As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
When I read through Theresa’s answers to the Our Stories questionnaire, I cried at my desk. This is what despair sounds like, I thought. And I totally get it, because I remember all too well what it feels like.
My first instinct was to tell her “You’re going to be okay!”, but there’s no guarantee, and that response is not fair to her. Theresa’s pain is raw and real, and this is where she is today.
At the same time, I believe she will get through it. She’s already demonstrating that she’s brave enough (although she may not yet realize how brave she is) to go to that deep, dark, ugly place of grieving, a stage that many of us know must be experienced before we can begin to move on. And I know from reading so many other stories from this wonderfully safe and supportive community that there is a next stage…and a next.
As you read this, if you see yourself in Theresa’s story, I want you to know, You are not alone. If you see a former self in her story, I hope you’ll reach out to Theresa in the Comments to tell her where you are today and offer some hope or encouragement, if you can, or sisterly understanding, if you can’t.
In any case, please be gentle with yourself today.
LWB: Describe your dream of motherhood.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Theresa: Not by choice. I waited, wanting everything to be right. Was told by a gynecologist that it’d be “difficult” for me to conceive naturally. At 39, and never having gotten pregnant naturally, I decided I needed to come to terms with it and thought I had. Nope. At 44, I found myself pregnant. A miracle!!! Doctors were shocked. I was speechless and over the moon. Testing and questionnaires done, on the prenatal vitamins…but at the ultrasound appointment two weeks later, they saw nothing. The doctors took blood and informed me I would miscarry and the baby was no longer viable.
I don’t understand! Then the doctor started probing into my medical history: Had I ever been pregnant or miscarried? NO. Had I ever received a transfusion? NO. Yet here I am with O- blood and anti-Jk(a) antibodies already somehow “sensitized”.
I couldn’t even miscarry properly; I was issued the morning after pill to “flush it out”. “It”?? You mean my dreams? Yes, those.
My ob-gyn says my partner is Rh+ and my already-sensitized blood turned on my dream and terminated the baby. The doctor says I should never even attempt to get pregnant anymore because the rate of miscarriage increases with each, and IF I was “somehow able to carry to term, the baby would either be born with blue baby syndrome, severe deficit, or stillborn.”
It has been two years of heavy medications for anxiety/depression and PTSD, and I’m no closer to coming to terms with this than day one.
LWB: How do you answer “Do you have kids?”
Theresa: I quickly change the subject before the surface is scratched and I begin to tear up without control.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
LWB: What is your hope for yourself this coming year?
Theresa: Somehow finding some acceptance.
Won’t you share your story with us? The act of answering the questions itself can be very healing, plus we’d like to support you by telling you “You are not alone.” Please visit the Our Stories page to get more information and the questionnaire.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is mostly at peace with her childlessness.