It’s not what it seems.

This photo is a reminder to me that there is always WAY more going on in a person’s story than what we see from the outside.

From the outside, we look like two blissful expecting parents. What can’t be seen is the seven years of infertility. The fertility treatments. The start and stop. The attempts to adopt. The acceptance that maybe we will never be parents. And the returning to hope again and again.

When looking at us, you might not consider that the moment we finally saw a pink line was at once shocking, exciting and terrifying. You can’t see that I’ve felt more anxiety in the past few months than I’ve ever felt before. Day and night I worry about losing this little one. From the outside, you can’t see how much work I’m doing daily to manage that anxiety.

This photo certainly doesn’t portray how much guilt I’ve felt that after seven years of wanting (and knowing so many who want what I have now) I can’t just be the blissful expecting parent I look like here. I want that more than anything. But, hey, real life is real life.

All of this to say that everyone has a complicated story. And almost nothing is as it seems. Especially on social media. So, let’s be gentle and give each other — and ourselves — endless amounts of grace. We are fully complex humans — not 2D squares.

Also, buying this maternity dress was an exercise in hope and belief. I’m trying hard to not let anxiety drive my life. So, here’s to trying (again and again) to embrace the present.

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