Here I am, finally, the holy grail of my motherhood dream, parenting two children. This is what we struggled for so long and hard for, come to fruition. Is it what I thought it would be? Is it what I wanted? And where do I put my infertility now that I am here?
Yes, this is what I wanted and what I thought it would be. Truth be told, I would do it again, and again. If we didn’t live in this expensive state. If public school was an option. If I weren’t fast approaching 50, I would do it all over again and have three or four children. I ask myself why all the time, especially now that we are hitting our new normal since G turned two. Quite simply, I love motherhood. It comes naturally to me, it is rewarding, and I’m fulfilled by it. I am no Pinterest or Etsy mom nor am I a home-schooling mom. The monotony of playing Candyland and Go Fish! grate on me. But, my heart is made happy at being called ‘momma’ and ‘mommy’. It has given my life a depth of meaning and purpose like nothing else. Even though I was a successful executive in my pre-children life, who thrived on the business of business and who was the most competitive person in my role, I have found my calling in being a mother.
The thing I dislike the most? The endless bending over to pick stuff up. It is relentless even though I have fairly well trained children (both pick up after themselves or at least help clean-up when asked). Be that as it may, thank gawd for the elasticity of my lower back as I am bending over dozens upon dozens of times a day to pick someone or something up or to clean up a mess or a spill. True, I feel more relaxed in a a clean home and granted I bring some of it on myself as a result, but the near constant picking up about does me in.
Now that G is two, there is a bit of cross-over in what the boys like doing. And, because sharing is a new concept to a 2 year old, it requires a fair amount of refereeing. Mostly, I try to leave it to them to sort out; a 5y9m age difference allows for that, but, even still, there is a lot of “mooooooooooom, I had it first” or “mooooooooom, he won’t let me have a turn”. And, frankly, I love it. What a high class problem to have! To see them together, playing together is everything I wanted and more. There is a rightness about their brotherhood.
I also feel lucky that even though I won’t get to parent a girl, my boys are completely different from each other in temperament, personality, and behavior. Where my older son is Type A, strong-willed, stubborn, whiny and bossy, the baby is easy going, easily distracted, amiable, laid back, totally chill. I feel like I won the motherhood lottery in getting to parent such different kids and it has stretched me in rewarding ways.
We do our fair share of dividing and conquering, given their age difference. G is still napping once/day, smack dab in the middle of the day, so it limits all day family activities. My husband and I each spend alone time with both boys, we do as many family events as we can, but, there are just some things (like going to a kids movie, or taking our older son to golf lessons, or taking G to speech therapy) that we do separately. I know it won’t always be this way and I sort of cherish this time now. I find myself needing a fair amount of alone time (and I’m not sure why that is, but it’s true) and doing some things separately allows for that.
As for where to put my infertility…it is part of who I am and a tribe I identify with. I counsel many friends who are trying to have their first child and it is hugely gratifying. I counsel younger friends on freezing their eggs to give them options well into their future or on how to get pregnant naturally (it is surprising how little even educated women know about trying to conceive having spent most of their adult lives trying not to). Even though I am no longer as active on fertility boards, as a veteran, I do feel a sense of responsibility to remain connected, see others through. I am called to it even more fiercely than I am called to adoptee rights, even though that is something I also feel at least tangentially involved in. I feel like an advocate for both, and I guess I am.
Mostly, I feel like I carry the torch for those newly diagnosed or suffering secondary infertility. I remember being there. It was a full quarter of my life trying to start and complete our family. My heart hurts for those who are waiting for a BFP that sticks, a live birth, a surrogate or birth mother match, an egg donor, the finances to travel abroad or start or continue ART, or whatever it is that is preventing them from becoming a parent right this very moment. It is a sisterhood unlike anything I have ever known and I feel loyal to and protective of it.