Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Does overcoming infertility make you a better mom?

Does overcoming infertility make you a better mom?  I’ve often wondered that.  And I think for me, the answer is yes.  Now, I’m not saying those who haven’t struggled with infertility can’t be great moms.  There are plenty of amazing moms in the world – and I’m not even sure I’m one of them.  I also realize there are several women who’ve struggled a lot longer with infertility than I have.  In a way, A and I were lucky because we knew IVF was our only option.  There was no trying for months, no IUI.  We went straight to IVF.  But infertility isn’t a contest of who’s suffered more or who’s been on the roller coaster longest…
As I was saying… I think overcoming infertility made me much more grateful and appreciative.  More thankful for my pregnancies and more thankful for my sons.  Has motherhood always been amazing and wonderful, sunshine and butterflies?  Absolutely not.  But even on those mornings, when W woke up several times the prior night, when he’s flushing all the Kleenex down the toilet and screaming at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, I know that I’m lucky I get to experience it all.  And I always remind myself of that when I get frustrated.
I distinctly remember the newborn days.  There was one particular night when A and I were utterly exhausted.  I think A was delusional – sitting on the floor, mumbling, and rocking to try to stay awake (bless him for getting up with me as I struggled with nursing W).  W was crying, refusing to eat and to sleep, A sarcastically muttered, “Well, this is fun!”.  It certainly wasn’t fun, but I remember feeling so fulfilled and happy nonetheless.  We were actually parents.  We were a family.  W was ours.  We had our baby.  And that was all that mattered to me.
I was talking to a coworker recently.  Telling her that we had a full weekend planned for W.  Explaining that I was hurrying out of the office because I wanted to spend time with W before he got too tired.  She told me that I was so different from her niece who has a daughter a month older than W.  She went on to tell me that her niece had been out of town for the weekend and was gone several times that week to attend a sporting event and other activities with friends and that was common for her.  I know there isn’t a right way to parent and each family has their own way of doing things.  But it did make me feel good knowing that I’d rather spend my non work time at home with W as opposed to being out with friends often.  Being a parent is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given and I don’t want to take any of it for granted.
Prior to infertility and W, I got frustrated easily, I was impatient, I didn’t always value family time.  I still get frustrated and I’m still impatient at times.  But I think I’ve gotten a lot better.  I’ve learned to relax and appreciate staying home.  Infertility has made me more patient, more grateful, and more empathetic.  And W has made me a better person.

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