As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
“When I was a little girl,” Heather says, “I always wanted to have a baby, just one.” But she was not able to be a mother, first by chance and later through choice when she chose to stop pursuing infertility treatments. Now 39, Heather and her husband are embracing their own Plan B, a childfree plan. Here’s her story.
LWB: Briefly describe your dream of motherhood.
Heather: I had dreams of loving, caring, and teaching my child all about life. I wanted to be a mother who gave my child humor and memories, a mother who would support and enjoy my child’s journey in life.
LWB: What was the turning point for you?
Heather: After the last IVF, they called to tell me that my levels had turned low—meaning a miscarriage. I went upstairs into my bathroom, took everything from the IVF and bagged it up, took it to the trash, and told myself that enough was enough. I needed to get myself back.
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Heather: Being excluded from my friend’s lives when they talk about their kids. Or being left out of the birthday parties because I don’t have kids, so they think that I won’t want to attend. (I buy the best gifts!)
LWB: What have you learned about yourself?
Heather: That I love my quiet time. That I don’t have the patience for kids around me all the time. I believe that there are places kids should not be—salons, swanky restaurants and bars, concerts—and I enjoy going there.
LWB: What’s one thing you want other people (moms, younger women, men, grandmothers, teachers, strangers) to know about your being childfree?
Heather: Just because I don’t have children of my own, doesn’t mean that I don’t “like” them. I am a great aunt, a great friend to young teens that my friends and family have. I want people to know that I wanted kids, it just was something that was not meant for me to do.
LWB: How do you answer “Do you have kids?”
Heather: This question still bothers me. I usually just say “No, I don’t have kids.” If people would leave it at that…but most of the time they follow that with “Are you going to?” It depends on who asks and the situation itself, but my favorite answer is “No. Do you?” It usually takes them aback, and I smile deep down.
LWB: Who is your personal chero (a heroine who happens to be childfree)? What about her inspires you?
Heather: I read an article a couple months ago about stars who don’t have children. Cameron Diaz stated that she doesn’t have kids, and she has a great life because of that. It makes me happy, because my husband and I have a great life, we are free to do what we want, when we want. I lean on that when I feel bad for myself.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.
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