As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
“Since none of my sisters or my mom had troubles getting pregnant (well into their 30s),” Ani* wrote, “I had no worries about waiting until after my 30th birthday to start thinking about babies.” As many of us can imagine, she was devastated and wholly unprepared when she then suffered two miscarriages.
Today, Ani and her husband are trying to come to terms with being a family of two. That journey includes some days of feeling anxious, bitter, and depressed, and others days hoping they can make peace with their childfree life.
At the end of her story, she shares her hopes for the new year. I hope you’ll jump on the Comments to offer Ani some encouraging words and share with all of us what you’re hoping for in 2016.
LWB: Briefly describe your dream of motherhood.
Ani: I’ve always loved kids. I am exceptionally close to my niece and nephew (who live in the same town as me), and I adore my other three nephews. I have always just assumed I would be a mom.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Ani: Circumstance. We have been trying to conceive/not preventing since October 2013. In December 2013 we got pregnant the first time, which ended in heartbreak when I miscarried in January 2014. December 2014, almost exactly a year after our first BFP [“big fat positive” pregnancy test], we got our second. I was super-cautious about getting excited too quickly, and was proven horribly right when I suffered another miscarriage in January 2015. We’ve been checked out, and seemingly things are physically alright with me, except for being overweight. My husband has very bad sperm morphology.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
Ani: I would say I am still in the depression state of mind. Pregnancies give me anxiety and make me feel so bitter toward even my greatest friends. I am fine with babies and older kids, but seeing a pregnant belly or positive pregnancy test or a sonogram picture can send me into hysterics.
I want to accept my childlessness, and my wonderful husband assures me constantly that we, as a couple, are enough. But I feel like I’ve ruined his life and chance at being a father, and I fear that he will one day resent me for not being able to carry a child for him.
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Ani: People treat you as “less than” when you don’t have kids. You will also never know what being tired or sick or upset feels like, because those feelings are reserved solely for parents (*sarcasm*).
LWB: What’s the best part about not having children?
Ani: Having our free time. We can sleep in or stay up as long or as little as we want, with nobody but our cats and dog to worry about. I also think having a child would send my anxiety into overdrive, since I would constantly worry about money and safety issues, etc., etc.
LWB: What’s one thing you want other people (moms, younger women, men, grandmothers, teachers, strangers) to know about your being childfree?
Ani: Please don’t treat me as useless or irrelevant just because I don’t have kids.
LWB: What is your hope for yourself this coming year?
Ani: That my husband and I will be able to fully make peace with our childfree lives and spend as much time as we can doing the things we love to do together…without worrying about the past.
*Not her real name. We allow each respondent to use a fictitious name for her profile, if she chooses.
Where are you on your journey? Are you 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.