This post from Sarah James originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question How does it feel to finally have a baby after a long struggle with fertility related issues?

After 3 years of trying to get pregnant, we had our beautiful daughter through IVF two years ago. You spend all that time becoming increasingly desperate and afraid that, actually, it might never happen for you and you’ll have to come to terms with having no children. You lie awake at night imagining how that will feel and wondering if you’ll ever be able to get over it.

You smile tightly every time someone else gets pregnant – you so want to feel fully joyful for them and you really try. You make excuses for your friends children’s birthday parties that you just can’t face, and you endure idiot relatives shouting across the room at you at Christenings that “it’ll be you next!”

You listen to friends who’ve ‘accidentally’ fallen pregnant moan about how it’ll ruin their career and how it doesn’t fit into their financial plan, and you try hard not to wish bad things on them. You wonder if you’re broken and just don’t function normally.

You blame yourself. You feel that other people are discussing why you aren’t pregnant yet and you wonder when that will ever end. You try not to let it consume you and fill your life with noise, but you can never plan more than nine months ahead ‘just in case’. Every month you hope and every month when your period comes you try not to break down.

And then you are pregnant, and it feels like a miracle. I remember the day we got the positive test so clearly as one of the most joyful of my life. I couldn’t believe it so I tested again and again and again – we just laughed all day long.

The pregnancy was an absolute joy, constant happiness coupled with disbelief – you feel that you’re joining a club that you’ve previously been excluded from, and you can’t wait to meet your child. The labour was long and arduous and I began to doubt there was actually a baby there, and then suddenly there she was! We are so happy.

Even now I have periods where I can’t believe she exists, and I just feel grateful every day.