I’ll start by saying this post was one year in the making. And with that, here we go.
“But what I’ve learned the hard way is you don’t answer to a wide swath of people and their opinions, even if they’re good people, with good opinions. You were made by hand with great love by the God of the universe, and he planted deep inside of you a set of loves and dreams and idiosyncrasies, and you can ignore them as long as you want, but they will at some point start yelling. Worse than that, if you ignore them long enough, they will go silent, and that’s the real tragedy.”
I read Present Over Perfect in my women’s group and this excerpt really impacted me. Since journeying through infertility, God has allowed me the privilege of supporting others, even if it’s merely by sharing about my own experiences over a cup of coffee. I realize with the busyness of life, if I am not intentional about paying attention to my own story and thoughts, this voice inside will indeed go silent, and just maybe, that would be a tragedy.
With this in mind, and some time to gain a bit more perspective, I have learned that my own infertility struggle has taught me some valuable lessons to help traverse the blessing of motherhood.
Let others in.
I must admit, this did not come easily to me and has probably been the most difficult part of my infertility struggle. I do not like to admit weakness, or put myself in a vulnerable state. I find comfort and fulfillment in pouring into others and finding out about their lives, and before I knew it, it felt like my fertility status had quickly become the focus. I found myself no longer having the words and no longer having the strength or desire to cover it all up with a smile. My infertility struggle slowly tore down my walls so that all that was standing around me were my warriors, and some of the deepest friendships I’ll ever know.
In motherhood, this looks like allowing others in—allowing friends and family to be close to my daughter, to pour into her, because I am not meant to go it alone. It also means showing my vulnerability in being a mom, my insecurities in not always knowing what the future will hold. God showed me these relationships in a new light, and showed me just how valuable it is to have a village of love and support, now and for the challenges that will come in the future. I am thankful to God for having broken down these walls, walls I couldn’t even see were there.
I cannot force my plans and my desires.
I can be strong-willed and stubborn. I have spent more than 5 years trying to force my plans and desire to have a baby. I forced with everything I had—mentally, emotionally, and physically—and it did not work.
Some days I’ve felt insecure about how I came into motherhood, like I am somehow less of one. And other days I’ve felt beyond grateful for the way it happened. Beyond grateful that God managed to strip me of all control and bring me to the humblest of places. Beyond grateful that I am still taken aback every time I see myself in a photo as a mom. Beyond grateful for the sense of wonder and amazement I always feel about this little girl. Beyond grateful that God knew exactly how I needed to enter motherhood.
I am not every mom. My story is my own.
And thank goodness for that. Motherhood is the surest way to be reminded that I need grace every day—not only from my daughter, but from those I am doing daily life alongside. Although my story may not look exactly the same, what I’ve come to understand is that there is no prescribed way to become a mom, to create a family. Though my insecurities might sometimes surface in a moment of bitterness when I feel I am owed an easy and predictable life, I am reminded that this story is God-ordained—a story that if resisted, may cheat the kingdom from hearing it, may cheat God of His ultimate glory.
Motherhood isn’t just something I couldn’t achieve on my own. It’s the very best privilege that’s ever been bestowed on me.
Infertility has taught me to be grateful for the gift. Infertility has reminded me the gift is through no doing of my own, but instead, from the greatest Giver of all gifts. And though I don’t always show it perfectly, I’m convinced that this perspective is the most precious gift I’ve ever been given. I am forever grateful.