Everyone has little rituals they perform. Little things that carry huge weight for ourselves, but might not for others.
I have had a pregnancy ritual. Each pregnancy I took my pregnancy tests, and then I tucked them away in the bathroom. I kept them, staring at them sometimes for confirmation, or to compare them to the next test I'd taken.
When I lost my pregnancies, the ritual continued with me tossing all those tests in the trash. My heart heavy with loss, and feeling empty; I kept photos of the tests, but I needed to physically throw the tests out. It was a part of my grieving process.
This last pregnancy, I kept the tests. When things started going well, I considered throwing the tests out. But I couldn't. It wasn't exactly superstition, but I just could not get past the mental block of throwing them out. Throwing them out meant the pregnancy was over. And it wasn't over, not yet. I was only on the foothills of a mountain, and I still had miles to climb.
Today, I remembered that those tests are still in there. And I'm going to throw them out finally. It's still sad to toss them, because that means that this pregnancy really is over. And probably all pregnancies for me, since we don't plan on trying again (even if we change our mind, it won't be for years)- so it feels very final. But at the same time, so uplifting because I have a child now. I actually have a son. This leg of my journey is over- I stand at the top of the mountain, and I can look down and see all the land I've covered, obstacles I've overcame, and I can let part of that go now.
But only part.
Infertility is always going to be a part of who I am. I will always be infertile, from my PCOS to my miscarriage risks. I will always be a mother who has four children, but only one living. The other three left unspoken, hanging in the air between conversations, etched forever into my soul. I will be the mother with the tattoos for those that have gone before me, mementos scattered throughout my house, and the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same. I went through hell, and I kept going. That leaves a mark upon a person, invisible to the naked eye. As much as I just want to live, I have my own demons to deal with, grief that begs me to tend it's needs, and memories that haunt me. I am not saint, I am not as strong as some, and my battle has not been as hard as others- but it has weight, and I've had to incorporate it into my daily life.
It will always be a part of me.