As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
When I first read Karina’s story, I was struck by how much of it I could relate to. Then her answer to “What’s the best advice you’ve received?” gave me chills (in a good way). “YES!” I all but yelled at my laptop.
I hope you find some encouragement here. xoxoKathleen
LWB: Briefly describe your dream of motherhood.
Karina: Motherhood wasn’t something I really dreamed about. Because I experienced significant trauma as a young child, it made the idea of motherhood actually a little scary for me. I thought about it, yes, many times, especially as my 35th birthday approached. But my thoughts on motherhood were always a bit ambivalent; there was always the fear somewhere in the back of my head. But one day my desire to experience motherhood became stronger than my fear and I just knew I wanted to be one.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Karina: I am childfree by circumstance. I was almost 40 by the time my husband and I married, so we began trying right away. We spent three heart-breaking years trying to make our baby dreams a reality.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
Karina: I’m crawling toward acceptance. I still can’t go to baby showers. It’s still difficult to see pregnant women. I still have seconds-long fantasies that a miracle happens. I still have bad days. But I started therapy about a year ago and I have more good days than bad days now. Sometimes I can even talk about my experience and not get teary-eyed. I know it’ll continue getting easier each day, but I don’t think the pain ever goes away completely. It just becomes a smaller part of who you are.
LWB: What was the turning point for you?
Karina: My turning point started when we lost our three little embryos in our one and only IVF cycle. We were absolutely devasted. After years of trying, countless treatments, an early miscarriage, and a surgery to remove some uterine fibroids, we prayed that IVF would finally be the answer. But it was not to be. I had never in my life felt so hopeless and so completely broken physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I didn’t leave our house for two weeks. Somewhere in all that darkness, though, I found the strength to finally get help and began seeing a therapist. I’ve been in therapy for a year now and having recently celebrated my 43rd birthday, I can say that I’m ready to turn the page and begin this next chapter of my life. I’m ready to discover this new version of myself.
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Karina: Not experiencing pregnancy and the miracle of giving birth. Not knowing what our children would have looked like and which traits they would’ve inherited from each of our families. Knowing our family tree ends with us. Those are the things that I struggle with the most.
LWB: What’s the best part about not having children?
Karina: My nieces and nephew. I spoil them rotten and I enjoy every moment!
LWB: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Karina: Sometimes you have to let go of the life you that hoped for and trust in the life that is.
LWB: What is the best advice you’d offer someone else like you?
Karina: I know it hurts so much right now. I know it hurts so much that sometimes you think you won’t ever feel whole again. But you will; you are stronger than you know. It’s going to be very hard, but you will make it through. Because this is not the end for you. It’s only the beginning.
LWB: What is your hope for yourself this coming year?
Karina: To live our best life one day at a time.