As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Lee is in a painful phase of her journey. She always wanted children, but was never able to conceive. Now 49, she describes her current feelings as somewhere “between sad and depressed.” Read on for more details, then, if you’ve been in her shoes and have made some progress toward acceptance of a life without children, please take a few minutes to offer her encouragement in the Comments.
LWB: Please briefly describe your dream of motherhood.
Lee: I was the oldest of five children, and we had many foster children in our home over the years. I always knew I’d have children, most likely a combination of through birth and adoption.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Lee: By chance, I was never able to get pregnant. We [she’s married] did not pursue any fertility interventions.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
Lee: I’d say I vary between sad and depressed, but resigned, angry, and attempting to embrace Plan B.
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Lee: There are so many facets to the sadness I feel. Sometimes it is things like not getting to feel a child growing inside of me, never getting to take those lovely baby bump photos, not having a baby shower. At other times it is things like missing the chance to raise children the way I think is the best, breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, teaching my children to be confident and independent, compassionate and caring.
LWB: How do you answer “Do you have kids?”
Lee: I was never able to have children. I do have a foster daughter who started living with us when she was 17. She is now 25.
LWB: What’s the best part about not having children?
Lee: The freedom to get up and go whenever and wherever we want, not having to worry about children in this changing and often scary world.
LWB: What’s one thing you want other people (moms, younger women, men, grandmothers, teachers, strangers) to know about your being childfree?
Lee: The fact that I did not bear children does not mean that I do not have knowledge about children. I babysat from the time I was 13 years old, and I have spent 28 years as a pediatric physical therapist. I have a lot of knowledge to offer.
LWB: What is your hope for yourself this coming year?
Lee: To get my house and life in order so that I can do my crafts and have people over without stressing over my house!
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Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.