There are words I never thought I’d have to say in my lifetime. Words that still tend to choke me as they come out of my mouth. Words that created tension in my life and marriage that I wasn’t prepared for in school. I can still remember the moment my doctor said them just as vividly as I can see my precious fur baby laying and softly snoring next to me as I write this.
“IVF is your only option to become pregnant” …
And with that. Those 8 small words, strung together in a single sentence, said in less than a second created damage just like a tornado. The dreams I’d dreamt since I was a child, gone in a flash. All the hours I spent caring for my baby dolls as a fulltime job when I was a child became nothing more than childish dreams. Words like “mother”, “mama”, “ma”, “mom”, & “parent” were replaced with “empty”, “barren”, and “failure” …
Walking out of the clinic that day changed me, but little did I know that conversation wouldn’t be the worst of the day. As it became time to share this information with friends and family, suddenly people were experts in fertility, and infertility, essential oils, holistic medicines, stress management, and meditation! The advice for those dealing with infertility is enough to fill the universe I’m sure. Everyone has an opinion on how you should handle this.
It got to the point where if I heard one more person tell me to travel to some foreign small country to find a specific weed that grows only on the north side of the mountain and eat it while listening to a Celine Dion song while soaking my left earlobe in green Jello … that I was going to explode! (no disrespect to Celine Dion, I love her!)
To be fair, not all the advice we received as bad, nor was any of ill-intended – but it was overwhelming and a constant reminder that I couldn’t do what others seemed to find so easy to do. People just want to help. And yet, the assumptions made when talking about infertility are not without saying. It seems the female body is the easiest target for far too many things in this world, despite the fact that we initially were battling infertility due to male factors. There is literally nothing I could do to make it happen.
For 5 years my spouse and I differed in our approach to dealing with infertility. He dug into his faith, trusting the Lord would come through for us, as He always had for him. While I dug deep into my definitions of motherhood & fatherhood. What could this battle mean if it had always been my dream? If God never puts a dream in your heart, that won’t come true then clearly, I must have misunderstood this dream.
What does it mean to be a mother or a father?
Webster’s Dictionary defines them both as literally being “the state of being a father/mother.” No mention of creating life, or growing a child in my belly, or birthing a human. I started to realize that the path to parenthood is a unique and beautiful one. Once I acknowledged this, I let myself reach back into the universe where my parenthood dreams floated off to, and tethered a string to it from my heart.
We reopened the door to adoption – a plan we had always had but didn’t know when. Over the course of several years, every month that we went without those double pink lines, we’d hear the theme of adoption pop up. Eventually, we started meeting families whose lives had been blessed through adoption.
Adoption was a personal thing for both my spouse and me, but hearing about it again and again in the wildest ways was much more than a coincidence. As we let go of all the expected sorrows of a natural birth & biological journey to be parents, we were filled with the blessings adoption comes with.
We’ve started our official journey into adoption, and for the first time, my journey into motherhood story is no longer filled with sorrow and emptiness, but rather joy and excitement for the unexpected.
Jessica is a Twin Cities based speaker and blogger on shifting cultural norms around sexual and domestic violence. She lives with her husband, dog & bunny in the south metro! After 5 years battling infertility, they’ve just recently begun their journey through a domestic infant adoption program and look forward to growing their family through adoption!