Don't Give Up

Baby envy and perseverance on the long road to motherhood

In my group of college friends, we all assumed that I’d become a mom first. I dated my high school sweetheart all through college and had a clear idea in my head of what the future would look like – graduation, marriage, job, and then children – lots of them. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as I expected. Instead,15 years later, I’m the only one in our group who hasn’t had a child, even though I desperately want to become a mother.

My relationship fell apart after graduation and I found myself single, completely lost, unfocused, and with a ton of debt. It took me several years to build my career, pay off my student loans and debts, and get myself back on track again. During that time, I fell behind on the mommy front. Most of my friends were getting married and having their first children. It felt like every time I turned about I was going to another wedding or baby shower. I felt like yelling, “wait for me!” as I watched them living the kind of life I always thought I’d be living – a good job, a solid relationship, a home, and kids.

It was amazing how quickly I fell out of step. We began to plan our gatherings based on their babysitters’ schedules. The conversations quickly turned to what exciting new things their kids were doing, or whether they should get vaccinated, or when it is best to toilet train. Argh! It was so painful. While my friends shared the ups and downs and joys of parenting, I plastered a smile on my face while on the inside my heart was breaking. I was finally in a new relationship with a great guy and more than anything I wanted to become a mom. But unfortunately it wasn’t happening. We’d stopped using birth control months ago, but I wasn’t getting pregnant. Every month when my period came, I felt like a failure. I was terrified that I might never become a mother.

That’s when I found myself avoiding these gatherings with my friends – it was just too painful. Their joy in being pregnant or being mothers only emphasized what I didn’t have in my life. I found myself feeling bitter. I started avoiding my Facebook page because every morning I logged on, there seemed to be more status updates on pregnancies, births, birthdays – I just couldn’t escape it. I felt so guilty for feeling resentful and envious that my friends and even my siblings were becoming parents and I wasn’t. I wanted to be happy for them but I just couldn’t get past my own pain and envy.

My partner and I have finally started fertility treatment. The envy feels a bit more manageable right now since it feels like we’re doing something to make parenthood happen. The docs are optimistic that they’ll be able to help us get pregnant. We’re also talking about adoption – so we have a plan B.  My partner was adopted into a wonderful family and we both know we have lots of love to share. So I’m feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. But I’m still feeling pretty emotional, so I’m giving myself permission to take a break from Facebook and baby showers for now. I’ve started telling a few friends and my family that we’re having trouble getting pregnant and everyone has been really supportive. My folks even offered to help us financially with the costs of fertility treatments or international adoption. And my sister even offered to donate her eggs if it turns out mine don’t work! I still get pangs of envy when I walk down the street and I see a mom and her baby, but at least now I know that one way or another, I’m going to become a mom – eventually. That’s one dream I’m not giving up on.

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