Welcome to our Modern Moms series! Throughout the week leading up to Mother's Day we are featuring mothers with unique stories to tell who are part of our Little Nest community. Know someone who should be part of it? Submit your story to Alex at Little Nest Photo dot com.
Becoming a mother was a long journey for my family, as I know it has been for so many people. For years we celebrated with others as pregnancy announcements appeared, waiting patiently for our time to come. As a children's photographer, the reminder that we were struggling with fertility was daily and stinging.
Today, with our happy-surprise-two-year-old and our angel-baby-three-year-old, struggling with infertility seems like a lifetime ago - something that happened to someone else. Grief and sadness have since been replaced with the the happy challenges of dinnertime chaos, temper tantrums, and toy cleanup. When I am asked about my own struggle, I grieve for the moms-to-be whose hearts are heavy with the hole of yearning to be a mother.
The time is dark and lonely and a rollercoaster of emotions-- hope, loss, grief, worry, hope again... After several losses, surgeries, and treatments, my husband and I felt (and still feel) so fortunate for the amazing medical care and caring doctors who have helped us along our journey and supported us through such an emotional process. When we finally entered into the second trimester with our first child (now three and a half!) we felt an overwhelming feeling or relief that I still struggle to describe. It was a milestone we'd hoped and prayed together for many months.
During fertility treatments I worried constantly. I worried if we would ever get pregnant again or if it was just a fluke. I worried about other options for our family and how hard that might be, how long that could take. My mind was a constant swirling bowl of worry.
But then, a friend who went through IVF gave me some amazing advice:
"For us, we worried about getting pregnant. And then during your pregnancy you will worry... when your child is born you will worry, when your child goes to school you will worry. So it's best to learn how to cope with the worry now because it is the reality of being a mother."
Now that my two children are off to preschool and without me many days of the week, I deeply understand this amazing lesson. And I also get how hard it is to grasp when you are in pain and dealing with the ups and downs of infertility. I can't help but wonder why I (and so many others) was given this journey. In a way, I truly believe it was to teach me that some things are completely out of my control. To let life lead me, rather than the other way around.
Mother’s Day can be particularly painful for those who are still longing for a complete family of their own. It’s hard to know how to support someone who is struggling with infertility if you haven't experienced it yourself. Friends who are most helpful tend to be those who don't make suggestions, don't make value statements, and don't try to offer solutions. They just listen and offer compassion. If you have someone in your life who is struggling with infertility, letting them talk while you listen and say “I’m so sorry you are going through this" is so helpful. Even a simple “what can I do?” means so much.
If this is your journey - I have no great pieces of advice--just a desire to share my own story with you, my compassion and my love to you. And a final hope that anything I have shared here is at all helpful this coming Mother’s Day.
Laura Novak Meyer
Founder + CEO/Little Nest Portraits