Many of my closest friends have not had to think about their fertility much. They began trying, they conceived, had relatively easy pregnancies and deliveries and, best of all, have allowed me to be a part of their growing families. Then there are my friends who have struggled in making their families. They know the two week waits, the lifelong losses and heartaches and the financial and emotional consequences that seem to last a lifetime. But even still, they were able to have the children; the traditional happy ending.
Then there is me.
Sometimes that sense of being different than every other woman in the room can feel like it is literally taking my breath away. The sense of not fitting in can feel especially difficult when it catches me off guard and is during a time that I am so grateful for.
Chad and I spent the weekend out in Vegas for our goddaughter, McKinley’s 2nd birthday. We love spending this time with my friend Casey and her family, as we are so thankful to be a part of McKinley’s life. She quite literally is the brightest ray of sunshine and fills my heart and soul up so much, I am so blessed that she is one of our chosen children.
And yet there I was at her 2nd birthday party where everyone other woman there had at least one child or one on the way, feeling like I was the last kid called to join the team. Watching Mac play with all her friends was so much fun but not knowing many of the other guests very well left me observing from the sidelines; which as a therapist, I'll admit, is honestly one of my favorite things to do.
But then it settled in, that nagging you are very noticeably different than all these women. You do not have anything to contribute to these conversations.
And I struggled.
It bothered me.
It bothered me way more than I wanted it to or expected it to.
I soon realized, I also did not have my usual back up. When I am around mothers who know me well I do tend to be pulled into the motherly conversations most simply because of what I do for a living. I realized this weekend that the fact that I am a therapist, and that it is so much of who I am and not just what I do, has been a saving grace in this lifelong recovery from infertility and living a childfulllife. It is a saving grace because my professional opinion is often asked and the parenting I do with my clients is often recognized. That and I have really amazing friends who respect my opinion and love me well.
What I think I am learning now is that I need to believe in this part of my parenthood as much as my closest friends do. I need to believe in it enough to show myself and others that I too fit in, even at the 2 year old birthday party with all the other mothers.
Because I have a lot to contribute.
Because I do belong.
Because I am a parent.
So much of this lifelong recovery of thriving after infertility is our own work. I cannot say how long that twinge of feeling like I don't fit in will last, maybe forever. But, I do need to acknowledge that it is up to me to trust that I always belong and to believe in my own worthiness as a parent in this world.
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