During my first year of infertility, I remember feeling sad about my life when I heard other friends were pregnant.
We're talking, "Hmmm, maybe I'll cut out of this party early because I can't hide these tears any longer. No thank you, I'll just sit this 35th baby shower out. Don't you dare hand me a flower at church to carry around on Mother's Day because I am already seconds away from busting out of this building early."
For a solid year, I was just seconds away from the deepest feelings of despair, teary sadness, anger at the cruelty of this unfairness, inadequacy as a woman, shame that apparently something was wrong with my body, fear that I never would get pregnant, resentment that I was being left outside the circle of mothers, and worry that somehow my life was not going to be worth anything if I couldn't get pregnant and have a family.
What a sad way to live! It was sad. Very.
Luckily, years two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine of infertility have been a completely different experience. It has been a miracle.
I started learning that if I didn't change my overall perspective on trials, even if I did get pregnant, I would still be prone to hanging by a thread. Because even with a baby in tow, inevitably there would be many other things that wouldn't go my way. It's not like all of life's trials would be dissolved by having a baby.
So I started to see the scary reality that if I chose to continue living in this way (basing my happiness on perfect circumstances), I could easily live and die and only have small glimpses of happiness, only when things happened to be lined up perfectly. Even worse, I would be teaching my children how to live this way as well. The thought of that made my skin crawl. I realized that was not the kind of life I wanted, nor was it the kind of woman or mother I wanted to be. And so, year two I changed my ways. I changed the way I thought about my trials. I did it for my unborn children, so I could truly teach how to overcome their trials, too. And I haven't looked back since.
And one of the greatest side effects of choosing to be happy?
I don't feel the tendency to compare my life with others' anymore. My life is what it is —and it is beautiful and full of purpose. I now get to enjoy being around my friends who are all mothers. I get to enjoy celebrating the beauty of motherhood with everyone on Mother's Day. I get to truly be happy and overjoyed every time I see a little baby. And I am thrilled each and every time I hear of a friend or sister or cousin or neighbor who is pregnant. And I am amazed at the miracle of a birth every time I hear that a new little one has arrived to this beautiful life safe and sound.
Babies are miracles. Getting pregnant is a miracle. Birth is a miracle. Creating a family is a miracle. What a shame that hearing of these things used to make me sad and cause me pain. They're the most beautiful things that ever happen in this life. What a privilege it is to see it unfold and to be a part of it in many ways, even if I am not yet a mother.