So, I was shopping at Walmart the other day when I came upon this mother with her 3 kids. Due to the racial disparity, I could tell that at least one was adopted. AND YOU GUYS, THEY WERE SO CUTE. All of them were between 3-5 years old… which is a mega, super-cute age range. I was gawking a little and smiling too large because I assumed that she might be infertile like me! I was like all prepped to give her a high five. “Look at this gaggle of adorable ducklings you have! OMG, isn’t it amazing!?”… But her interaction with these precious babies stopped me cold.

Here’s the scene:

I am approaching them in the aisle and the two littlest ones are kind just standing in the middle of the road. I am not upset, I smile kindly at them as the mom barks at them to move… Being young toddlers, and deers caught in the ‘headlights’ of my cart, they sort of just scampered around but didn’t really get out of the way. At which point my smile was so large it actually hurt my face. Becuase, it was adorable! And they’re just little, and they really tried. Well, let me tell you, the mom did not think it was very sweet or funny. She walked up and yanked both of them hard to the side to get them out of the way.

She then apologized to me for her “stupid” kids. I said it was fine and smiled kindly to the babies who looked scared and embarrassed and I wished I could hug them. As I continued down that aisle I couldn’t help but overhear her as she continued to treat these three littles with pretty appalling disrespect and judgment. She asked them what kind of chips they wanted for their birthday tonight (OMG, inner horror at them being treated like that on their BIRTHDAY!) and then began to berate them loudly for their choices. Then, when one of them complained about a suggestion she’d made, she told them how they should be grateful for what she was doing for them. I was just sickened. Their poor little, stressed faces and her anger/malice just broke my heart.

Now, I know that all parents have moments when they are not at their best and that you shouldn’t judge them from one snap-shot. For all I know she had just been fired, wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for these groceries, and had to listen to them fight the whole way to the store… I don’t know. But I couldn’t help how her actions made me feel and they made me feel a lot of things. I did judge her in that moment. I judged her by deciding that she couldn’t have been infertile like me. I don’t know how those babies wound up in her care but she couldn’t have waited years and years praying that she would be blessed with children. Even in my lowest moments as a mom, when I am broken and slobbering, a shadow of my former self- I remember.

I remember what it was like to fear I’d never get to be a mom. I remember wanting my baby so desperately it was a physical ache. I remember to be grateful.  Even when I am exasperated I behave with integrity. Even when I am so exhausted I cannot bear to stand I remember that my child deserves respect. Even when shit has well and truly hit the fan I remember that I asked, no, BEGGED, for this.

So, I need to pause now and say “thank you, infertility”. Really and truly, thank you, for teaching me that my child has worth. That this moment, no matter how taxing, has merit. That I should work to deserve the privilege that I got, to be a mom, that so many others never achieved.

I am grateful to my infertility for helping make me into the best mom I could be. In this moment I choose gratitude. I am grateful that there is a benefit to all those years of painful suffering. My suffering may have made the difference to the suffering of my child. And for that, I cannot be anything but grateful. Thank you, infertility, I cherish my time as a mother so much more because of you.


The Chicken


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4 thoughts on “Thank You Infertility

  • May 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

    I agree. So so much. I’m a different mom because of what I went through to become one. I feel like you read my thoughts and heart with this post! ❤️

  • May 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve been compelled to respond. You’re SO right about this. I am also a much more grateful mom than I would have been, had this been an easy journey. I couldn’t agree with you more….

    I did my ivf in Calgary too, and can totally picture all the things and people you’ve talked about in your previous stories about the clinic. Even though we don’t know each other, I feel like we kind of do 🙂

  • May 18, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Ugh, it’s really hard to watch parents be disrespectful to their children. And being disrespectful is not the same as being angry; everybody gets angry but it’s important to be respectful and self aware even when furious. And being humiliated publicly leaves deep scars on kids.

  • May 19, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Hi! I love the name of your blog (mine is “Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care.” ) This was a very interesting read for me.

    We adopted our children through the foster care system and we love them dearly. We are very lucky. Lately I find myself infertile in an odd way. I’ve never needed to necessarily have an infant. But my husband and I practice birth control like a religion. Because living here wouldn’t be safe for a baby. So no babies for us because the children we have come first. They need us. And a baby might not survive them.

    I think 4 years ago I would have felt the same way you did in that check out line. Now I’m not so sure. My husband and I have been blessed with a beautiful but very messy life. I know relatives suddenly fostering kids they didn’t expect. I’ve seen a friend’s 2-yr-old with attachment disorders charm everyone’s socks off in public, and then turn to her mom and say, “Candy or my new family?!” While holding a play-dog knife. And follow it up with, “You C**t!”

    I’ve seen a woman drowning in grief over her dead teenaged son. She only took 2 days off from work because bereavement doesn’t give much paid time. And when she took in his 2 toddlers to raise with her other 2 children? No paid time off either. No “maternity” is paid for adoptions in the US. Only a few companies give some personal time.

    And I’ve had infertile friends tell me that if I CAN have a “real baby” then I SHOULD. They don’t even understand the loyalty that we have to our “own children.”

    Basically I think you are a beautiful person. With beautiful thoughts about motherhood. You have grace and love for those around you. In fact, you’d make a great adoptive parent for a teen in foster care! Maybe reach out and share that compassion a bit? You are lovely.

    Check out

    There are many ways to become a mother.


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