I have wanted to be a wife and a mother my entire life. I never once pictured my life without a husband and children of my own. I remember being in high school and wanting to fast forward to the part when my life was focused on taking care of my children. I didn’t get to hit a magical button that thrust me into the future. Instead, I lived my life, learned some lessons and met the right person to spend the rest of my life with. Once I had finally arrived at my sought-after destination of becoming a wife, the next logical step was to try to become pregnant. I was not the first of my friends to be married but I was among the first of my friends to start trying to have a baby. I didn’t really know much about motherhood other than the typical things you hear like, “It changes your life. Say goodbye to sleep! It’s the hardest and most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.” I wasn’t sure how I’d get there, but I did know that I would figure it out.
I had heard that you’re never really ready for parenthood and now that I’ve got 1.5 years of experience under my belt, I would endorse that statement. Sure, I read the books, I followed the educators on social media, I took the classes. Don’t get me wrong, those have served me well in the decisions my husband and I have made as parents, but I just didn’t know how taxing motherhood can be. One thing that I struggled with uniquely due to my infertility journey was the guilt of having a difficult time adjusting to motherhood. My life was just turned upside down and shaken around and I felt like I was trying to find my way back to feeling “normal” again…some days I still am. It’s not only okay but it’s expected that new moms, who are sleep deprived, learning how to care for a tiny infant in real time, healing from childbirth and not being in control of their hormonal adjustments, have a really hard time making sense of their new role. However, I felt like because of the two-year emotional fight to become pregnant, the only emotions I should be feeling as a new mom were joy, gratitude, and pure bliss. It was then that I decided that my infertility does not define who I am, it’s just a part of my story. Anyone who went through infertility and is now entering parenthood has every right to feel every single emotion whether it’s positive or feelings of frustration, sadness, loss of self-identity and everything in between. Infertility does not need to cling onto who you are as a parent.
I recognize that my lifelong dream of becoming a mother doesn’t ring true for everyone. My own mother waited 10 years after marrying my dad to have children because she wasn’t sure if motherhood was for her (she’s one of the best moms I’ve met). I think a lot of women are either pushing back motherhood to focus on things like education, career, travel etc. or writing it out of their story altogether. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a lot of couples are waiting to have children until they feel more financially stable or have checked off the huge milestone of purchasing a home, a real challenge for young people these days. Thanks to science and fertility clinics, people don’t always have to choose one path or the other. We can have our cake and eat it too.