I've tried to formulate my thoughts on winning this year's Hope Award for Best Blog for weeks, but they haven't come together for me as well as I wanted them to. Bear with me while I try to work my way through this.
Winning this award feels surreal to me. If you told me when I started this blog that I would be where I am today, I would have told you that you're a big. fat. liar. This is not how I saw things turning out when I began writing. In fact, here's a small glimpse of what I thought my life would look like today, back then:
I thought we would still be living in Nashville, or maybe in New York. I would still be working in publishing. And we would have a child who today would be somewhere in the two-year-old range.
Well, none of that happened. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Infertility has taught me a lot about myself, about others, and about life in general. One of these lessons is that things tend to happen on a different timeline and in a different way than you expect them. For someone who has never been very good at practicing patience, this concept is difficult. For someone who tends to lean on the "Type A"/control freak side of her brain, it's nearly impossible.
But here I am. It's 3.5 years after we started trying to have a baby, and I am still not a mom. Most of the people who started this journey with me are. There are even a few who are on baby #2. And while I realize there are those who have tried far longer or who have been through more procedures, being childless after 3.5 years has been incredibly challenging for me. I've had to find ways to cope with this. Volunteering with RESOLVE was one of them, and the other was this blog.
With both, I feel like I'm doing what I love. Yet, it's the helping people through this that motivates me the most. Even in the moments when I feel like I am the last person standing, which there are many of those moments, I feel GOOD about even offering one line of sane advice to someone who is losing their mind in all of this. I could write about anything. I've written for as long as I can remember. I can't draw. I'm not a painter or a photographer. I'm not a crafty person who can sew and knit and quilt. Writing is what I do. Writing is why I've always done. It just was a coincidence that this was the way I ended up coping and helping others.
It's easy for me to sit here and tell you that I would trade this award for motherhood any day. And don't think I haven't thought it - more than once. The truth is, I don't know that I would. I want to be a mom, yes. But part of me is starting to understand that maybe there is a bigger plan in all of this. Maybe this is always how things were supposed to go. Me writing about uteruses and vaginas and people actually reading it and relating. (If you had told me this back then, I probably would have called you a liar. Again.)
One of my favorite books is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I have a line from that book tattooed on my back. It says, "The mistakes I've made are dead to me. But I can't take back the things I never did." I can't look back on this journey and wonder if things had worked out differently if we had done this instead of that. Or look back and say, "I wish..." Thinking about what could have been doesn't help me. I'm starting to come to terms with this idea of embracing the experience.
For someone who planned on things turning out a certain way for so long, this is not a simple process for me to sort through. For years, I heard, "Everything happens for a reason." It's still a shitty thing to say to someone who is going through infertility, and I'd probably give someone the death stare if they said it to my face even now. But maybe things do happen for a reason. Maybe this is all part of some weird plan that I don't understand. It's still a bit of a mystery to me, and it may always be.
Right now, though, I will just be thankful. And I will accept this award graciously on behalf of anyone who has ever been in our shoes. May we all be winners in the end, regardless of where our journeys take us.