Being called Mommy was the dream that was above them all for me. I wanted to sing my babies to sleep instead of sing on a big stage every night. I wanted to change diapers instead of change from plane to plane traveling the world. I wanted to build a home for my family instead of build riches to fill my wallet or degrees to fill my mind.
Getting married at 18, I knew already that having a family might be a difficult task as I had struggled with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) for two years. I had already had one miscarriage in high school that no one knew about. It was terrifying to be a preacher’s daughter, pregnant at 17, but then to lose the baby all alone was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. It took me years to tell anyone about this baby and the loss.
We started trying 6 months after getting married. Months and years went by with an empty womb. We saw countless doctors, ran hormone and genetic tests, and realized fertility treatments were the only option for our dream to become a reality. We went into debt for the needles, Intrauterine Insemination procedures, medicines, and long drives to the fertility doctor. I actually got pregnant on the first try with a set of twins. I lost one twin at 6 weeks, and the other at 11 weeks. This was the moment darkness entered my heart and mind like I had never known. I felt like a failure! Why couldn’t we get pregnant like normal people with the fun involved? Why couldn’t my body hold to a baby or babies that I already loved so much?
We went through 7 more procedures with no luck. I had gained so much weight, my stomach was bruised by the needles, and the void in our hearts was growing. Infertility is not easy on a marriage, in fact, many times it can be the thing that breaks marriages apart. Ours was holding on by a string! We took a month off of all the meds, traveling, procedures, and tests to prepare for In-vitro fertilization. The day I signed my first teaching contract, I started feeling very queasy, had indigestion like never before, and cried uncontrollably. I am not a crier, so I knew something was off. I took a pregnancy test expecting a negative because it is what I had seen for five years. Two minutes later, there were two pink lines. My world was changed forever that day!
Pregnancy was rough for me, but I said “bring it on” at that point because I was so ready to be a mommy. My Lily Claire was born at 25 weeks due to my hormone issues and inability to carry a baby to term. She was 1 pound, 11 ounces and I will tell her story in my next post. But, this little tiny girl was the answer to my every prayer! She made my dreams come true! She is now a feisty, free-spirited, smart, healthy 6 year old.
We enjoyed her and didn’t think much about more kids for a few years until we realized that we weren’t able to get pregnant again. Because we had her, the desperation and struggle was not as strong, but I still wanted her to have siblings. She was already starting kinder and we were having baby fever. After coming home from our 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico, I started having that indigestion and crying again. Evidently, we just needed relaxation and a few margaritas. Two pink lines changed my life again!
Unfortunately, due to Lily’s premature birth, I was put on heavy watch during the second pregnancy. I had progesterone shots in the butt every week, weekly appointments with a specialists, and was put on bed rest at 6 months. At 35 weeks, Charlotte Raine made her way into the world, and my heart was fuller than it had ever been!
I had two beautiful girls, an amazing husband who stood by me through infertility, miscarriages, and depression, and yet post-partum depression crept into my life and put a shadow over my beautiful picture. To add to this, three months after having Charlotte, I had another early miscarriage. Once again I kept it a secret because I didn’t want people to think that I was not overjoyed for the blessings of my two girls and renewed marriage. But depression doesn’t go away because you ask it to. It lingers in the crevices of your heart and mind. It robs you of the joy you should be feeling and if you are not careful, it can chase away those closest to you.
My dream to be a mommy has been fulfilled and my heart a wellspring of blessings. What I have come to realize is that along the way, shadows, secrets, loss, and struggles have painted themselves on top of my joy. I wake up every day with my boxing gloves on, ready to fight this thing called depression that stemmed from things in the past and now blooms with new petals of the present. Being mommy, with its failures and victories, is still my dream! I have two beautiful girls to remind me of the bumps, bruises, and scars it took to make that dream a reality. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
For those who are in the battle of infertility, depression, anxiety, or a marriage that is holding on by a thread, I hope you find comfort knowing you are not alone. Your fight will be your story, and believe me when I say that my fight with these things will never be over. I heard an art teacher say this week that any mess up on a painting can always be fixed. What a beautiful metaphor for our lives! So let the shadows and dark areas of those struggles add depth and beauty to your picture.
I would love to hear and be inspired by your stories of motherhood or overcoming depression. If you would like to sign up to receive the posts and newsletters through email, please do so on the home page.