The Joy That Was Stolen by Infertility | Article by Nikki Santerre

June 7, 2017

The Fount Collective, Image by Kim Stockwell Image by Kim Stockwell 

There they were, suddenly waiting. Two pink lines.

Two of the faintest, rose colored lines. Parallel, infinite, symbolizing the season I’d waited years for. And my immediate reaction wasn’t the overwhelming joy I’d anticipated.

Two years to the month we’d been trying. Two years of doctor appointments and ovulation calendars. Two years of questions as to when our family would begin. Two years of heartbreaking disappointment every month when my body revealed that my desire for motherhood was still another month away.

So where was the relief?

I immediately began shaking. And then it happened. The fear set in. My mind started racing, recalling the stories. Stories of so many women I know and love, so many women I admire, so many women whose hearts ached for a baby they had yet to know. Women who struggled to become pregnant, women who understood each moment of waiting, who had finally received their answered prayer for two pink lines only to learn weeks later, their sweet one’s life wouldn’t endure.

It just didn’t seem fair.

There was nothing to ensure my miracle would be sustained, so I refused…I refused to let myself feel joy over something that so deserved to be celebrated.

And so, again I was in a season of waiting. Just to be certain, we took test after test after test, all confirming we had reason to celebrate. Yet still, I was apprehensive. I would love to say it was after our first ultrasound that I let my heart soften, that I finally let myself believe I would become a mother, that I would bear the fruit of this pregnancy, to see my baby take his first breath, to hear the sound of his first cry. After we received those first sonogram photos, my prayer was simply this, “Please, let me keep him.” As if he were ever really mine to begin with, as if I could bargain with the Creator and Sustainer of Life. I wish in those early days I had spent more time expressing my gratitude, being thankful for the tiny heart beating inside of me instead of living in a constant state of fear of the unknown.

Infertility stole more than the start of my motherhood, it stole the deep, soul satisfying joy I should have felt once we actually conceived. I’ve spent the entirety of my second and third trimester trying to redeem those initial feelings, trying to conquer the fear, trying to defeat the guilt, because the truth is that my son’s life deserves to be celebrated whether he were to have existed for 12 weeks or 120 years. Those who spend a season in waiting before motherhood beckons at their door know all too well the miracle that it is to create, carry, sustain, and birth a life into being. And each time that miracle happens, it’s not common or mundane. It is life. It is a gift.

I have tried to find meaningful ways to celebrate my son before his arrival, to make the minutes I carry him inside of me count. We have taken trips together, his room has been intentionally prepared. I have soothed him with hymns in the shower, written letters to him under the setting spring sun. He has the greatest collection of children’s literature, and although I haven’t yet memorized the lines in his face, it is certain he has memorized my voice in the hours we’ve spent reading together.

In a few short weeks, this gift will be unwrapped, and not just the idea of who this baby will be. As I fold tiny clothes and find homes for the treasures in his room, I am counting the days until the space he has always occupied in my heart becomes a tangible, physical presence. And, if nothing else, it is my hope that he will always feel celebrated by a mother who whispered into the heavens for his existence long before she first heard the sweet sound of his small, yet steadily beating heart.



Nikki Santerre | Column Writer for Fount

“I am a fine art hybrid photographer who travels across the country to document and celebrate marriage and motherhood. I have always been inspired by the gentleness, the dedication, the joy a mother finds in caring for her little one. Of all the things I desired in my life, motherhood was a season I was most excited for. Little did I know in 2014, my husband and I would begin the struggle of a journey to become parents as we faced testing, diagnosis, medication, and too many months of negative pregnancy tests. My womb was empty, my hope uncertain. Last year, I began an online community for women struggling with infertility. It was through the openness of this group of incredible women that I found my voice and deep desire to advocate for the infertility community. My husband and I whisper our gratitude to the heavens this season as we wait to welcome our first babe, a precious little boy. It is my hope that through my written words and portrait work that I can instill hope for those waiting for their season of motherhood that they do not wait alone.”

  1. Alex says:

    Beautiful Nikki! Really really beautiful.

  2. Jenn says:

    Nikki, as always, this is absolutely beautiful, soul touching and eloquent. You are sharing the exact same feelings I felt on our journey. Though it was miscarriages (plural), not infertility, I think that these thoughts, prayers and feelings all of us in waiting have are so similar. I’m so excited for you and your family as you welcome your son!!! xoxo, Jenn

  3. Rosie says:

    This so beautiful. I am so happy for you!

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