By Angela

When I was a child, the one thing I knew for sure I wanted to be when I grew up was a mother.  Perhaps it was because I was the youngest member of a very large Italian family, or because my mother was and still is, an absolute dynamo.  Whatever the reason, I’d like to share my journey to motherhood with you. 

My friends and I had had our millennial weddings and our fair share of date nights, couples gatherings, and game nights.  And as it felt like everyone in the world had moved on to having babies, I found myself stuck in the foreign land of thyroid disease.  I was young and I was unwell. My body was fighting (and winning) against me as I tried to keep my head above the fog and try to make sense out of what the hell was happening.

I eventually had thyroid surgery only to discover a new hell called habitual miscarriage.  After the first loss, my synthetic thyroid hormone levels hit the roof and I, unfortunately, hit a wall.  I was plagued with the worst anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life. I missed social occasions, I made a lot of excuses, and I clung to my mother like a 2-year old.  My life as I knew it was on indefinite hold. I wanted kids more than anything and for the first time, I had felt like it was never going to happen.

Efforts and experts

I waited for what seemed like an eternity and let the hormones find their way back to a semi-normal state.  We got pregnant again without much effort but found out early on that it was a no-go. My hormones had cooperated, but it was time for a fertility specialist.  The experts made their recommendations and I kept getting back on the horse and dragging my husband with me. 3rd miscarriage, then 4th. I was barely taking the time to breathe.  The last one was the longest I had sustained a pregnancy up till then.  

By the grace of God along with twice daily Heparin injections, an off-label chemotherapy agent, and an arsenal of faith, we successfully gave birth to a baby boy in 2007 and another in 2005.  The pregnancies were uneventful and full-term, and the deliveries uncomplicated. I was beyond grateful and my husband was relieved that I conceded to two being enough.

What I lost

However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I lost a piece of myself somewhere in it all.  Between the surgery, hideous anxiety, hope followed by disappointment and sadness time after time, and postpartum depression, I don’t know how my husband withstood it all.  There were times that I felt like an absolute maniac. I wasn’t the same woman he married and I felt guilty about that.  

It took a good 5 years+, unending strength and support from my family and friends, and a husband who never stopped holding my hand to find some semblance of the woman I once was, but I did find her. I’d even dare to say she’s a better, stronger version than the original.  And I’m ever so grateful for it all, even the ugly bits.