Dear me at 25,
What I want you to know is that endometriosis is not your fault. It is not sexually transmitted, even as someone tried to shame you.
What I want you to know is you are whole. You are deserving of love and happiness. You do not have to apologize for your infertility, revealing your scars as a shameful secret to every potential mate. Your worth and womanhood are not defined by your missing ovary.
What I want you to know is that your fears for the future are valid, even as medical professionals dismiss them because “you are young” or “you have time.”
Dear me at 35,
What I want you to know is this road is long and treacherous. Your resolve will be tested. You will fail. You will fail again. And again. You will give up and you will keep going. Through everything, hope sustains you because love guides you through every fertility treatment, every invasive procedure, and every heartbreak.
What I want you to know is that even in the darkest valley, you know true love. You held true love in the womb and in your arms, you looked true love in the eye, and you had to let true love go. Yet, you carry true love still. True love is your much wanted and so missed son.
What I want you to know is that even when it feels it was all for nothing, true love was worth it all.
What I want you to know is that child loss is infinitely unfair. Child loss after years of infertility is infinitely unfair. What I want you to know is that this is not your fault. You did not cause this, and you do not deserve this; no one does.
What I want you to know is that the secondary losses of friends and family are infinitely unfair, but it is not your responsibility to educate people about grief – you cannot teach empathy and compassion. You do not have to apologize for being changed by your experiences.
What I want you to know (and how I wish I could make it so) is that your arms will one day be full again, whether by the gift of adoption or surrogacy, or on the other side of this life when you get to hold your son again.
Dear me at 45,
What I want you to know is that whenever and however you reach the end of the road of trying, you have done enough.
What I want you to know is that whether you are chasing a beautiful seven-year- old boy around in your heart, or his siblings here on earth, your motherhood is not defined by how many children you have in your arms.
Dear me at 75,
What I want you to know is infertility and child loss are a part of your story – they broke you down and reshaped you – but loss is not your whole story.
What I want you to know is contentment with however the rest of your life unfolded. Life was not easy or fair, and it broke your heart…AND you knew true love.
What I want you to know is that true love has carried you through, and it will carry you from this place to the next.
Jamala is an endometriosis survivor, wife, IVF warrior, and CHD angel mom. Her first child, Jasper, died peacefully in her arms with his daddy holding his hand, and his grandmothers and wonderful care team close by.