By Danielle Anderson
I have two sons, and no, I’m not going to be trying for a girl.
It’s not that I wouldn’t love to have a daughter. I would.
It’s not that I wanted a family of four. I wanted FIVE children.
It’s that having children isn’t “safe” for me or the baby for medical reasons, and that sucks.
After the birth of our second child, my husband and I decided, that we should not have more children and took steps to make sure I would not get pregnant again. It was a decision we made with our heads based on the experiences during both of my pregnancies and deliveries due to a blood protein deficiency that I have.
It was not at all a decision we made with our hearts, and I’ve struggled to find peace with this for the last six years because I’m often made to feel my profound sadness for the children that could have been is unjustified.
I have children. Healthy children. What more could I ask for when there are women who have tried for years and still haven’t celebrated a single Mother’s Day with a child in their arms? How could I feel cheated when I’ve never experienced the utter devastation of losing a child?
I would never begin to compare my heartache to that of women unable to get and/or stay pregnant or deliver a healthy child. Never. It’s not even close.
But watching your dream of a large, boisterous family vanish before your 27-year-old eyes is beyond overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if it’s for your own good and, ultimately, the good of your entire family. It doesn’t matter if you have two precious children waiting for you to rock them to sleep night after night.
When your heart is shattered into a million pieces, you don’t want to be forced to look on the bright side.
You want to be allowed to feel the sadness, cry the tears, and be mad at the world.
You want to grieve.
My grief for the children I will never have is very real, and you know what? It should be respected. Not ignored. Not discounted. Not minimized.
And I know that I am not alone.
There are many women whose ideal families never come to fruition. If you believe we, women whose childbearing days were over long before we were ready to pack away the baby booties, need to be reminded how lucky we are to have the children we have, then you don’t understand the heart of a mother.
To us, those future children were just as real and just as loved as the children we have.
What we need is love and sympathy and support as we move, ever so slowly, through the grieving process.
So, if you know a mother, one who loves her children more than life itself yet tears up at the sight of those perpetually empty seats around the dining room table, and she ever says to you, “I wish I could have had more children,” open your heart to her.
Share in her grief, hug her tightly and say, “I know you do, and I wish you could have, too.”
Danielle Anderson lives in Monticello, IL with her husband Cole, their sons Ian (age 7) and Eli (age 6), and their divalicious Yorkie, Miss Priss. When she isn’t cleaning up the kitchen explosions or the scrap lumber inventions of her young mad scientists, she’s snuggled up with copious amounts of yarn, knitting.