This time 5 years ago, I was desperate to become a mother.
At this point we knew that IVF would most likely be our only option for conceiving. I was OK with that, but I don’t think I could’ve anticipated the roller coaster ride that my body, mind and marriage were about to take off on. The injections, the procedures, the tests, the waiting (oohhh the waiting)… it was all rough. There were setbacks and disappointments. There were times that I was convinced I would never get to be a mother. But now… somehow… I’m here. With two healthy, happy kids calling me mommy. A fact that blows me away daily when I step back and think about it.
While I wouldn’t say that I’m thankful for my infertility (by any means), I do know one thing: it changed me for the better. Here’s how.
It strengthened my marriage. When your husband sees you ugly-cry for weeks on end and still loves you, you know he’s a keeper. In all seriousness though, it was our journey and we were a team. We leaned on each other and came out stronger than ever.
It made me more faithful. I tried for awhile to carry the load myself. I worried and stressed, then worried and stressed some more. Then one day I handed it over to God and made every effort to replace my worries with prayers. This was most definitely a turning point in my faith and a time that I’ll never forget.
It taught me empathy. Since opening up about my infertility, I’ve been able to connect with so many other women going through the same thing. There’s something freeing about being able to talk to someone who understands your struggle. And for me, sending words of encouragement and providing support to others has been an enormous blessing.
It gave me a deeper appreciation for the gift of motherhood. I’m in no way saying I love my children more than a mom who conceived naturally. I’m just saying that because of my experience, I often have surreal moments of gratitude. Moments where I can’t even believe they’re mine. Moments that make me appreciate the messes, the tantrums and the sleepless nights… sometimes anyway!
It made me realize that I don’t know everyone’s story. When we were in the thick of the IVF process, I remember noticing a woman pushing her two young kids around Target. I couldn’t understand why she had it so easy. There she was with two babies when I couldn’t even have one! Well now here I am, pushing my cart full of kids through Target, wishing I could share my story and hug every woman who looks my way with an aching heart. The moral of the story? You never know what someone is else is going through.
If the place I was at 5 years ago is where you’re at today, I pray this brings you encouragement. I hope you know that the moment you hold your baby in your arms, what you’ve been through will fade to the background. Those struggles of the past will melt away. You’ll no longer be defined by your infertility. Instead you’ll just be mom.