Children change you. Not having children changes you. Not having the biological ability to conceive children changes you. Losing a child changes you. Your reflection sometimes seems unrecognizable. You find yourself wandering around as if you are searching for a set of lost keys. You hear yourself say things that you have never said before and can’t quite believe what you are hearing. Sights and sounds that you were oblivious to just three weeks ago are consequently right in your face everywhere that you turn. You’ve changed.
Going through seven years of infertility with my first son did more to me than I knew, at the time. You are so consumed with keeping track of which day of the month you are on and which medication you are supposed to be taking that sometimes you lose sight of everything around you. Every unsuccessful month you dive headfirst into the pool of sadness. Despair sets in for a solid week or more. Finally, you’ve pulled yourself out of the deep end only to dive back in.
This was me for seven years! Do the math. That is a lot of deep sad pool swimming. Everyone said “relax” or “just take a break and it will happen.” Really? Is this really the best advice or encouragement that we can provide to women struggling to conceive?
It wasn’t until his pregnancy that I realized all of the things I lost sight of or pushed away. Our infertility had changed me. It changed the way I had relationships with people. It changed the way I examined my faith. Even though my husband and I spent those years without a child, a child changed us. He was the one we yearned for and has taught us that the greatest things truly are worth the wait.
Finding out I was pregnant with my second son was an unbelievable event. I literally fell to the bathroom floor while covered in tears. I couldn’t believe it! It took about five home pregnancy tests for me to feel brave enough to tell my husband. That joyous emotion carried all throughout his pregnancy. He was this unanticipated gift! Our joy was stained when we learned that he had died in utero as we showed up for his delivery at 39 weeks 4 days gestation. A child changed us. He was the sweetest surprise and biggest heartbreak we’d ever held. He showed us to love each second because the next one might be gone.
Five very short months later we discovered we were pregnant again. I was scared and nervous. I felt guilty the entire time I carried him. Of course, I already loved him, but the thought of history repeating made me want to crawl into a hole and not come out until it was all over. It was a weird place for me. In general, I am a fairly compassionate person and not that selfish, but that changed. Now, I wasn’t mean or rude to people, but I didn’t allow many in. My guard was up and no one entered. We all survived his pregnancy and our third son was born.
A child changed us. He was the child we didn’t know we needed. He taught us that hope still lives even the depths of depression and solitude.
Our boys are 5, 3, and 2. I have changed in ways I didn’t know was even possible. It wouldn’t be worth the time to try to find the old me. I don’t think she could live the life I live.
Embrace the change and live for the child that caused it.