I have been thinking about being on ‘the other side’ lately and what it has meant to me. The first couple of months with Jayden were overwhelming. Going from a very dark hopeless place to the complete contrast was HUGE. I now know exactly what moms mean when they say that nothing prepares you for motherhood. You try to imagine it when you are still in the trenches and run through scenarios in your head, but it’s never quite the same in reality. Mostly because it’s such a personal experience, and because you are challenged in areas of your life that you never expected. And then you have those sixty days which are excruciating. They are the most emotionally challenging thing I have ever dealt with, but that is an entirely different post.
I noticed a definitely change in people’s reactions as a transitioned into motherhood. Relationships definitely changed, mostly in a subtle way, but they did never the less. Some groups were warmer; I got loads of invitations to kids birthday parties. I think that I have probably been invited to more kids parties since Jayden was born than I have in my life. Other groups backed away, and I can understand exactly why. It didn’t hurt; it was just my new reality. You won’t get invited out for a drink on a Friday night anymore, your husband will, but you won’t. I’m not moaning about this for one second. I have spent many Friday nights out feeling low just because I was available and I wasn’t a mom…..these thoughts are just my observations. I was puzzled however that I didn’t get invited to events that I really could have participated in; like putting together Santa’s Shoeboxes. It’s not something that I am overly disappointed about, but I did notice. I think that the assumption is that you are just not available when you become a mom. The idea that your husband can also look after his child doesn’t seem to be very popular. To be honest, I probably would have declined the invitation, but it’s still nice to know that people are thinking of you.
When Jayden was about three months old I finally felt like I had my head above water. We were over the sixty days and I could relax a bit more and reflect on my new normal. For me those months were all about finding my groove as a new mom, AND as a wife who is also a mother AND as a business woman who has a lot more to balance. Most of that time feels like a blur, especially the first couple of weeks. I swear, even twenty weeks later I look back at the day Jayden was born and it feels like a dream. When you are in the moment you feel present, but you aren’t. It’s like your wedding day when you try to soak in every moment, but you are actually floating on a cloud.
And then there is the matter of moving from infertile to mom. Infertility damages us with its cruelty. I found that I never let myself go fully after so many disappointments. I protected my heart always, because it was too painful to fully let it go. Deep down I always believed that I would be a mother, but I never lost myself in that thought and allowed myself the decadent luxury of being there. I’m certain that this makes it even harder to transition into motherhood. The first few months are difficult regardless of how you became a mother, but I find that it took a while to shake my infertile mindset of ‘I don’t deserve this’ ‘it will never happen to me’, and in a way I am still working through some of that stuff. It was almost as if I was babysitting and someone was going to take it all away from me. I couldn’t believe that it had finally happened to me. My baby showers felt like a dream, they were totally surreal. These days I have no problem believing that I have a son. He is here and he is ours. I also feel so much clearer about my live and how I am supposed to live it. Infertility held me back as a person! I’ve asked myself if I used it as an excuse and maybe sometimes I did, but my main realisation now is just how traumatic the whole experience is.
Being on the other side has given me more confidence to be me and decluttered my mind from some of the messages infertility sent me. I can’t ever imagine feeling the longing I felt for Jayden when it comes to a second child. I’m not saying that there won’t be any longing, but the desperation will be gone and the pain is slowly subsiding.
A friend asked me the other day if I thought that Jayden was the reason that I had to go through all this pain. I thought about it for a bit and my answer was….no. Jayden wasn’t the reason, sometimes bad things happen to good people and there is no reason for it. But I will say this, the journey lead me to Jayden, and my husband feels the same way. When we first started trying to conceive he said he would NEVER do IVF. Then he said he would NEVER use donor eggs, and then he said he would NEVER consider adoption. On Christmas day he told me that he could never ever imagine a more perfect child for us than Jayden. He loves him with all his being and he would die for him…..and so would I.
Its so funny how life works out. The twists and the turns. The pain and the joy.
It will be alright in the end. And if its not alright, its not the end!!!