"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
From a very young age, I always knew a response to that daunting question. At first, I said I wanted to be a pediatrician. Then, I claimed that I wanted to be a physical therapist. Eventually, I answered my personal calling to become a teacher.
But somewhere, deep in my heart, one answer was consistently the same throughout my lifetime...I wanted to be a mother.
I can still remember being three or four years old and hearing a child cry in a different aisle of the grocery store. I would ask my own mother if I could go comfort her. I would find the crying baby, kneel down beside her, and gently calm her. When we played "house" in kindergarten, my friends routinely assigned me the role of "mom." One of my family's favorite home movies to this day is the one in which Santa brought me a shopping cart full of plastic groceries. I was just under two years old. Instead of playing with my new toys, I instinctually took each food item to my infant sister and tried to feed her.
Being a mother was natural. It was just something I was supposed to do.
Until it wasn't...
My parents struggled with infertility. Aaron's parents did too. Somehow, even before it was real - before we whispered the words of "parenthood" out loud - I knew we would face the same frustration. What I did not realize, however, is how much it would hurt, how much my entire identity as I knew it would be destroyed, how I would have to face the deepest, darkest facets of myself and fall apart completely before I could find my path again.