03 May, 2022

The route to madness

 I was just sitting in the doctor's office, waiting to get a long overdue (three years since my last one - thanks, covid) skin check, reading a book on my phone, when this line struck me:

"... imagining what might happen if one's circumstances were different was the only sure route to madness." 

I love that! It's how I have approached my situation from the moment I knew permanent childlessness was my infertility outcome. When I stopped myself thinking about what my kids would have been like, stopped imagining holding my child in my arms, hugging the toddler or the teen or the grown adult, etc. When I shut down those "what-if" thoughts because they were unkind to myself. When I wrenched myself away from the imaginings of the life I had hoped for.

It was a timely reminder too, if the examination had gone differently, how I would have had to approach a negative diagnosis. (My father died from metastasised skin cancer, and NZ has very high rates due to our high UV levels, so I am well aware of the risks. Hence the check-up.)

I know I've written about this a lot before. It's what happens when you have a No Kidding slash childlessness blog for almost 12 years, and write solely on No Kidding/childlessness issues! Repetition is inevitable. But if I'm honest, I don't mind that. I hope you don't. I'd hate to bore my readers!

In fact, I really like seeing the same philosophies I live by popping up in other contexts, when I'm reading or watching something totally unrelated to my No Kidding life. In this case, it was a formerly aristocratic man in Russia realising his life had forever changed in newly communist Russia, in "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles. There are little gems of wisdom we can apply to our No Kidding lives everywhere we look. They help me recommit to enjoying my life as it is now. And they remind me we're not alone. 

Recycling a photo from previous posts


  1. It’s difficult for me to focus on what I have because now all my friends have grandkids and that’s all I hear about. All I hear is how wonderful they are, they are such a blessing, etc…. I struggle with the feeling of depression because I will never know what’s it’s like to have children, but of course I obviously will never know what it’s like to have grandchildren.

    1. I'm really sorry you are finding this. It's really hard when our friends ignore our situations but only talk about theirs. Have you talked to them at all about this? Are there other ways you could meet some friends with shared interests? A walking group, or other hobby, for example. Any way that you could get some respite at least.

    2. I have friends that share interest but evidently the conversation always turns to kids or grandkids. Let’s face it, there’s no escaping it. 😢

  2. Love this. The "what-ifs" can really send you down a spiral. There was so much relief when we could live in "what-is" and not a million "what-ifs" that never came to pass.

  3. I haven't been able to shut down those "what ifs" entirely, but they are further and fewer between, the more that time goes on & the older I get. (I still haven't read "A Gentleman in Moscow," but dh thought it was wonderful!)