I've said it before. The support from the IF blogging community is incredible!
But, I am extremely blessed in that I had a support network before I started to blog. It started innocently enough. Some women from NJ who frequent a particular message board began experiencing the joy (dripping with sarcasm) of infertility testing and treatment. While we were supported by others on the board, we sometimes felt our questions were personal and wanted to take them to a place where only women going through the same pain would see them. From that, a Yahoo support board was formed.
Sadly, over time, the number of women on the board grew. Sadly, I say, because it meant that more and more women were experiencing the same grief. But, that's when the magic started to grow. Older members welcomed newer members with open arms. We asked and answered questions, gave advice and prayers, offered shoulders for crying and for support, and shared tears of grief and tears of joy. We had get-togethers and got to know one another personally. And, slowly, over time, we watched everyone achieve what they so greatly desired.
I am the last of the originals to be pregnant. While some could look at this as sad, I'm finally able to put a different spin on it. Being last means that I have had the blessing of receiving unending support from these wonderful women for such a long time.
A group of us were able to get together this past Saturday. Other than one lovely woman who has put her TTCing on hold for a while, and me, everyone else was there with their beautiful babies. I wanted to share this picture with you:
How can you not look at all of these beautiful mommies and beautiful babies and not be overwhelmed? Awed? The sheer number of procedures and volume of heartbreak that these women have endured would blow you away, and, yet, they are all here today, smiling, enjoying their children, standing in testament to the strength of women!
Yep, that's me at the top holding one of their sons - he's the oldest in the group at 26 months, with the youngest being 9 weeks.
What I didn't know is that I was the impetus for this wonderful day!! As the day went on, different people handed me gift bags with different things in them and, each time, I was truly blown away, to the point of being speechless, that they had all thought of me and were celebrating the fact that I was finally close to having the joy they all have. But, then, I realized something even more special. For those who don't know, because I am Jewish, I will not only not have a baby shower, we won't bring anything baby-related into the house before the baby is born. These women knew that and each gift was focused on the mommy-t0-be, and not on the baby. Honoring me was overwhelming enough, but, the fact that they each honored my traditions and beliefs, well, there truly are no words for that.
As words came back to me later that evening, I emailed them:
"When I look at that picture of all of you mommies and your babies, I really am overwhelmed by it. What we each went through individually to get where we are is almost shadowed by our shared experiences. Would each of us have our babies (or babies to be) without one another? Yeah, probably. But, would we be the people we've become - women who have learned to put ourselves out there, bare, full of raw emotion - women who, despite the utter grief that each of us has experienced, found it not only easy to support and help other women going through the same thing, but, in many ways, therapeutic? No, I'm not sure we would be those women. If there's a reason for this to have happened to all of us, maybe that's it."
I love these women. They are not just part of my support system. They are my friends and I cherish the opportunity to know them and watch their children grow up!