Approaching Mother’s Day After Infertility & Miscarriage
I am a mother to a daughter. This fact still brings me shock and awe. There is rarely a moment that the reality of how difficult it was for us to have our daughter isn’t with me. I’ve said praises under my breath for her at all hours of the day—so often that it seems they are engrained in my subconscious. I am so aware of the miracle of my daughter that it sometimes makes me physically ill—I don’t know what to do with the moments of overwhelming gratitude, especially when they connect and collide with the heartache of our journey through infertility. I know that I am a mother, but I still feel like that person who cannot be a mother. As Mother’s Day approaches, my life as a mother parallels the life I lived before, where there was so much heartache surrounding this day because of the grief I carried. I have two selves: the person I am now as a mother, and the person I was as I yearned desperately to be a mother. And I’m not sure I can separate the two.
My daughter brings me insurmountable joy. But my miscarriage lives within me in place of the child I should be carrying. I feel it in the dates on the calendar, in the clothes my daughter grows out of that I continue to pack away, in the “Big Sister” shirt I’d favorited on Amazon that I still haven’t deleted, in the way I wake in the middle of the night with my hands on my belly. We should be celebrating more than just our daughter’s life this year. We should be approaching Mother’s Day with her along with a new baby in my belly—a baby we yet again had to fight infertility for. We should be welcoming our second trimester and arguing about baby names and talking about how our daughter is going to be the best big sister to our newest addition. Instead, we are approaching this day unsure of whether or not a baby will ever happen for us again. Instead, we are trying to decide if and when I can mentally handle attempting more rounds of fertility procedures. I have two selves: the person I am to my one, precious daughter, and the person I could have been to two precious children.
I still feel sorrow as Mother’s Day approaches. Because I remember the grief of desperately wishing to be a mother. Because I am still battling infertility. Because I’m still grieving a miscarriage. Because I feel so deeply for all the ones without children to hold. Because I feel guilty for celebrating while some are mourning the loss of their own children or mothers. Because I know that some people dread this day even more than me. I sometimes feel that I can’t survive how much I feel.
And yet. This is the broken beauty of life—joy and sorrow sometimes existing together. I can celebrate being a mother to my perfect, miracle daughter while also feeling the grief of infertility and miscarriage. I can acknowledge how deep of a gift motherhood is and hold my own daughter and mother tight while also acknowledging the pain others may be going through because their arms are empty. I can be both—the woman who was changed by infertility, and the woman who was changed by a daughter. I can be both—the woman who has one miracle child, and the woman who almost had two.
I am 1 in 8 who battles infertility. I am 1 in 4 who has experienced a miscarriage. I wish no one had to experience either, and it seems unbearably cruel that some should have to experience both. I am broken, and I carry my brokenness with me every single day. It’s still there, even on my best day, even in the purest moments of love and life. Even when I’m smiling, even when I’m laughing. It’s with me, a part of me forever. Some don’t see it, and some see it and choose not to acknowledge it. Some hurt me with the things they say. Some hurt me worse by staying silent. I feel so alone in my pain that it feels unsurvivable, yet I feel even more alone surrounded by people. I am constantly learning and relearning what it means to live this life. I am constantly navigating the roller coaster of grief. I am constantly questioning myself, and trying to reassure myself that there is nothing I have done to deserve this.
This is my brokenness, and I live my life in search of the beauty within it. I see it in my daughter every single day. I see it in the people I’m able to meet in their own brokenness. I see it in my husband, who carries me through the dark days. I see it in the quiet moments, when I can do nothing but cry out to God in my sorrow and I am reminded that His goodness still exists all around me. It’s in the eyes of my daughter as she laughs, in the warm breeze on a perfect 70 degree day, in the colors of the sky as the sun sets behind the clouds, in the scars that I carry because of our painful, unconventional road to parenthood.
It’s life—brokenness and beauty existing together. It’s painful, and it’s scary, but I know that someday, I’ll realize the fullness of my life because of the perspective I’ve been given. We understand the light our daughter brought to us in an exquisite way because we’d first experienced the darkness of her absence. For every day of grief, our days of joy become sweeter. For every moment of tears, our moments of laughter are deeper. I still feel sorrow as Mother’s Day approaches. But even as I remember the vacant space between my arms that my precious daughter now fills, and as I remember the extraordinary time she lived inside me while still mourning the emptiness from the baby we lost, I know that there is still so much beneath the loss and grief inside me waiting to be uncovered. Our greatest beauty, yet to be discovered.