So often I focus on what infertility has robbed me of--a normal se.x life with my husband, the ability to build our family on our own, being able to not worry about spending our kids' college tuition on bringing them into the world, and not having to go to the doctors office every month for months on end. Going through IF is tough. It's tough on every part of my life and I think while you're in the middle of it, it's so easy to only focus on the negatives. But now that I'm (somewhat) on the other side of it, I can see all that IF did give me. All the good I have because of it.
One amazing thing that going through IF has given me is an incredible support group and the opportunity to "meet" so many great women/families. I am constantly impressed by the people out there in the blogging world who have gone through IF. Impressed by how they have managed to press on even through difficult situations. How they continue to pursue their dream of building a family even when it seems impossible. And, to be honest, I'm impressed by how much I can relate to these women. It has shown me that disease, specifically the disease of infertility, does not discriminate. IF doesn't care how much you make, how happily married you are, or what kind of education you have... It affects women/families of all kinds. I have been in awe of just how much I have in common with those struggling with IF. And I'm thankful for that.
Another thing that infertility has given me is increased compassion. Prior to going through all of this, I thought I was compassionate. I had plans to go into human services and felt that I was particularly well suited for that because of how well I care about and for people. But, deep down, I was harboring a lot of assumptions/prejudices/stereotypes. I had known women who struggled with infertility, but I still wondered why they were going through that struggle. It's awful to think about now, but it's the truth. But, now? Because I've struggled? I find myself bawling over just about anything heart wrenching. It doesn't matter if it has to do with parenthood, infertility, or anything children related... My heart has opened up in so many wonderful ways and I am so thankful that I am now more perceptive to truly caring for and about other people's struggles.
Finally, the most magical thing that infertility has given me is a deep appreciation for my child. Now, I have loads of friends who got pregnant the first time their husband looked at them and those friends treasure and take magnificent care of their children. That being said, as sad as it is, I believe that my friends are in the minority among parents. What infertility has given ME is perspective on just how lucky I am to have this little person in my life. Last Sunday, MBL and I took Piper to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo/farm and while we were walking around looking at the animals I literally almost burst into tears. My heart was so overcome with just how lucky I feel to be Piper's mom. I could not believe that after all we went through, after all the heartache and struggle, there I was with MY child having a family day. Piper was just walking around looking at everything and I just wanted to pinch myself. How did I get so lucky? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I know that had I gotten pregnant on the first try at the age of 23, my perspective would have been totally different. Sure, I'd probably still want to take my child out for fun adventures and I'd probably still treasure her, but I know it wouldn't be nearly as overwhelming as it is because I went through infertility. It just couldn't be. For ME, if I had been easily given a child, I wouldn't be pinching myself at the gift of having a child to take the pumpkin patch. I literally come home every day from work and cannot wait to spend my precious evening hours with my girl. She lights up my life and I tell her every day that I would have spent a million dollars to bring her into the world and I'm not exaggerating one bit (although how I would have gotten that kind of money is not clear).
Bottom line, for all that IF has robbed me of, for all that I have "lost" because of it, I am still downright grateful for all that I have because of it. And I am especially grateful that because of it, I will never take the time I have with my child(ren) for granted.
How about you? Do you find it hard to find anything positive from your infertility journey? Do you feel that you have a different view of parenthood because of what you went through?