Growing up, I was the freak with red hair. And glasses. I was the "dork" who many people picked on. Sure, I have a small group of close friends. But, in general, I was often picked out and pointed out for my different hair color. Because of this, I spend years hating my hair. When I say hate, I mean hate. I wanted nothing more than to dye my hair blonde or brown and call it a day. My mom would have none of that. There was no way that hair dye was touching my head so long as I was under her roof.
Ironically, when I went to college, the concept of dying my hair faded away. Instead of jumping right into a hairdresser's chair, I jumped into a tattoo chair and got my first ink (that's an entirely different blog post). But I no longer had this burning desire to be like everyone else. In fact, I was beginning to like having red hair. Women would complement me when I went to get my hair cut, saying things like, "I would DIE to have your hair color" or "I wish they could bottle up that shade of red." Guys complemented, too. There was something satisfying about being different.
When doctors first diagnosed me with infertility, I knew that it would change everything. I, like most other women with infertility, spent months - years - wishing that I were just like everyone else. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to snap my fingers and have a child? Wouldn't it be nice to have a "little mistake"?
Somewhere along the way, I began to realize that being different wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I listened as women talked about how much they hated being pregnant, and I felt relief that it wasn't me saying those things. I listened when parents complained about how irritating their children were, and I wondered if they knew how good they had it.
Being different didn't need to mean being an outcast. It meant that I would always have an alternate perspective. In some ways, it might mean being more appreciative of what it means to be a mom. But in others, I think it might mean understanding that motherhood should not be the only thing that defines you - much like infertility. I view motherhood much differently than I used to because I AM different. It's times like now that I'm grateful for those experiences as a child, for being teased about my hair color. It's helps me to accept the fact that, in many aspects of my life, I simply won't be "just like" everyone else. It helps me to appreciate the uniqueness of me, of my situation.
I now embrace being "a ginger." Being a ginger prepared me for a lifetime of being different.