My husband and I fought our way through infertility for six years. We went through multiple procedures and tests to do what seemed to come so easily to others. Those that have been through that journey know the mixed emotions it can bring. You go from anger, to sadness, to hopelessness, and back to hopeful all in the matter of a few weeks.
When we finally found out we were pregnant, I immediately focused on preparing for this miracle baby. I read all the books I could get my hands on. I downloaded so many pregnancy apps.
I was completely prepared, or so I thought, to bring a new life into this world.
The first time I heard my son cry, was truly one of the more magical moments in my life. The first time I held him I felt all the bitterness that infertility had created in my heart just melted away. Those first few days went by like a dream. The baby was doing well, I was adjusting to motherhood, and all the cards were just falling into place.
Then I had a moment when it suddenly hit: Motherhood is just plain hard. My son had a lactose intolerance problem that did not surface until he was about 6 weeks old. He would scream a few hours after each feeding. I was exhausted. He would have days of excessive spit-up to the point where I had to change both of our clothes several times a day.
I felt like I was not allowed to complain. This is what I wanted after all these years, wasn't it? This guilt comes and goes in waves. We were "one of the lucky ones" to have been blessed to have won the battle against infertility.
Let me be the one to tell you: Mama, it is okay to have those feelings. Motherhood is hard. And also know you are not alone in the feeling.
For me, these were the things that helped me overcome everything that came with going through infertility.
You are allowed to vocalize how hard this actually is. Just because you endured a longer road to get here does not take away the fact of the pressure of being a mother. You are responsible for raising a person. This is a lot of pressure for anyone to be under.
You are allowed to wish that someone had truly warned you about the immense love you would feel from the moment you heard their first cry and the immense amount of frustration when they are crying non-stop for the third night in a row.
You are allowed to grieve for those that are still fighting this battle. Those women need you to still be there for them. They may not be as open with you anymore about their struggles. That's ok. Keep showing up for them.
You are allowed to break down and cry because you just want five minutes of peace and quiet and a hot shower. You are still human and in motherhood, those two things are golden.
You are allowed to take time away from your babies. Taking care of yourself does not mean you love your babies any less. It means you love them enough to know that in order to be the best you can be, you have to take a break from time to time.
You are allowed to look back on your journey and be proud of how much you have overcome. You have created a human being, regardless of how that life came to be.
You are allowed to talk non-stop about the latest achievements of your babies. These are your babies. Be proud of that. Post that cute picture or video. Babies have a way of helping those having hard days to feel better.
Continue to share your story. We each have our own unique adventures and there is someone out there who needs to hear your story. Providing encouragement to those battling infertility is the best thing you can do for someone.
Finally, you are allowed to enjoy this entire journey to the fullest. You do not have to allow the darkness of infertility to steal your joy. Infertility can steal many things from those going through it. It is a harsh and unforgiving journey. Once you have overcome it, do not allow it to continue to steal from you. You are so much stronger than that mama.