For me, it is not so much the childlessness that is the issue with being subfertile. My heart leaps when I see little ones smiling, but I know that there can be significant challenges involved in raising children.
It is the feeling of somehow being less than whole, of being physically inferior. Not capable. Bad. Maybe being punished for something. Maybe if I had just stayed with my ex, maybe if I were a bit slimmer.....and I stop going down that rabbit hole there. The general theme is "not good enough" that besets so many people, myself included.
There are things that I do that bolster my self esteem.
My work, for instance. I take pride in (mostly) calmly and efficiently solving difficult problems, (mostly) with good humour.
At crossfit, I can be big, strong, loud and powerful. Lift heavy things and roar like a tigress.
I have rediscovered cooking, selling things on ebay, Kmart. I like to be thrifty. I hate to waste.
I have found my tribe of friends, friends who make me feel good when I am with them. I am sticking by them.
The feeling of being bad is close to the surface, though.
My mum and I have had an increasingly fraught relationship. She has had her own issues, and is being rendered helpless by them.
Our interactions have consisted pretty much solely of her complaining about her situation, talking at me. Loudly, as she is a bit deaf. Also asking for money quite regularly. as she is not working at the moment.
She has had a hard life and I have always felt a bit responsible for her. This, and the "not good enough" theme, have cost me some tens of thousands of dollars in therapy. That's why I pay somebody - it might all get a bit repetitive debriefing to a friend.
Lately, though, I have felt resentful. I don't ask for her support. Not really. I have not had any significant emotional or material support from her in about 15 years. I don't expect it. She has had a hard life. But there are some not insignificant expenses of my own. I am the family money pit.
At this time in my life, all I want from her is "pleasant adult interactions" - nice cuppa tea, game of scrabble, a movie. I get angry with her, and then I feel guilty. It's not helping me. It makes me feel small and I can't really deal with it at the moment.
So a wall has been thrown up. I think, all things being equal, it's better that contact is limited at present. Do I feel guilty? Sure, but it's low level. Not the corrosive back and forth of the anger, frustration and remorse.