This following mini stories are 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.

Malauney Bourne

After we were married, I dreamed of having four children. I had their names chosen, and a blessing gown ready. My grandfather handmade me a stunning cradle. After over a decade of struggles, I finally received an answer to prayers. It came when I was able to accept that although our family would only consist of my husband and myself, we were still a complete family unit in the eyes of the Lord, regardless of what the majority of ‘well-meaning’ ward members might advise us.

Debbie Schwendinger

I gave birth to my seventh child at age 40 and miscarried my eighth at age 43. I desperately wanted another baby to fill my empty arms, but no more came. This was very difficult for me, but I learned to trust in the Lord’s timing. It was a comfort to know that families are forever, and my miscarried son is still truly mine. And happily, my empty arms were filled seven years later….with a sweet little granddaughter.

Marie Leslie

When number four was born I knew in that moment that they were all here. It had been a difficult one as I struggled with uncontrolled asthma and pneumonia for the last month of my pregnancy. She was born in respiratory distress and required emergency intervention. It was a blessing to have that immediate confirmation as I was told by a number of doctors and nurses that day that I would not be so lucky if I tried another pregnancy.

Diane Anderson

I had three children within 18 months (the first two were twins), so I thought that was enough. Several years later I had a miscarriage, then we (several members of my family and I) started seeing a little blond child near our other children, and knew that she was waiting to join our family. After she was born we knew our family was complete.