Giving Up on a Legacy

There are many things infertility robs couples of that couples who don’t experience it would never understand.   Even those people who are able to eventually have a child are forever changed.  For those of us who aren’t able to ever have kids who don’t move forward with adoption or third party reproduction there are many things we have to come to terms with.

One of those things I have talked about on this blog is my concern about not having kids and the fear that I will leave no legacy behind when I pass.  Now that it was confirmed last month that there is no chance of me being able to have biological children I’ve gone back to thinking about living life without ever becoming a parent.  I’ve thought about what that life could be like.  I’ve thought about how best to make the most of the worst case scenario and whether I could leave a legacy.  I’ve gone through the things I “thought” could leave a legacy.  Rather than dream which has just led to disappointment the last two and a half years, I was realistic.

The reality is it will be near impossible to ever leave a legacy without becoming a parent.  Sure I’m a Big Brother volunteer but it’s doubtful my little will remember me as he gets older.  And asking him to do so is unfair to him.  That’s not the reason I volunteered in the first place.  I don’t come from a big family and who knows whether my brother will get married and whether he would have kids.  It’s also doubtful even if he had kids that they would care about their weird Uncle with no kids.  Beyond this there really aren’t any opportunities nor will there be unless something drastically changes in my life without being a parent that will leave a legacy.

Rather than get my hopes hope and work hard for something that is near impossible I’m giving up on the idea that I can or would leave a legacy behind.  I’ve gotten my hopes up too many times over the last two and a half years that things would change and worked hard only to be disappointed.  I don’t want the rest of my life to be full of wasted hard work.  I need to set the bar lower and have lower expectations for what I’m able to do with my life.

Last Sunday I turned 35 and reflecting back on my life where I’m at right now and what’s likely ahead of me I am trying to accept that my best days are behind me.  My life peaked at 30 and it’s going to continue to go downhill or at best stay level.  In not having kids I have accepted and given up on the idea of leaving behind a legacy.  My bloodline will end with me, my impact on society and others will stay with just me and not passed down.  It’s really hard to accept and to give up.  I don’t give up or quit easily but if infertility has fought me anything is that hard work will never overcome the impossible or near impossible.



22 thoughts on “Giving Up on a Legacy

  1. Sondra

    Sometimes there are no words.. so I’m sending support your way. You know you have so much support from us on Twitter. I wish things were different.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Time is only making me realize that I need to accept life for what can realistically be and that I need to be more selfish focus on living life for me and not for others who will forget me.

  2. clwalchevill

    I can feel the pain in this post. How I wish I could take it from you. I’m thinking of you and sending love.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I’m not there are just certain things that are not possible without parenthood. Rather than chase those things I’d rather chase things that are possible and realistic.

  3. Mali

    I of course disagree with you. Not with your feelings – they are totally valid and real, and if I’m honest, I recognise them – I felt them too. And I send best wishes and all my hope that your pain begins to ease soon, and that you know that you are cared for, and that you are not alone, and that you matter, and will always matter.

    No, what I disagree with are your conclusions. Your best days are not behind you, even though it feels that way to you now. I think too that you’re taking a very narrow view of what a legacy is or might be. Who knows what you will do in the next thirty, forty or fifty years? I don’t know, but with all respect, neither do you, especially not now, when your view of your future is so coloured by your legitimate grief.

    Being a Big Brother may just be as simple as giving your Little Brother confidence, a knowledge of how to be a good person, the feeling that he too matters. That Little guy may then grow up and pass on that knowledge, that feeling that just being him is enough, to others who need it. I don’t think we ever quite know how we influence people, what changes other people might make in their lives, as a result of interaction with us. The thing is, you’re undoubtedly making the world a better place. Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that a legacy to be proud of? I certainly think it’s something to take pride in, and much more so than simply an ability to pass on genes to a next generation.

    So once again, I think you’re going to send me away thinking, ready to write a post on my own blog!

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Legacy to me is two fold the first what you described and second the person who passes on those lessons to the next generation being remembered when they pass. That is what I’m giving up on being remembered and I don’t believe I’ll ever be remembered when I pass by my little or anyone for that matter. I’m just someone who he hang out with at a young age who he’ll forget about when he gets older.

      I don’t doubt those who don’t have children leave legacies behind when they die. But I won’t be one of those people. My life just isn’t set up that way for it to happen nor am I capable of doing that. My point of this piece is that I need to be more realistic about things so I don’t continue to set myself up for disappointment and chase things that aren’t possible.

  4. hopingonhope

    I got a lot to say on this post, but let me tell you first that what you are going through is the equivalent of losing a child to death. You need to grieve over the loss and need to heal. That will take time unfortunately and nothing will make the pain go away.
    But, your legacy is not your child. That is making yourself small. Most famous people on earth arent known for their kids, rather for themselves. You have a purpose in life too, so dont forget that my friend. I dont mean to sound harsh, because even though I can see beyond what you are seeing now, I can totally feel your pain. I am sorry life is so effing unfair and you are going through something that is the worst nightmare of a parent.

      1. hopingonhope

        Again you never know. I strongly believe in destiny and unfortunately we dont write it, our actions do!
        Right now, if you feel you do not have any purpose and are depressed, please get help. I am worried for you!

      2. gsmwc02 Post author

        There’s no chance I can get my wife or anyone pregnant. So it’s not a matter of not knowing. My destiny is to be without a legacy and not have any children.

        I’m already in therapy and have been in therapy for months. It doesn’t change the situation.

    1. Healing Writuals

      I’m a little late to the conversation, but about the legacy I think you’re missing the point G is trying to make here. Sure he’s had what is an important piece in the lives of people around him and maybe someday he’ll be famous for something – perhaps even this blog. None of those are the legacy his heart was holding onto dearly. It’s a lost legacy before it was ever found. 😦 And you’re right. It’s the worst nightmare. The.Worst.Nightmare.

  5. Grace

    I can’t tell if you are in a good place or just a numb place. I agree you shouldn’t put expectations on anyone: a little bro, and even your children. I would argue this is something even those of us who pursue 3rd party reproduction or adoption deal with, we can’t always assume our children will be our legacy. They are their own people and hopefully we will raise them to be good and kind.

    I agree you should set realistic expectations, life isn’t always what you expect. But I disgree that your best years are behind you, each year is a gift and different. I hope you are able to find something you love, and to not care if it makes an impact because something you love will always be a impact ❤️ Even if it just makes you a happier better person.

    Thoughts & prayers are with you.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Thank you Grace. I’m not going to look to make an impact. I’m just going to look to enjoy life and not set any unrealistic expectations or ask anyone or situation to fulfill me.

  6. A.

    Have you written a post that details your reasons for choosing against non-biological children? I ask out of pure curiosity as I totally have my own reasons why and have written one such post of my own. In my head, I always held a little space to acknowledge that I couldn’t know for sure how I’d feel unless I was actually there, and it ultimately comes down to choosing the best imperfect path, if that makes sense. There’s so much pain here that I wonder if you’re really built for the child-free life. Like…which loss is more doable: no children or children through, say, a donor. No judgments…honestly just asking.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      All I will say on the subject is that I am open to becoming a parent of a child that I wasn’t related to genetically. For me genetics are just one of the many things that makes a family. But my wife and I will not be pursuing third party reproduction or adopting.

  7. Healing Writuals

    I’ve been thinking all week on this post. I couldn’t quite form the sentences to say what I want to share with you. I’ll say this: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry this was the result. And about the lack of enduring legacy I do understand. I’ve had some awfully dark moments of my own with this issue. It cuts deeply and I’m so sorry you have this gaping wound. Sending thoughts of comfort, healing, and hope for peace to be found in the future.


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