Beautiful blue booties

I grew up in a big family. With my two older brothers and twin younger sisters, there was never a dull moment in our home. My happy childhood turned into a well-rounded and content adulthood, with my family around to support me in everything I did. I always knew I wanted a big family of my own someday.

I met the man of my dreams at college, and we had a loving, supportive relationship. Initially, we wanted to focus on our careers but after we got married, I really wanted to start a family! We tried and tried, but years later, around my mid 30’s, there seemed to be an empty space growing in our marriage. With the dawn of each new year and countless negative pregnancy tests, I became more and more frustrated. It ate away at me and made me anxious that I didn’t have my very own family! I felt as if my body was failing me of its one essential duty.

Most of my friends had babies, and nearly all my siblings had children. I was Aunty Kay. But I just wanted to be “Mum”. Whenever I visited them, it was like walking into a different world full of scattered toys and mismatched socks on the floor, formula tins and yoghurt purées, story books and burp cloths. It was a world that I longed for, SO much!

It got to the point that I was ready to burst into tears at the mention of motherhood or the sight of anything relating to babies.

Family and friends who spent years asking when we were going to become parents didn’t ask anymore; they just tip-toed around the subject. Like they had been warned to avoid it. My husband did all he could to comfort me, but I couldn't help blaming him as I felt everyone was pointing fingers at me. I heard the whispers and hushed conversations at family functions and I felt vulnerable and helpless; I thought I was the subject of it all.

As the years passed and we failed to conceive, our relationship became tense and strained. We visited multiple doctors and started our IVF treatment journey. IVF can be very demanding; each time the physical toll was troubling but I just wanted to keep trying and trying. Five cycles later, full of heart-wrenching guilt and despair, we faced the reality that IVF was not the way forward for us.

Months later, I was walking around a mall and saw a new baby shop. I must have walked in because the next moment I found a pair of tiny baby booties in my hand. And something in me just broke. My heart was filled with pain, and I felt tears spilling out. A lady in the store saw my tears and must have understood my grief because she just handed me a tissue and held my hand, while I sobbed my heart out over a pair of blue booties. I told her about my journey. Right up to the last IVF attempt. She heard me out, then gently told me that IVF wasn’t the only way to have a child.

That night, my husband and I spoke about adoption. I had never considered it before. But suddenly, it all seemed so clear. There were so many children in desperate need of a safe and loving home. Fast forward to three years later, and with a fridge door packed with toddler doodles and a heart overflowing with love, I kiss our amazing son goodnight. Our little family found its missing piece when he became a part of our lives, and now we are thinking of adopting a brother or sister for him!

Our infertility journey was definitely difficult, and severely tested our relationship. But ultimately, we battled through it together and our marriage is stronger than ever. Honest, open communication and unconditional love were essential throughout our journey and although I felt alone at times, I found out later that my husband was going through the same emotions and doubts as I was.

Hopefully, my story can help another couple feel a little less alone.