Infertility is a strange beast.
There is a sense in which I have defeated the beast, afterall I have three beautiful children, many more embryos. I also know that there are many others who still long for children or know that children are not going to happen and that is really hard and difficult and I pray for you often.
So in writing this paragraph, I don't want to imply that any of these hard things are anything compared to the difficulties of not having a child and not knowing if you ever will.
But even though infertility is past, there are two major things it has robbed from me that still make me sad. The first thing is that in two groups of friends, I've sort of been left behind because I didn't have kids at the same time as them. Not that they are not still my friends, and they have been some of the most supportive people through my IF struggle. But my group of church friends who got married within a year of me, and the couples who Tim and I studies with all had kids in the heart of our struggle, and their kids are the same age and they went through Motherhood together and it's just natural that they grew together as we grew apart.
But it's still a bit painful, even after all these years.
The other thing is my nephew. As long time readers of this blog will know, I was pretty upset when I found out that my sister-in-law was pregnant. It got turned on it's head when my nephew was diagnosised (and then miraculously undiagnosed) with Spina Bifida, but finding out I was going to be an Aunt was not a happy thing. I'm really sad, now that I have my precious kids (who ADORE their older cousin) that a time which should have been happy was so difficult and hard.
But lately I've had some lovely experiences which has helped me with these two griefs.
The first is with my Best friend.
My best friend who didn't get married until half way through my IF journey and who had her first baby a year before the boys.
We spent the morning together, as we do about once a month (she lives a little way away now). Connor was so easy to get dressed that morning because he just wanted to "Go to K's house". The two of them play so beautifully together, with Sebastian joining in at times of his choosing (he is more introverted). My best friend also has a little boy who is between the Twins and Estelle in age and he follows the boys around with a big grin on his face. And K adores Estelle and spends a fair bit of the morning getting out all her favourite toys for "Baby Estelle" to play with. She is so beautiful and gentle with her and puts her face up close and talks to her. Estelle stares back in wrapped adoration :)
It is just a joy to see our kids play together, and to have them so close in age. Something that may not have been if my kids had started arriving five years before hers.
The other exciting thing is...I'm going to be an Aunty again!
Earl's brother and his wife are pregnant. This is particularly poignant because they actually lost twins in the middle of the year. It was such a sad time, and it remains a very sad thing, but we are all so overjoyed that they have a beautiful new baby to fill their hearts with joy.
And joy is what I feel. I am so excited and have been swapping stories and advice with my dear sister-in-law. I'm really hoping for a little girl (Estelle is very out-numbered in the wider family), but whatever happens I am so excited to meet my little nephew/niece.
So infertility, my old friend, you still have some negative impacts on my life but sharing motherhood with my best friend and the excitement of being an Aunty- well you can't take that away from me.