In May and June, children and spouses / significant others celebrate parenthood, showering moms and dads with (hopefully) wonderful gifts of appreciation for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It is a wonderful season for parents and soon-to-be parents. But for those who may be struggling with conceiving children, it can be a season of considerable sadness.
Many of you know that I make a concerted effort to keep myself out of the Uncle Funky’s Daughter limelight, and that my personal life remains — well, personal. But infertility is a subject that affects so many couples today; and yet, because it’s so sensitive in nature, it is hardly spoken of or discussed, even amongst our closest friends and family. So I wanted to share my journey to parenthood in hopes that it might serve as a source of inspiration or encouragement to someone in need.
Like many career-oriented women of the modern day, I focused solely on my career early on and chose to push marriage off until later in life. When I finally did marry, my husband and I decided to start planning for a family immediately. Knowing that I was of “mature maternal age” – code for “over 35” – we decided to go straight into fertility treatments.
Fertility treatments are a rollercoaster ride for both women and men, and can take an incredible toll on you emotionally. All of the pills, shots, and constant testing can be excruciatingly stressful on an aspiring mother. Your life is no longer your own, instead becoming dictated by a very disciplined schedule of doctor’s visits that are pre-determined weeks in advance by your fertility calendar.
Our first attempt to conceive via fertility treatments was not successful, and it left me an emotional wreck. I thought I’d failed at the one thing God placed me on Earth to do. I found myself constantly pondering what I could have possibly done differently throughout the process. So when time came for the second round of treatments, I decided to change it up, taking time off from work to remove that source of stress from my life.
It worked!! And 10 months later, my son Guy was born. We were elated to have our baby boy, but we also knew we wanted more children. As soon as Guy turned one, we were back at it, working towards having our second. We tried our hand at using frozen eggs that we had from our initial fertility treatments, but were unsuccessful.
That meant we had to start from the beginning again — which meant undergoing a lengthy “fresh” cycle – and yet another setback. While I dreaded the pain from self-inflicted shots and mood swings, I knew it had to be done. So I made peace with my commitment to the process, and stayed diligent. My labor was not in vain – we were blessed with twin girls, Emma and Harris.
When we first married, my husband Milton and I agreed on two kids, reserving the option for a “possible” down the road. Indeed, we now had three beautiful, healthy children. Feeling like that box was checked, and the hard part finally over with – clearing the potty training hurdle was especially gratifying – I was looking forward to the next step, like adding a dog into the mix and taking family vacations that the kids would remember. Then last fall, just before our first vacation to Disney World, my cycle stopped coming.
Being pregnant was the last thing from my mind. In fact, I truly thought I was perimenopausal. After all, I was of “very mature maternal age” by this point! Everyone wondered aloud if I could be pregnant, and I would immediately answer with a resounding “ABSOLUTELY NOT,” thinking to myself all the while, “don’t they know how old I am???”
Even still, I eventually acquiesced and took a pregnancy test. And of course, it was undoubtedly, unequivocally positive. I was pregnant…again. As further proof of how deeply in denial I was: when I went to my OB-GYN for my ultrasound, I was about 10 weeks along. TEN WEEKS, ya’ll!
And so, this past April, I gave birth to our 4th – yes, FOURTH – child, another daughter, who bears the middle name Mireille, which is Hebrew for “God has spoken.” Because just when you think you have your life all planned and mapped out, God shows you how much in control you actually are. So for those of you struggling with whether or not to undergo fertility treatments, or give up on your quest for children, just wait for God to speak. He might hand you lemons in life, but He’ll never do so without also giving you a ladle and a pitcher to make your lemonade. How much you sweeten your batch, however, is entirely up to you.