The title of this blog post is a bit of a misnomer, really. Technically, I’m still infertile, even though I’ve given birth to the greatest kid ever. I still have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I still bear the fresh wounds of miscarriages and failed fertility treatments. And someday I’ll have to face all those demons again when my husband and I are ready to add to our family. But while I was in the trenches of infertility, I had so many friends in the trenches of mamahood, and it is to them that I need to apologize. Have you seen those memes of cakes that say, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry” on them? Well, I think I need to bake my own cake with a slightly different phrase…
You see, while I was going through the valleys of infertility, I had, in my yearning to be part of the “mom” group, put motherhood on the tallest of pedestals. If you were one of the lucky ones that were able to be a part of that club, as far as I was concerned you had it made-in-the-shade. My broken heart was so desperate to be a part of the aforementioned club that I was super offended any time I heard someone complain about the frustrating parts of motherhood. You were up all night with a sick kid? Do you know how desperately I would love to be up all night with a sick kid? Your partner is out of town and you need a break from a tantruming toddler? Don’t you know how lucky you are to have the chance to experience your toddler’s tantrum? Most of my internal judgment could be summed up in one desperate thought: “I would give anything to be in your place.”
Then, by grace, I became a mother. To the most perfect, most prayed for, most wonderful baby. And it was hard. In the most humbling turn of events, I understood what those moms were referring to in regards to the difficulty of motherhood. While my son was perfect, he was also colicky. While he was prayed for, he was also suffering from acid reflux. While he was wonderful, he was also not a fan of sleep in general. To sum it up, he was NOT chill. I was ashamed of thinking that the hardness of infertility would be erased by motherhood. Through the lens of infertility, I had disregarded those were who struggling with the difficulties of parenting.
The reality of it is this: infertility is hard. It is lonely, it is long, and it breaks your heart in the worst ways. Motherhood is hard. It is lonely, it is long, and it breaks your heart in both the best and worst ways.
Someone once told me to not compare my hard to someone else’s hard, because it’s all hard. Admitting that it’s hard doesn’t mean for one minute that you’re not indescribably thankful. Even as the hard days come to an end, as I rock my son to sleep at night I weep tears of gratitude that I get the chance to be his mother. The scars of infertility are still in the forefront of my mind. I remember every doctor’s appointment, and every bit of bad news we received. I remember sobbing as I walked through the skywalk back to my office, knowing that another IUI was unsuccessful. I continue to grieve for the loss of the babies I never got the chance to meet. I remember having to return to work much too soon after a miscarriage and plastering a smile on my face when in reality I was broken and bleeding. They all seem like just a moment ago, even with a healthy baby in my arms. On the other hand, I bear some scars from motherhood too; some of which are still too raw for me to share comfortably yet. In both seasons, I am so thankful for those who have come alongside me, listened and encouraged without judgment and propped me up when I was too weak to stand on my own.
What we all need at the end of the day is more grace. More grace for ourselves and for each other. Grace for those hardships that we can understand and relate to, and maybe even more grace for those that we don’t. So I guess my next task is to start on that cake, yeah?