“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills, countless medications, multiple procedures, shots, utter heartbreak, and the strongest bond I think two people can have.
My husband proposed to me the night we were told how difficult it would be for me to conceive. We both have always wanted kids and were very open about that, so in my mind when I heard the doctor refer to me as ‘infertile,’ I thought for sure that was the end of my relationship with this man. However, as I tried to tell him I get it and it was okay if we needed to part ways, he decided to make sure I knew, the two of us would be, and are, a family. The exact family of his dreams—and mine too, I would come to realize once I was able to take a step back and see the big picture.
The following year and a half was brutal. We had a lot of growing to do, individually and together, and at times it was downright painful for both of us, as growing pains often are. Trying to figure out your new life as a married person can be hard enough at times. When you add the chaos and constant grief—and yes, I have chosen the word grief purposefully—that infertility brings to the mix, it can get overwhelming fast.
Once we were settled into our marriage (or so we thought), we began ‘trying’… Now, let me try to tell you how gut wrenching it is to have a doctor tell you that you have to spend an entire year trying to get pregnant naturally, as you sit there in your body…You know, the infertile one? I bought all the vitamins and supplements, and I took them religiously. I purchased all the ovulation tests and pregnancy tests, and I started peeing in cups every single day. Somehow, every single cycle throughout that entire time span, I would allow myself to be hopeful. I would force myself to remain positive each time, that there is still a chance it could just happen. It couldn’t, and it didn’t, and that harsh reality would come right back and punched me in the gut cycle after cycle.
If I had a dollar for every time I have broken down and sobbed, begged, pleaded, and tried to bargain with God, I would be sitting pretty. How could I not feel that way? Not only was I longing day in and day out for a child that I quickly realized may never come, but Ryan was too. Watching my husband’s eyes light up as he talks about building our baby’s crib one day. Seeing the way his posture changes when we start talking about baby names. Seeing the glimmer of hope that has never left his eyes. These are the things that have kept me going. Not a day has gone by that my hand hasn’t been held, my forehead hasn’t been kissed, or I haven’t been reassured that I am never going to be doing this alone.
I will probably always struggle with the trauma and baggage that my infertility has brought with it. It is truly amazing to try and take inventory of all the ways that this journey has shaped me and changed me for better or for worse. I can hardly remember who I was before infertility. It can be hard to juggle the stress, guilt, fear, and hurt, all while trying to live somewhat of a normal life. I strive every single day to continue to be the wife and partner that my husband deserves because, in all reality, none of this would be possible without the love and respect he has shown me how to give myself and my body. If it weren’t for him, it would be impossible for me to keep my eyes on all that is to come.
While there will probably always be times I struggle to remember this, there is one truth I can take comfort in: I will be a mother. My husband will be a father. Our parents will be grandparents. There has never been a cap on what we were willing to sacrifice in order to start our family. Neither of us has ever stopped and said, ‘This is getting to be too much, I’m not willing to do that.’ The truth is, we are willing to do anything. I think knowing that has brought an immense amount of comfort for us both.
Somewhere along the way in that same time of powerlessness, I got my power back. I realized what I am truly capable of and what my body is truly capable of. I saw what my love and my marriage can stand up to and against and what it can endure. I got to see what a beautiful, unbreakable foundation our family is being built on. More importantly, though, I learned that I am so, so much more than my ability to bear children. I am worth more than my motherhood status. I learned that I am an incredibly strong, resilient woman, and I am going to make an incredible mother someday soon.
Now I know that we needed all of this time together, as a family of two. We have learned how to navigate through some of life’s most stormy waters, and we have come out stronger on the other side time and time again. We needed to learn each other more, so that we knew how to support one another during life’s hardest seasons. We needed to see each other in our most raw, pure forms. We needed to share all of those days and nights crying, overcoming, and growing.
I often wonder what my future children will look like, who they will be, and what perfect little quirks they will have. Will I get to conceive them and give birth to them myself? Will they share the same DNA as Ryan and I? Will they come to us a different way, allowing our hearts to heal with theirs? What color eyes will they have? Will they be shy like Ryan, or loud like me?
At the end of the day, none of that matters. All that matters is health and love, and as far as love goes, we have an abundance to give. Whether our story ends (or rather begins) with me going into labor or us receiving a phone call saying ‘It’s time,’ we will be bringing our baby home someday, somehow. We will have the sleepless nights, the projectile spit up, the dirty diapers, and all of the tears. We will get to teach our child how to ride a bike, spell their name, and give love to those around them. We will cherish the hard times just as much as all the good times because after all, the hard times will truly be what got us there when we finally get to the other side of this.
The spot on my chest where my future baby will someday lie sometimes physically aches. When it does, it reminds me of all the love I have to give to a child I haven’t conceived, met, or held yet. That ache used to bring me shame, but now I am proud of it. I take pride in knowing that my child will know how fiercely wanted and needed they were and that we prayed every single day for them to join our family.
There have been more road blocks than I can count. When COVID-19 hit, we were getting ready to finally begin our infertility treatments. Of course, they were canceled pending further notice, along with thousands of other couples across the globe. We had already gone through so, so much waiting at that point, and were so close to finally getting our turn for treatment. Having our hope once again get ripped from us so suddenly was devastating for me. I am so lucky that I always had Ryan there to remind me that this was only a season, not our entire story.
Well, our turn finally came and it is all happening now. We are smack dab in the middle of treatment, and it has been one of the most insane experiences of my life. My mind, body, and soul have all been stretched to their limits, and I have and will continue to get stronger each and every day. I have truly discovered myself in the throes of my infertility. I stand more strongly in my beliefs and self worth now than I ever have before.
To our future child: I will not stop until I have you in my arms. There is nothing in this world that can keep me from you. Whoever you will be, whenever you come, I am so, so ready to be your Mommy. Thinking of seeing your Daddy hold you for the first time fills me with so much hope. I cannot wait to see just how worth it you will be.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tori Brown. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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