The holiday season is upon once again and again I have so very much to be thankful for. Really just so much and of course the top of a list that includes incredible friends, loving family, an amazing husband and the light of my life, my precious daughter. I can't even tell you how much my heart swelled last holiday season or many tears of joy and disbelief I shed at spending my first holidays as a mommy. There truly was nothing more wonderful or magical.
This year, however, I have realized I have something completely unexpected to be thankful for. For the first time since infertility took over my life, I have begun to feel, well almost normal. I don't think I really understood just how much infertility influenced everything in my life until it didn't anymore. I mean there were the years of trying, temping, injecting, wanding and waiting that have dominated nearly all of my energy, both mental and physical. Then came the complex layers of joy & anxiety that came with finally getting pregnant. And finally the surreal and joyous experience of actually having my child here in the world. Yes, it's been challenging, anyone who says parenting isn't, is lying, but everyday has also been another chance for me to reiterate just how incredible it is to be here, to celebrate the things that most parents may not even notice, to express to the world just how grateful and blessed I feel. More and more each day though, I find myself just living each day as it comes without all of the fanfare. Yes, of course I still feel blessed and grateful but it is not necessarily my every waking thought and that it a good thing.
Before infertility, I had interests, I had passions and thoughts that absolutely nothing to do with children or babies or motherhood. But once we began down the road to parenthood, it quickly became the only thing that existed in my life. For 3 years everything has been about being a mom. Trying to be one, hoping to be one, hurting when I wasn't, celebrating when I was. I almost completely forgot who I was. Lately however, I have been finding a lot more of me in my life. I have let myself spend time with friends without feeling guilty that I'm away from Snow Pea. I have taken two trips now without her and I have very much enjoyed the time away. I didn't even talk incessantly about her while I was gone. My husband and I haven't had enough time alone unfortunately, due to busy schedules, but when we do we have found ourselves interested in having conversations that don't revolve around parenting. We've talked about politics, life, friendship, daydreamed about future travel, all of those things that used to matter before the big IF.
I am loving rediscovering myself and remembering all of those things that used to be me. I am especially excited to be that person again as my daughter grows up so that I can give her a well-rounded childhood. It's easy as a parent after IF for me to be too protective or too focused on how "miraculous" parenthood is but I know in the big picture that isn't fair to her. She shouldn't have me worrying her whole life or putting her on an impossible pedestal. That is just too much pressure and childhood is hard enough without having to live up to your parents' dreaminess about your existence. Of course, I want her to know how loved she is, how much she was wanted, how hard we fought but I never want her to think that means she isn't allowed to make mistakes or have bad days. She doesn't owe us anything. She gets to be a normal kid just like all of her friends. She doesn't need the burden of forever being a "miracle baby".
So while I will most definitely be expressing my gratitude this holiday that IVF was a success for me and that I am finally a mom, I will also be taking the time to do express thanks that the things that make me who I am, things I once worried I might have lost forever to the black hole of infertility, are slowly but surely becoming part of my life again.