By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
When we marked the ninth anniversary of this site last month, I took a look back at where I was in the beginning (bitter, frustrated, lost), how I grew and often struggled to come to terms with not fulfilling my dream of being a mother, and in what ways I can give thanks for my journey. For it’s made me who I am today: a stronger, wiser, and more compassionate woman who is at peace with being childfree, oh, let’s say 85% of the time.
I also wanted to hear from other LWBers, specifically those who were early contributors to the Our Stories column, so I’ve been reaching out and asking: “Where are you on your journey and how are you today?”
The answers have been as different as the women themselves. I’ve heard tales of emotional see-saws, of being excited for a new Plan B one day and a puddle of regret and disappointment the next (pregnancy announcements and baby showers continue to rub salt in mostly healed wounds). I’ve heard about health issues, some that stemmed from treatments, that continue to challenge even the most resilient among us. I’ve heard from women who have blossomed in the years since we first got to know them, who have pursued their intentions of traveling more, being more aware of their blessings, and thriving in ways beyond what they could have imagined.
As I expected, a few women have dropped off the grid, and that may have happened for any number of reasons. Wherever they are on their journeys, I wish them well. One woman I hadn’t heard from in a while did reply, although she was somewhat uncomfortable about updating me because, a few months after her story was posted, she got what so many of us wanted: a miracle pregnancy that resulted in a healthy miracle baby. My heart expanded with her good news and I am genuinely thrilled for her, in large part because I know of her earlier sorrows and sacrifices. I feel deeply grateful that we at LWB could be here for her when her life path looked quite different.
One woman opted not to re-run her story, but she offered this as she reflected on her journey thus far:
“I remember the darkest moments I went through. Sobbing, pleading and screaming at God. If I could say something to myself in 2014, I would tell myself to hold on. Hold on to your husband, hold on to who you are, hold on to the love that does exist in your life. We are more than our fertility status. We still deserve love, and we have a lot to give the world.”
That’s what I want to say to you today: Hold on. If you are in a dark place and feel like you’re drowning in grief, reach out to your LWB sisters—through comments, through the forums, through just reading the posts and stories and knowing we get it. You are not alone! Hold on to us. Together, I believe, we’ll help each other up and onward toward healing.
One other thing I hear repeatedly from LWBers who contributed to Our Stories is what a healing experience it was for them. Even if you don’t submit your story for posting, consider answering the questions for yourself. You’ll find the questionnaire here.