It’s difficult to know where exactly to start with my (in)fertility story. Do I begin with the moment my husband and I started trying to conceive in 2014? Or do I start with the day I got diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2010? Perhaps I need to go all the way back to the age of 15, where I’ve since been told that my primary care physician at the time should have been able to tell I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), based on symptoms I reported to her at my first Pap Smear appointment.
Honestly, I think it’s probably most important that I start with where I am now: peeking over a 20 week baby bump that occurred naturally after being told my body wouldn’t ovulate without medication. That, and the greatest lesson I think I’ve learned in this whole process: sometimes the mothering journey defies every attempt to explain or control it.
There was a time when I wasn’t able to accept that fact. People told me to try this, try that, see this doctor, “here’s what worked for me,” and every new piece of advice just left me feeling overwhelmed and increasingly broken. Even now, being pregnant, when I tell people that it occurred naturally during a period my husband and I were referring to as a “break” from trying, the typical response to that is “See? It’s because you stopped trying!” Never mind the fact that this was the third time we’d taken such a break, and hearing that used as the reason why things finally worked only makes me feel like I must have somehow wasted the previous four years of effort.
So I’m not going to tell anyone that any * one * particular action I took was the magic spell that caused the stars, my husband’s sperm and that wonder egg of mine to collide at the exact moment they did, because even I don’t know that it was any one particular thing that made it happen. But what I * can * say is that in the months before I conceived, I made the conscious choice to recognize the defiant nature of the mothering journey, and carve my own way through it with the intention that I was going to find – and utilize – every moment for joy and health that I possibly could, dammit, because I deserved that. I chose to honor myself as a mother who was just carrying her child(ren) in her heart, equally valid to those who’ve been able to hold them in their arms, because all those journeys are valid. I took workshops that encouraged me to journal not just the past and present, but the future as well, to look ahead to the quality of the life I wanted to have, not just the logistical details I expected to unfold exactly the way everyone else’s around me had.
And in the end, I’ve found a way to be happy in my own unique mothering process as it has unfolded for ME: not broken, not less than, just different than the other mothers around me. Just as beautiful. Just as valid. Honored as I am.
That’s my wish for every mothering soul, during this Infertility Awareness Week and every day beyond it: that you feel honored as you are, and valid as you are, even if by no one else than yourself. Because you are beautiful. You are valid. And you are worthy of such honor. Just as you are.