For weeks, I’ve been debating about whether or not to write about this topic. I’ve been wrestling even longer about whether or not to share it.
It isn’t something I’ve ever heard talked about at all in the loss community – and I’m not sure how it will be received. It’s a deeply personal and vulnerable topic.
However, after my babies died, I made a commitment to live this life as fully, openly, and honestly as I can – and that means honoring all aspects of my journey. Besides, if there is even a chance that one other grieving parent has had a similar experience and thinks they are the only one, well, I want them to know that they are not alone.
Here’s my truth: My babies died and I don’t want to have more children.
I was never one of those girls who longed for children. I wasn’t a woman who always knew that she was meant to be a mother. Having children was something I was fairly ambivalent about. It’s not that I was opposed to having children necessarily, I simply wasn’t very attached to the idea. Honestly, the few times I really thought about it deeply, the idea of adopting older children had more appeal to me than birthing babies of my own.
Life, however, had different ideas. I found myself engaged at a young age and unexpectedly pregnant very shortly after. In that, there was no ambivalence – our baby was wholly and completely wanted and loved. I was her mother and I wanted that with everything in me.
All the plans I had for life and love and motherhood simply imploded. Over the next 7 years, my fiancé died, our daughter was stillborn, I experienced a very early miscarriage, and the miscarriage of my second daughter.
At 27, I found myself single, childless, and wondering what the ever-loving fuck happened to my life.
It was then that I finally started asking myself, truly asking myself, what I really wanted in life. The 8 years since have been a journey of discovering who I am and who I wanted to be in this life after loss.
And the truth is that while I deeply and absolutely loved my daughters and grieve for them every day of this unexpected life – I don’t want to have more children.
My arms ache to hold my children. The absence of them echoes in my home and makes me want to weep. I long with all of my being to know who they would be at 14 and 7 and constantly wonder what life with them would be like. I miss and grieve for them with every fiber of my being.
But I do not want to provide them with siblings. I do not want to carry another baby in my womb, or birth them, or raise them in this life.
I am driven to nurture, to love, to mother, to comfort, to teach, and to create – but I do so by writing and creating books, creating communities and spaces for those who grieve, by counseling those who hurt, and tending and nurturing family and friends.
Someone asked me once if my lack of desire to have more children came from a place a fear that I wouldn’t be able to. It was a valid question, especially given that my only experiences of pregnancy and birth are that of blood and silence and death. I don’t know that my body would even be able to successfully carry a child through pregnancy into life – it hasn’t been able to do yet.
Perhaps that is part of it, a piece of why I don’t wish to have additional children. I do have a fear of becoming pregnant again because I don’t trust my body to keep any babies safe and alive.
Beyond that, however, is a simple knowing that I have had all my children and they are it for me. I am a mother to two beautiful, much loved daughters. I will continue to nurture and hold my beautiful babies in my heart until the day I leave this earth. I have made my (relative) peace with not having additional children here to raise and nurture.
Not all of us get children here on Earth to raise and nurture and know. Sometimes life makes that decision for us. Sometimes we decide motherhood is not for us. And sometimes it’s a combination of the two.
I am the mother to two beautiful daughters. They don’t get to be here on Earth with me.
And they will be my only children.
(Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash)