by Rachel Campbell
When I was growing up I always said I didn’t want kids and I wasn’t really bothered about getting married either. All through my twenties and into my thirties, I honestly never thought about it. When my friends were having children I still never thought ‘that will be me one day’.
When I was 28, I met Jason and soon realised he was the one for me. We got engaged quite quickly and stayed that way for about 5 years. We married in April 2010 and settled into our way of life.
After a year or so I started to think, ‘well if we are married, do we start a family? Not thinking much of it, we began to try. I got pregnant so quickly that I could barely take it in! By the time I was adjusting to the idea, I'd started spotting and having cramps. A trip to doctors confirmed I was miscarrying.
Because I was only about 4 or 5 weeks into the pregnancy, I went home thinking, 'well it wasn’t real yet, I will get over it' etc. In hindsight I should have just got in touch with someone and talked it through.
I have now had 4 miscarriages in a row. None getting further than 10 weeks.
The fourth pregnancy was the most promising, having a scan and seeing a heartbeat. We cheerfully went to my mum’s at Christmas (in France), but halfway through the break, I started bleeding. A trip to hospital confirmed the dreaded truth.
After the third miscarriage I had a series of tests which all confirmed there was no problem and we were advised to keep trying, especially as I was 37 at this point. But I was an emotional wreck. How can I not be bothered about having kids all this time and then be so hell bent on it?? Bloody hormones! I was so angry all the time; my body was changing so much through getting pregnant and then losing my babies.
If I saw a pregnant woman I was just so filled with rage and jealousy, even now I can’t explain just how angry that made me. Even though I had no idea what that woman will have gone through to get pregnant - maybe it was easy, maybe not. The thought of it now still upsets me, the way it made me feel, ALL the time.
When Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) told the world he and his wife had miscarried, he summed it up perfectly for me. He said it was such a lonely place. That is so true.
I was surrounded by people and I just could not express how I felt. People look at you with sympathy, then expect you to just get over it and start again.
After my fourth miscarriage my husband and my mum sat me down and said, you need to stop putting yourself through this. If you have to, try again but then please think about another route.
I decided I couldn’t keep trying, the thought of losing another baby just did me in. It is one of the most traumatising experiences I have ever been through. I began to question everything. If I can’t have kids what's the point in my existence? What’s my legacy? How will people remember me if there are no kids to carry on the family?
When people ask and you tell them you are going to stop trying they look at you look you are in denial. Maybe I was. I didn’t trust my judgement on anything, even food shopping! And to this day I still have serious moments of doubt, even over the most basic things. But now, I have started to stop and think to myself "come on Rach, you are a normal rational person, just make a decision!"
The thing for me is – and always has been - the pregnancy. As much as babies are lovely and kids are great, I still don’t have that great need for a child.
Now I feel more like me, I realise the pregnancy was the thing I needed to get to grips with.
Then last year on my birthday (of all days), I strolled into work to be greeted with the new that two of my colleagues were pregnant. My head just went. I went home in my lunch break and just thought, ‘I can’t handle this’. I work for a small company and I am good friends with the girls, so I had a inkling that they were both pregnant but the confirmation was like a punch in my chest. I rang Jason at work and told him, he came home and he said go to the doctors. Which I duly did, and they gave me tablets and transferred me for counselling. I didn’t take the tablets, and the NHS counselling service was a long list, so I went private for a couple of months before I decided to stop going.
The counselling helped, and made me think differently about things, and just take it easy. I stopped beating myself up over things.
It still smarts when someone says they are pregnant, and I have friends of all ages so I still seem surrounded by people having babies, but I am 40 in a couple of weeks, and I want to get on with my life. I feel like the last 5 or 6 years have changed me totally, and not always for the better. But I do believe what is meant for you won’t go past you.
I wonder if there are many people in my situation - not wanting kids, trying and miscarrying anyway, and then living without them. I only seem to read about women who have miscarried but eventually gone on to have children. I honestly believe now that I can live my life and not regret my decisions about not having children. Can’t say I haven’t tried!
But it has taken me about three years to get to this point in my mind. I don’t want more tests, IVF etc. Jason and my family have no idea of the thoughts that have run through my head over the last few years. I truly hope to get peace of mind over the whole situation.
Now we have a dog, and I can’t tell you what a difference he has made to our lives! Before I had the miscarriage in France, we had just got a dog. I had these lovely visions of going out with our new baby and walking the dog at the same time, like millions of other women do.
But the plus is that our dog has saved my sanity and my marriage! He has given me focus, and make me laugh and smile again. Jason adores him.
Never in a million years did I think I would go through all this, but I did. We did. We got through it. So to all the people who are struggling - whatever happens, you are never alone. You must remember that.
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By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Dec 2019 - 08:23
Thanks for this article. I have had about 10 miscarriages over the past 6 years of marriage. 3 ectopics and in the last instance a few months ago i lost my remaining fallopian tube. Initially I wanted to try IVF but I am coming to terms that I cant put myself through this anymore. I have put my life on hold for many years and have been in life threatening situations too often. I am feeling that its time to focus on my other dreams and to build my legacy in another way. This whole thing has really taken its toll on my marriage and now we are contemplating getting a divorce. He wants kids more than anything else and I cant live with him resenting me for it. I would rather him leave and go on to be happy elsewhere. Its a terribly lonely place to be in. Im happy you found an outlet to give you some comfort. I am looking for mine.
By Jessica (not verified) on 20 Oct 2019 - 20:47
I was in the same boat. I didn’t want to have kids or get married through all of my 20s and early 30s. But I found the love of my life now. I have found out I will never have kids and people all around me have children or are getting pregnant. My sister in law just announced her pregnancy and I can’t be around them at all. I do not want to be around any children or pregnant people.
I do not know how I can live with the the thought of not being able to have a child. I don’t want to live like this. I don’t know if I will.
By Paula (not verified) on 18 Oct 2019 - 08:08
I love this article and found it last year after my third miscarriage. I’m thirty and my husband is thirty three. Having had tests that showed nothing obviously wrong, my husband and I decided to try again this year.
I lost my fourth baby yesterday and was suddenly glad that I’d kept a folder of favourite articles all this time to look back on. I think this is probably the end of my journey too and this article is incredibly uplifting and encouraging that while it seems hopeless now, there is more to life than babies.
And I agree; I already had my dogs before we started trying but they have been my salvation and a reason to leave the house when I don’t want to face the world. They also make great counsellors because they never say the wrong thing and always have time for a chat.
By Holly (not verified) on 5 Sep 2019 - 04:52
I am just going through my first misscarriage. I never wanted kids either but did it for my husband. I was just getting excited about this new adventure when this happened. I cant even look at kids now. My husband's best friend had a baby with a one night stand and I cant even look at him. I wonder why them and not me.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Jul 2019 - 13:15
3 miscarriages, 8 IVF, 10 years on and I'm sorry now I have no uterus. I cant see a dog as the answer.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Aug 2019 - 03:36
A dog could be a temporary answer and provide momentary joy and smiles to get you through, until ... I know mine has helped me, I’m 45 and unfortunately no children. Lonely often, but I try to nurture myself with things, thoughts, and feelings my “inner little girl” once had. So, so sorry for your multiple losses. I hope you find comfort in your dark moments. Some days are harder than others. The tears will fall. I try to treat it (infertility) as an old friend when it surfaces. I lean into the pain until I’m tired of feeling that way. And growth occurs in the process. It’s painful but light always prevails.
By lebo (not verified) on 24 Jul 2019 - 09:09
i want a baby
By Kim (not verified) on 9 Mar 2019 - 19:27
Finally, someone who has experienced almost exactly what I've been through. My last miscarriage was just 3 months ago and our doctor told us that this last IUI try would be the last. So we tried and my heart nearly shattered when I saw the "pregnant" but knew I was miscarrying again.
Things are still so raw. But like you, it's hard for me to find someone who has been through this that didn't go on to have kids or didn't have kids already. Thanks for writing this... you make me feel a little less alone in this.
God bless you, your husband, and your sweet dog.
By Zaara (not verified) on 14 Dec 2018 - 19:41
I always wanted to have kids. Turns out... I can't have any. I am 31 married for almost 5 years now. I see people having kids around me and sometimes I feel, I can't take it anymore. I wish I was brave as you. But I still have a hole in my heart for not being able to conceive.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 May 2016 - 23:42
As a single and un partnered woman I cannot pretend to know the heartache suffered by a woman who has had several miscarriages, but I do admire the maturity of the decision made by Rachel and her husband. However my main reason for commenting is in response to the pain she feels that if she can't have children she will leave no legacy by which to be remembered.
That is something every childless adult of either gender can feel ,however when I think of the people who have enriched my life by their teaching, example, company, friendship , acceptance, advice and more, most of them were single and childless! Because our emotions are not tied to our own offspring we have more to time, energy and love to spare for others. We may have talents we have time to develop to enrich other lives, or even spare money to help others. So don't allow yourself to think that your value lies only in your biological legacy, we all have something to leave if - like Rachel we can accept who we are, and turn our thoughts outwards to living life to the full .