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UnTangling The Knots: The Other Side of Motherhood After Infertility

Since June 10, 2019 I’ve been in knots in a tug o’ war between my logical mind and my emotional self; a back and forth between guilt and awe, fear and joy.

I know too many women who would give anything to be in my place right. My six year old daughter dances through the kitchen right now showing us her clumsy ballet moves, my one year old sleeps peacefully in his crib upstairs and my belly kicks with new life.

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The swells of Life and Love growing within, despite the guilt, shame and fear that creeps in

I know too many women who would give anything to have the gifts of motherhood.

I was one of them for a long time.

And yet, I have feelings of not wanting this third life. When I first took the test that announced her existence, the first thing I said was, “I don’t want this.” I was on the phone at the time and my friend replied, “you have options. You don’t have to do this.”

 

While I am pro-choice, abortion wasn’t and isn’t an option for me ever. As soon as I said aloud that initial feeling, especially after seeing so many negatives over the years, the guilt and shame settled upon me.

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The test that changed everything. Every insecurity, every fear, every worry bloomed with those two lines

My logical mind tells me this is going to be hard. Really hard. A rambunctious 16 month old will be hard enough as it is. Add in an infant to this mix and I feel at a complete loss. With no family nearby raising three kids on our own won’t be easy. There won’t be many breaks; not without a steep cost for babysitting and a deep trust for someone to watch over my special gifts. Vacations will become few and far between. Sleep will be something I remember fondly and long for like the days of summer in the midst of a winters storm. Life will be forever altered and it will be SO hard.

I feel so guilty for not being completely ecstatic and excited when I should be completely ecstatic and excited for this surprising turn of events!

The other side of the battle is my awe and joy. I feel Life growing within. I feel her kicks and movement. I see her Life reflected in my own; my full breasts, round belly, dewy skin. My emotional self knows I am blessed to have this sweet soul thriving in my womb. I am in awe at the ease in which I conceived when odds were stacked against me: endometriosis, past recurrent miscarriages alongside nursing made me feel like pregnancy wouldn’t be easy. But it was. And I *should* be so grateful for it.

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But that fear and subsequent guilt kicks in. And the tug o’ war ensues.

 

With infertility, the desire for a baby is so deeply rooted, the grass is always greener on the other side: the motherhood side. We live for a future not guaranteed and we take for granted the life we have now. There’s a joy in being your own autonomous person, a freedom in not being irrevocably tied to another life. But we want that life so badly we can’t find the gratitude of enjoying what we have now while working towards what we want later.

I can’t tell anyone how to appreciate the now.

If we could all be present and mindful our world would be a lot different. All I can say is that everyday is a constant conversation with myself that goes something like this,

“You have a choice. Fall back into your old ways of “the grass is greener over there” and assume the worst for the future or you can be here right now and worry about today. You only have this baby (my 1 year old son) until February. Enjoy every second you can with him. Soak him up. Be present for him. Don’t worry about when the baby comes. Don’t think about the future. Be here now! The dishes can wait. This time is precious and short. Choose now.”

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Soaking up every minute I can with this guy while it’s just us during the day. I’ve never been more present in my life.

And really, thats all I can do right now. This little girl is coming and she’s going to change our lives in big ways; in hard and beautiful ways.

However, as I keep repeating, that fucking fear keeps sidling in. The thoughts of not wanting another baby, the feelings of parental inadequacy, the knowing how much others would love to be pregnant with a healthy little girl; they overwhelm me. The guilt slams into me like a tidal wave and I have to fight for breath to tell myself that even though there’s moments where this doesn’t feel like a blessing, this is a true miracle. A double rainbow after years of torrential downpours of tears and stormy nights of fights with my husband. A double rainbow to bring double joys to our lives. Even if the timing isn’t ideal right now, everything is unfolding exactly as it should.

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After 6 years, I’m finally getting use out of the double Cruiser! 

This tug o’ war is exhausting and constant. But it’s also taught me how much control I have over my thoughts. I can choose different thoughts. I can choose to see the situation differently. I am quicker to stop my guilt and find the awe. I can rejoin the present with more ease now. I am more forgiving of my flaws in parenting and in Life. I am more grateful and appreciative of the little things: my sons facial expressions as he explores, the smell of hot coffee, solitude in the early mornings, the after school stories from my daughter, my husbands caresses as we pass each other in the house.

While my logical mind battles with my emotional self, a self that’s been ridiculed as being too sensitive, too girly, too “much” over the years I know I am exactly enough for this family. My emotional self will win and Life will feel right and whole when that double rainbow baby looks up at me from my arms. And I know I’ll look back on these days of shame and guilt and fear and see how silly it all was. Life happens for us, not to us. My journey these past few years have been for me to become the woman I am now: the “too much” mama who loves fiercely and worries erratically and will forever work towards being the best version of herself: for herself, her angel babies and her three beautiful, miraculous children.   

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