In looking back on my life, I guess I've always been defined by something. Whether it was being the daughter with the good grades, or the athletic one, or the musical one (yes, I was a band geek, and yes, I did go to band camp - you don' t know what you're missing!). There was always something there that defined me.
I guess in a way that's good, but I don't want my kids to ever think that that's what they "are". I think it's important for everyone to have something they can call their own, but I certainly don't think it should define them totally. As a side note, I don't think the above labels were ever put on me by my parents, just by myself. Thus the reason for this post.
Is it fair to put labels on ourselves, define ourselves by something we do or have in our lives? I'd like to think that there are many things that define me, totally. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an optician, a golfer, the list could go on and on.
Another reason for this post is that I was thinking back about the time period where we dealt with infertility for 9 years, before we were blessed with our daughter. There was a period where I let our inability to have kids define me. It was all consuming. It seemed that no matter where I looked, someone was asking us when were having kids, someone was pregnant, or I was getting an invitation to a baby shower. It was everywhere, and I felt like I couldn't escape this horrible feeling that my failure to have kids was who I was.
I have a different view of things now that I have come out to the "other side". I would admit, as well, that it is easier to say that it was wrong (for me) to let infertility define me now that we have kids. For those who will never get their chance to be parents, it is easy to let it define them, perhaps for life. I am one of the very lucky ones who can look back on it as a learning experience, a lesson in patience, acceptance and perseverance.
I don't define myself by this any longer, but I do wear the label, the badge with pride. It is nothing you would ever want to go through, but it does change you, and for the better, if you let it. It will be with us forever, when we explain to our daughter how she was conceived, to our children how very much they were wanted and how the pain of the journey never quite goes away.
These days, by definition, a part of me is a Mom, a big part of me. While I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to let one thing define a person, this is one label I will proudly display for the rest of my life.