A few weeks ago we ran into a teaching acquaintance of C’s. She was from the school where he was working when we lost Abby, so she was aware of our struggles to get to where we are. She cooed over Max, like everyone does a new baby. But it was what she said that left an impression.
“It makes it all worth it, right?”
When I look at my beautiful, perfect, little baby boy, am I glad I didn’t stop fighting? Hell yes!
But was it worth it? I don’t know why this has stuck with me. Perhaps it was the flip way that this stranger said it to me… because I don’t know her at all. Maybe I’m too sensitive. To my ears, it almost sounded like what she meant was that everything we went through, the infertility, the loss, is what is expected to get a baby at the end. That if you fight hard enough, it will happen. An infertile knows this isn’t true. It’s sheer luck. Maybe it strikes a chord, because I’m still so incredibly envious of all the people who make it look easy. Snap their fingers and they have all the babies they need to make their families complete. I’m working on it. I really am. I’m trying to let it all go. But it’s a process…. backed up by lots of years of disappointment and hurt.
Was it all worth it? Would I do it all again to get to my son? How do I say ‘no’? How do I say ‘yes’? Losing Abby broke me in ways that I’m not sure can ever be fixed. Have I walked away from that experience a stronger person? Sure. And it sure as hell has made me value every moment of my son’s life right from the very beginning of knowing he survived transfer and burrowed himself a spot inside me.
Why did it have to be so hard? Why did the path have to be so long and windy and full of potholes? Will I ever find meaning in the “journey”? Will that make it better? Will it all make sense one day? I don’t know. I might just need to eventually let it all go and stop searching for a greater purpose.
Was it worth it?
My son is the best thing I ever did with my life. Being a mom is the most important job I’ve ever had. He makes me want to be a better person and the best momma I can possibly be. That’s all I know.
The infertile is an outsider to a very important club. The mommy club. We’re like little children standing outside the toy store window — always on the outside looking in. So desperately wanting in. I can’t count how many times I was asked “do you have kids” and when I answered “no”, it was like I was immediately disqualified because I couldn’t possibly understand if I didn’t have kids. It was like a kick to the gut every time.
One of my biggest peeves is when clients would do it. Not necessarily to me (although sometimes), but towards their F&CS workers. “Blah, blah, blah… stupid worker doesn’t even have kids, what does she know?” Yeah, because if F&CS is at your door, you’re obviously doing a bang up job.
The first time I realized I was part of the club was right after Christmas. Max was almost one month old and we were out doing some “boxing day” shopping. I left Chris with Max in the stroller to try on some clothes in the change room and the sales woman started talking to me about sleep deprivation and having a new baby. Soon, a woman who was waiting for someone in the change room chimed in. And we were all talking about our babies and sleep and feeding. Just like that, I was part of the club.
Most days, it still doesn’t feel real. There’s a part of me that keeps waiting for someone to take him away from me. “Time’s up, we were just kidding, give him back”. It’s probably why I don’t want to miss a moment of time with him. Sometimes I find myself holding him while he sleeps and I’m thinking of all the things I could be doing if I just put him in his swing to sleep. But I keep holding him. Because even if no one takes him away from me, one day he won’t want to be held all the time. I feel like I need to make the most of every single moment.
I wonder if all parents feel this way or if infertility and loss does something to you? Does it make the parenting experience different? Did my hard-fought battle to join this exclusive and elusive club make me a different kind of momma? I’m not sure. I just know that it has made me the kind of momma — the kind of person — that doesn’t take any of this great gift — this club membership — for granted.