Growing up, I always wanted a big family. I was one of three girls and had lots of cousins, so I always assumed I’d get married in my 20s, have a few children and that would be that. Sadly, that just hasn’t happened.
I was with my first proper boyfriend for eight years, but I broke up with him at 29 because I knew in my heart he wasn’t right for me. For the next five years, I concentrated on my career.
Then I met a lovely man when I was 36 and we married two years later. We struggled to get pregnant and suffered gruelling rounds of IVF that didn’t work.
Now I’m 44 and I’m trying to resign myself to the fact that children may not happen for me. But it’s like a heavy dark cloud that hangs over my whole life.
I’ve lost touch with a lot of friends because I couldn’t bear to see them get pregnant, have babies and raise a family. But the isolation this has caused just makes me feel even worse.
How can I go forward and be happy when I’m probably never going to have children?
This is a really common problem – much more so than you think.
Women are leaving it later or not finding the right man at the right time. Some are lucky and can get pregnant in their late 30s and 40s, but many others can’t.
One of my sisters didn’t have children yet she was the one we all thought would. She loved kids and did a childcare course at school. But she kept putting her career first.
When we asked her why, she said it wasn’t a good time, but there’s never a right time to have kids. Anyway, she became a foster mum and it gave her a new lease of life.
She’s back working now, but she hopes to foster again. The kids she fosters are so vulnerable and are crying out for good carers. You can say which age range you’d be most comfortable with and could cope best with. And most foster carers I’ve met are so fulfilled.
If that’s not something you want to do, then you have to try to focus on all the good things you have in your life, like your marriage, work and travel.
And you could try getting back in touch with the friends you’ve lost contact with over the years.
You have to try to move forward and have a happy life.
* More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems