As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I am so moved by Gill’s story. She has always wanted her children, but her husband doesn’t. And now that they are both dealing with health issues, they’ve made the difficult choice that it’s better not to have children. When asked where she is on her journey now, Gill responded, “Hoping for a miracle whilst trying to accept the inevitable.” I so get that!
Gill is now 33 and working to make peace with her lot in life. She admits to feeling alone on this journey, so after you read her story, I hope you’ll offer her your support and encouragement in the Comments.
LWB: What was the turning point for you?
Gill: My husband has never lied to me about not wanting children, but I’ve always thought he would change his mind one day. Fast-forward 11 years and my husband has been diagnosed with Asperger’s and anxiety, and has a real fear about how he would cope. Whilst I am still wanting children deep down, I know that the stress of having children will probably not do our relationship, or his mental health, any good. Not only that, but there is a real chance that any child we did have would have mental health problems (my husband’s condition is genetic, so chances are our child would also have autism) or allergies (I have asthma and eczema, also genetic) too. The best thing we can do as parents in not have a child, for who would want to put their child through a lifetime of struggling to fit in?
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Gill: I feel my situation is different to most and that all people say to me is that I am brave for giving up on this dream. This doesn’t help! I really want to know if one day I will “get over it”. Although I understand and agree with our reasons, it still doesn’t help with the fact that I want to be a mum. I hate myself for being selfish and sometimes wonder if I did have children, would I always feel guilty if they had autism? I know that there is always the chance that we would have a healthy child, but the chances are slim and my husband doesn’t want to ruin what we have already.
LWB: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Gill: A few people I know who do not have children due to infertility have said that it does get easier with time and that you begin to appreciate all the things you can do that you wouldn’t if you had children. For example, going on lots of holidays, staying out late, or maybe even enhancing my career.
LWB: What is your hope for yourself this coming year?
Gill: I am going to have counseling to try to come to terms with not having children. I am lucky to be an auntie, so I plan to do lots with those children.
LWB: How has LWB helped you on your journey?
Gill: I love this website as it is full of nice stories that make me feel less alone on my journey.
If you’ve been feeling that you’re all alone on this journey, I encourage you to read other members’ stories here. There is a lot of wisdom and support in the stories themselves and in the Comments. Then, when you’re ready, I hope you’ll share your story with us. Go to the Our Stories page to get more information and the questionnaire.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.