A Retrospective Letter to Myself

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A beautiful mother on social media named Amy Kiefer (@ameskiefer) wrote a retrospective pep talk to herself as a first time mom. It resonated with me so much, not only as a first time mama-to-be myself, but also as I have reflected many times on our own fertility journey. It got me thinking, what do I wish I would’ve told myself before trying to conceive?

This is what I would say:

“Emily, you deserve to be a mom, to build the family of your dreams. And you have expectations for just how and when it will all happen. But sometimes the universe knows better than us. The journey may be different from what you expected, but you will learn things along the way. About yourself. About your husband. About you together as a couple. It won’t be easy to feel that vulnerable and exposed, but If you are open enough, you will gain far more than you have not.

Don’t let the process overwhelm you. It’s just a bunch of little steps one right after another.

Know that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel jealous, angry, frustrated, confused. But holding on to those emotions will not serve you. They will take up space you need for the little life that will eventually come your way. And they will take up energy you need for the love and compassion you need to show yourself.

The little glimmers of hope and optimism that you feel aren’t going to jinx the cycle; it will be when it’s meant to be.

It’s okay to be happy about the other things that bring you joy. To see friends, to skip a month of treatment, to laugh. To share your light. You don’t have time for guilt.

Your husband? This struggle affects him as much as it does you. He may not take the meds or get the shots, but he’s in it with you as your biggest supporter. Let him know you know that.

And your family and friends? They are there for you. They may not know the best thing to say or do in each moment, but they care. Sometimes you just need to tell them what you need.

It’s also okay to let go of those who do not lift you up.

Your patience will be tested and your desire challenged. You will make sacrifices. But this is just practice for motherhood. Emily, you are so much stronger than you know. And you’re going to make your little one so proud one day.”

What would you say to yourself?