I always knew I wanted to be a mother, or, perhaps better said, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be one. Given my challenging relationship with my own mom and that I was adopted, I created a folder in my mind of the kind of mom I hoped to one day be and of the family I hoped to one day have.
When I met the man who would become my husband, the picture of a real family came into clearer focus. I thought it was upon me, not a far away dream. Only, infertility would change all that. There is something about having to s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e to start one’s family that feeds the idea of becoming a parent, that cements the dream, that makes the longing more palpable, that etches the picture of future children deeply on our hearts.
My journey to building and completing my family took one decade. It took 1/4 of my life, 25% of my time on earth and almost all my resourcefulness and tenacity, pushing forward in the face of increasing odds, climbing up from despair and heartbreak, to finally realize what I had only imagined with my mind’s eye.
Even though the path to our older son was hard, the road to our younger son was far more difficult. My unwavering perseverance was fueled by what my heart wanted. Some may have thought me foolhardy, but my heart wanted what it wanted and I was in a perpetual state of unease and unrest without it and in pursuit of it.
And now, being a mother to these two amazing little humans, is what those dreams were made of. My breath catches and tears form when the reality of that long held fantasy plays out in front of me. There are real life moments that were once only a hopeful passing thought, that happen and feel almost like deja-vu. I am so fortunate, so grateful, so relieved to finally be able to enjoy the things I wanted so badly to be a part of my life, our lives, and my experience as a woman, a mother.
I think of those still steeped in the quagmire of their infertility diagnosis, of the fear, the heartache and heartbreak, the worry, the longing and the yearning. Each person’s story is their own and their path is unique to them. There is a process that we each must go through and there is no way to predict the outcome. But for anyone who is pursuing any form of ART to create or complete their family, I want to share some recent cherished moments with the hope that they will fuel you, bolster you, and bring you cheer. Stay the course, whatever that may be for you.
Yesterday, Baby G crawled out the front door as his daddy and big brother were getting ready to leave for the day. He lost his balance and took a face plant into the hard cold stone patio. He scraped his lip, began to bleed and cry. I scooped him up to soothe and comfort him and saw that my older son was crying, too. The sight of his baby brother hurt made him hurt, too. It was so raw and tender, his concern for his brother.
Often when I need to make dinner, I ask my older son to be with the baby in my room. Last night, as I was in the kitchen assembling chicken rollatini, I heard squeals of laughter as Baby G was reeling from his big brother’s antics. H goes out of his way to make his baby brother laugh and the sound of their joy, my boys, made me teary.
I have the good fortune of finally being able to make weekday breakfast for us all and we are able to eat together at the table before my husband takes our older son to school and goes off to work himself. It struck me, just this morning, as I was busily preparing breakfasts, that this is what it is all about. The almost mundane act of fixing meals is momentous to me, to sit down together as a family of four. A family of four, finally. The magnitude of that fills me with conscious contentment.
Even now, almost 10 months into our life together, I sometimes can’t believe that Baby G is here. My breath catches when I remember that he was once a frozen embryo and but for the particular sequence of events that played out in my life, he may never have become my son. It is profound.
While there are many firsts ahead for both of my sons, there will be my firsts, too. My first Halloween dressing two young children. Our first Thanksgiving together with SO much to be thankful for. Our first Christmas, when last year Baby G was still inside of me, mere hours from making his arrival. Planning birthday parties for two kids. Our first vacation as a family of four. All of the life events I wished and yearned for are my reality now.
These are the things that my dreams were made of.