This year, I gave myself my Mother’s Day gift early. When my teenage son competed in the state music contest in a bigger city, his two little sisters and I ran to the store to buy all of the toiletry items we can’t buy in our prairie town of 1,000 or through Amazon Prime. Back at home, I decided to restock the cabinet in our bathroom. I sat the bags of new supplies next to me on the floor. I took a deep breath and opened the cabinet door. The shelves were a heap of boxes, bottles and tubes—my own pharmacy of sorts.
For me, motherhood started at 18. My girls came along at 28 and 30. Now, six years later, I decided it was time to face the reality and throw away my fertility for Mother’s Day.
We wanted more children. I held out hope my fertility would produce fruit. Just a year ago on Mother’s Day, I was grieving the loss of a second ectopic pregnancy.
As I confronted my bathroom cabinet, my heart still ached a bit for another child. I grabbed the trash can and started to toss. The ovulation kits and pregnancy tests were the first to go. A couple months’ worth of birth control pills, prenatal vitamins and iron tablets followed. I still had a bottle of Fenugreek, which I took to increase my milk supply when I was a working/nursing mom. I reached into the cabinet again and again, pulling out Lanolin nipple cream, nursing pads, infant drop vitamins, teething tablets and nighttime teething gel. It had been almost six years since my last cesarean, and I still had a peri bottle from the hospital and the almighty Vicodin. In a matter of minutes, the cabinet was bare.
I’ve spent all of my 30s trying to decide if I should, if I could or if I would have another baby. Tying up that garbage bag brought closure. I’m done having babies. I wasn’t ever in control anyway. I should have learned that lesson at 18 when I became a mother at the most inopportune time. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate and cherish God’s blessing of motherhood—and it’s become the most rewarding and challenging role of my life.
I walked out to the dumpster and threw away my fertility. I announced to my husband, who was standing in the yard, “I just threw EVERYTHING away in our bathroom cabinet.” With a wary smile he said, “And how does it feel?” During this journey, my husband has been my listening ear and strong shoulder as I’ve struggled with the fact I’m done having babies. “I’ve been a mother half my life now,” I replied. “I don’t need any more than what I have.”
Women who live in a first-world country tend to try to control their own fertility because we have so many medical advancements and options. In turn, we easily lose sight of the many blessings we’ve been given in a land of plenty.
Cleaning out my bathroom cabinet, throwing away all I depended on for so many years and refilling it with fresh toiletries was a nod to new chapters to come—designed by God and out of my control. While God has always known I would have three kids, it took me some time to catch on. I’m never going to take a pregnancy test again—and I’m never going to have to deal with the disappointment, despair and failure of losing another pregnancy. I’m never going to give birth to another baby and cradle him or her in my arms again. I’m grateful God gave me three chances to hold perfectly formed babies and now raise them as their mother. As I cleaned out the cabinet, I was overcome by a sense of peace—I was doing the right thing at the right time.
There is plenty to read when you’re starting a family, struggling with fertility and raising a miracle baby, but when it comes to deciding your childbearing years are over, there is very little said. Deciding your family is complete is a private choice. It’s personal—and here I am breaking all the rules by writing about it. It goes beyond any stick, test, vitamin, treatment or doctor’s advice.
For all those who long to be mothers or are hurt because they might never be, God has a plan designed for you, too. It took me 18 years to live out this stage of my life—from becoming a mother when it was the last thing on my mind to closing the door when I really didn’t want to but knew it was time. Hopefully, I have plenty more years of living and learning in store.
This I do know, I won’t hold onto something thrown in a cabinet this long anymore. I will clean it out and move on, knowing a new chapter can be just as rewarding.
Mother’s Day evokes a buffet of emotions—and not all are positive. My first Mother’s Day, I was six months pregnant and already feeling like a failure as a mom. Not everyone’s entry into motherhood comes in ideal circumstances. Not everyone is a mother. Some have a rocky relationship with their mother. Others miss their mother or long to know her.
This Mother’s Day, I encourage you to give yourself the gift of letting go. What is holding you back from enjoying the blessings right in front of you?
The Farmer's Wifee says
You are so inspiring! <3
Thank you! I know we share single motherhood experiences and I appreciate your kind words.
Ashley M-K says
You just made me cry. Have lost 2 pregnancies and have yet to have a child it is so hard not to micromanage every little thing. I am praying daily and working hard for God to help to leave it up to him. But I am a driver, a worker and a fighter which means my infertility is no different. I want to fight for it and that is the hardest part. I know this is a lesson God is trying to slam into my brain but it is easier said than done. Thank you for this inspiring post and for sharing your unique infertility journey. Each one is different but each one is important.
Ashley, adding you to my prayer list. I’ve told my husband if I was 36 years old with no kids right now I would keep fighting. But over the past year God has definitely spoken to me and shown me I need to have peace and let go of trying to control something I am not in charge of. God will bless in immeasurable ways and we don’t know what those are yet, Ashley. Thank you for sharing your heart.
What a strong woman you are Katie! Blessings to you and your family. Very nice post and conjures up many feelings for me too as we decide on what is next for our family. XOXO Cristen
Deciding and waiting on what’s next is a tough chapter I obviously struggled with Cristen and thank you for your kind words. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. And have I ever told you I wish we were neighbors? 🙂
Wow what a post <3 what an inspiration!
Thank you Becky. It just came from my heart while sitting in bed last night!
Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) says
I am so proud of you. I’m proud of your faith, your strength, and your willingness to find closure and peace in His plan. As your “baby sis” I look up to you and hope that I can navigate unsure waters of choices like this with the same trust you do. I know this was a major decision to overcome, and I know you don’t share this story lightly. But, again, I am more proud of you than I have words for.
I’m always here for you to navigate unsure waters, Kelly! Love ya
Wow! Thanks for sharing Katie. I had no idea. There is so much peace when you begin to understand God’s plan and appreciate his blessings on your life.
Meggie, thank you. Definitely there is God’s plan and blessings.
Thanks for the inspiring post.
Thanks for reading Allison!
Amanda Hofland says
Applause for having the bravery to write about such a personal topic openly. I think it’s so important for women to talk about issues like these, and I found your story very interesting. I’m not to that stage yet, but I hadn’t thought about this point in my future, so thanks for making me think a bit! And that is so awesome that you felt peace about your decision. Must mean it really was right – I love when doing something scary becomes not so scary.
Definitely the right words, Amanda. “Something scary becomes not scary.” Thanks for your kind words!
Menopause evokes similar feelings. But….Ahhhhhh….there is always the possibility of grandchildren! Our babies babies.
Thank you Pastor Jane. You can counsel me through!
Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] says
Happy Mother’s Day, Katie. This is beautiful. I’ve been praying that God would give me a clear sign as to whether or not we are done having kids, I’m trusting in Him…but sometimes I selfishly want a black/white, yes/no answer when it’s not so simple.
Thank you Sarah. I waited for black and white answers and could never seem to settle on them. Said a prayer for you just now!
Sally Paulson says
I became a mother for the first time at 25 and looking back, I still feel I wasn’t mature enough to be a mom then. I’ve made my mistakes, that’s for sure, and three more babies came along. I struggled as a young person about who I was, who I wanted to be, etc. I remember when I held my daughter in my arms for the very first time, I said, “God…now I know why you put me on earth. It’s not about me at all…it’s about this little baby and the great things she is going to do in her life.” And boy, has she! All of my kids are amazing and different and I’m so very lucky.
Katie, this is beautiful! I also have struggled with the end of my childbearing years. At 30 years old, I don’t feel old enough to be past those years, especially with most of my friends just getting to this stage. I too have looked to the Lord to give me the strength to be ‘OK’ with this next step of life, and he is certainly opening many other doors in my life right now, and I feel that is HIS way of telling me that it is Ok to move on. Thank you for sharing, I certainly understand the struggle and the strength that it took to write this.
joseph muita says
A very nice blog for Mothers thanks for sharing.
It is a good thing to believe in the Almighty God for guidance through all this in our life. Thanks great read