We all have one. A moment from our past we wish we could return to. Not to necessarily re-live it, but to give our younger selves a message…. a word of encouragement, advice or to share some of the “if I knew then what I know now” wisdom that we gather as life soars by.
I know my moment…
“There is nothing more I can do for you.” The words spoken by my OBGYN the day before replayed repeatedly in my head. Pillow damp with tears, I hadn’t been able to pull myself out of bed all day. I was angry. Sad. Hopeless. It had been 4 years since my husband and I had started trying to get pregnant and our fertility doctor had finally given up. I was broken – emotionally, physically and spiritually in pieces. We had tried everything – ovulation kits, temperature tracking, chiropractic treatments, “natural” treatments, essential oils, fertility drugs, fertility drugs and more fertility drugs. Each new treatment held a glimmer of hope that would quickly shatter. Physically, I felt terrible – I was admitted into the emergency room nearly every injection cycle due to painful hyper-stimulation. The medication made me gain over 15 lbs and my hormones were so medically altered that I didn’t even feel like the same person. Learning that our doctor had given up on us was the final straw that crushed me. I felt devastated – like someone I love had died.
If I had the chance to go back to this dark moment of my life and give this heartbroken former version of myself a message, I’d say…
It is okay to cry – just let it out. When you are ready, use every bit of strength you have left and keep going. This journey feels hopeless right now but it is almost over. A few months from now, you’ll do IVF and IT WILL ACTUALLY WORK! You’ll spend the next 9 months sick, but so happy. You’ll wait for what seems like forever to finally be able to hold that little girl safely in your arms and when you do, you won’t ever want to let her go. For the first few months you’ll tear up every time you see her name written or hear it spoken because it means you finally did it – you finally have your baby! And though you can’t see it now, all you have learned from the emotional roller coaster of infertility will mold you into a better Mom.
Infertility has taught you how to give up control and learning this will help you stay unruffled during those first few months of motherhood as your baby learns to nurse and develop a sleeping pattern. At 3AM you won’t wish time away until she can sleep peacefully through the night. Instead, you’ll wear a tired smile and remind yourself just how long you waited for this! And during those toddler surges of independence, you’ll remain patient as she insists on “helping” – turning normally quick tasks into long, drawn out ordeals. You’ll smile as she hangs all the Christmas tree ornaments in one spot and you’ll ignore biting that crunchy shell in your scrambled eggs because she was so proud to have helped. As a Mom, giving up control and having humility will be your saving grace!
Through infertility, you have learned that life gets tough. Right now, you can’t seem to remember a time when you didn’t feel empty. But, soon life will get better and more full than you could ever have dreamed! You’ll get to re-live your own childhood with your daughter – you’ll get to re-watch your favorite Disney movies, color, play Barbie, “house” and dress-up! You’ll see the world completely different – through the innocent, exciting and magical eyes of a child. You’ll wish you wouldn’t have wanted to grow up so fast because you’ll see how truly great childhood is. Life will be good again.
Though you have never felt more fragile, infertility has actually made you stronger. The hurtful comments, ignorant “advice” and judgments people project onto you during infertility has given you slightly thicker skin. This thick skin will be needed when your parenting style is later judged. You’ll be accused of being a “Helicopter Mom” but you won’t care because you’ll put everything you have into being a good parent. You’ll read books, blogs, articles and listen to parenting podcasts almost daily to be sure you are doing things “right” for your daughter. But, as much as infertility has hardened you, it has also made you a more empathetic, compassionate person. You’ll become a source of comfort to others who are going down a similar path with infertility – and to those people, you’ll never say “just relax”, “when it is mean to happen it will happen” or “God has a plan” because you know just how hurtful those cliché phrases can be. You’ll understand the embarrassment; the shame of infertility and that will make them (and you) feel less alone.
What you haven’t learned yet is that she will be worth it. Every tear, every injection, every negative pregnancy test and every single penny spent on treatments will be so worth it because the little girl who will call you “Mommy” is perfect. Sweet, nurturing, beautiful, smart, funny… perfect. You’ll love her in a way you’ve never loved anything in your life. As you watch her grow, you’ll often think back to this very moment and remember how far you’ve come. How it took everything you had – physically, emotionally and financially – to get here. You’ll watch every dance practice, gymnastics class, soccer practice or swim lesson like it is the most important thing going on in the entire world because to you, it will be. You’ll ignore the eye rolling of others as you stand front row, documenting each and every moment with photos and videos. You’ll go overboard celebrating birthdays because it will not only represent the birth of your daughter but it will represent the day your world became a better place! When she wraps her tiny arms around your neck, you will hold her a little bit tighter and make sure she knows just how loved and special she is every single day. And though you can’t understand it now, this journey will be worth it. She will be worth it.