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Not the Mamma/ You Can’t Always Get What You Want

If you have read my blog for long then you know how very much I wanted to be the “Momma”. I did everything in my power; I went to acupuncturists three times a week; We remodeled our chi thanks to Feng Shui and Chi Gong. I sought out astrologers for the most auspicious dates for our IVF procedures and consulted assorted healers. I prayed even though I am agnostic. I trusted my fate to Maori healers who charged $350 in cash for a 50-minute consultation. I ate my weight in yams and sweet potatoes( supposedly the nutritional super-food that can promise a pregnancy even when the top doctors in reproductive medicine can’t deliver). I endured countless artificial reproductive technology procedures( $100,000.00 worth). And now I feel nothing but grateful that I am “Not the momma!” and that is a miracle even greater than me somehow managing to get pregnant.

It continues to surprise me how grateful I am in retrospect not to have achieved my long cherished dream of being a mother. For nearly the past three months I have been with a very wonderful man and I am crazy about him and if he had a voice on this blog I feel sure that he would tell you that he is crazy about me.  This lovely man has two nearly-adult-children and he is a wonderful father, and I love that about him. The super-duper-crazy thing is that as I watch him father his children that there is no envy in me, rather there is relief. Being in the relationship with him hasn’t filled me with longing to parent a child with him( a biological impossibility, by the way) or regret that I can’t( I imagined that falling in love might create some familiar stirring to be a mother). I instead feel so extraordinarily grateful. I feel crazy grateful for how everything worked out so  very perfectly. And I think about how if I had gotten what I hoped and prayed and paid Reproductive Endocrinologists for that I would now be a very unhappy gal who likely would not have had the courage to do what I did in March( leave) and how I certainly would not be in this new relationship with this wonderful man who makes me ridiculously happy. I feel blessed( I know that word has slightly religious tones to it but I almost feel that there was a divine hand in all of this unfolding as it has—-emphasis on the word “almost”).

In the last ten months I have thought of the following quote more times than I ate sweet potatoes( and I ate so many that I was in danger of turning orange) or charted my temperature back in the height of the IUI days:“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” That is a line from Truman Capote’s self-destructive novel, “Answered Prayers”. Each time I think of the quote or say it I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that I didn’t get what I wanted. Not getting what I wanted may prove that grace exists(by the way, Grace was the name I wanted to name the daughter that I thought I wanted to have).

Sure there are days that I am punched in the ovaries by the unchangeable fact that I will never be anyone’s mother. I will never know what it is like to have someone call me “mommy”. I won’t ever have a little baby hand hold onto the back of my neck( for some reason this is an image that has dogged me since I began trying to become pregnant). But I also won’t have all the headache, hell, heartache, expense and frown lines that come with mothering. Now I am free. I am free to do what I want and to spend my time and money the way I want. Now I get to spend my life doing what I want to do. I know that sounds selfish and I suppose it is. But as I am not a mother my selfishness isn’t hurting anyone else.

And, yeah, I am still really and truly happy to be in Los Angeles. I know this isn’t new news but it is a fact that continues to surprise me. I am even house shopping. Me and the adorable boyfriend are looking for a house and I am not freaking out in the least. Okay, not true, I am actually freaking out in the good way. I am actually happy to be looking for a permanent residence in Los Angeles. Yes, I am proof that miracles happen. I prove that not getting what you want can make you extraordinarily happy, in the long run that is.


So how has not getting what you want made you happy? Please share!

26 Responses to “Not the Mamma/ You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

  • The little and big sacrifices totally unrelated to my own person I’ve made so far that have been financially draining, but worth every single cent. Headache, heartache and frown lines included!

    I’m beyond ecstatic for you!


  • This was such a beautiful, happy, yay you post! Finding happiness and realizing things happened the way they should have is a freeing feeling. I’m happy for you, my dear. Tremendously.

  • You know, you may have actually got what you wanted after all – you just didn’t realise what you really wanted at the time.

    It’s an incredible turn of events for you Tracey, and I’m pleased that you recognise how fortunate you are now. Motherhood is wonderful, it gives many rewards but you also have to surrender a part of yourself and make certain sacrifices. So far, for me, the sacrifices have been worth it but there are gaps in my life too and loneliness is a part of it.

    Enjoy your wonderful new man, the house hunting (exciting!) and all of the lovely things you so deserve.

  • I’m sorry for all of the pain and heartache you went through trying to have a baby, and it makes me SO happy to hear that once again, the Universe has made everything work out for the best. House hunting!!! Have fun. And watch out for the words “cozy” and “charming” in the listings, as they tend to mean “rooms the size of broom closets” and “hasn’t been updated since the Eisenhower years” respectively.

  • I had also wanted a baby, a second child, and could not get pregnant. At first it was devastating, and now I am so happy that my prayer was unanswered. There is no way at this time in my life I could take care of a baby, nor do I wish to.
    I am so happy for you and all of the wonderful things that are coming into your life.

  • Amen, sister! Like you, I continue to be amazed at how right my life turned out to be. As someone once said, happiness comes from wanting what you have…

  • Yay! You’ve come a long way, baby (but don’t start smoking!).

    I bet, that if you are like me, some of the intense unhappiness in your past and blog, that showed in the infertility posts, was a true emotion but stoked by deeper things. Other issues were fueling that fire, and now that the other issues are resolved you are at peace with everything else. Glad to hear it.

    Um. Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I suppose that I’m happy that I didn’t get my lifelong dream of being an academic and getting to live in a place like Ann Arbor and volunteer at the acoustic music spot and hang with the other “creatives.” As I’m finding my way through law, I’m recognizing that I have power within the world, and economic power, that the other me would not have had. And since I’m in the post-40 age of becoming myself, and radically honest, why don’t I make a work shift and use that power for the good of others? I’m going to be a music-playing, story writing, halfway Buddhist woman lawyer using her powers for good (and for a decent living, but not at all focused on making as much as I can just to hoard it all). That feels good.

  • Also glad to see you posting again. You’ve always had an engaging, personally compelling blog. Don’t give it up.

  • very happy for you lady! It is odd how things can pan out and end up being good when we thought it was the worst thing ever. Take care and keep enjoying life :) You deserve it!

  • You’ve made quite a journey in the last nine months. I know it sounds corny but it seems you’ve given birth to a new you! Congratulations!

  • Love seeing the post and what’s in the post. It’s such a joy to read your thoughts and feelings about not having had a child, they are so removed from just a few years ago. Wow! And seeing that you are ‘really and truly happy’ in Los Angeles makes me sit up and say, “She has come so far, if Miss LBR can, then so can others.” You really are an inspiration, and that’s saying something.

    Hugs and love at you, Miss Lily and your guy,

  • The joy of your new life leaps off this post and does a little dance.

    Happy house hunting!

  • I can totally relate to you! I felt as I approached my 40s, I must have a child (because that’s what you’re supposed to do). As things turned out we didnt get pregnant, and now I’m 44 and things have happened in our relationship (ie infidelity) that have made consider leaving. I am relieved by the thought that I’d be forever linked to my husband if there were a child involved. I’m just afraid to leave. Where would I go? I certainly don’t want to live where I am. Actually, I’ve always dreamt of living in LA or NYC. I think LA is much more manageable price wise. What is your personal/professional opinion on my dumping him and moving cross country and start a new life – at 44? I keep thinking – I could end up more lonely than I am now…. Or it could be the start of an incredibly happy life!

  • So happy to read your post today.

    Life is wildly unpredictable…it’s exciting, but kind of overwhelming.

  • Yea you! You have covered so much wonderful ground in the last 10 months. House hunting? Amazing. You should tell Igor — he would fall out of his armchair. It’s glorious to see you so happy.

    I’m still waiting for the moment when I deeply feel that it was a good thing that I never had another child. Maybe I am looking too hard for it, rather than letting it unfold before me. I am always on the alert for the big alternative prize. I can see that there are benefits: we’re sufficiently stressed out and overextended that it’s hard to see another child fitting into the picture. But my emotions don’t really match those words. I can’t imagine that they ever will — and that’s why this post is so heartening. You couldn’t imagine it either, and now you have it so perhaps I will too (I’ll be sure to let you know when it happens!).

  • :) I love that Truman Capote quote. We don’t always know what we’re really asking for or why we really want it. Sometimes it’s a good idea to just let the chips fall where they may.

  • You better not start rooting for the Lakers.

  • That all sounds wonderful and I’m a bit jealous! I’m 36 and my husband and I have recently given up on TTC. I’m thankful now that I don’t have a child to deal with, since I really enjoy sleeping and having my time to myself when I want it. As far as the man goes, I feel the need sometimes to be COMPLETELY free, but at the same time don’t want to leave what I have. Like Michelle said, it could go both ways….I guess I’m not ready to jump off into the land of “New” yet…but I’m very glad to hear that it does get better :-)

  • You sound free from so much of the pain you experienced, and that’s great news. Wishing you continued happiness and explorations!

    [Now just don't chain yourself to a fixer-upper, and you'll be in good shape.]

    ps Belated congrats on the 10K

  • I am very, very happy for you, Tracey.
    Whenever I don’t get something I REALLY want after several tries, I know it is time to reflect on why it is not happening, to take a close look at my true desires and to trust. I believe there’s magic in how some things unfold in our lives…If I had gotten a scholarship to study in the UK or in the US, as I wanted, I wouldn’t have moved to Ivory Coast, I wouldn’t have met my husband, I wouldn’t have my children. I would perhaps have a successful career, but to be completely honest, I don’t think I would have been as happy as I am now.

  • Wow. This is so beautiful and it completely resonated with me. It’s impossible to imagine when you’re dealing with the awfulness of infertility, and that uncontrollable longing (for me, it was the image of looking down at my baby sleeping on my chest) that you could one day have a life where you appreciate not having children. But it happens. To lots of people. Yaay you for working your way through to this point.

  • Late to the party commenting …

    I’m so happy for you, and pleased to read this, and also so jealous. Unfortunately, these days I more often find myself in your “Williams Sonoma Holiday situation” than in the state described in this post.

    But I am trying … trying to be patient, trying to trust that it will come, trying to pray for it and believe. That’s all I can do.

    P.S. It’s always the hospital pictures that set me off — husband leaning into mom and baby nestled in the adjustable bed, baby wrapped in that same universal hospital receiving blanket that’s white with the pink and blue stripes on the edge. That’s the ultimate portrait of Future Life Potential — captured in the moment before any of the chaos really starts — and I will never be in it.

  • Here from Life Without Baby — I did read this awhile back & thought I had commented, but guess not. Just wanted to say amen, I agree with you & everyone who’s commented. Also wanted to say “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” has been one of my personal theme songs the past decade ; ) — and also that I LOVE the fact you found that clip from “Dinosaurs!” Dh & I used to watch that show & “NOT the Mamma!” has stuck with me through the years too.

  • i just post the below comment on life without baby and i’ll repost it here:

    “i must admit, the number of days that i think, hey perhaps i don’t want children, perhaps they AREN’T for me, perhaps, what we have right now actually IS right for us have vastly begun to outnumber the days i yearn for children.

    and i love that quote – “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” so, so, SO, true!”

    i *love* this post and sometimes not getting what you want is actually just what you need.

  • dear Tracey,
    the song “You can’t always get what you want” is also one of my favourite songs of the last decade. So true. It is just the fact of life.

    I love love your quote:
    “Now I am free. I am free to do what I want and to spend my time and money the way I want. Now I get to spend my life doing what I want to do. ”

    I feel the same way!

    WIshing you all the best!

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About Me

My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .
These blog posts are informational only and not meant to replace individual psychotherapy, counseling or medical advice. If you are in need of help, reaching out to a professional may help you decide how to proceed or how to find the care you need. For a referral, contact

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