Where do I fit?
As my dream of motherhood approaches, I am finding it hard to know where I fit.
I have yearned for this for so long. It has been something I have fought for, one way or another, for half of my life. It dominated my thoughts, it drove my decisions. It’s the reason I lost love but also the reason I found love.
The complete shock of infertility and the heartache of Childlessness shaped me. It opened my eyes to society's presumptions and pressures. It led to me feeling so incredibly isolated for so very long. It led me to seek others, who understood and have soothed my heart in ways no one else could.
Losing my little ones along the way, this journey became not just a quest for what was not in my life, but an acceptance of losing what had been, almost.
Grief then also, has changed me. A loss not only of my babies but of the life I had anticipated and the me I thought I would be. Loss became expected, joy to be mistrusted. Grief seems to undo you. I felt hollow and was unsure what kept me upright. And sometimes I simply wasn’t and all I could do was fall to the ground with my heart so broken I thought I must surely not be able to stand up again.
I had to unlearn everything I had thought to be true. That I would be a mum. That a positive pregnancy test equalled a baby. That when you try and try again you succeed. That good things happen to good people. That you get back what you put in. That effort is rewarded. That we have any control.
I always maintained the hope of motherhood, but somewhere along the line, lost my expectation to achieve it. Its pursuit drove me forwards but I realise now, remaining childless felt familiar, felt tangible and real. Childless was what I related to. How I felt. How I was perceived. Childless was how I lived. My identity as I hit my mid 40's was childless.
I am becoming a mummy. Not to a newborn. Not by TTC or IVF. Not through my own body. Not through my genes or his. I won't bring a child to being. My children will have had their own beginnings, without me. Its not the way I wanted to start my motherhood. I won’t hear that first cry, feel that first little body against mine. I won’t have achieved the greatest miracle. I won’t see the admiration in his face.
But, I will have bought my family into being. And that is a birth which should not be dismissed, because it doesn’t comply with what we imagine birth to be. Maybe I didn’t physically push, but oh man, did I push for this family.
I am filled with thoughts now of, 'then what?' Logic tells me I will be busy enough adjusting to a new life and my new children, to not need wonder.
But emotions aren't logical and I'm not there yet. This battle has raged in my head for decades, when this battle has concluded, then what? What does a soldier do after a war? How do they blend back into civilian life as if nothing ever were? Maybe that's the crux of it, you can't go back to who you were. Grief, solitude, despair and a constant need to fight my reality can't just be shelved. I can’t pick up where I left off. I am different. Older. I can't be that young woman, who just had faith it would happen because she wanted it, oh so much.
My purpose for so long was this fight for motherhood. I felt entirely outside of society, firstly as a single woman in my 30’s when everyone else was married with children, but later also with my losses. I didn’t know anyone else who had been through this. People were kind, but they didn’t get it. I felt alone. The people I needed to find had a shared experience, had battled the same war alongside me or been there before. Had watched their dream fading. I found my reflection in them, my voice. I felt seen. Some still trying to achieve motherhood, some who have acknowledged this is no longer their path. These voices I have leaned on, to regain strength when I had none. Learned from when my view of the world and what ‘should’ happen was so deeply challenged.
My motherhood in some ways feels like a betrayal of those who were able to give me the strength to face another day. I now feel that I no longer belong, whilst also not feeling like I belong in the ‘mum’ group either. I haven’t been through the rights of passage, the initiations which make you one of them. But I will have those additional names to sigh on my Christmas cards, I will have the family meals and the school run. I’m not, not a mum either.
My infertility remains. The intake of breath when I see a newborn. The unexpected lurch of my stomach when I hear a baby cry. The gut-wrenching agony of a pregnancy announcement. They still exist alongside my new-found motherhood.
Now I need to re-learn what my journey made me unlearn. It's complex. I am finding the thought of it ending is still difficult to process. Unbelievable a lot of the time. I don't know how to not be fighting for this end goal.
Like any transition, I need to feel my way into my new way of being. What I do know, is that all the feelings of longing, pain, heartache and sorrow won't magically disappear, but I believe, that sense of searching I felt in my soul, will. My soul will feel at peace, as it did for such a brief time, when I was pregnant. That sense of something missing will go.
Maybe now my fight becomes my childrens'. I'll fight for their voices, their lives, their happiness. Or maybe I can just stop feeling this need to fight all the time. Maybe I can try just enjoying the moments. Maybe I need to allow the sense of relief to flood over me. I was overwhelmed with it on the day we were officially matched, but since then, I have not allowed myself to feel it. Quite honestly, it feels wreckless because they are not home yet. But it also feels like an extravagance.
I know my blog and Instagram account will change. It will include motherhood and I know that will be too painful for some and I hate that, because I have been that person who finds some accounts just too hard to follow. I still am that person. I still find that some days I’d rather not look than face anything I’m not strong enough to see that day. There is no way to sugar coat years of pain for a lost dream, a lost hope, a lost baby.
I am still a mum grieving her lost babies. I am still a woman who reached mid-life without children. I am still infertile.
I am still all of the things I was. But I will also be a mum.
All images taken from Pinterest