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 Darla

We purchased it within months of our wedding. I passed by the nursery door every day for years, but it wasn’t the right time to be pregnant.

Then the Divorce came.

I took the crib with me. I couldn’t bear to leave it behind for the other wife and baby ready to fill it up. Lovingly packed away it rested in my bedroom closet, which I passed by every day. I still had Hope then. I was so young and I imagined having that dearly wanted child and raising her under the canopy of that beautiful maple crib.

By the time I reached my mid-30s, I felt my biological clock turn on in ways I didn’t think possible. The ache for my child—it became an obsession, a feeling I had with every breath. The desire for motherhood was greater than anything I had ever experienced. The worst part? It wasn’t that I couldn’t, it’s that I didn’t have a husband. So I endured—the emptiness of aunthood. It’s not that I didn’t love and enjoy those nieces and nephews. But I wanted a child, my child, to love and raise.

Another move to a new home and the crib no longer rested in my bedroom closet. The time had come for it to go away as I couldn’t bear to have it empty in my house anymore. I cried as it left in the back of a van, headed for another home where a first-time mom was about to give birth. The ache of that crib departure was devastating, especially because I began to lose the hope of motherhood.

And then, the measurement of time that becomes all too real—I passed age 40 without marriage, without my crib, without my hopes of a husband and child to be mine. My patriarchal blessing is filled with insights about my future family. I felt empty, ashamed, wounded that I failed that promise. That my crib was somewhere else.

I understand what it’s like to face the end of childbearing years. My journey there was not as I imagined. And as I’ve endured those pains of unfulfilled expectations, the dreams that never came true, I’ve had to reconcile what makes me a woman. Those were not easy times, but the wrestle has been worth it. I now know for certain that my children and husband are waiting for me. I have work to do here, but soon enough I will be a mom, raising my children under the canopy of heaven, true in the Faith that my Savior and Heavenly Father had a plan and helped me arrive at motherhood in the best possible way…right in the prime of my eternal childbearing years.