Infertility tests you greatly. It tests your patience, your determination, your perseverance. It tests your will, your marriage, and your faith. It tests friendships and even your job. I can, without a doubt, say that I’ve never been tested so deeply, as I have been by infertility. But, what I’ve learned since “passing the test” (so to speak) is that the test of infertility helps guide you into the journey of motherhood.
As a type-A-ish personality, I like to succeed and I give 110% to anything that I commit to, whether it be relationships, jobs, or projects. I’d like to think that I’ve managed to do that, for the most part, over my thirty-two years. I also think, amongst other important reasons, why I’ve opted to be a stay-at-home mom is because I don’t know if I’d be able to do both 110%. Side note: kudos to y’all that do. Being a mommy, though, is by far, my greatest accomplishment and what I’m most proud of. While I’m one of those girls who has always known I was born to be a mom, I can honestly say that infertility has taught me so much. It has served a greater purpose of guiding me from infertility to pregnancy and then to mommyhood.
My message to you, future mommy, is that somehow, someway, someday you will have “passed the test” yourself, whether it be through natural conception, IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc.. The mommy that you will become is a culmination of all that you endured to get there. That is because, it is your struggle that will have taught you these things that will shape you into the mommy you’re destined to be…
- P A T I E N C E In a world hell-bent on instant gratification, infertility teaches you patience. So much of the pain is in the waiting, but I’ve learned that patience is a virtue. I’ve learned how to wait for appointments and results; how medications take time to be effective. I’ve found that you must be patient with your significant other, with yourself, and with insensitive people. My journey, and the 9+ months of pregnancy, helped me to acquire the infinite patience that you need to have for midnight wakings, breastfeeding dilemmas, and toddler tantrums. Just this morning, my grandmother commented that I have the patience of an Saint as I calmly convinced my leg flailing, almost two-year old to sit in the high chair for 10 more minutes as he screamed “all-done” at the top of his lungs (and a restaurant full of bystanders watched intently). I didn’t flinch. My patience wasn’t tested. Infertility taught me to breath and move onwards. Wine helps too. But in all seriousness, this too shall pass. When it does, given your gracious patience, it will be so worth the wait.
- F A I T H Having been raised Catholic and having attended Catholic school most my life, I had a strong religious foundation that has carried me through most of life’s ups and downs. Yet, just as infertility tested me, so too did God. I encountered bouts of wavering faith, but time and time again when it was the hardest points of our struggle, it was my faith that I turned to. When we received our diagnosis, I sat sobbing in a barren church. During my husband’s TESE surgery I fell to my knees reciting the rosary. Again, during our TWW, it was my faith that got me through because at that point it was in God’s hands. Faith was also my calming source throughout pregnancy. While thanking God for being able to carry this gift, I also asked for His protection. I prayed for postive first trimester and anatomy scans, an unremarkable echocardiogram, and a healthy baby. It’s my faith, that helps me sustain my patience and acknowledge my abundant blessings as a mother. I trust in my faith that I’m doing the best I can for my son, even if that means he’s eating non-organic hot dogs four times week and may spend a good portion of his day in timeout. In all seriousness though it’s in times of doubt that my faith reminds me that as long as my child is cared for and loved I’m doing it all right. Full of faith is how I want to raise my son, so that he has a moral compass and is kind and good. If your faith has evaded you, rest assured, once you’re a mommy it will be restored. At that very first moment that you hold your sweet baby, you will know for sure that it’s the doing of some higher power, Whomever you believe in.
- S A C R I F I C E During your infertility journey, you’ll have to make sacrifices. You might sacrifice making an expensive purchase because you’re saving for an IVF cycle. Or you might sacrifice experiences, meaning having to miss out on a vacation. Whatever sacrifices we made be them, financial, experiential, emotional, they were so worth it, especially once we heard “You’re pregnant!”. During pregnancy, you’ll make other minor types of sacrifices like sushi and champagne. I might have had to sit some things out, but again it was so worth it when we heard “Here’s your beautiful baby boy.” Likewise, as a mom you’ll continue to make sacrifices, mostly sleep related ?. There might be professional sacrifices and of course the expected financial sacrifices. I’ve come to realize that I won’t even flinch spending $50 on a pair of shoes to get my kid walking (that he’ll of course outgrow in a millisecond), but second guess buying myself another black dress for $14.99 at T.J. Maxx. Then of course there are those date night sacrifices. At this point though, you won’t even see them as sacrifices because there is nothing you wouldn’t do for that child you yearned for, particularly after hearing “I yove mommy” for the first time (insert all the ?????).
- A P P R E C I A T I O N of the L I T T L E T H I N G S I found that throughout my journey it was the little triumphs that helped me get through the biggest trials. I came to appreciate the little things, like growing follicles and minute rises in estrogen. Really though, infertility reminded me of the little things in life that are so special, like days spent with my family and a special gesture, like a note, from my husband. When I was feeling overcome with the sadness of what I was missing, I was able to look around and relish in all the greatness around me. That didn’t mean that it made it any easier. Like they say it’s the littlest things that take up the most room in our hearts. But infertility taught me to not take that for granted. Throughout my pregnancy, it reminded me that minor aches and pains were nothing in comparison to the gift I’d been given. It’s also taught me as a parent, to revel in the most unglamorous moments. Just now, I’m laying rocking my son to sleep because he was having a hard time going down on his own. The laundry that needs to be put in the dryer and the dirty dishes overflowing in the sink, upon my other to-do’s, could’ve made me miss this opportunity. Even the quotes from sleep trainers echo in my head right now. But then I think to myself, my heart ached for moments like this. So I’m laying here with him on my chest, maybe going against the books. But infertility taught me to appreciate the little things. So, I’m appreciating getting to snuggle my baby, his heart beating on mine because there was a day when I never knew if I’d be able to do this and days when I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance again.
- U N C O N D I T I O N A L L O V E I loved my son before I even knew he was a possibility. Part of my heart was missing and I cried for him more nights than not. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for him before he was even conceived. Infertility makes your love for your future baby so deep. You prod and inject yourself, deplete your savings all for someone you’ve never even met-someone you’re not guaranteed to ever meet. You adore multiplying cells and refer to them as your embabies. There is nothing you wouldn’t do. It’s completely unconditional and a love like no other.
That, my dear friends, is what great mommies are made of. As I like I remind the women I’m supporting, all of this testing (literal and figurative) will someday make you the extraordinary mommy that you were meant to be.
You’re destined for greatness future mommy!
XO & Baby Dust ✨