I never knew how badly I wanted a baby of my own until my husband and I began struggling to conceive one. We got married at what I consider to be a young age (I was 25, he was 27), but that didn't stop people from (constantly) inquiring about the assumed next step – when we'd have kids. The truth is, we were in no rush. We were happy with our lives; we traveled, checked things off our bucket lists, renovated our home, built our careers. We were going to start a family when we were ready; motherhood never felt urgent to me. I refused to feel pressured by societal expectations or the notorious tick-tock of my biological clock reminding me my ovaries have an expiration date. Eventually, as we approached our fourth year of marriage, we started feeling like something was missing from our lives. We found ourselves craving the kinds of experiences shared by our friends who were already parents. I began imagining myself trading in evenings of Netflix binges for bedtime stories, and spending Tuesday afternoons at the park instead of at my desk. And just like that, the decision was made. We were ready to conceive baby… If only life worked out that way. The truth is, I had no idea just how hard it would be to conceive. Don't get me wrong; I knew it could be hard. I wasn't naïve to that. I just never knew it would be this hard for me. I was healthy. My cycles were regular. There was no history of fertility struggles in my family… There were no warning signs. No fortune-teller helping me see where my path would one day lead. I quickly realized the path to motherhood cannot be pre-planned or predicted. No matter how skilled you get at tracking your cycle. No matter how many sticks you pee on. No matter how many measures you take to get the timing just right. The honeymoon phase of trying to have a baby came and went and the roller coaster ride kicked in. Every month, I experienced an extreme contrast of emotions—going from hopeful positivity to utter frustration and despair. None of it made sense to me. There was no explanation. No clear problem to solve. Despite the challenges we faced, my husband and I never lost hope of the idea that we'd have a family of our own one day. Still, the days, weeks and months dragged by. I could no longer brush off people's persistent queries about our fertility plans the way I had once done so successfully. Pregnancy announcements would pop up on my newsfeed each month and I found myself repeating a question of my own: "Why not me?" We did our research and tried everything we could to improve our chances of conceiving naturally – together, we saw a naturopath, we started taking supplements, and we made changes to our lifestyle and diets. Eventually, our doctor referred us to a fertility clinic. I felt a sense of hope I hadn't experienced in a while. At the very least, we would get some answers. A few days before our appointment, I felt my period coming on and a sense of defeat sinking in. But I decided to take a pregnancy test—as I had done so many times before—"just in case." You can imagine how shocked I was to see the faint second line appear. It was a line I had hoped and prayed for each month for the last year, and just like that, there it was. A baby. Our baby. I couldn't believe it. The next day, I received a confirmation email for our appointment with the fertility clinic. It was such a relief—and a little surreal—to be able to decline it. I know our journey isn't nearly as difficult as the paths many others have had to endure. But I now believe things worked out the way they did for a reason. I know this experience has strengthened my relationship with my husband and helped us prepare for the wild adventure ahead. Not a day goes by that I don't feel extremely grateful for the baby growing inside of me, or for the partner who supported me along the road to getting where we are today.

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