Goodness me! It’s here again. Another year has passed and another birthday is fast approaching.
And so I’ve, naturally, been reminiscing!
About that tiny, and surprisingly hairy, new born I nursed, the infant I weaned and the babe whose hand I held as he learned how to walk. The boy who smiled, and laughed, who sounded like a dinosaur, then spoke; a son to call me Mummy, words I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear, and which never fail to bring happiness to my soul. Together we’ve navigated through milestones, challenging and exciting. We’ve advanced upon landmarks, fluctuating between wading laboriously, then soaring gloriously, to get to this next pitstop on our great adventure; the realm of the little boy.
My son is turning three!
Despite being warned it would, the time hasn’t, ridiculously, flown. He’s not growing too fast, or too quickly, or too much (but maybe ask me that again in ten years’ time!). To me, he’s simply doing it all just as he should. Growing and developing, in his own time, making sense of his, and the actual world, and learning. Devouring the whys, grappling with the answers and seeing just what his body is, and isn’t, quite capable of doing. He’s fulfilling his duty as a tiring delight, a bundle of energy: loud, sparkling and full of zing. Reminding me, daily, that, despite those testing toddler times, their vibrancy, and thirst for life, is truly a joy to behold.
Some days I find myself amazed that he’s only been with us for thirty-six months, as I simply can’t imagine a life when he wasn’t here; such a time truly existed? But, it did! It’s there, immortalised in the photographs of nights out dancing, in the memories of eating unrushed meals in restaurants and the flashbacks of relaxing on flights! It’s also there in the physical and mental infertility scars I carry with me too. As he turns three, it’s strange to think that he’s been in our lives for less time than it took in trying to conceive him; that we used more years, in battling infertility, than we’ve currently spent in nurturing the prize we coveted so dearly.
I never imagined that it would take me this long to find peace in our situation. To, finally, put aside the shame and guilt and grief, I experienced as a result of infertility. In, wrongly, convincing myself that worth is directly linked to procreation. Because it’s not. Fertile, or not, mother to many, or not: We are all worthy of happiness. Just because my life has taken unplanned turns and has differing outcomes, to the ones I’d ambitiously manufactured for my future, doesn’t mean it’s a disappointment.
And neither am I.
I’ve just had to come to that conclusion myself, in my own time.
To quote Ralph Waldo Emmerson; “The years teach much which the days never knew”, and as I look back, over the rugged hilltops of my life, the view just keeps on becoming clearer. I might not always like the life I’ve been presented with, or chosen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from it and permit the years to teach me as I go. In seeing my past, I’m saddened that I felt weak and ashamed and embarrassed over something, of which, I had no control. I wish I could have appreciated myself more and believed those who told me I had value.
But life is nothing if not for the learning, as I’m daily teaching Sam to accept.
And so, as he grows, and develops and progresses, just as he should, I’m, once again, reminded of the sheer blessing he is, and elated that we can find joy and learn together. How, yes, it is tiring, it can be challenging and is definitely more all consuming than I could ever have known, but, that we’re in it together, both of us just trying to find our own ways in the world.
It’s Sam’s journey, but it’s mine too. And despite my mounting years, I’ve a long way yet to go in working out the person I have the capabilities to be. My pain has given me a purpose and inspired the future I’m forging, and that feels good. I know I’m not going to be perfect but, I can at least try to be more open to understanding who I am, and look for the lessons. I’ve learned that the real prize lies in acceptance of self, and since discovering that, I’m happy to accept, and embrace, just who I am; infertility and all.
And I’m proud. I’m proud we fought so hard to have you. I’m so proud of the person you’re becoming, my three-year-old boy, and I’m proud of the person you’re showing me how to be too; you humble me and open my eyes to the world. You are absolutely worth it all and I’m honoured to call you mine.
Happy Birthday little man. We love you.
World Childless Week ends today and, as I write my words of joy and reflection, on my miracle boy turning three, it’s a stark reminder that this is not the case for everyone. Please take a moment to think what that means for so many.
I’d also ask you to sign a petition I’ve been promoting on social media #Scream4IVF
Healthcare postcode lotteries always have the capacity to cause unfair pain and suffering, and the option to have a child should not become elitist. To find out more about this campaign, click here.