I count my blessings every day, all three of them, because they made me a mom. They gave me this role that is so unforgiving and yet at the same time so simply wonderful, I could not imagine my life any other way than as a parent to my two daughters and rambunctious son.
I count my blessings because I was never able to get pregnant on my terms. I suffered some losses, than hit a stride of fertility, only to enter this recent home stretch the same way I began it. I would love my family planning years to end on a high, but that may not be in the cards for me and my husband. However, it is okay. I am lucky to have three kids and am more than fortunate when it comes to my everyday life. I get to be happy, despite the dull ache of loss that comes with habitual miscarriages. I know too many wonderful woman who only see the sad side of pregnancy.
I count my blessings even though my miscarriages outnumber my live births. I do this because I still got the experience of it all. Labor, delivery, gestational diabetes, and even an emergency c-section would all make it on to my mothering curriculum vitae. Breastfeeding, jaundice, mustard-seed poops, thrush, multiple ear infections, and too many nights of falling asleep in a recliner all get to be worn by me like a badge of honor.
I count my blessings because the hardships and the successes that come from creating little humans makes me a better mom, and a better person. I take less for granted and I can acknowledge that things are not meant to be perfect. Without the heartache, how would I be able to truly feel the happiness that comes with raising kids? The hurt puts life into a better perspective, especially a mothering life that is full of days that involve temper tantrums, bathroom accidents, and frowny faces from teachers.
I count my blessings because I worked hard for my babies. I went through seven, nauseous, first trimesters and more to get them and raise them. But what I went through is a casual sprint race compared to the marathon event that can be infertility. I did not face down years of doctors and multiple procedures to come out at a loss, or with no answers. I just had a few misfortunes that became book ends to the absolute greatest moments in my life…having my kids.
I count my blessings because there are a lot of would-be parents who don’t get my success story. Men and women who have tried everything, yet never get to hold that swaddled baby against their bare chest. They miss out on the chance to fail or succeed at strapping a wailing infant into a car seat. There is never the opportunity to wake up five times in one night to check over a crib and see their miracle son or daughter. They don’t get to do it, and I did…so how I can be sad?
I count my blessings because even though the losses hurt, life continues on for my family. It is going by at such a fast pace that my kids have me spinning in circles, which is good to avoid the dwelling and the “what ifs” of it all. The moving forward is wonderful and it doesn’t mean I don’t hurt, but it does mean there is always a reason to be grateful.
I count my blessings because every single person on the planet has a sad story. And I know for a fact that their sad story is far worse than mine could ever be. I have three kids, a loving husband, and an adorable Jack Russell Terrier. I would switch places with me, if I were not me. The sad stories make us stronger and give us character, but I choose to not make them the defining moments of my life.
I count my blessings because I can and others cannot. I get the happy endings along with the occasional melancholy plot. I get to be grateful that when it comes to the story of my life, I am not indentured in tragedy. I have had hiccups and roadblocks, but no mountainous pitfalls.
I count my blessings because I was fortunate enough to get these blessings in my life. Motherhood is hard work, but it is great work. I feel privileged to experience it. I do not know if I would truly embrace how great it feels to be a mom, if I hadn’t had to suffer a bit en route to holding that treasured title.
Kelly J. Riibe has three kiddos, a husband, a Jack Russell Terrier, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Heels on a Farm, The Manifest-Station, BonBon Break, Parent.co, Living Here Magazine, and MockMom. She is also the co-writer for the blog: www.familyfootnote.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @familyfootnote and @KJRiibe.
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