As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. I even had names picked out before I ever met my first boyfriend. I was going to have a boy and a girl. My little princess would be named Isabella and my little prince would be named Andrew. I later met an Andrew and I completely changed my mind about that name, but you get the picture. My husband would be older, brainy, and amazing with the little ones. We would live happily in our castle where we would be the perfect parents and we would have the perfect children. I have the castle (in my eyes anyway), the husband who is all the things I mentioned, and the perfect kids (in this mom’s opinion). The perfect parent part, well I guess you need to ask the kiddos about that one.
What I didn’t know then was what my path to motherhood would be like. I didn’t know that there would be difficulties. I didn’t know that there would be disappointments. I thought you just decide to be a mom and presto, you’re pregnant! At least in school they made it sound like women got pregnant all the time, even by mistake. I was told about the precautions you need to take so as not to get pregnant. It seemed so easy to be pregnant from what they were telling us.
Well, not for this gal. Like many women, I had a nasty, knock-down-drag-out fight with mother nature and lost…big time!!! This has been most unsettling for me. I have always been driven, goal oriented, and determined. I have accomplished many things in my life through perseverance. This fertility business though has been my arch nemesis. And although I talk about this in a pseudo comical fashion, it was very devastating to me.
There have been many miscarriages etched into my history. Many heartaches, tears, and doubts. I remember one winter when we thought, this is it. This one is the one. We were pregnant the longest with this one so far. I remember going to my OB for a check up and the look on her face was not good. Then she looked up at me and I knew. I prayed so hard and fast in those few seconds hoping I could will her to say something else. “I can’t hear the heartbeat.” Try harder I thought. Maybe you just don’t know how to listen I thought. Ask someone else to try…anything. Just don’t tell me I am going to miscarry.
I drove home in a daze. It is hard to put into words the myriad of emotions and thoughts that went through my head. Broken, failure, and disappointment come to mind. I belong to the woman side of the male/female equation. Carrying a child inside of us and giving birth is one of the things that separates us from the men. This was simple biology in my mind. How was it that I could accomplish so much in my life and the one thing that I should be able to do without thinking as a woman was eluding me. How is it that I could not do the one thing that I was told could happen so easily that one should use all precautions so as not to do accidentally. I had all the right parts, I had a willing partner, I came from very fertile lineage.
I remember taking a shower and curling on the floor under the hot water. I wanted to run away from my own body that had betrayed me and not allowed me to be a mom. Wasn’t my body paying attention to my brain all those years when I had been dreaming about being a mom? Was I being punished for something I did? In addition to all the insecurities I had about my body image, I now hated my body for being broken. I hated that I was a failure of a woman who couldn’t seem to do the one thing I should be able to do. I sat there on the floor crying. My tears mixed with the hot water now showered me in sadness. Eventually, when the water got cold, I picked myself up and decided I wasn’t going to let this define me.
Armed with my new resolve, I got myself dressed and went on about my day. I wish I could say that resolve lasted more than a few hours; it didn’t. When it comes to the people around you, the unfortunate thing about infertility is that unless you share with them your devastation, insecurities, and experience, they simply don’t know. And so it was, the world continued around me uncaring of my loss and devastation. Everywhere I looked there were women, pregnant women with their beautiful tummies full of life and wonder. I knew some of these wonderful women too. And although I was very happy for them, I was very envious too.
All my life I had wanted to be a mom. Yet there I was, married to someone I knew would be that perfect dad, we had a nice home with bedrooms for children to fill, we had pets for kids to play with, I was accomplished in my career…yet no kids. It wasn’t for lack of trying. So, being the determined, goal oriented person I am, we headed for the fertility specialists. There is a science to this I thought. We need to follow a process they said. So began the next showdown with mother nature.
After many tests, the fertility specialist tells me I have a hostile uterus and my age is not helping the cause. I thought: Buddy, you don’t know hostile. I’ll show you hostile if you don’t stop with the criticism and get on with a solution. He explained that I don’t have a problem getting pregnant, I have a problem staying pregnant. Well there is a revelation!!! I hadn’t noticed that after 5 miscarriages. No wonder this guy is a specialist. No wonder we are paying an arm and a leg for this wonderful insight. After much of the same, he had a couple of options for us to consider.
We decided to go down the path involving fertility treatments, a small surgical procedure to make my uterus more hospitable, and a series of procedures once conception happens in oder to stay pregnant. But as I am sure you guessed by now, mother nature won that one too. Every painful shot, every painful and extremely invasive procedure and test didn’t change things. I was broken and a failure as a woman.
After 5 years of trying to build our own family biologically, my husband and I started to talk about adoption. If you’ve read my book or bio you know that we adopted a wonderful baby boy and two wonderful little girls. Although mother nature decided I would not have children, God decided otherwise. My path is not what I thought it would be; not even close actually. My body didn’t make me a mom – my kids did. I didn’t know that God would grow my family outside of me instead of inside of me. But I can’t imagine not having my kids. These wonderful, blonde hair, blue-eyed kids who look nothing like me but are exactly like me at the same time. I also didn’t know that it would be the best part of me. The role that inspires me to do better every day.
So another long-held image is shattered for me today. When I imagined Mother’s Day all those years, I always imagined my loving children and husband showering me with gifts and love on Mother’s Day. Perhaps breakfast in bed too. After all, we honor our moms on this day right? Certainly, this is what we did for my mom growing up. Well, I had a revelation last night.
My husband was busy helping around the house so that I could have a clean home for Mother’s Day. I still can’t believe the amount of disarray that is created by three little kids. At any rate, I have been very vocal about how important this day is for me. How much it means to me to be a mom. In other words, don’t mess it up buddy. But last night it hit me. This man who I married, the same one that is imperfect, the same one that is a wonderful dad, has also been my biggest supporter on the road to motherhood.
My husband has been there trying to cheer me up and hold my hand with every devastation. He has gone through invasive tests and procedures too. And there he was last night, yet again trying to help fulfill another dream or wish for me. And there were my kids, making more mess for him to clean up. What a beautiful image. What a wonderful, perfect, exquisite Hallmark moment. This is my Mother’s Day. I thought I would never have children and God blessed me with a man who went through hell and back with me so that we could have our wonderful family.
Every milestone, mess, runny nose, sleepless night, tantrum, every smile and I love you – all of them are wonderful gifts I thought I would never have. Everyday is my Mother’s Day. Every single day that I get to be a mom to my amazing kids is Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dare discourage the parade of gifts or breakfast in bed for that matter. But suddenly, they are not that important. I have the important pieces already.
So today, I celebrated Mother’s Day by making breakfast for my family. I celebrated that I am a mom and have my children to spoil, love, and make breakfast for. Daddy and the kids made sure I was showered with love and presents too. Let’s just call that icing on the cake…mmmm cake. We like cake.
If you are thinking about adoption, please consider foster/adoption. There are over 400,000 children in foster care right now. More than 100,000 children await forever families as their parents’ rights have already been terminated. These are wonderful children who through no fault of their own, find themselves without family. Many of these children age out of foster care and are left to face the world without anyone to turn to in life. Every child deserves a home.
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