This story is part of our End of the Childbearing Years series, exploring the experiences, decisions, and feelings of Mormon women around this pivotal transition. Each story is a generous and vulnerable offering. We ask that comments be sensitive and nonjudgmental toward any woman’s choices or beliefs.

By Bethany

It was a conscious decision that my husband and I agreed on—for my health and sanity. It all began at 15 years old, when I began my menstrual cycle and my pediatrician knew something was off with my reproductive system. Each cycle began every 14 days, lasting one full week and always heavy. Meaning my body never ovulated. That was the first time a doctor told me I’d struggle to conceive.

Fast forward ten years, and two miscarriages later, I finally got a diagnosis for Celiac Disease. Celiac affects your fertility, believe it or not. But after going on a gluten-free diet, I was able to get pregnant and stay pregnant, twice!

My husband and I have been blessed with two daughters, four years apart. Our miracles from Heavenly Father. I suffered another miscarriage in between.

With so much loss and fear of loss came postpartum depression and anxiety. I was a mess, a complete paranoid, anxious, and suicidal mess. I wanted to be the best mother for my children, but didn’t know how.

At one point I was considering trying for another baby, but a couple months into it I suffered an emotional and mental breakdown. That’s when I willingly decided to get the help my soul so badly needed.

This was also the point in my marriage that my husband and I both agreed that I should no longer try to have more children of our own—for my health. Not long after that decision, my body went into early perimenopause: I’m 34.

Heavenly Father has been preparing me and leading me through all of this. Every trial that came, I knew He had a plan for me and everything would work out. I hold so much faith in His plan for myself and my family.

I’m definitely done childbearing, but I’m not done child-rearing. There are children out there that deserve love and my husband and I have a lot of love to give, to our own children and our future adopted children.

Bethany and her family