As told to Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Angela found Life Without Baby when she was researching “living childfree” online. After incredibly painful losses, she is moving forward in her journey toward acceptance, with some rough days along the way. Like those days when you’re caught in awkward situations, when some stranger asks if you have children, and you find yourself falling into an unexpected abyss of grief and loneliness. “I feel like a leper,” Angela wrote to me, “and that should not be the case.”
That’s why I feel these stories, our stories, are so important. We are here to remind each other “You are not alone.”
I hope for better days for Angela and all of us, days when we are heard, accepted, embraced, and appreciated for simply being ourselves.
I hope, after reading her story, you’ll reach out to Angela through the Comments to offer your support and encouragement.
Wishing you better days. — Kathleen
LWB: Briefly describe your dream of motherhood.
Angela: I always thought I’d get married before I was 30, have three amazing children, and move to a beautiful house in the countryside.
LWB: Are you childfree by choice, chance, or circumstance?
Angela: I hadn’t been able to conceive naturally, so my partner and I decided to try IVF. It worked the first time. I was elated and couldn’t believe that at last I was going to be a mother. Sadly, it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. I was devastated, but managed to pick myself up to do a couple more egg collections before doing a transfer. Again, I was pregnant, and this time it wasn’t ectopic, but sadly, I had a miscarriage. This was followed by an emergency D&C, then another D&C two months later to remove the remaining tissue. Due to the biopsy results of the removed tissue, I needed to see a gynecologic oncologist who performed a colposcopy and found that I had carcinoma in situ of the cervix and had to have a cold knife cone biopsy. It was only after this sorry saga was over that I able to grieve for the loss of my baby whilst simultaneously coming to terms how fortuitous it was that I had had a D&C when I did.
I did step back onto the IVF train four more times, but all four failed. My partner had moved on long before me, and I often felt like I couldn’t talk about my feelings to him without being told to move on, get counseling, therapy, anything.
Nevertheless, I finally decided that enough was enough after depleting much of our savings, being emotionally broken to the point where I couldn’t fall anymore, and making a promise to myself that I was going to live the rest of my life happy and strong, no matter what.
LWB: Where are you on your journey now?
Angela: I have now come to accept that my family of two makes me happy in so many ways. We are more appreciative of each other and what we have. I have even begun to embrace life again and accept that this is the life I was given, even if it wasn’t the one I would have chosen. It took me a very, very long time to get here, and although I still feel pangs of sadness—which I don’t think will ever go away—they don’t sting like they used to.
LWB: What’s the hardest part for you about not having children?
Angela: Not being able to experience loving, nurturing, and educating my own children from birth and beyond. The joy of being pregnant, the miracle of giving birth, and experiencing the ups and downs of being a parent and potential grandparent.
LWB: What’s the best part about not having children?
Angela: Being able to do what I want, when I want, and not ever having to burden myself with the financial stress that I see so many parents experience.
LWB: What have you learned about yourself?
Angela: I am stronger and more emotionally resilient than I ever imagined.
LWB: What is the best advice you’d offer someone else like you?
Angela: Life is tough. There will be dark days, maybe even months, and when you hit rock bottom, you will find the strength to fight back up to the top. It’ll take time, patience, a lot of reflection, and big doses of hard work, but don’t give up, because you have so much to look forward to. Life is waiting for you to embrace it and make it what you will, no matter what. Live authentically, compassionately, and learn to help others when they cannot help themselves.
LWB: What do you look forward to now?
Angela: A life with abundance: travel, getting my masters degree, starting a new career, making new friends, and simply living happy again without being on a rollercoaster of drugs, appointments, and emotional highs and lows that consume my every thought.