In just a few months, my daughter will turn four. Like any other mother, I feel nostalgic at the speedy passing of time, knowing very well our time together is limited. Motherhood is bittersweet, as you cannot wait for your little one to grow up, but you hold on to each moment, praying it might last a bit more.
My name is Alexandra, and I am one of the million women who suffer from infertility. Granted, I was lucky, as I got to see my wish come true. The journey here, though, has been anything but easy. For more than a decade, I dreamed of having a baby, lacking the courage to pursue a diagnosis. I watched other couples forming families, feeling envious, petty, and sad. Crying became my coping mechanism, doubled by unhealthy avoidance.
I wrote the book called “M is for Mother: My Journey into Motherhood”, as I wanted to share my story with other women and offer insight into the struggle with infertility. It was not my intention to provide expert advice, as I am not a specialist. However, as Michael J. Fox once said, “the patient is often the best expert”– I wholeheartedly agree, and I wish more women would speak about their problems.
There were many years in which I tried to ignore my problems, focusing on work. But the desire to become a mother cannot be contained, nor it should. While I was doing my best to avoid the unavoidable, people kept asking me: “when will you have a baby?” That question, especially when asked frequently, can cause a lot of damage. My heart was already frail, and I began to avoid couples with children, as the topic of parenthood seemed to be the only thing they wanted to talk about.
In my book, I explore the fear of getting a diagnosis, as well as finding the courage to seek treatment. I present the story of a difficult pregnancy, one considered fragile–it took every ounce of energy to keep an optimism state of mind. I talk about labor, childbirth, and the postpartum period with candor, because I truly believe honesty is the best policy.
My daughter was born early, and her prematurity caught us off guard. As a mother, I felt guilty, asking myself what I could have done different. It took me a long time to understand I was not at fault. These things sometimes happen. We were lucky to be blessed with a healthy baby girl, who grows even more amazing with each day.
I dedicated a good part of my book to subjects mothers deal with regularly. Is breast the best? Are mothers invisible? Can mothers be career women? These are just some topics you will find hidden between the pages of an emotional story, one I hope a lot of women will get to read. I also tried to contradict outdated notions related to motherhood. To me, being a mother does not represent a sacrifice, and it is perfectly fine to feel exhausted, after all we are raising a tiny human being without no previous experience.
Infertility can make you doubt yourself. It can take away your vitality, making you feel depressed and anxious. My story does not include IVF, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Yet, it includes the possibility of all that. I was lucky. I know that. Our daughter came as a miracle, before we even made the first appointment for IVF. There were no lost pregnancies, but more negative tests than one can imagine. In my book, I remember all those emotions that came with taking one test after the other. It never got easier.
Each story of infertility is different. It may have a happy ending or a sad one. One might go through incredibly difficult experiences, bearing both emotional and physical scars. We are united, though, as women, through the fact that we always power through and fight for the motherhood dream. The moment we get to hold our babies in our arms, everything else fades in the background. We are born afresh, eager to begin this new, amazing chapter of our lives.
Alexandra Antipa lives in the peaceful town of Korschenbroich, Germany, together with her daughter and husband. Originally, from Braila, a wonderful city located on the bank of Danube, in Romania.
In 2019, she published her first book, a memoir on love and loss. The book is called “Stories for the Heart: When Memories Become a Treasure” and it was meant to teach people how we can keep the memory of those we lost alive by telling their story and how they influenced ours. One year later, she wrote her first children’s book, a detective read which was inspired by her daughter and her close friendship with a knitted cat she calls Niami. “The LittleBig Detectives” is a fun read for kids between 7 and 12 years of age, and it was intended to teach them to discover the magic of their own homes during these trying times.
Alexandra loves to read and her passion for books is the number one reason for which she decided to write. Music is her other passion and she did some of her best writing while listening to Etta James and her live interpretation of “I’d rather be blind” at Montreux in 1975. She is a firm believer in the healing power of the written word, and she hopes for the future to hold only great things for her.