"And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in."
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day, and I think it speaks volumes about this journey.
I'm not the same person I once was. I don't have the same motivations or interests. My personality has changed. I'm not the passive person of five years ago. I'm more determined. I'm stronger. I'm more resilient.
I don't even look the same. Five years ago, I was young and vibrant. I rarely wore make up because I didn't have to. My skin was flawless, and my body felt youthful. Now? The dark circles under my eyes can't be covered by ordinary concealer, and they aren't from parenting. I'll never have the stomach I once did after two surgeries and countless hormones pumped into my body. My scars are hidden to the public, but when I strip off my clothes, I see them - the tiny lines that came with enormous pain.
Many people will argue that this is "getting older and wiser," but all of us who've been through infertility know that it ages you. I'm reminded of this every time I walk past the mirror. Every time I see my scars. Every time I look back on blog posts. Every time I look at my daughter.
It's almost impossible now for me to remember what life was like before this storm, but in a way, I don't want to. While that life seemed easier, I know now how unrealistic it was. It was unrealistic to think that pregnancy could come easily or that everyone who got pregnant stayed pregnant. It was unrealistic to expect that certain things would just happen. That I wouldn't have to work for them. That plans would always be in place.
I much prefer to live in a world where there are no expectations. Where plans are often thrown to the wind. Where I am not ignorant and blissful.
Do I wish I didn't have the scars to prove it? Do I wish I hadn't endured the storm to get here? Of course, but they are what makes me ME now. And as much as I hate the way my body looks from the outside most days, I like the way I look on the inside much better.