...and what being a mom means to me today.

Dear mama, let me introduce myself briefly. My name is Julia, I am 33 years old, and I'm the proud, overjoyed mom of baby Leni. I want to give you a little insight into my small world and take you on my journey to motherhood. Read here why being a mother is not something I take for granted and the experiences that have enriched me today.

But let's start about a year ago - a year full of hope, disappointment, despair, and ultimately infinite happiness. We had been on the journey to our baby for a while. For some, it might not sound very long - but for me, it was already half an eternity. These one and a half years of longing for a child felt unbelievably long and sometimes painful. I wished so much to carry a little miracle beneath my heart. I knew early on that I wanted to be a mother someday. For me, it was my most heartfelt wish. The perfect man was by my side, we were in the midst of life, and we were just so ready to embark on this journey.

And as often happens in life... things turned out differently. Several months passed, and the dream of a positive pregnancy test remained just that, a dream, for the time being. Yes, that really took a toll on me. Doubts arise, fears creep in, thoughts like: "What if it never works out?", "What if I don't get pregnant?", "What if we have to give up this dream?"

But giving up was not an option for us - so we decided to get to the bottom of it. We were then just one of many couples in Germany who needed a little assistance. So, we sought some help! What's the harm in that? For me, this decision was an absolute turning point... Suddenly, I was full of strength again, full of euphoria, hope, and anticipation. I knew we were now taking a big step closer to our greatest miracle.

After a few more setbacks and disappointments, here we stood. Fresh from vacation, armed with my doctor's master plan, and a big load of medications in our backpack, we were ready. Ready to collect our miracle from the universe.

And about a year ago, our dream of being pregnant came true. We didn't give up, and every tear and every injection was worth it! As I write these lines, I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I look to my left, and there lies the most wonderful being in the world for us, gazing at me with big, blue, round eyes. I am unbelievably happy and grateful to hold this gift in my arms today.

Being a mother means EVERYTHING to me. It means infinite, unconditional love that I didn't know before. It means gratitude and humility to me. It means carrying your own heart outside your body. Being a mother also means strength, courage, and having trust in oneself.

If there's one thing I've learned on my journey to getting pregnant, it's to trust. Trust in myself and my instincts. I benefited from this during pregnancy, and even today, as a mom, my actions are shaped by trust and a good dose of ease.

I've dreamed for so long of carrying this miracle beneath my heart, and today, I carry it directly in front of my heart - preferably in our Rookie baby carrier. I enjoy carrying our baby so much. Carrying, to me, means closeness, bonding, and a lot of love - and, my dear ones, you can never give enough of that.

I can give you, dear moms and dads, one thing on your journey: "Follow your own path and trust your instincts. You're doing it exactly right, and you are wonderful parents."