There are three labels I feel on my forehead. One is no longer applicable but I still feel it because I lived it for ten years of my life. Infertile. From 2005 to 2015 I endured 3 rounds of clomid/IUI, 6 total rounds of injectables/IUI and 1 round of in vitro fertilization. The second label is Stillborn Mom. That one burns the brightest on my forehead. That one that punches me in the gut at least once every day even 4 years later. The last one is NICU Mom. This label gives me the most post-traumatic stress. The roller coaster of the NICU coupled with a newborn who is given a 50% survival rate will do that to you. The question that remains is why do we put these labels on our forehead everyday just like we do our clothes, shoes and handbag? Why is it so easy to let your labels define you? Infertile. Stillborn. NICU. We are so much more than the burning labels on our foreheads! So easy to say but so hard to believe some days.
On the flip side, in my opinion there can be “silver linings” to these labels. Personally for me one lining is a deeper compassion for other human beings. You see the world differently, through a new lens. After this 12-year season of my life I got a lot better at the practice of “not sweating the small stuff”. Trivial circumstances were just that. No more stressing over normal life crap. I also feel like I can connect with people easier and the shyness that I once felt meeting new people is gone. Another lining is the amplified need and drive to help others. Not even just those who were dealt a similar hand as you- just people in general. Lastly, I am no longer afraid to go into the “ugly” with people. I do not find it difficult to go into uncomfortable situations because that is when people need you the most. When it is uncomfortable, when there is a HUGE elephant in the room, when death and despair are looming in the air.
Maybe you feel labels burning on your forehead too. You may not feel it right away but those labels will eventually turn into linings. I promise.
– Leslie J.
VP of Olivia’s Grace