This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. As someone who experienced infertility, I know firsthand what it is like to want nothing more than to bring a child into this world. I won’t ever forget what it felt like month after month, negative test after negative test to have your dreams slip father and father from your grasp. I’ve cried myself to sleep. And I’ve cried myself awake wondering when the pain and disappointment would come to an end.
Still, through my journey to conceive, I believed that God was very busy behind the scenes, working this out for my good. I knew there was a purpose for this delay, that on the other side, I would be a better person, and most importantly, a better mother. In those moments, where I was able to see that infertility was not something that was happening to me, but as something that was happening for me, I could recapture my peace and the hope it would all make sense in the end. I knew that I was going to have an extraordinary child, and because of that, I needed to become an extraordinary mother.
Now, when I look into my daughter’s eyes, I see all that I want to be for her. There were lessons I was meant to learn and areas where I needed to grow that are now so abundantly clear. She was always speaking to me, through the 2-week waits and hormone injections, through the unhelpful words and unsolicited advice from those who just didn’t understand, through the countless tears and numerous prayers, she was that quiet little voice showing me the ways I was becoming stronger and telling me everything would work itself out.
For those of you who are still on the way to building your family, the child you’ve been dreaming of is speaking to you, rooting for you, and hoping you’ll learn all you can now to become the parent he or she needs you to be. This experience is stretching and pushing you to develop and evolve in ways you never would otherwise. Your future child, the one you already know and love, is speaking to you. And if you are really listening, here are three things you would hear them saying to you:
Life may not always be fair. There will be experiences in our lives that just don’t make sense in a way we could ever understand. Amazing and wonderful people just like you sometimes have devastating things happen. It seems unfair. It looks like you can’t catch a break. You may think that you are being punished. You may ask, how much more can one person take? This habit of negative thinking, and asking “why me?” doesn’t result in much except that you feel a little bit worse. It’s alright to go there for a moment. But try not to get stuck there. When we enter this world, we are not promised a path that will be easy, and a life that goes according to our plans. The sooner you can accept and fully embrace this reality, the easier it will be to remain at peace. You learn to release anger and resentment that things should have turned out a different way. Then you can focus your energy on making the best of what you have right in front of you now.
Try not to compare your life to someone else’s. It’s really easy to look at others and think that their life is better than yours because they have something you want. But the reality is you don’t know their exact journey, the challenges they faced, the obstacles they had to overcome. You’re actually creating a story in your head about their life that is not truly based in reality. As an onlooker to someone else’s life, you only see part of the picture. And because of that, you tell yourself they are luckier, their life must be so great, or even worse – they don’t deserve what they have and that you are much more worthy. Being jealous of what someone else has doesn’t serve you well. Their fertility, unplanned pregnancy, or parenting decisions have nothing to do with you, and honestly, is just none of your business. When you find yourself in this place, gently shift to thinking more about your life, and all the things you have that someone else might be wishing for. A wise man once said, “The grass is greener where you water it.” So learn now, to water your own life with things that help you grow.
You can still be happy now. Happiness is everything great in your life at this moment. If you are waiting until a child arrives to complete your life or to make you happy, you are missing out on the opportunity to experience all that can bring you happiness now. And now is the only moment you have. Many people believe that happiness is the result of something happening in their life – an external circumstance. But the fact is, happiness is a state of mind that is created through your own thoughts. If you tell yourself you won’t ever be happy until you get pregnant or have a child, then you won’t. But if you tell yourself that you will be happy and grateful, even through the uncertainty of your situation, you will be. This more positive mindset will immediately awaken your mind to all that is going right in your life. But so often we place so much weight on this one thing called infertility that we fail to see all that is alive and present in our life today.
None of this is easy, I know. You are hurting while you wait. But if you can turn your pain into strength, and let go of the anger, frustration, and disappointment, you create so much more room for joy, peace and hope…all the things your future child is waiting to receive.
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