Columns Archive, Promises for You

The Lost Chances

Nobody ever loved me.

That’s what’s blaring at the front of my mind when people ask me why I don’t have kids. And as harsh a truth as that is, it’s the truth. When my nieces and nephews (who don’t even really want me to have kids because then Aunt Shameka’s attention might be diverted from them) ask this question, my mouth forms a catchy but vague excuse: “That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” “I guess it wasn’t in the cards,” or “I got enough to do helping y’all.” And I laugh it off. But there’s nothing funny. And the truth sits on the tip of my tongue, unsaid.

Nobody ever loved me.

I’m not old-fashioned or traditional by any means. My parents didn’t stay together, but I was conceived in love and born in love. And that’s what I always wanted for my kids. I wanted love—even if it didn’t last forever. But it never happened. I didn’t get love, even when I gave it. My romantic misfortune has been the long-standing subject of my secret angst. Romantic love has been an elusive creature, sometimes glimpsed—maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not—like a unicorn or the Loch Ness Monster. But even as I lamented the way things unfolded with the matters of my heart, the matters of my reproductive system were singing their own sorrowful refrain: PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The silent ogre at the edge of my reproductive village, scaring off many of the chances I’ve had to conceive and grow another. 

Nobody ever loved me

It seemed ovulation didn’t love me either.


I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 26 years old. I’d gone through years of irregular periods, of things happening in my body for no discernible reason, of feeling like my lack of romantic love was the fault of excess hair growth and gut protrusion. There were undiagnosed symptoms and ultrasounds that found nothing awry. Then I got a diagnosis, which is only a celebration if there’s a way to fix the problem. There’s no fix for PCOS. It affects one out of every ten women of reproductive age and, for many of us, it takes so long to get diagnosed that even finding out that it’s manageable doesn’t give you any hope. Because all of those years it was unmanaged passed you by. Maybe you’ll get pregnant on a fluke, on a random chance, on a lottery win of perfect timing. But when nobody loves you, even that doesn’t happen. And so, I nursed my heart and mind. And tried to nurse my body. Tried to manage this scary, unimaginable thing. It’s unsettling to say out loud that you are infertile. It seems extreme. But whenever you’re not ovulating correctly, that’s exactly what you are—infertile. Even when you might wish it was different. Here we are. Here I am. Taking Metformin, battling insulin resistance, listening to side conversations about how much weight I’ve gained from people who have no idea that my body is sometimes actively working against me. 

I built a whole life with children—in my head—but I don’t have them. Maybe I won’t get to have them. Maybe my fate won’t bend that way. I still have time. But not as much as I had when I first dreamed about it. And every day I’m reminded of it. I see people, day in and day out, wishing for time to pass faster, hurrying their lives up when I’m trying to slow mine down. Trying to get back some of the chances I lost. I stand in the face of everything I’ve seen, and at forty years old, I know what the odds are. But I still believe. 

Nobody ever loved me. 

But I love me. And I promise to keep trying to manage the thing that seems unmanageable. I promise to keep loving myself regardless. I promise to make room for my dreams to take shape in other ways. I promise…I won’t give up. Not for me, not for us.

Nobody ever loved me.

Nobody but me.

Promises for You is a column that gives voice and space to those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, and child loss at any age. We need open conversations on a continuous basis to dispel shame, give room to grief, and nurture understanding.

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Filed under: Columns Archive, Promises for You


A writer and Philadelphia native, I have four short story collections on Amazon, along with a romance novel, and have been published on several literary sites and in magazines. I love fiction, but I do leave room for my nonfiction expression. I have a passion for words, bourbon, the MCU, and you can almost always find me on Twitter.