My journey to motherhood (with some input from hubby!)
Posted on 14 May 2017
Today has been especially emotional because it is mother’s day. If you would have asked me 5 years ago about becoming a mother, I never thought I would be one.
Getting to this point of our lives has not been the easiest but I thank God for giving me the chance to live this life with my daughter.
I am the type of person that likes to set goals and make sure to accomplish them. As a young adult, I had these goals for my life: get married by age 25; start a family by 30; etc.
I got married at 25, however my journey to having a child took a little longer than I had hoped.
It’s not a secret that in many African cultures having a child 9 months after your wedding is a requirement. I went against the grain by waiting a little longer by choice. I wanted to enjoy my life with my husband. I got a lot of questions/pressure from family and friends regarding our lack of kids. Our answer was always ‘we will start a family when we are ready’. Well that time finally came after about 4 or 5 years into our marriage.
We did what most couple would naturally do to get pregnant and for us it didn’t happen. About a year into it, we did all the test that were suggested to us and more. We finally figured out the source of our issue and the only answer we had to start a family was IVF - literally a miracle.
I was happy to have a reason but I was devastated. At this point, this journey had been filled with very low points, tears and high hopes. When I thought about the success/failed stories and the cost of IVF, I NEVER thought I would be here today. I had people tell me I should not do IVF because it wasn’t from God. However, my parents were very supportive since they also had a history of infertility (I was 19 when my only sibling was born – another miracle in our family).
Again with setting my goals, I always try my hardest to achieve them. In saying that, I did everything I could to increase our family count but without God it seemed impossible. I had to let go and get on my knees and pray for God to give me this family I had planned to have 2 years earlier.
Life has a funny way of teaching me patience. We came up with a plan to make IVF happen. That plan required me to have a lot of patience. I saw many kids being born during this time. I went to a few baby showers and always thought ‘why isn’t this me? Would this ever happen for me?’ I still had my eyes set on my goal and God to make it happen. IVF and the medicine was not covered by our insurance. It took some time but we saved up what we needed to have one fresh cycle and the medicine needed. I had to have faith that the one cycle would be what I needed to have my family.
We had a miracle and on our first cycle we got pregnant.
Having a child is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I take in each moment with her as we go through life. I try not to rush her growth and enjoy every moment. Every time we go through a stage that I thought was hard the next stage is even harder. However, she brings so much joy. She helps me be a better me, with more patience. She is literally my miracle and I thank God every day for allowing me to be her mother.
This opportunity (IVF) is not given to many in my culture, especially the generations prior to mine. In some west African cultures, the man is never viewed as the source of the reason why a woman is not getting pregnant. In these cultures, sometimes the man is given a pass to take another woman to get the child that he desires. Additionally, a lack of education leads to the belief that if a female child is born, that it is the woman’s fault (a male child is viewed in a more favorable light because the male can carry on the father’s name), and that the man may have to try with a different woman to get the male that he wants. Women often don’t have a voice in these situations and are left to suffer in silence.
I have been blessed to have a partner that is supportive, to live in a country where those resources are available, to get the tests necessary done and medical expertise available.
I want infertility to not be a taboo subject in my African culture. I want to share my story and hoping that it helps someone else talk about their issues. I want education to prevail, so that the couple can understand why the male or the female is having problems reproducing and that it is nobody’s fault. Neither the male nor the female should be made to feel bad/ashame about a medical condition that makes having a child challenging. Men especially need to understand they are no less of a man because they may be the reason why having a child is challenging. I want couples to understand what their options are and how to move forward together to achieve their goal of having a child and the family that they want.
Infertility can be a very lonely place to be in because you may feel like no one else understands what you are going through, when in fact a lot of people are quietly dealing with the same problems.
With that said, I want to say Happy Mother’s day to all the mother’s and grandmother’s, all the mother’s to be and all the villages of women who are mothers to children that are not biologically theirs. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!