Yesterday was Mother’s Day. The day holds special significance for me because I suffered from infertility for years, and there was a time I thought I would never be a mother. Mother’s Day is a painful day when you are surrounded by celebration for the mothers around you- yet, what you yearn for is denied. For myself, I was always happy for the friends (and even strangers) as they announced pregnancies and welcomed beautiful babies into the world, but it was a sharp reminder of the empty spot in my heart. I spent five long years pursuing pregnancy. Only twenty five years old when I began my journey, I was surrounded by friends and family that hastened to assure me it was only a matter of time….I needed to be patient….or take a vacation….or get a puppy….or not think about wanting to get pregnant (that was not helpful advice!!). Even my doctors did not take my concerns seriously. After tests showed no reason that I was not conceiving, every doctor I saw told me that I would be pregnant in six months. In the pre-IVF world, I tried drugs, hormones, medical interventions, exploratory surgery….and six months became a year, then two years, three years, four years and finally five years. I was mentally and physically tired, my marriage was stressed, and I was beginning to think that I would never experience motherhood. A year of a break from doctors, interventions and all talk of pregnancy followed as I retreated from the battlefield of infertility.
During that year, I found myself reflecting on what was driving my desire to be a mother. In the stillness of my heart, I discovered that what I wanted most of all was to raise a child…not to give birth to a baby. Slowly, tentatively, I began to explore the idea of adoption. My husband had always felt positively about the adoptive path, and we took the first steps toward exploring private and agency adoption options. It was a long and arduous process to pick an agency and go through the months of hoops, paperwork, interviews and home studies to be approved. Then, began the wait for a birthmother to pick us from the numerous photo albums that pleaded for a baby to complete their family. But finally, the day came when our daughter was born and placed into my waiting arms. Every mother shares the same experience of not knowing if they are ready (or worthy) of the title of parent. Adoptive mothers are no different. Even after all of the years of waiting-or maybe because of all the years-I questioned whether I was meant to be a mother. My mind questioned and worried, but my heart was more than ready to grow in love for the precious bundle I had been gifted. And so began the final steps of my infertility journey…motherhood.
All of this is on my mind on Mother’s Day. I wonder about the women around me as I celebrate the day. I wonder if there are unshed tears for a day that can bring pain as well as celebration. So, for me, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the mothers that are, the mothers with empty arms and the mothers that dream of motherhood. I celebrate the dream. Happy Mother’s Day!