Today my daughter Ava turns eight. With every birthday for each of my children, I think about the day they were born and I feel grateful for their existence. Turning into a mother fulfilled a long-held dream for me, as it does for many people, and I'm also aware of how many women long to be mothers but struggle due to infertility, miscarriage, or other issues which prevent them from having children.
My heart aches for those friends, and even those strangers who hurt in this exquisitely painful way. To conceive, carry a child to term, and deliver that baby is a uniquely female experience, and I would prefer that all women had an equal chance at it. I'm not in charge of who gets to carry babies and who doesn't, but it's yet another of those areas where I have more questions for God than answers provided by him.
I approached pregnancy as most of my friends did when I was trying to get pregnant: with a can-do attitude. I decided when I wanted to have a baby, worked backward from there, and attempted to create one. For many of my friends, it was a one-shot deal. They decided, tried, and succeeded. I had no reason to believe that it wouldn't be the same for me.
It wasn't. Month after month went by, and I didn't succeed. I saw it as pass or fail, and I was failing. It took nine months to get pregnant with Ava, which is nothing but a drop in the bucket compared to what other people have to endure, but at the time I thought it was horrible. I was an absolute perfectionist, and wanted to control everything I touched, and of course that is not how this process works.
Looking back, it's easy to forget how hard it was to wait for what I wanted, because I have two incredible children now. I have been blessed in this way that many others have not, and I have no answers for why that is. I know I don't deserve it any more than anyone else. And I don't know why it's so easy for some and so impossible for others to achieve the dream of pregnancy and childbirth.
I'm learning to accept that there are mysteries which I cannot solve. I find it hard to offer comfort to my beautiful friends who suffer from the agony of infertility when I am holding two small hands in mine to cross the street. I am a mother, and I love being one, and therefore my heart squeezes in pain when I consider any other alternative to loving and caring for my two children.
I am grateful for my daughter today. She is healthy, and happy, and at peace within herself, and eight years ago when she was born we became a family of three instead of a couple of two. I love watching her grow into the woman she will one day become, and I am proud of who she is and the choices she is making. Today, while I celebrate her life, I will continue to pray for the strong women who long to experience this kind of celebration, and ask God for a different outcome in the journey they are currently walking.