I've dreamt of being a mommy ever since I was a little girl.  My gift request for birthdays, Christmas and 'just because' occasions was always the same: a brand new doll.  I treated my baby dolls like gold, toting them wherever I went in matching stroller and car seat sets, reading to them and even keeping them on a “schedule.”  Sure, I had other goals and dreams, but I knew the best one of them all would be becoming a mom one day.  I thought it was simple: Meet a guy, fall in love, get married, get pregnant and poof, picture perfect family. 

Unfortunately for me, that couldn't be further from the truth.

In high school and college I was focused on my books, so getting pregnant was not in the plans. I made sure to get on birth control and used condoms every time I had sex.  Yearly doctor appointments went well, everything was always normal, so I had no cause to think that I couldn’t start my family when the time was right.  A few years after college, I met the man of my dreams and eventually, we got married. After two years of the newlywed life, we decided it was time for a new addition. 

We figured it wouldn’t happen right away, but after six months of trying with no success, our fears crept in and we decided to see a specialist.  The news was devastating.  My body wasn’t producing enough eggs and my hormone levels were beyond low, but that wasn’t the worst of it. My doctor said I was also starting to show signs of early menopause. I was only 29. My mind just couldn’t grasp the thought that my chances of motherhood were over. I fell to my knees in tears right there in the doctor's office.

Four years, two surgeries, three rounds of in-vitro fertilization and countless hormone treatments later and my husband and I are still without a child. I’ve never felt like less of a woman.  Each day, my wonderful husband does his best to support me, to make me feel like I’m the most amazing woman on Earth. But deep inside I know it kills him, because it kills me.  I with struggle thoughts of releasing him from this marriage so that he can have the happy fatherhood and life he always dreamed of.  Why should he suffer because he married a broken woman?  As the days, weeks, months and years pass with friends and family around me getting pregnant with such ease, my womb— no, my soul—aches with emptiness and failure.  I was supposed to be able to be a mom, to carry life in my body.  I can't help but to feel like I'm less than a woman when the one thing nature dictates I should be able to do is the one thing that I can’t. 

I’ve gone to therapists and I’ve prayed.  I’ve leaned on my family and friends, and I’ve prayed some more. I’ve smiled when I literally wanted to die and I’ve tried to keep the faith that I will be a mom some day.  My husband and I have discussed adoption and while I’m open to it, I can’t help but feel like it just isn’t the same.  There is something about feeling life growing within you that can’t be replaced through adoption or surrogacy. Alas, I  have so much love to give to a child, especially after this journey, that I will go to any length to bring a child into our home and hearts.

Soon, my husband and I are going to start our final round of IVF and I pray with all my might that it takes.  But what I pray for harder is understanding.  Understanding of why God chose me to struggle when so many others who are less deserving of a child’s love have it so easy.  Understanding of how to continue to be a good wife to my husband and how to help him through his pain, something I’ve been neglecting as I wallow in my own.  And most importantly, understanding of how to reconnect with myself again through my feelings of inadequacy and redefine what it means to be a woman.

 ~As told to Danielle Pointdujour