For the Ones Waiting

All over the place, mothers are celebrated today. They deserve every bit of it. Mommin’ is the hardest job there is, and I’m glad there is a chance to recognize all the love and sacrifice moms pour out to their nearest and dearest. How awesome is it that on this earth exists so pure and selfless a devotion?

For some of us, Mother’s Day is also a reminder of the thing lacking in our lives that we long for most.

Today, at brunch, the server wished our table a happy Mother’s Day, and I automatically responded, “Thank you.” As soon as I spoke, I cringed on the inside. I’m not a mom, not yet, even though we have fifteen beautiful embryos in a freezer downtown. This time of year brings reminder after reminder that motherhood hasn’t happened for me.

This post goes out to all the women who are waiting for their chance to be moms.

To the woman wondering why it hasn’t happened yet, who invests heavily in hope and pregnancy tests and waits every month for a positive that doesn’t arrive.

To the woman who is terrified to ask her doctor for a referral to a fertility specialist because she’s afraid of crushing news.

To the woman who has undergone invasive, painful, testing: who has been poked and prodded, assessed and analyzed, and has received either no answers or terrible ones.

To the woman who has been told she needs extraordinary medical treatment at an impossible cost for her family, and who will not be able to move forward.

To the woman who waits in an open-backed gown for an uncomfortable fertility procedure, again, with cold sweat on her palms and a flutter in her heart.

To the woman who has tried cycle after cycle of intra-uterine insemination and is terrified of moving forward to more invasive options.

To the woman on her IVF cycle who injects herself repeatedly each day to ripen eggs, who prays and maybe even drops a few tears, as she mixes the medication and readies the syringes and alcohol swabs with shaky hands.

To the woman who has endured as many IVF cycles as finances or the medical professionals will allow, and come up empty.

To the woman who loves another woman, and searches with great hope and trepidation for a sperm donor to build their family.

To the woman who cries on the way home from baby showers, who smiles at children at the grocery store and the playground and aches for her own.

To the woman who feels a pang at the news that someone else is pregnant, not because she is not happy for other mothers, but because the pain runs to her core.

To the woman shuffling slowly through the prying, elaborate approval process for adoption.

To the woman who waits to be chosen to adopt, who prays another woman somewhere out there will trust her enough to place a child in her arms.

To the woman who pays another instalment on the loan for her adoption fees or fertility treatment or surrogacy costs, while there are still no little footsteps in her home.

To the woman who yearned to adopt a child that was returned, instead, to the biological family.

To the woman who searches for a surrogate, an angel walking the earth, to grow a baby on her behalf.

To the woman who surrounds herself with others’ children, who loves each small person in her life dearly, but still feels something is missing.

To the woman whose pregnancy ended before a child could result, who carried a baby for days, weeks, or even months, and has endured a wrenching loss.

To the woman who met and said goodbye to her baby, whose dearest dreams were shattered at the loss of her precious one.

To the woman waiting for a child, waiting to be a mother, coping as best she can under whatever circumstances she’s facing.

To the woman who always wanted to be a mom but never got the chance for any number of reasons.

To all of you out there waiting, hoping, praying for your chance, allow me to salute your courage and strength. Today is a day when you may feel neither brave or powerful, but there are times when carrying on, when continuing to put one foot ahead of the other, is the most admirable thing you can do.

There is a sisterhood of us, the women who wait, the women who are childless and hurting. We are a group bonded by hope and disappointment and grief. All over the world are other women who understand you and your experiences, who get it. Many more of us exist than you’d believe since infertility is a topic few will address.

This is a something I feel so passionately about. Infertility and undesired childlessness tends to isolate us, but it’s an opportunity for the members of our sisterhood to lean on one another. I encourage you to support the women around you, and to ask for help when you need it.

While you wait, I send you all my best. May you be tenacious as you stride or inch your way toward motherhood. I wish you strength on the most trying days and joy in the moments when hope conquers the other emotions. I hope your heart can still appreciate all the wonderful things around you as you wait your turn for a miracle.

The wait is something I know very well.

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