Unintentionally childless: Franziska Ferber had to give up her desire for a biological child. Here she talks about the time of fertility treatment and her life without the desired child.
How can a life continue if the greatest wish of the heart is not fulfilled? How can I design a life without a child if all I wanted was a life with a child? These are very painful questions one desires that nobody ever has to answer. And yet the unfulfilled desire for children affects a great many women and men. Also Franziska Ferber and her husband, who live near Munich, had to answer these questions for themselves.
I was so desperate, sad and disoriented
For Franziska Ferber and her husband, it was her heart’s desire to have a child. A life without a child was for a long time unimaginable for them. Yet, one day, the moment came for them to wonder how much more they wanted to give to fulfill the desire for a physical child. The enormous exertions of the fertility treatment brought her to the limits of her resilience. Today Franziska Ferber and her husband live a happy life without a child. Franziska Ferber, as a child-desire coach, offers her support to other couples who hope for their desired child and wish for help in the time of waiting.
Franziska Ferber talks to BRIGITTE.de about how it was for her to give up her heart’s desire for a biological child and how she and her husband have shaped their lives ever since.
BRIGITTE.de: Dear Ms. Ferber, You have longed for a child for many years, unfortunately, the wish has not come true for you. In which moment did you realize: “That was it, I will not have any biological children”?
Franziska Ferber: My husband and I were in a fertility clinic for years. When we – contrary to every prognosis and expectation of the doctors – repeatedly achieved catastrophic results and I also broke my jaw after an experimental drug treatment and a subsequent fainting, my husband asked me the question ‘Are you actually sure that we are yours To risk life – because we have the desire to create a life? ‘. I am deeply grateful to him for putting the complexity of the painful road to the point in one question. It was the beginning of the end of following the desire to have children and the beginning of the search for answers to the question of how to unintentionally live a fulfilled life without children.
Which moments of fertility treatment were the hardest for you?
The doctors gave us clear hope – which we were only too happy to follow. Realizing that the doctors were just as helpless as they were powerless like us, made me speechless. So far, I had believed that we would be – although with the detour via the Kinderwunschklink – a family. Seeing that all predictions did not arrive and thus showed me the absolute loss of control, I plunged into a serious crisis.
You were originally a management consultant, today you work as a fertility coach and support women and men in the fertility phase, if they want help and support. How did it happen that you developed this profession from the time you wanted to have a baby?
When I was so desperate, sad and disoriented, I was looking for support. At the time, I could not find any who would have suited me. Likewise, I found it a blatant injustice to leave women in their best years of life to their silent suffering. If every seventh couple in Germany is unintentionally childless, then that is very, very many people – in the middle of society. They deserve to be able to choose the best for themselves from a variety of support options in this time of crisis, which is often enough over many years. With my coaching spectrum, which is characterized above all by place and time independent, but nevertheless individually accompanied Online Coaching courses, I created the offer, which I would have liked.
Being childless does not mean giving up the chance of a happy life. To be childless means to know that there can still be a happy life. Not chosen yourself – but used by yourself! With a lot of meaning – you can discover and design yourself! – Franziska Ferber
What is your experience – after how many failed attempts to get pregnant or even after many miscarriages do women decide to give up their desire to have a child?
Statistically, many women stop treatment at a fertility clinic at a very early stage. But numbers say nothing – they only average. I am not a friend of comparisons. What is bearable for one woman is a complete overstrain for another woman, which can also make her ill. We like to follow numbers and norms – it is wiser to focus on oneself and on one’s mental and physical strength.
Is there a point from a medical point of view, from which you or the medical profession advise not to continue fighting for the desired child?
You have to ask doctors. But yes, I know many cases where women are advised to engage in an alternative life scheme. In fact, in my experience, this is far too rare and often pronounced very late; For many women, such a medical statement is also a real bridge to be able to let go. As long as hope is made on the part of the pediatric nurses, it is difficult to endure the fear of the possible, later repentance. This is how many women stay in treatment – even though they know that it overwhelms them mentally and / or physically. I would like more doctors to help women by making such statements when they see opportunities drop. Anyone who receives such a recommendation has to contend with it first – but it is also an opportunity to search for a new path without fear of later regret. Such a ‘medical prescription’ can be very ‘healthy’ for the affected woman.
Sad, but unfortunately true: Even financial aspects are relevant to this decision, right?
That is unfortunately the case. It’s unbelievable how much money a (young) couple has to raise to have a chance at a child. For me, this is a big, socio-political imbalance. Because, on the one hand, we demand children as a society – but leave it up to those who desperately want a child but are reproductively impaired to make it financially possible. Who deals with the topic more closely, will quickly realize that the enormous costs are not even 1: 1 in the tax claim to assert, but only a high threshold must be achieved. And – let’s not forget that: In addition, childless still pay a ‘penalty contribution’ (as I call it) to the social security. I find it deeply unfair and desperately in need of reforms that will provide more financial support to couples wishing to have a child.
Why advise when couples disagree on whether to continue trying to have a baby?
Oh, I’m the wrong person for blanket advice. In such terms, one has to find out very carefully what the thoughts and concerns are about the positions of the two partners. I assume that people basically want the best first. The perspective from which they determine their position may be very different within a partnership. The reasons (and often enough fears) of the individual must first be worked out. If the perspectives are clear then you can see where there are similarities and then see what possibilities can be derived from them.
One of the questions that couples with unfulfilled wishes for a child are often asked, and many of them consider inappropriate, is whether adopting a child might not be an option. How was it with you and your husband and how do you rate this option for other couples?
Well, first of all this is the recognition of the couple’s longing for a life with a child. I believe that those who give advice usually feel well with the affected couple and seek a solution and then communicate it. Unfortunately, this question is not always characterized by great expertise. First of all, it is far from easy to adopt a child and secondly, there are not even many children released for adoption. The likelihood of accepting a child is actually very low. The decentralized youth office structure in our country does the rest. In my new book “Courage through the desire to have a baby” I dedicate a whole chapter to this question and the handling of it. I believe that for many, adopting is an option for many people, which is not really a reality for the least affected. My husband and I have renounced this option after careful consideration.
What often causes great anxiety is this thought of a life without the wishful child. How can one succeed in filling a life that is so different from what was planned and desired with a new meaning?
For years I could not imagine living a full life without a child. And yet it has happened. It helped me to understand very precisely and deeply what the desire for a child and the desire to become a mother stood for. For me, for example, it was very important that I have to give so much love and care, but had no room for action. That drained me inwardly. So much to give and nothing or no one to whom I can send it. Because it was also clear that my husband, for example, did not want this maternal way of loving and caring (laughs).
I then thought deeply about where these skills that make up my mind are needed and can make a meaningful contribution. It is not about spending time and looking for a new hobby for those affected … this is the unfulfilled desire for children too deep. It’s about meaning and mission in life – and I think they have to be filled.
It’s a long way to go before a woman embarks on the idea of saying goodbye … and it’s another long way to find his answers. But it is a way that can also bring a great relief, if one can get out of the pressure of the desire for children piece by piece and the rest of his life again self-determined (he) shape and draw strength from it. Anyway, from a certain point of despair, I felt it that way. And I wish every woman who feels that she will not be able to continue her previous path much longer, the courage to take a step on unknown territory.
How did the poet Hilde Domin write?
‘I put my foot in the air – and she wore it.’
Dear Mrs. Ferber, thank you very much for this open conversation.
Franziska Ferber has written two books about her life without the desired child and the time of fertility treatment: ” Our lucky number is the two ” and ” Courageous by having children “. In it she counts her personal story and gives tips on how to overcome the crisis. On the self-doubt associated with the unfulfilled desire for children, she writes in this article: “In vain desire for children:” Why ?! What did I do wrong …? Is it my fault?! “
Videotipp: Kinderwunsch-Bullshit-Bingo, or – the many advices that will not help you!
In this video, Franziska Ferber reports on the many incriminating advice that people with unfulfilled wishes for children hear and their way of dealing with these comments.
When is it time, from a medical point of view, to think about giving up the desire to have a biological child?
For this we have with Prof. dr. med. Markus S. Kupka from Hamburg. He is a specialist in gynecology and obstetrics and a long-standing expert in reproductive medicine. The interview with Professor Kupka can be found here:
More on the possible causes of an unfulfilled desire for children and what you can do then, you will also learn in this article: Unfulfilled desire for children: You can do that .