By: mindbodygreen. Kelsey Holland

It took a long time for me to arrive at the conclusion that, although it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, my diagnosis of infertility yielded a profoundly positive impact on my identity as a woman and as a general human being. And while it is still the most emotionally and physically draining circumstance I’ve faced in my 27 years of life, there is a silver lining that exists within it.

My feelings on this are still largely dependent upon the day, the week, or the month; when your future is hanging in the balance on a daily basis, your proclivity toward optimism often suffers the same fate. In my moments of quiet clarity, however, I am able to clearly observe all the ways in which it has permitted me the opportunity to shape and appreciate exactly who I am.

The delicate balance between grappling with a medical issue as maddening as infertility and all of the ways in which I have witnessed the positive internal growth it can inspire has created room for a deeply rooted sense of gratitude among all of the frustration and anguish. Gratitude, however, is just one of several ways that this intensely personal struggle has helped me to form a foundation to construct my identity.

Finding my version of happiness

It is so easy to let the rest of your life get lost in the shuffle when you’re trying to conceive. It’s a gradual slide into obsessiveness and one that could end up costing you. It didn’t take me long to realize that this was not a route I was willing to travel. Make no mistake, my desire for my own family is encoded in my DNA. The love my husband and I are ready to give to a child is bottomless, and I will go to great lengths to give him, and myself, that gift. But how could I expect to be the kind of mom I know I am capable of being if I lose touch with everything else that is important to me in the process? In light of this realization, I made the conscious decision to channel that energy into developing hobbies, passions, and interests that support my well-being and continued growth.

Yoga, reading, writing, meditation, and hiking are a few of the things that became essential ingredients to the makeup of who I have become throughout this journey. Learning to devote time, energy, and interest to something that doesn’t offer a paycheck or earn me a grade gave me back the quality of life I didn’t realize I’d been missing. I will always credit infertility for giving me the incentive to actively seek out what makes me happy.