parents have feelings too. But we are not allowed to express our pain to our DDs & DSs who experience IF. We have hopes and dreams for you too. We have dreams for ourselves too. We grieve over loss of children who are not here but in our hearts. We grieve for the end of our line and the absence of our family future. We grieve not sharing our family history and possessions with gcs.  Our Thanksgiving table is just five people. And my son is acutely aware his life will be shorter from his  disabilities and the medicines to deal with it. My husband is very frail. Who in Heavens name would want to sit at that table so close to deaths table. Here I speak what is in my heart so please understand what I have in my heart is not what I show them or tell them.  
      I try to celebrate holidays in new ways so no one dwells on their situation. Last year we attended a broadway show and a nice restaurant.  Since 3 years ago, i have tried to change focus of holidays and hopefully we can be thankful for the small family that we have. No one said how we have to celebrate Thanksgiving so we shake it up a bit. 

   This year they don't want a show because they were thankful for the cruise. I will try for them to find a theme - maybe looking at cruise pics and not old family pics that bring memories of past years and people who are not with us.

I scrimped and saved and sold quite a few things so that we could pay for the five of us to spend time together on a cruise. It is my DH's wish and we celebrated DH & DD's birthdays on the cruise.
They loved it and we were lucky to find an more adult cruise so myDD & SIL could enjoy time away from children and TTC.
     I know it is not my DD's job to cheer me up but mine to just be there if she needs or wants anything. To be available quietly and help her and comfort her.  

  Pam, if it is not too much to ask, could you keep me grounded by just sharing your story now and then. It might help others as well try to understand IF and your pain. It's ok if you complain to me about nosy bidy bodies - yes I know I am one. But truly if I can understand from my DD's point of view through you, I can avoid hurting them. If you know an online support group for parents of DD's & DS's With IF issues it would so help. Maybe....

lancaster lady

Hello Hear to ....and Welcome ....

My niece has been to hell and back trying IVF , she has tried month after month only to face more heartache
when nothing happens . she is going through all this for her partner who wants a family .
They are both 40 and running out of time .
If only he would agree to spend the rest of their lives together in agreement and contentment.
You my friend must find the earth mother need elsewhere , nursery helpers , babysitting , rent a granny
or something along those lines .
This couple are going through enough heartache without worrying about you I'm afraid .
They will sort this out between themselves , and if they can't agree , so be it .
I know you think you are not interfering , however vibes can be felt , sometimes hard to hide .
Even if they do eventually manage to have a child , sometimes as we know on this Forum
Grandmas don't always feature in their lives .
My own sister finds it hard to broach the subject with my niece , as she often dissolves into tears.
Their life , their problem . We are here to pick up , wipe down , and dry tears .
Your heart is in the right place Hear2 , keep on keeping busy .


Welcome Hear.  I am so glad you are not saying anything to them, as it truly is about them and not you.  I know it is painful for you because you had expectations.  We have learned around here that those are "our" expectations.  When our expectations aren't met, we have to understand that it is on us, no one else.  If you expected to go to France, and everything fell through, you would be upset, but you would change your plans.  Sure, it would stink and be disappointing, but ok....you go to Hawaii instead.

You have to change your expectations.  Infertility is hard on a couple and they definately don't need any added stress about it.  It is their decision to make what they want to do.  You now have to work on changing how you feel about it.  It sounds like, even if you don't like the plan, that SIL/DD are dealing with it and making plans.  You have to step back and leave them to it.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Here2day - I think you should go and seek support with a professional.  I believe you need to grieve this loss of a potential family, but I don't think this is something for you to talk to your DD about.

This is NOT something they can share with you, it's not something you can lean on each other for.  Because, and I'm speaking from experience here, as much as it hurts you, it hurts them MORE.  And YOUR sadness over it and YOUR grief is adding to theirs, instead of helping to relieve it.  Your SIL may feel like a failure as a man, he may feel like he's failing his wife.  Please don't add to his burden by making him feel like he's failing her whole family.

I think the best thing you can do is to look toward a future with no GK's.  Make your peace with it.  Because as far as I know, there's not much you can do when there's ZERO sperm.  If there are a few, or not very good swimmers, you can work with that, although the success rate is low.  But you can't work with NOTHING.

Also, I bet they don't want your money because they don't want to feel like you BOUGHT their family.  I wouldn't either.  If you want to give them money instead of gifts, then give it to them and let them either spend it or save it.

Now, what is this morose talk about death being at your holiday table?  That's pure self-indulgent, woe-is-me, self-pity.  Snap out of it.  You are in control of your emotions, you should look around you and feel BLESSED by the family you DO have.  You have a loving DH, a DS, a DD and a SIL: an embarrassment of riches.  If the atmosphere is low, perk it up.  Focus on the positive.

I'm sorry this message seems harsh, but it seems like you need to give yourself a shake.


My DD and SIL are going thru the same thing with infertile SIL.  They did try IVF and it did not work.  When it was apparent that their having a natural child was next to impossible, they decided to adopt.  SIL had many restrictions, but as time went on, he was a little more open. 

I work part time for FEMA and last time I worked I put aside some money for them to use if they wanted/needed it for adoption.  They signed on with an adoption agency and was going thru the process.  Last July I received an email from a friend of mine who knew they were looking to adopt.  She had gotten an email from an acquaintance of hers who asked if she knew a good family who wanted to adopt.  Fast forward, last Oct 14th a beautiful little girl was born.  DD & SIL was in delivery room, daughter held her first and they took her home from the hospital and she will turn 1 year old this Oct 14th.  She is one of the two loves of my life.  Other GC is by my OS who I adopted when his father and I married.  Neither of the GC are my biological GC but to me they are the world. 

The only stipulation I put on the money was that if the baby was a girl, she should be named Frances Martha Elizabeth Anne (FEMA).  LOL, I got only one name out of the 4.

I know what you mean about wanting GC, I grew up in a big family, 6 siblings, and we had about 15 grandchildren, and now have many great and starting on the gg's.  OS has 1, DD 1, and MS will probably never get married.

Another challenge for me was when we were growing up, my mother's aspirations for us were to just graduate HS, college was not even a thought.  With my 3 children, it was college as a goal.  MS quit school in 11th grade (but did finally get a college degree).

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that no matter what WE want for THEM, it is not always gonna be a given.  I have recently "adopted" my GD's new cousin.  Her mother is from China and is not close by, so I'm a surrogate.  Another GC that is not a biological one, but one that I will love and cherish.

Hope I haven't meandered too far from your post.  Hugs to you. 


hear2day, that sounds like a plan.  After the initial discovery of my diagnosis it took a little while for me to accept it but now I can talk pretty freely about it.  So any question you have, feel free to ask.  Also you can email me at my personal email (just click on my profile) if you'd prefer not to talk about it here.

I do understand that it is upsetting for grandparents, it is just very, very hard for a couple. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift