Infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss stole so much from me. Some of it I’ll never be able to get back: time, tears, innocence, and too many more to count. Most importantly, our first 4 babies who never made it here on earth with us. The firsts of happiness at positive pregnancy tests and heartbeat ultrasounds and celebratory early pregnancy milestones.
But as we prepare to welcome our son into the world in just a few short weeks, I’m reclaiming some small joys. Never have I ever looked in the mirror and seen a heavily pregnant woman staring back at me. Or posed for fun in cheesy maternity photos. There are joys we still have to look forward to. Holding our brand new baby in my arms. Mothering a living child who loves me back. These new firsts and firsts-to-be bring a different kind of joy, the joy of happiness and dare I say contentment after so much hurt and pain. The joy of triumphing over seemingly endless heartache and of so deeply appreciating what we will finally have when we bring our baby home.
I have nothing to compare my particular joy to, although I imagine it must be different in some way than that of those who have never had our experiences and for whom parenthood comes more easily. Maybe it is sweeter, to know that we almost didn’t get to have him? To know that no matter what comes or the difficult times we might experience that we are all in on parenting? No regrets. No hesitations. Or maybe it is tainted by the difficulty and trauma of our journey? Maybe it will always live there underneath the surface like a wound that has only partially healed? Will I always cringe at the sight of other happy families with seemingly no cares or troubles in the world? Or will I slowly, unfathomably, become one of them in this new chapter of my life?
It’s hard to imagine the memory of this nightmare dulling when it feels so technicolor clear to me right now. Perhaps there will always be a small part of me that is forever broken from these experiences – and certainly a part of me that has been forever changed – but I think there is plenty of joy to be found on the other side if I can only force myself to reclaim it after all this time.