Living a Purposeful Life after Infertility
"The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose" ~Robert Byrne
When I was struggling with infertility, I faced a lot of unanswered questions. Why couldn't I get pregnant? Did I do something wrong to deserve this? If babies are a gift from God, then why can other people get pregnant who then abuse their kids or abandon them? I am in a loving relationship with my husband, we are financially secure, and I have devoted my entire life to educating children as an elementary teacher. Why me, God? What is the purpose of my pain and suffering? Why can't I have a baby?
I struggled with these questions for decades. I have always been a woman of purpose. I feel called to do something in my life that is larger than myself. I went to college to become a teacher because I wanted to impart knowledge on our youth. There is no greater career than to educate our children so they, too, can lead successful and purposeful lives. Being a teacher was an excellent career to coincide perfectly with motherhood. I had it all planned out in my mind. I could teach elementary school at my child's school. We could ride to work/school together. We could have the same holiday breaks and have our summers off. I could combine my purpose of helping others and still be there to raise my children.
After I got married and we struggled to start a family, getting pregnant became my purpose in life. It took me us an incredibly long time to have our one and only child. After a decade of heartache, pain and suffering, we finally resolved our unexplained infertility with an only child... a boy who we named Scott.
Raising Scott now became my purpose in life. There is something unique among people who struggle with infertility after they become parents. It's almost as if we are living in a dream. Sometimes I would walk into Scott's nursery and just pinch myself because it didn't seem like he could possibly be real... but he was indeed real. We finally had our baby and I would never take motherhood for granted. I became so invested in every aspect of his life. I documented every milestone on film and I wrote in a journal every single day of his life for the first three years. I read every "how much does Mommy love you?" book, played on the floor with him for hours each and every day and attended "Mommy and Me" classes. I volunteered in his pre-school and went on every elementary school field trip. I was the PTO president and volunteered to help in anyway with any program: swim team, Boy Scout-Eagle Scouts and marching band, to name a few. I was so invested in raising a good son and having him become the best version of himself.
After Scott went away to college and I became an empty-nester, I realized that my boy was now a man and he didn't need me as much. However, I discovered that I still needed a meaningful purpose. It was at this time that I decided to publish my book, Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility. Of course I had more time on my hands to delve into a new project now that Scott was off at college. It took nearly 5 years to publish the anthology sharing ten other people's infertility journeys. I realized at this point in time that we had a gift to offer others who were currently going through infertility. I also began to understand that turning my pain into power helped me to make sense of the terribly difficult struggle we had to become parents.
People often say that writing a book is like delivering a baby. Well... since it took us so long to have a child, I'd argue no. But it was a HUGE effort and a major purpose in my life for half a decade. Now that the book is published, once again I found myself needing yet another purpose. Logically it is to "deliver" my "paper baby" to those in the infertility community who could benefit from a source of hope and inspiration to continue to pursue their dreams. I will donate a portion of the proceeds from Detours to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. I am a professional member and partner with RESOLVE, and I attended my first Advocacy Day in Washington D. C. so I could connect with and advocate for the 1 in 8 who are facing the overwhelming issues associated with this terrible disease.
There has been nothing in life that has affected me as profoundly as infertility. I feel I have a gift to share with others through my book and my infertility experiences, which have made me who I am today. RESOLVE was my lifeline during the thick of my battle with infertility. I realize that I am older now and beyond my childbearing years. But now I can see life through a different lens and it will always be on my bucket list to live a purposeful life up until the day the Good Lord calls me home. There is no time, no age, no circumstance that would prevent me from helping others. Infertility is a life-altering experience. Although I have reached my resolution and have a grown son, now is time for me to give back to the infertility community who helped me during the most difficult time in my life.
In-Fertility and Friendship,