When Abbie met her partner Caris, she knew she had found her soul mate - but ultimately it would leave her childless.
Abbie shared her poignant story with me:
Growing up on the south coast in Bournemouth as one of three children, Abbie had a happy childhood and always assumed that she would marry and have children, just as her mother and grandmother before her did. That all changed when in January 1986, she met Caris at a party.
'She was slim, blonde and extremely beautiful, the old cliché. She took my breath away. I had never dated a woman before and within two weeks we were inseparable.
After six months Caris wasn't just my partner and lover but my best friend and we felt as if though we were embarking on an incredible journey together.
Only one thing marred my happiness, Caris was adamant that she didn't want children. No discussion. My initial reaction was one of surprise, then acute disappointment, but I thought she would eventually come round. It's every woman's primal instinct to want a family - right?
Everything else in our lives was perfect and we worked hard, played hard and travelled the world together. While Caris was focusing on her publishing career my thoughts continuously drifted to having children and how they would fit in to this perfect picture.
But whenever I raised the subject, Caris made it clear that if I wanted to be with her then that wasn't part of the deal. No compromise. I tried hard to accept her decision - she had been honest with me from the start - but at other times - I found myself bitterly resenting her.
As I approached 38 years, I slowly became reconciled to the idea that children were never going to be part of our lives and losing what I had with Caris frightened me more than never having a family of our own. I could have walked away but Caris was the woman for me and not having children was the price that I paid for her love. Plus, we had an enviable lifestyle, beautiful house and great friends.
Then in October 2006, my world came crashing down around me. Shortly after we returned from safari in Kenya, Caris complained of a crushing headache, but put off seeing our GP. She got up for work as usual on Monday morning with a bad head, collapsed on the bedroom floor, and that was it. She was gone.
No time to say goodbye. It was a brain aneurysm and could have happened at any time.
In the days that followed, I experienced an anger which I had never known before. I was angry at Caris that she had left me all alone at 44 years without children to give me a reason to carry on. I was angry at the world and felt an unbearbale loneliness and could see no point in living.
These days I look back with love not regret.
I had a wonderful 20 year relationship with a fantastic woman which is more than a lot of people ever have. When I look back and wonder would I have swapped Caris for someone who could have given me children - the answer is a definite no.
It was a high price to pay for love, but I know that every precious moment we shared was worth the sacrifice.'
Life is very short, live for the moment.
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