I am twenty-five, but I feel fifty. In the past year of my life I have had to do a whole lot of growing up in a small amount of time. This year I've had to come to terms with the fact that life isn't always what I thought it would or should be. I have experienced the bitter pain of monthly disappointments. That is a pain that no one should ever have to experience. I've had to change my plans over and over again in the pursuit of motherhood. I'm exhausted. I am sure that my fellow fertility fighters know this feeling.
I have also learned who I am this year. I have learned that I am more than my ability to produce a child. I am talented. I've become a web developer! That's a big difference from what I went to college for (paralegal studies). I've learned to love and hurt with others who are experiencing pain, even if I've never met them. I've found my inner advocate. I have been very vocal about the struggle that my husband and I are going through and often times I am sure that it has been to the annoyance of others. I've learned that I don't care if my choices or my opinions don't meet the approval of others. There are only three people that I need the approval of: God, my husband, and myself.
The thing is, I am Rachel. I am not just a childless woman. I am a woman with many layers. I am talented, loving, creative, caring, funny, and unique. Most of all, I am strong. I have more strength than I ever thought possible. If you had told me one year ago that my husband and I would be where we are now I would have told you that it was impossible, that I couldn't do it. Guess what? I've done it and I'm still standing tall.
I have my
Thinking back over all that I have learned through this painful year has shown me something. I am going to be a much better mother than I would've been had it come easy. If it had come easily I would have child and my entire identity would be wrapped up in that child. I wouldn't know who Rachel really is. My child will benefit from having a mother who is strong in her sense of self and doesn't rely on the expectations of society to define her worth. More importantly, I am benefiting from that knowledge.
Yes, I'm exhausted. Yes, infertility sucks. But wow, what a year.