Today is day #7 of NaBloPoMo and instead of writing on a topic of my own, I thought I would dig into yesterday's BlogHer prompt:
"If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?"
I've thought about this particular question a lot in my life, especially after my diagnosis with infertility.
Infertility changes you. It changes the way you perceive everything around you and it changes the way that you view yourself. For someone like me, someone who battles with depression and anxiety, infertility amplified the deep-seeded issues I already carried about myself. It made me further scrutinize everything: from my physical attributes (what was wrong with my body that I couldn't get pregnant?) to the mental ones (am I not deserving of a child because of certain emotional factors?).
It would be easy for me to respond to a question like the one above with "I would change my inability to have children." After all, this is the catalyst for nearly every personal struggle I've experienced over the last five years. However, it's not as simple as it sounds. If I were to say that I wish I could change my inability to have children, I feel like I would be doing a disservice -- both to my child and to myself.
K is my daughter. Even though I didn't carry her and she doesn't share my genetic make-up, there isn't a day that passes where she doesn't feel like "mine." By stating that I wish I could make myself fertile, I feel as if I would be lowering her value or importance to me because I didn't give birth to her. I might as well say, "I still want to be pregnant and give birth," which isn't the case. I don't want any of those things. I spent over a year grieving the loss of our biological child, a child who would never exist, before we began the adoption process. I don't regret making that choice, and wishing for fertility would sound an awful lot like regret.
Then, there is the disrespect I would be doing to myself.
My infertility journey, though difficult, made me a better person. It made me stronger -- not physically, but emotionally. It made my marriage more resilient. It made me understand who I was and fight for what I felt was right, not only for me but for others. Changing that now would be wiping away all of the progress I've made growing as a person over the last five years, and I don't want that. More so, I can't do that. I can't go back to the young, naive girl I once was.
Going back to the original question, my answer would be "nothing." I wouldn't change a thing about myself. My experience with infertility showed me that who you are and the events that occur in your life are what build your character and shape your future. I'm certainly not saying that everything happens for a reason, because there are circumstances I will never understand (particularly infant loss). Instead, I'm saying that I've learned how to compensate for who I'm not.
I once thought that my body was a failure. I thought that I was less of a woman because I couldn't do what I was designed to do: conceive and bear children. Five years later, I know better. I may not be built to have children, but it doesn't mean that I'm less of a woman. It simply means that other parts of me are built better, stronger than that one piece.
It means that I need to find those parts and foster their success. I'm working on it.