A few months ago, our IVF cycle failed and our family ended the journey for one more baby. Infertility was not new to us, as our son was the result of years of procedures and injections, but our miscarriage after our IVF cycle was the final nail in our family-of-four coffin. We all grieved in our own ways, my kindergartener included, but my husband and I were also excited to have this infertility weight off our shoulders for good this time.

Most days, I think about how I can’t even imagine being pregnant at this stage in my life. I know that our family is complete and that we are able to do so much more without a new baby. Things here are better than just okay – we are thriving as our family of three.

But some days, it is still hard.

Just this morning, I broke down at the coffee shop with my friend and told her that I feel insignificant because I only have one child. At school drop off, every other mom is pushing strollers with toddlers and wearing babies. Sure, they look exhausted but they are raising a family. I’m raising a son. Sometimes it feels different and I feel like I got the short end of the stick.

Before I stayed at home with my son and started to write full time, I worked for 15 years in senior care. During that time, I was able to hear stories from my seniors that ranged from World War II to the Depression, having children to dying spouses. In one of the most memorable conversations, a woman named Ruth told me that she was never able to have children and that it was like a ghost that lived with her every day. She said that she became comfortable with that ghost throughout the years, but that sometimes she could feel the sadness pressing in again as she watched friends become moms, grandmas, and great-grandmas. “It’s a familiar feeling,” she said, “that I can still recognize today.”

I believe that I will carry my infertility and feelings of insignificance throughout my life -that my ghost and I will learn how to dance with one another. I believe, though, that one day I will lead the dance for longer and longer. Infertility may never quite go away for me, but I can learn to live with this familiar friend. She shaped me into the mom I am, after all.

Blogger: Haley Burress