Oh, Mother's Day. It's such an emotional time for many women, those who have lost their mothers, who can't have babies, who have lost children and who are thankful to have babies. This year, as I get emotionally ready for the Mother's Day cards, celebrations and Facebook updates, I would like to specifically speak to my infertile sisters. If you know my story, you know that I became a mama after years of infertility treatments and am gearing up for my first round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) protocol later this summer to try for Baby No. 2. Every Mother's Day, I fall to my knees with gratitude that we have our son. I also take time every Mother's Day to reflect on how I got here, the place where I get breakfast in bed and go hike with my family of three. This year, I am realizing that my infertility journey, both in the past and now, has made me a better mama.
Sisters without children, you already have a heart of a mother. I know it. Your heart beats differently when you think about the possibility of transforming your spare bedroom into a nursery. You already know that you would do anything for your future child, and you don't even know him or her yet. Selflessly, you allow yourself to be poked and prodded with blood draws and ultrasounds. You have changed your habits, from eating and sleeping to limiting caffeine and working out, all for a tiny child not yet in your arms.
Your infertility treatments are setting you up to be a mama who does not take any stage of her journey for granted. When you do have your child, you will relish your baby's milestones even more than your friends who got pregnant without difficulty. Your heart will swell just that much more when you see first smiles, hear first words and watch first steps. You will remember what it took to get there, and you'll be so thankful that you'll hardly be able to take it all in. But you will, and you'll take in every word.
Your infertility disappointments have taught you that you can't control everything and you can't fix everything that is wrong. These lessons will serve you well and make you more comfortable sitting in the hurt with your child when things go wrong. You'll be able to give advice based on your own experience when something doesn't go your child's way and he or she can't understand why not.
Your ability to remember when and where you take your morning and evening injections will translate into remembering which side to nurse on and when your newborn last ate. You will glance down at your stomach and thighs and see stretch marks where injection sites once were. And you will be the only one in your mom's group who says a silent prayer of gratitude for your stretched-out skin.
Your undying hope that kept you afloat through your negative treatment results will remind you to keep your head up, even when your 2-year-old has a full-out meltdown in the toy aisle and everyone is staring at you. That little light of the promise of things to come that pulled you through miscarriages will pull you through emergency visits to the hospital when your infant has RSV and can't breathe.
You already have the heart of a mother. A fierce love is already embedded deep inside of you. Sisters in infertility, Mother's Day might be a hard day for you, and chances are, no one will understand that except your fellow sisters in infertility. But, I am here to tell you that the hard lessons that you're learning are shaping your heart and your will. You are already a mother in so many ways, so today I choose to celebrate you. And here's hoping that by next Mother's Day, we'll be counting an extra blessing too.