Three years ago if you'd asked me how I felt about my infertility I would have had some not-so-positive four-letter words to share with you. I was angry and heartbroken and ashamed.
But mostly I was scared.
Scared that I'd never see those little pink lines.
Scared I'd never know how it felt to wrap my baby in a blanket and rock them to sleep.
Scared that my dream of motherhood would never be fulfilled.
Like so many women I know, I spent many nights crying just hoping that this would be the month everything changed. Then finally, after a few months of working with a fertility doctor, I saw those two pink lines.
But it wasn't how I expected it to happen.
I was having really intense abdominal pains and my doctor told me to take a pregnancy test because she thought I might be pregnant and having a miscarriage. I was and I was. That was the first and last time I'd see those pink lines.
After another seven months of getting poked by needles, we decided to put a pause on fertility treatments.
During our journey, my husband and I began to consider adoption. The more we educated ourselves and the more we talked with adoption professionals, the more we felt our journey was changing.
In 2017, we took the leap and began working with a local adoption agency. We learned everything we could about the process, the ethics and how to raise a child successfully in an open adoption. We lived and breathed adoption. Week after week, month after month we were presented with potential adoption situations.
We said "yes" almost every time. Over the course of the next six months—which is not long in the adoption world—we got really used to seeing "another family was chosen" emails from our agency.
Then, one day in November, our lives changed forever. We got a call that a mother looking to place her 6-week-old son for adoption had chosen us. It was the Friday after Thanksgiving and we were told we needed to be in Texas on Monday to pick him up. Sunday afternoon we loaded up our car with as much as we could fit and left South Carolina for the 16-hour drive to Texas. The weekend was a blur of tears and interstate signs. We could barely eat or sleep as we prepared to meet the mother who had chosen us.
I will never forget the first time my son was placed in my arms. What it felt like. What he was wearing. How every moment leading up to him instantly washed away. Time stopped for a moment. I took a breath and I rejoiced for our new family, but at the same time, my heart broke for his first mother. Since then, she and I have talked about that day and the first days after. So bittersweet, but so full of love.
Without my infertility, I wouldn't be the mother I am today. I wouldn't have my son and I wouldn't know the beauty of open adoption.
My infertility made me stronger. It made me resilient and persistent.
My infertility made me a fighter. It made me believe that anything is possible.
My infertility taught me how to have hope. How to dream and never give up. I knew I was meant to be a mother, it just took a little extra time and work.
My infertility brought me friendships from all over the world. I was able to connect with other women facing the same struggles. We celebrated with each other during the good times and we cried with each other during the difficult times.
Was it a hard road? Absolutely. But we are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and I know this now. Adoption won't be the answer for every family, but if you feel it in your heart that you are meant to be a mama… Never give up. Trust your gut and chase your dreams.
As we prepare to add baby #2 to our family I'm facing a lot of the same fears I had before our son joined us. But this time around I feel so much calmer. I feel in control and optimistic. The path ahead may not be the one I plan for, but I know that the end result will be worth every moment.