Monday evening, sitting on the couch finally unwinding from a hellish few days with very sick twin 3 year-olds, feeling a bit lousy myself, a text popped up on my phone. Upon opening it, my breath completely left my body. Aunt Diane, my father’s youngest sister (youngest of 9 total!) had found a photo of my father at age 6 or 7 that she thought I’d enjoy. Of course I knew it was my father but I was literally staring at my son Reed’s face just a few short years from now. I was overcome with emotion, tears filled my eyes. I was completely in awe. His sweet expression so comforting to me.
Lately I’ve been struggling with processing my trauma with infertility, my inability to carry my own children and at times unable to forgive myself for all of it. Waves of shame seem to come and go, less often now than before but when they hit, they hit hard. My father died when I was 16 years old, way too early for his time after a long-fought battle with Lupus and who knows what else. The same disease that I was diagnosed with at age 24 – the same lovely ailment that caused way too many miscarriages, emptied out my egg reserves and shriveled my ovaries at lightening speed and ultimately why I couldn’t carry my own children in my womb and needed a gestational surrogate. Yeah – all of that sucks – but what sucks worst of all is that my father never knew my son and daughter, that while he and I conquered so many obstacles with the same disease (15 years apart), ultimately it led to the greatest gift of all, Vivian and Reed. Two little souls that he would absolutely adore if he was here today. My dad was my rock, I idolized him – and I was devastated when he passed too soon. I hear all the time how much Vivian and Reed look JUST LIKE WES – which they do, and I love that but it can sting at times because it has a tendency to take me even further out into the ring of feeling like I’m not truly part of anywhere, or belong to anyone’s tribe. Like I’m an outsider viewing my family from afar.
And then this…this picture of my Dad pops up in my messages and I can literally hear my Dad saying, “Yep Mar, I’m still here, I always have been and now I will live on in you and your sisters but all of my grandchildren – especially my mini me, Reed.” Thank you Dad for the reminder – seems like it’s been awhile since I last allowed myself to hear from you, even though I’m sure the messages were always right beside me and it’s exactly what I needed. Xo
- Mary Kennerly, Founder & Former Intended Mother