Today is my anniversary of motherhood. Eleven years ago I drove through a torrential rainstorm, waited for hours in the JFK airport, and at around 11:30 pm I met my son. A happy moment (and also slightly terrifying) and one that we regularly reminisce.
But the moments leading up to it were painful. And this morning, as I sat in the waiting room of my gynecologist, I was reminded of that pain as pregnant women made a seemingly endless trek toward the exam rooms. Today happened to be the office’s outreach to at-risk expectant mothers. Not great timing.
I used to spend a lot of time in waiting rooms, back in the days of fertility treatments. Waiting rooms that overflowed with pregnant women, many of whom were young, alone, and frustrated about their situation. You could see it in their eyes, and I used to wonder if they could read mine. Read the unhappiness and desperation. I would sit in the waiting room and keep myself together – keep my emotions steady – until I crossed the threshold into the exam room. Then I would break down and sob.
Thankfully, I am not in that place anymore. I have two amazing sons and have made peace with my path to motherhood. But there are moments when I can’t escape the rush of sadness that refuses to let go of my heart. Moments like this morning, as I watched each belly full of life and rested a hand on my own, full of scar tissue.
A few months ago we were guests at a church, and a couple had filmed their testimony. When the story began, I knew what would come next: Struggling to conceive, praying to God for a miracle – I spotted the trajectory right away, knew the meteor would land right in my gut. I left the room in time before tears came, and thankfully they never did. But I realized that I would never be able to fully let this go. The tears may no longer flow, but the ache creeps in, when I’m reminded of the painful journey that ended eleven years ago.
That’s the thing. Our pain never fully ends. Because no matter how much we heal, the scars remain a part of who we are. And that’s okay. The scars remind us of where we’ve been, of who we struggled to become, and the amazing things that came out on the other side.
Like my boy. I can’t believe it’s been eleven years. It feels like yesterday I carried him in his little green sling and sang endless rounds of “This Little Light of Mine.”
Let somebody blow it out?
No way. I’m gonna let it shine.