Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Surviving March 11, 2011

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the death of my father. 25 years have passed and I’ve grown from a teenage girl to a woman, but if I was sitting in a room with you, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you about my dad without my voice cracking.

Losing my dad was the single most significant thing that had ever happened to me. It changed the whole trajectory of my life and it colored everything I did for many, many years.

Then I found out I couldn’t have children.

In many ways that has trumped my father’s death. It has taken the title of Most Significant Event. It has changed the trajectory of my life in ways I could never have imagined, and it still colors everything that I do. But already I am able to tell you that I can’t have children, without my voice cracking. Because what losing my dad taught me is that life goes on and that I will survive. It does, and I will.

Last night I spoke about writing at the Wellness Community, a cancer support center near my home. I sat in a room with survivors, women whose Most Significant Event has given them an up-close view of their own mortality. Their diagnosis changed their lives and continues to color everything that they do. But they’re here, they’re talking (often with cracking voices), they’re telling their stories and they are surviving.

Life deals us blows; it’s the nature of the thing. But we go on and we survive. That’s what makes us human.

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7 Responses to “Surviving”

  1. I send you hugs…and many more after that one.

  2. Illanare Says:

    My thoughts are with you.

  3. Mali Says:

    Finding out I wouldn’t be able to have children, and all that came with it, (to use your words) “taught me is that life goes on and that I will survive.” And that helped me so much when a few years later I lost my dad. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. It just means, as you’ve said, that we will survive. And that is a wonderful gift to have.

    I’m very sorry you lost your dad when you were so young though.

  4. loribeth Says:

    Beautiful post, Lisa. Sending you (((hugs))).

  5. Kelly Says:

    I too lost my father, coming up on 19 years now. It’s a hard thing to deal with, especially when that one event has controlled so many things that has happened in life. I also cannot have children. It’s a sad thing. All I’ve ever wanted was to have a family, and now that dream has been crushed. I think the most important thing for those in situations like ours is to know that we are not alone. I’m sorry to hear your story, as I know it all too well.

  6. Kate B Says:

    It’s been 29 years for me. I know what you mean. Sending you hugs {{{}}}

  7. […] mum said something very profound. She said that, before my father died (25 years ago) she couldn’t have ever imagined how she’d survive as a widow. And yet she did. She found the […]


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