On the outside, we have it all. Three beautiful, healthy kids raised in a nice home. But underneath, I look at these three little souls and I remember. I remember before they existed. I remember when I longed for them. I remember the disappointment month after month, I remember feeling like babies were popping up all around me. And it still hurts.

My life at that time was a blur of doctor appointments, google searches and depression. It consumed every aspect of my life; every conversation, every thought, every plan. I felt like a failure. I was letting myself and my family down. I was stuck inside this betrayal of a body that wasn’t working. I did my best to appear normal throughout the day, only to collapse into bed upon arriving home, exhausted from the daily performance. I looked down when a baby bump came my way, I hid in the bathroom and cried when yet another pregnancy announcement was made. I cringed in anticipation every time someone asked if I had kids or when I would. I existed but didn’t live.

For me, it was the ultimate conundrum. I’m a perfectionist you see. So no matter how diligently I took my Clomid, or how meticulously I charted my cycle, I found that I could not be an overachiever in conception. I went to my appointments, I followed instructions, I had blood work done, I lost weight, I even saw a Chiropractor for goodness sake. And all I felt like I had achieved was waste precious time.

Amongst all of this, I did manage to get one thing right:  I reached out and was honest with those closest to me. Don’t get me wrong, often I heard “it will work out in time” or “you just need to relax!” which by the way, is of zero help. But along this journey, I met some amazing people who were kind and loving enough to share their stories with me. Stories that involved years of infertility, miscarriage, failed adoptions, blessed births and in some cases, the realization that parenthood was not a given.

On my darkest day, I found out a family member was pregnant and I was absolutely devastated. I called my husband in the midst of a panic attack. I sobbed, “that should’ve been our baby.” His simple response was “no, it shouldn’t” brought me slightly back to reality. Infertility feels very personal. Almost like every pregnant person in the world is getting pregnant just to show off. It’s worn like a badge of honor and this hard working girl scout couldn’t get her patch despite her best efforts.

Fast forward a few years. Here I am, writing this after three babies in as many years. I’m sure others see me and can’t fathom that I wasn’t always a “Fertile Myrtle” (btw, can we all agree never to use that term again?). I imagine that many wanna-be moms have seen my swollen belly and cursed me and my good fortune. Rest assured dear sister, I’ve been there. My journey may not have been 10 years long or involved aggressive procedures, but I can assure you that it hurt. A whole heck of a lot.

Sarah Layton

Sarah Layton is a grief fighting social worker by day, mom wrangler of three by night. She is a grown woman who enjoys playing with her dollhouse, listening to Korean pop music and spending time with her family. She has been married to Travis since 2008 and together they have one beast (Gunner) and two beauties (Kimber and Remi).