If I look happy in this picture, it’s because I am. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to finally be feeling better. The fourth trimester was beautiful, but also brutal—mostly brutal with some beautiful moments I was either too exhausted, anxious, or hormonal to appreciate. I was prepared for it to be hard, but after years of loss and longing, I expected to find joy in it all.
For the record, I did not.
This was a huge disappointment I should’ve seen coming. I’m reminded that we only know what we know, and all I knew before Chloé was the heartache of life without her. Crossing over into this new chapter has been a bumpy transition. It might sound strange, but my struggle to enjoy those early days of motherhood felt like a betrayal of the story that made me a mother. In the midst of navigating all the challenges that come with having a newborn, I entertained a lot of guilt and shame for feeling anything but gratitude. As you might imagine, this was not helpful.
I thought motherhood would somehow liberate me from my infertility story, but it has only served as a reminder of what I went through to get here. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look into Chloé’s eyes and feel the tears well up in mine. The truth is, it’s hard not to define ourselves by the story that has, well, defined us. We wouldn’t be who we are today without it. It makes me wonder, should we even try to let it go? Maybe, and maybe the work is also to embrace it, and in doing so let it show us the way forward. I am the mother I am today because of the mother I wanted to be. It’s time now to look ahead.