Sharing my love of the ocean with my daughter, the way my mom did with me...
While we were going through infertility, Mother's Day was an extremely painful day for me. All my friends were getting pregnant and/or celebrating their first Mother's Day, and I was mourning another month of a negative pregnancy test, my body wrecked with hormonal imbalance from treatments, my mind baffled with how anyone, ever, got pregnant naturally. All I remember feeling was a vast, hollow, void. A numbness that periodically gave way to an all-encompassing, gut-wrenching grief.
Now, here I stand. A mother to a headstrong, vivacious, healthy toddler. I am, quite literally, living the dream. The dream that I had held onto since I was a child was that I would be a mother, at least to a girl and in any case, to a girl first. I'm not sure exactly why I always imagined a daughter rather than a son, but I suspect it has something to do with the close relationship I have with my own mother and the assumption that I would create that with my own daughter someday. This dream was a happy, healthy assumption until I collided with the cold, hard truth that my body would not be able to realize that vision on its own.
It's an interesting thing to have passed through a season of hopelessness and into the life I had hoped for. There are times when I still feel like I am truly dreaming; that none of this could possibly be happening. There are the challenging times, where I feel like a normal mom, exhausted, exasperated and desperate for alone time. Then there are times when my entire being is flooded with a gratitude so intense, so visceral, when I am acutely aware that a true miracle has occurred. It's hard to understand how I am deserving of this reality.
Mother's Day causes the pain to surface. I remember in my body the feeling of failure, disappointment, longing, desperation and hopelessness. I think of my sisters who have lost babies, who have never gotten a positive pregnancy test, who have endured injections and procedures and bad news and baby showers for fertile friends. My sisters who are enduring today, as they watch moms be honored and revered for a job they so desperately want to be doing. Now that I'm a mother, Mother's Day feels extra special but also feels almost awkward. I am acutely aware of the pain this day causes for those still fighting to be a mother, still making incredibly hard choices and undergoing treatments and researching and hoping. I feel guilty for my joy, because I remember trying so hard to be happy for others who succeeded after a season of infertility and how discouraged I was because I couldn't believe we would ever get there.
And yet. Here I am. Standing in my joy. Undeserving. Blessed with a miracle. The remembering, the guilt, the sympathy... my prayer is that instead of causing pain to someone still struggling, it will cause hope. That it will allow someone to feel understood, if nothing else. That it will always remind me to stay in the moment. That it will ensure that I will never, ever, take my daughter for granted. That it will remind me to always stay open-minded to pathways I may not have considered. That it will help me to never judge the choices of another even if I don't understand them.
Mother's Day, for me, is a day to remember the miracle. Not just my daughter, who is the obvious miracle, but the miraculous journeys we all walk during our time on earth. Our dark and troubling times and how they give way to lessons, light, and greater opportunities than we are able to see when we're struggling. Sisters in the dark, keep the faith. We all have a different light at the end of our tunnel. It may not look like the one you're hoping for, but if you keep your heart open and your faith strong, it just may be more glorious than you ever imagined.