I hesitated to add self-confidence to my list, as one of the first impacts of my losses and infertility was a severe lack of confidence. It didn't help that I’d changed careers at the time, and I no longer had the daily reminders that I was an intelligent and capable person, or the reinforcement of colleagues and clients when I did a good job. This lack of confidence was surprising to me. If you’d asked me, I would have said I had never tied my self-worth or my identity as a woman to being able to have children. But when I couldn't have children, when I was shut out of the mothers’ club, I felt the onslaught of society telling me that I was “less.” And my confidence plummeted.
So it may seem strange that I list confidence as one of the gifts of infertility. I have the benefit of being a decade on from the first shock of loss, and if I look back, I see a real growth in self-confidence too. Yes, this may be a result of the wisdom of a few more years. But it is also the result of new experiences, of being thrust into a situation I didn't choose, and of being forced to work through this to find a place of peace.
But as I dealt with my losses and infertility, as I found new talents, as I realised I was learning to deal with life and whatever it throws at you, my confidence was restored. Strictly speaking, it was never restored, because it when it returned, it was in a very different guise, with quite a different view of life.
I have been broken down, and rebuilt piece by piece. And that rebuild is solid.