Sam, it took you four long years to get pregnant. Actually, maybe not all those years were long. The first one was probably not so bad, those initial few months you were probably thinking all the books were right and within six months you’d get there. You were young, fit, healthy, doing all the right things. It’d happen. Surely. Surely. But as the months turned into a year and a year into two, surely ceased to be a statement and started to be paired with a question mark. Surely? Surely?
It took so bloody long and my god, it was so hard. It seems unfair because it is. It seems like punishment, like torture and you wrack your brain trying to work out what it was you did wrong, what you can change, what you should try next. You think about stopping, giving up, you know people do, they have to, or else they’ll go mad with the longing. You talk about stopping, moving on, embracing all that you already have. Those words are heavy with grief and yet hollow and empty. You cannot fathom how you could mean them, and yet, probably, you must.
And now, here you are. With no rhyme nor reason, after all the interventions failed and you had spoken those heavy, empty words, it happened. In 11 days time, you’ll meet your baby girl, and every moment of grief and anger and frustration and despair will seem somehow purposeful. You won’t forget how long you waited and how hard it was; rather that time will become the preface to your daughter’s story – the context of the beginning of her life.
As you count down these last days before her birth, my miracle is turning eight. I cannot accurately put into words what his life has meant to mine. I am still the person I was before, yet completely changed. I knew love before him; yet the love I have for this child, the one I longed for and almost gave up hope of having, is like nothing else. It is sure and true and endless. It has made me fight when I felt like giving up and made me give up things so I could continue the fight. I am explaining it poorly, but that doesn’t matter now, because very soon, you’ll know. We’ll catch each other’s eyes over the top of our children’s heads, and our exchanged glances will say it all.
Motherhood is the great unknown. In eight years I have found within it such joy, sustenance, challenge and peace. I wish all this for you, too. I don’t know if motherhood is sweeter when it’s been a long time coming, but I suspect for those of us who struggled with infertility and loss, motherhood is more intense in those early weeks, when you struggle with tiredness and feel so completely out of your depth, yet remind yourself how much you wanted this and how grateful you should be. I suspect the exquisite pain of mothering is sharper when you know, really know, that you may never have experienced it. If you can, in amongst the glorious chaos of those first weeks with your baby girl, take time to acknowledge all those feelings. I never did, and it’s probably taken me most of the eight years of my boy’s life to acknowledge that I earned my stripes as a mother well before my son was born.
Here’s to you Sam, and to me, and to our babies. Here’s to every other woman who’s struggled to become a mother, to the babies born, and to those who will forever remain as dreams.
Here’s to life. We made it.