Being told by different doctors that I would have a very small chance of ever having a child of my own without medical intervention was devastating. Heart wrenching. Yet, here I am with four blessed children here on Earth, and one blessed soul in Heaven. Each one of our babies came after years of waiting and praying and hoping. Because of this, I never want to take this vocation of motherhood for granted. I want to remember how I felt as I struggled to make sense of the heartbreak of infertility.
I imagined my dream of motherhood existing behind a large, wooden door. Women enter this door many different ways. Some women, when ready, simply knock on the beautiful wooden door, and it opens right away. I am so happy for these women, who step inside and begin their life changing journey as mothers immediately. For some women, the wait between that first tenitive tap on the door and gaining entry is a bit longer. They may look around a bit outside as they wait patiently for the door to open, and when it does, they happily step inside. Some women, myself included, knock and knock and knock on that door until our knuckles bleed. The door creaks open, and quickly shuts again before we can enter as the agony of miscarriage is realized.
I remember thinking of myself and of many other women, pounding on that door until we fell to our knees, sobbing at the thought of being locked out of our dream of motherhood. I actually remember thinking that it seemed so unfair. Some women didn't even have to knock. The door to mothering seemed to open for them effortlessly. Infertility is a lonely place, and try as one might, it is hard to constantly celebrate the joys of others as you continue to beg for a chance to enter the realm of motherhood yourself.
Some women eventually cease knocking and slowly look around. These blessed women see through their tears that other doors exist nearby. And after much discernment, they venture over to these different doors, and are welcomed inside. They embrace their vocation of adoption and foster care and bless so many children as they are blessed themselves.
After years of trying, I finally gained entry into the beautiful and blessed world of mothering through the main door. Once inside, I immersed myself in the joy and beauty of this place I dreamt of my entire life. I found motherhood to be exactly what I hoped. It was a continuous stream of loving moments: rocking swaddled babies, smelling Baby Magic on tiny foreheads as I slipped wiggly arms and legs into soft little outfits with tiny snaps up the middle, singing ABC songs, first pairs of tiny baby shoes, bibs and blankets in the wash, frosted cupcakes, swimming lessons and Christmas trees. I spent years surrounded by Max and Ruby and Little Bear on television, scooters and training wheels in the yard, and Barbies and Matchbox Cars on the carpet. Time passed, as those sweet baby days were replaced with preschool pick up, and then finally school days and part time jobs.
I began to look around my cozy little world and suddenly realized I was closer to the exit than I was the entrance. And I didn't feel ready to leave. I wanted to stay just a little longer in this safe and special cocoon I created. The door to the next room seemed to beckon me and just as I was about to open it and walk through and begin the next chapter of my life, I glanced back and saw my blessed little Flynn. I was blessed with one more soul and with one more chance to do it all again! I turned and closed that door leading out, and ran back to savor the joys of childhood once more.
As I near my twenty second year of motherhood, I realize that what everyone tells you is true. The days, months, and years pass quickly. The baby I rocked yesterday will become a wife very soon. The little girl with the short brown hair and Blue's Clues shirt and the little boy who brought trucks and baseballs into my home are learning to drive now. And the special little gift of our baby girl is now starting third grade. Thankfully, the vocation of motherhood never ends. While I pray my years of mothering will result in four happy, healthy, responsible adults, I know that will mean closing one of the many doors of motherhood, leaving these precious days of children at home behind. I am and will always be tremendously thankful for the gift of motherhood and the memories I will hold in my heart forever. I also imagine that somewhere down the hall lies another door. Someday, I pray that door will open for me, and I will greeted by little ones that run to me and call me Grandma.