By Kate Weldon LeBlanc

It is pretty common to be reflective as one year closes and another begins, right? And it feels particularly appropriate as 2020 comes to an end. I am under no illusion that January 1, 2021 will feel much (any?) different from December 31st. However, I still feel glad to let this year go and to start a new one.  This week on my morning walks with our dog (the best part of 2020 for our family), I have been thinking a lot about (seemingly) conflicting emotions. This year Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the world, causing unfathomable loss and ripple effects that are impossible to quantify. The pandemic also served to shine a light on systemic injustice – FAR from new but rather magnified and laid bare for many who perhaps had not seen as clearly before (including myself). As a result of all this (and more), the prevailing emotions of 2020 have been sadness, worry, stress, lack of control, confusion, and isolation. Unfortunately, these are familiar feelings for those who are struggling to grow their family or who have faced these challenges in the past. Indeed, there has been SO much sorrow in 2020. But I also know everyone has been searching – and hopefully finding – hope as well. I believe strongly that being grateful, whether for things large or small, does not minimize the suffering that we – or others – are feeling. It is not meant to disrespect the pervasive pain but merely to find some meaning or comfort within it. Again, I see parallels with family building struggles. I personally would never say that I am grateful to have infertility, but I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me about myself, the bonds formed with loved ones, and the rewarding work that it has brought into my life. Emotions are often a very tangled web. I am welcoming 2021 with both optimism and worry, both sorrow and gratitude. Thank you for being our people, every year.