The day after Mother’s Day this year, a blogger named Macy — the voice behind Martinis & Medicine — sat down at her computer to draft a new post. She titled it “My First Mother’s Day,” and began with a contradictory first sentence. “A lie,” she wrote. “This isn’t my first, it’s my fourth.”
You see, Macy has experienced three miscarriages before. And while she’s now currently expecting a healthy baby, she explains in her post that she and her husband spent four years trying to make it this far. In those four years, she endured 107 hormone injections, one surgery, two procedures, took over 100 suppositories, and spent several thousand dollars to get their baby.
This Mother’s Day, she explained, was merely the first one where she was ever openly congratulated on her status as a mom. But it wasn’t the first Mother’s Day that she was a mom.
“There are so many more moms than we realize, because so many of those moms never got to meet their baby,” she wrote in her post. “For moms who get pregnant after a loss, Mother’s Day will always be bittersweet. There will be chubby hands with flowers and a big breakfast and wet kisses. There will also be sets of hands missing, flowers that didn’t get picked, and empty spots at the table. You struggle with aching for your missing baby, or babies, while knowing that if they had lived, the one you have probably wouldn’t be there.”
Macy announced her latest pregnancy with an inspiring (and heart-wrenching) Instagram post last month — and it’s now going viral for the powerful image it shows. A onesie donning the words “Worth the Wait and Wait and Wait” can be seen, surrounded by a heart made of meds and syringes.
It’s a photo I know most moms after infertility can relate to all too well. I myself endured two failed IVF cycles, five surgeries, and more money and tears lost than I care to recount — but four years after I began my own journey, I finally became a mother through the miracle of adoption, and it was a feeling like no other.
Too many moms have walked this same path. In fact, it’s a journey I sought to honor in my own Mother’s Day tribute this year — a video made with the intent of highlighting some of those stories.
Macy’s story, and her artistic take on her journey, certainly belong with that group of mothers both celebrating the future and mourning the past.
Because no matter how lucky you feel; no matter how blessed you may be when all the effort you put into becoming a mother finally works out, there is still so much loss involved. When motherhood doesn’t come to you in the way you once expected it might — when you have to fight for something so many others get without even trying — it can break you down. It can tear apart your soul, your relationship, your self-esteem, and everything you once thought to be real and true.
Speaking with Babble Wednesday, Macy offered even more insight into the painful journey she’s endured over the last four years:
“Infertility is a deeply private struggle,” she said, before adding that she did find comfort in the infertility support group Then Comes Family. “It’s a disease that steals and changes who you are as a person. There’s a sadness that never truly leaves. It’s not the kind of sadness when you cry all the time, it’s more like the sadness that overwhelms your entire being, and you can feel your heart actually breaking. It makes you feel weak and tired, yet you can’t sleep because the sadness is in your dreams, too. It’s a sadness that you can’t escape, and it’s a sadness that no one can understand unless they’ve felt it. One in 8 women struggle with infertility, while 1 in 4 have miscarried at least one baby. It’s not rare, and it’s our responsibility to our friends and family to educate and raise awareness.”
I know this all too well myself, and she’s absolutely right: Infertility is a deeply private, deeply emotional struggle. One where you are often subjected to daily injections, or scrutinizing home studies, or callous remarks made by those in your world who simply don’t understand.
It goes so far beyond just the needle pricks, and extends into areas of your life you never would have expected.
But when it works — when you finally find yourself on the other side of that heartbreak — it is absolutely worth the wait.
Macy is hopefully on that other side now, simply awaiting the birth of the happy, healthy, already-so-loved child she’s been waiting for for so long.
And next Mother’s Day, she will be greeted by chubby hands and wet kisses. (Not to mention infectious baby giggles.) Even as she continues to remember the babies that she never got to hold. The ones who made her a mother long before the world called her one.