I still have so much of who I am still tied up in infertility. The aversion and immediate jealousy at a pregnancy announcement. The remnants of insecurity and a feeling of being broken.

In the strangest moments it will flood back, briefly but powerfully and leave me feeling the odd mixture of vulnerability and relief you feel after a good cry. It will hit me when I see a happy family of two or three or more kids and I wonder if I will be able to have a sibling for my son. A FB announcement of a sibling on the way, a celebrity pregnancy announcement, a First Response commercial, even buying yet another box of tampons. The pain comes back, my eyes fill with tears and my heart drops.

There are other moments where it is so clear that my IF journey, the pain and despair, has left me with such a profound gift. The gift to truly live in the moment and enjoy the magic of actually being a Mom.

I have this friend a number of years younger than me that got pregnant on her honeymoon (eye roll). She is blissfully ignorant of the world of IF and has no idea the gift she has been given. She is one of those Moms overwhelmed by it all. The lack of sleep, the fewer date nights, the minimal ‘me’ time etc. the list goes on and on. She is always frazzled and worried and complaining. Her son is healthy and perfect, she is a Mom, yet her life is stressful at best and miserable at worst. I know this sounds like I am judging her or minimizing how hard it is to be a Mom. Well, I guess I am. I feel like you guys of all people can understand why.

I watch her and listen to her and can’t help but feel gratitude. I know oh so well what a gift motherhood is. I know that too many women are desperate to just be given a chance. I know that 1am and 3am and any am wake ups are the greatest gift. I know that date nights are nothing compared to your child’s eyes staring at you in adoration, their little baby toes curling, their delighted peals of laughter filling the house.

I see now that once you are finally on the other side of IF, the joy overflows. The gratitude masks the hardship and pain. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of making it all right in the end. You go through pain but you get so much joy.

When I was reeling from yet another failed expensive cycle I could not see how this could ever be true. I did not want to hear about it all one day being worth it. I just wanted that day to be here. I know now that a lifetime of gratitude for the joy of being a Mom is the true gift. Would I have been this happy and thankful to be a Mom if the path had not been so hard? Maybe. But I find it far more likely the mundane complaints would have permeated the joy far more often like my friend.

I am by no means claiming that the hardship of IF is something I would choose. I would not. It sucked time, confidence, money and the blissful parts if conceiving. The ignorance of being a happy naive pregnant lady instead of the paranoid neurotic one I was. Did I mention the time it stole from me? The years of counting cycle days, 2WW, just waiting for days to pass and avoiding all things social. But what I can say is I have found a gift hidden underneath the rubble. The gift I hold so dear and hope for every one of you to have soon. I know you will have it in some form eventually. I hope with everything that day is close.