Thanks, Infertility! {Infertility Awareness}


My oldest child turned five this week.

It is almost embarrassing how hard we celebrate this kid’s birth. This week was full of gifts, cake, ice cream, and balloons. To mark this special occasion, the twins and I may have even woken him up singing “Happy Birthday” while dressed up in Power Ranger costumes. That’s just how we roll. The boy means a lot to us, and our experiences with infertility contribute to this hearty appreciation of such a strong-willed young man.

thanks infertility - celebration

On this milestone birthday, I also can’t help but think back on the mighty, mighty infertility battle that ended on this day five years ago. Yep, the second I beheld that beautiful 10-lb brute of a baby, I knew the battle was over. We won. And the prize was worth the struggle. Every single nervous breakdown, exhausting interview, awkward home inspection. For us, adoption involved filing volumes of paperwork with lawyers, courts, social workers, manning my cell like some kind of Indian call center. I cut big checks and threw my pride out the window to get this young man. I would do it again. And again. And again. I say this even though he’s back-sassing me right now from the backseat of our minivan.

thanks, infertility - baby boy

Infertility was a worthy adversary, though, so I would like to salute this experience and all the lessons learned. We only struggled for a couple years with the adoption/IVF/surrogacy process. Others are/were in the trenches much longer. But we survived, thrived, and a lot of good came out of it. I don’t see things the same way I did before infertility. I am not even the same person. And I think some of that was for the best.

So thanks, infertility.

Infertility taught me gratitude and patience.

I am not a grateful, patient person. I tend to want what I want and want it now. By the time I get what I want, I’m usually over it and moving on to the next thing. Could you see how this might not have lent itself towards parenting excellence?! Infertility made me grovel and crawl. This process shaped my character. Some of my rough edges got shaved off, and I came out the other side in better shape to parent.

Infertility allowed me plenty of time to question my motivations for adding to the family and think about how this might impact our lives. Was I doing it for me? What did I have to give a child? Was this marriage strong enough for the strain of parenthood? What were our strong suits? What did we need to work on? There were literally years to meditate on what our priorities would be as parents and decide what kind of parents we wanted to be. Infertility turned becoming parents into a very thoughtful, deliberate process.

Moreover, after begging and fighting for that child, I don’t tend to take him lightly. I delight in and hang on his every word. And he’s a mouthy son of a gun. I note all the little quirks that make him, him. The cute way he wrinkles his nose and calls his stuffed animals “stuffies.” Each change is a source of delight. The fresh crop of freckles on his cheeks and new tooth popping up on that bottom row — he’s adorable. Most kids are, though. I suspect this one would be easy to love regardless of how he was obtained. However, the infertility struggle helped me really, truly savor him and not take him for granted. It often gives me super-human patience with him (well, at times) and may even be what keeps him alive when he comes home with notes from his teachers for hitting friends. Seriously, though, I could wallpaper the play room in “aggressive behavior reports” at this point. So yeah, thanks again, infertility.

Going through infertility taught me a lot about relationships.

I hate to sound whiny, but building and maintaining a strong, healthy marriage and adult friendships is hard. Before infertility I wasn’t really rocking any of that. But crises sometimes bring out the best in folks. Throughout this experience, people all around me saw me at my lowest and responded with kindness. That made a lasting impression on this self-involved gritty human being. I noted what they did that helped (listening more, judging less) and then started trying to imitate it when life gave me the chance. I had a long way to go when I started this journey (and still do), but the people who held me up during this tough time schooled me on how to love others like a grown person.

On the flip side, some people in my life reacted with insensitivity. I don’t spend a lot of time with anyone who made comments like, “We just look at each other and get pregnant.” Infertility helps you “separate the wheat from the chaff.” Sorry to get all biblical on you there for a moment, but you learn who you need in your life and who you don’t, and that’s important as you get older. Your time is limited. You have to prioritize. Number one turned out to my husband.

Infertility enriched my marriage.

We got married young. I knew I’d found a dime piece and locked that up in quick order. But once all those parties ended, the institution of marriage chafed. Forever is a really long time. I didn’t understand the kind of delicate, symbiotic partnership a marriage can develop into, but infertility gave my husband the chance to hand hold and consistently model such behaviors until it clicked and we grew together. Through all the doctor, lawyer, and social worker visits, I was never alone. We faced the evil infertility beast as a team, and that meant the world. No blame was cast as all our savings were depleted and we plunged into debt due to my inability to have children and stubborn insistence on becoming a mom anyway. And, no matter how cray I got, that man stayed dignified and snarky. He knew pregnancy announcements from friends and family were total gut punches and never failed to make me laugh with his eye rolls and solemn vows to envy and hate the responsible couples (but to do so super quietly). Bless him for that and for the strength he loaned me. I didn’t appreciate my marriage, I guess, until I really freaking needed it. Infertility showed me what it could be, and the vulnerability involved helped my relationship reach its full potential.

thanks, infertility - marriage strengthened

I made amazing friends through infertility.

Before infertility, you were my friend if you liked to drink margaritas and make me laugh. I stand by this selection process. However, there can be more substance to adult friendships, especially when they are formed in the trenches of the infertility battle. I will never forget the kind souls I met at infertility support groups. Thank you for listening, for sharing your successes and losses, and for listening to mine. These folks are my faves.

I will spotlight one chick in particular. I met her many moons ago at a RESOLVE meeting. She was poised, and her hair was fabulous. I was probably ugly crying into my wine glass but she isn’t judgy, so we kept in touch and followed each other’s journeys closely. Long story short, we both became twin moms within months of each other. Yep. We emerged victorious from the same black pit of despair and now share the joys of raising litters of beautiful, rambunctious children. I value this woman and it is not at the superficial, “she’s hilarious” level of affection I used to settle for. We have been in dark places and come out swinging. I trust her to be there now when times are hard and vice versa. If my son was to “hypothetically” act up at school and shame his entire family while my husband was out of town, this friend just might plop my kids in front of a screen and force feed me wine until life seemed better. Adult friendships can be full of mutual understanding and support. And who dropped that truth bomb on me? Infertility. So tip of the hat, infertility. Well played. I’m glad the worst is past, though. I can now write blogs on such topics while on the way to my brother and sister-in-law’s baby gender reveal party without crying.

thanks, infertility - gender reveal

P.S. It’s a girl. And I am so happy for them. Seriously, my heart is bursting with joy. Thank God.

Lullaby Wishes - Raising Infertility Awareness

In recognition of National Infertility Awareness Week, we are seeking to raise awareness about this struggle by sharing stories from local moms who have been in, or are currently in, this difficult place. Through this series, we hope to provide encouragement for women who are facing infertility, as well as perspective for those supporting them in the battle. Thank you to the courageous women who have shared a piece of your motherhood journey as part of this series.



  1. This made me smile and cry happy tears. You were such a rock for me to unload on when we were trying for number two and I will always love you for that and so many other things. Happy birthday to that sweet boy. You were meant to be a mother and you help me be a better one!

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