I’m Katie. I’m a vibrant, loud, exuberant, obnoxious, fun loving 33-year-old woman. I have an amazing, kind husband who just happens to be the love of my life. I have a job that I adore. I have a ward family that I love almost as much as I love my own. And the only babies I have, and will ever have, come equipped with four legs, whiskers and tails.
You may think that I still have time, that miracles happen every day, that I can “just adopt”, that I shouldn’t give up hope and that I just possibly need to relax and it will happen.
That is simply untrue.
Let me rewind.
About 14 years ago, I met the most handsome man I had ever seen. After waiting a few months, we had our first date. I immediately went home, called my Grandma and told her that I had met the man I was going to marry. A few more months went by and a pretty diamond ended up on my finger. After a few more months, I was sealed to my superhero husband in the Mount Timpanogos temple.
It may sound like a fairy tale, and to be completely truthful, it is. Except for one thing.
A few more months went by and my sister-in-law got pregnant. Then my other sister-in-law got pregnant. And then my friends got pregnant. And my coworkers got pregnant. And I.well, didn’t. It’s not like I didn’t want to. It’s not like I wasn’t trying.
The moment that my superhero and I were married, I started dreaming of being the mother of his children. They would have his twinkling eyes, of course, and beautiful, thick brown hair. My boys would play football and baseball and get dirty and love to hunt and fish and camp. My girls would be pseudo tomboys- girls that could love the outdoors, but in a girly way. They would have pets and pictures and train sets and bunk beds. They would all play the piano. They would be naturally smart, just like him. They would grow up, serve missions, marry in the temple and change the world. I even had their names picked out. Three boys, two girls. So many plans and dreams.
Life continued and people kept having babiesand I didn’t. At this point, my friends are all buying mini vans, my sisters in law are on their second babies and we were still.well, us. Just us.
A few years after we were married, we lost my Grandpa. This left my Grandma all alone to care for herself. Everyone else had a family and a life. So, we dropped everything and moved to a different state to care for her. Shortly after we moved, we decided to explore the reasons that we still weren’t getting pregnant. I saw doctors and we found out. I won’t go into details, but it was treatable. And I did everything I could. I lost the weight; I took the medsand did what I was supposed to do. I felt great, looked great and had the world in the palm of my hand. And just when life was supposed to be getting better, it didn’t.
Through a series of very personal events, all of a sudden, I felt like my world was collapsing. It was all I could do, with the assistance of my ever wonderful superhero, to pick myself up and put myself together every day. Even after all these years, I still feel like I’ve lost a part of my soul and some days, I still have to pick myself up and dig deep to make it through the day.
After a few years of feeling like I had completely failed as an LDS woman, daughter, wife and everything else, I read a beautiful talk written by a woman who is now a dear friend. I was so touched by her words, that I sent her a brief message thanking her for her bravery and compassion. She then introduced me to a support group that has literally helped me rebuild my self-worth. We are a group made up of LDS women who are childless by circumstance. We are not able to be mothers in this lifetime, and we are working together to achieve awareness and compassion in our LDS culture. We understand that we are different and we may not always fit the LDS woman mold, but I have come to realize that there is so much that we as women can offer.
Sister Ardeth Kapp said in a talk given at the 2007 BYU Women’s Conference “My husband and I have come to realize you need not possess children to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing and possessing is not necessarily loving. The world is filled with people who need to be loved, guided, taught, lifted and inspired.“
I have found this statement to be absolutely true. I have spent hours pleading with the Lord, almost bargaining with Him, to let me fulfill my purpose as a Mother. I’ve cried countless tears at the loss of our dream. My heart has been shattered into little pieces every Mother’s Day, every holiday, at the beginning of every school year as I watch mothers with their children. That is until a very wise and kind bishop issued a couple of callings. My husband and I both serve as auxiliary presidents in our ward.He in young mens and scouting, and me in primary. As we’ve served together with these youth in our ward, we’ve seen the enormous opportunity and blessing that the Lord has given us.
When I was set apart, the bishop said that the Lord knew the desires of my heart and that, if I served faithfully, they would be granted to me. For a year or so, I was sure that it meant that I would be able to have babies. I served my little heart out and then, it came.
The answer came on a Sunday. I was teaching gospel instruction on the theme “I Am a Child of God”. The primary children were gathered at my feet as we sat on the floor and I read them a story about the worth of souls. As I looked at those faces, I understood. I understood what my Father in Heaven had given to me. He had given me the precious chance to make a difference in the life of a child. As I’ve embraced this idea, I’ve noticed the love that I have for them is boundless and it is returned from each child. We’ve formed a strong bond. I hope it’s strong enough that they’ll always remember that they’re loved and that they’re special and that they’re important. I wish I could tell them how they changed my life. I wish they could understand.
I also wish I could tell every woman who is struggling with her self-worth due to infertility or her childless status that they are needed. There is something that only they can offer to the world. Of this, Sister Kapp has said in an interview with LDS Living “We all have challenges-we’re here to be tried and tested. There are those who would withdraw and separate themselves from opportunities that they might otherwise have had. But if we don’t wrap our arms around ourselves to pull away, but open our arms to reach out to others, then there are unlimited opportunities to love and share and give and bless.
How grateful I am for the group of women who have helped me learn how to open my arms, to love, to serve, to support and to be compassionate. I am so inspired by them on a daily basis. They are strong, kind women with a desire to make the world a better place and I call myself blessed to be part of their sisterhood. It’s always a comfort to be assured that you are never alone in your struggle.
Sadly, we are an almost invisible group. We are women who would give everything to have our own children and through circumstances beyond our control, we cannot fulfill that dream. It’s hard to find your place in the world and in the ward when you feel completely alone. But please know that you’re not. We are here. We have a strong sisterhood of women that understand and empathize because we are still fighting our personal battles every day, just as you are. We are here to listen, to love, to support and to build your confidence.
We are so much more than just friends, we have become sisters. There is nothing that we wouldn’t do for one another. So many of us have never met, but the longer we support each other, the stronger that bond comes. We invite those of you that are struggling to find us, to join us and to be supported and loved by us. You are not alone. You are never alone.
This site has been set up by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints who, through various reasons, are living life without children. We started out as a small group of women and have grown to a group of friends who all support each other. We have all had different experiences. We reach out from different countries and cover a wide range of ages, situations, and acceptance. Please make yourself feel welcome read our blog posts, use our resources, and feel free to join with us. We know what it feels like to know you won’t have children in this life, to hear those words, but we also know how to find acceptance and even joy in that circumstance. We’re glad you found us. (www.childlessmormonsupport.com)