Nothing prepares you for the diagnosis of infertility. Most of us don't expect a doctor to sit in front of you and tell you that you may never have kids.
There's nothing that exactly prepares you for parenting after infertility, either. Sure you can read blogs and books about what it's like to raise a child after treatments or adoption. But it doesn't compare to living it. And after only two months, I can tell you that it's not easy. I was defined for four years by my label as "childless," and I still find it hard to believe that I'm no longer that person. I spent those years avoiding everything that could cause me pain - baby showers, the baby aisles at the grocery store and Target, baby pictures on Facebook. And now I am that person who is posting her baby's pictures on Facebook and shopping in those very same aisles I spent years dodging.
So it's no surprise that I feel guilt over this. I'm finally a parent, but that doesn't mean I can forget about all that I've been through and all that other close friends and family members continue to struggle with. Infertility felt like being trapped in a dark room with no escape. Now the lights are on, and I feel like walking through the door is betraying something - or someone. Maybe even part of me.
But it's not just the resolution of my infertility that makes me feel guilt. It's also the struggles that come with parenting. I knew that taking care of a child would be difficult, but I had unrealistic expectations of myself and my own behavior. This sounds silly, but I expected to always be happy. I expected to feel constant joy, even through the rough moments. And while I'll always be grateful (believe me), I'll admit that I've experienced moments of complete frustration. I've cried, more than once, and there were even a couple of moments where I simply had to walk away.
I'm not only learning about how to care for my child, but I'm also learning that I can't be supermom. That it's okay for me to be upset. That it's okay to have moments where I'm frazzled. This has perhaps been the hardest part. And while I know that every mother goes through this, I also know that going through infertility brings with it extra feelings of guilt and confusion. The wonder of "Am I a bad mom if I need a break?" is compounded with "But I've waited so long for this. I should always be happy."
And I am happy. But I'm also human. I'm not a robot. Admitting that I feel exhausted sometimes is okay. It doesn't mean that I don't love K, or motherhood, any less. This is what I'm slowly grasping. Maybe I would have gotten this sooner had I truly listened to what infertility "graduates" before me were experiencing. But who wants to think about the rough moments of parenthood when all you want is to BE a parent?
I'm thankful for K every single day, for all of the shitty circumstances that brought her into our lives. And while I'm not sure when the guilt I feel over resolving our infertility will fade, I'm working every day to chip away at the unrealistic expectations I had of myself as a mother. Instead of wanting to be supermom, I'm focusing on trying my best. My best may never be perfect, but it will always come - whether through tears of joy or frustration - with gratitude toward my daughter and toward her birth mother for choosing us to be her parents.