Hidden Griefs of Womanhood

Hidden Griefs of Womanhood


We started talking about baby names before we even got engaged. We would talk about names and combinations, throwing out new ideas and reveling in how light and exciting it all felt.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. When I was younger and was asked if I wanted kids I would always giggle and say I wanted four girls. Four girls with bright yellow hair that I could braid. Tiny feet to put shoes with bows on. Little dresses hanging in their closets. I always saw myself as a mother.

When we got married, we knew weren’t quite ready for kids just yet. But then the desire descended like a weight. It came so quickly that it surprised me with its heaviness and urgency. So after lots of conversation, we decided we wanted to try to have a baby. We were both nervous and excited about growing our family.

But then months passed and those two lines never appeared. 

I tried to forget my desires. I tried to minimize my wants: to be a mother and to see my husband be a father. It hurt to think about their tiny feet and their blonde hair and their little hands, so I mentally packed up those little dresses hanging in the closets and those tiny shoes with bows. It broke my heart to think about what could be…because what if it couldn’t be? 

I wanted desperately to have the bravery to believe for a child, no matter how long it took. I wanted to allow myself to hope for a future family. But I struggled as I walked through the grief that came month after month.

And then a year passed. And then another. And then another. Sorrow felt like my constant companion, and I faced some incredibly dark days.

As women, grief assails us in particular and weighty ways. It’s different for all of us, but as women we bear heaviness in some form and at some time.

Maybe you too wait for children to fill your too-quiet house. Maybe you long for the companionship and partnership of another. Maybe you still weep over the loss of a much-desired baby in the womb. Maybe you lament the specific difficulties you’ve faced in life because of your female-ness. Maybe you mourn your empty nest or the strain of your relationship with your own mother or children.

Today, remarkably, I celebrate a kicking baby in my belly (a modern-day miracle thanks to medicine and doctors), but my heart still feels the grief of four years of longing. And so I share these words with the hope that those of you who are in a similar place of waiting (whether for a child, for a spouse, for a job, or for a certain stage of life) will know that you are not alone in the days of disappointment. 

I hope these words remind you that you are seen, and you are loved. Your longing, your loss, and even your grief are not in vain.


Reading next

It's Good to Be A Girl
Words Always Carry Weight