As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I think a lot of us can relate to Sarah’s story. Following three miscarriages, she is now, at age 36, facing a life without children and struggling to accept her new path. When asked “What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?” she said, “Knowing what I am missing, imagining the ‘ghosts’ of my nonexistent children just doing everyday things. We only have one life to live, and I am never going to get to experience being a mother in my life.”
That last comment is just a dagger to my heart. I can feel the pain of her losses as I read the details of her story, and I hope after you’ve read it, you’ll offer her some sisterly understanding and compassion in the Comments.
LWB: Describe your dream of motherhood.
Sarah: I always wanted kids. I remember how I felt the first time a baby fall asleep on my chest when I was babysitting. Now I feel like my soul has been hollowed out from my chest, leaving a gaping hole.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Sarah: Three miscarriages, all the tests, no explanation. Now my husband says he can’t do it anymore, can’t see me go through it again.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
Sarah: Angry, beyond sad, torn between acceptance, and trying behind my husband’s back since he said no to IVF.
LWB: How do you answer “Do you have kids?”
Sarah: In my head I say “None living.” I wish I could say it out loud. But usually I just say “No” and do whatever I can to get away.
LWB: What do you look forward to now?
Sarah: My dogs are my salvation. I don’t know what I would do without them. I look forward to being able to be a great dog mom and spending more time on my own life.
LWB: How has LWB helped you on your journey?
Sarah: There is so much out there on infertility, but it’s always about people trying to get pregnant. I am so glad to see that some people are here saying they are working on living childfree. It’s better than dwelling on infertility. I have spent 20 years thinking about being pregnant and having kids. Here I can start to change the conversation.
Where are you on your journey? Are your wounds raw? Have you made some progress toward accepting a life without children? We can all benefit from hearing about your experiences, plus we’d like to support you. Please visit the Our Stories page to get more information and the questionnaire, and consider sharing your story with women who truly understand what you’re going through.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.