On the heels of an exceptionally trying day, I wake up and slowly start to put back together the pieces of my shaken spirit. I say my prayers, kiss my husband, bid good morning to my children (while striving not to silently curse them for waking up so early). I combed the interwebz for my morning laughs, go over work emails, review my scheduled events and plan out my course of action. One step at a time, I launch myself back into the world.
I'd like to say I'm ready to "take it on" and that I washed all the ugliness of yesterday down the drain with my final shampoo rinse, but I'd be lying. Yesterday still lingers over me like a shadow, a cold reminder of the fact that hard days are still ahead.
But I have released myself of the self-piteous, emotionally distraught state I found myself in last night, and I think that's a start.
Sometimes, on the hard days, it can be difficult to remember that this is the life I deserve.
I earned it.
I merited it.
This struggle, these challenges, this frustration.
I asked for it. Or it asked for me. I don't know. And I'm not entirely sure it matters.
I earned it when the surgeon told me at 15 that I had significant scar tissue and internal trauma that would forever complicate my chances for pregnancy.
I earned it when my oncologist told me that cancer survivors don't have babies- that our eggs and bodies just seem to never be fully able to recover from the barrage of treatments that it takes to keep one alive.
I earned it when I sat, covered in tears and blood, collapsed on the floor of my washroom, mourning the loss of life that I had once held inside me.
You're damn right I earned this.
Becoming a parent was not something that was supposed to be "in the cards" for me. Each of my pregnancies carried with it a formidable risk of complication, with both of my births landing me in the hospital and resulting in emergency procedures to keep the babies and I safe.
It wasn't something my body was meant to do.
But it was something my spirit was meant to do.
Compelled, even- if you want to get poetic.
Call it what you will:
A miracle of science. Fate. Providence. Divine Intervention. Karma. Coincidence.
You have your words, and I have mine.
This is the life that I was summoned to lead.
Despite all challenges. Despite all struggles. Despite all odds.
I chose to take it on, as a challenge and as a mission, because I know no other way to live.
I am, and have somehow always been, a mother.
I have often been asked: "If you knew your child would be born with Autism, would you still have had him."
What these people don't know is that, on some level, I always knew. I have been talking all my adult life about adopting a special needs child (believing, of course, that I could never have a child of my own). During my pregnancy, I was told that there were "abnormalities" and given the option to terminate because the risk for life-long complications was very high.
And yes, he is complicated. And yes, he probably always will be. But I learned to live when I gave birth to my handsome son, and again to my beautiful daughter.
Where once was lost, I now am found; was blind, but now I see.
I was born again, as a parent.
I worked hard for this life, knowing full well what it entailed.
For better and for worse, I earned it.
And I wouldn't change a thing.