Infertility took a lot from me. For 3.5 years I lived in the secret grey that undergoing fertility treatment creates. An in-between state where the present is a painful series of failures and the future seems hopeless. Where your every thought, plan, and dollar goes toward a dream that might not ever come true. Infertility robbed me of my joy. I am ashamed to say how hard it was to be happy for my dear friends and family when they announced a pregnancy. It’s not that I didn’t want that for them, it’s that I wanted a turn as well. On special occasions and holidays, it was hard to celebrate when I was longing for something that was so far out of my control.
Infertility removed the hope I had and replaced it with fear. Fear of my life looking different than I had always imagined. Fear of the worst thing continuing to happen, because once you have had such heartache you assume it will always be the norm. Infertility took up so much of my time. Years that I will never get back. Promotions that I never took, because this month it might work. Experiences that I never had because every extra dollar is earmarked for treatment. Yes, infertility sure takes a lot.
But it gave me something as well. It gave me the chance to be there from the very beginning. To know my child from the very start. To hold a photo of my baby when they were nothing more than a few little cells, and pure potential. To be aware of the exact moment when my child’s life began.
Infertility gave me perseverance. I have been brought to my knees from the physical pain that is infertility treatments. I have searched my body for an unbruised spot to give myself yet another injection. I have had to wear long sleeves in the summer heat to cover the bruises left from daily blood draws. I have sat in my car and cried over bad news on my lunch break from work. And yet, I never stopped trying. Month after month, year after year I picked myself up and did it all again.
Infertility gave me the gift of perspective. Being a parent isn’t easy, and having multiples is often stressful. But in many ways, the struggles of infertility have prepared me for the humbling work of motherhood. If being infertile, and the treatments and heartache were what I needed to endure in order to approach parenthood from a place of gratitude, then it was all worth it. Because when it all comes unglued (and it certainly does) I can look around and smile and think I’m so grateful that I get to experience the mess, and the noise, even the tantrums. I wouldn't be where I am, or who I am without this experience. It took so much from me and yet gave me, my everything.