The journey to motherhood is not the same for all of us. Whether it’s through birth, adoption, foster care, mentorship, and everything in between, it’s always different. My personal journey was anything but the typical route, and as I reflect on it heading into this Mother’s Day weekend, I thought long and hard about sharing this personal story. I cried while I wrote this story. But I hope that it is an encouragement to all mothers out there, and I want you to know I am here cheering you on.
As I was growing up, the one thing I always wanted to be was a mom. But that deep desire and belief were definitely tested. I was married at twenty-six, and we decided to not rush into starting a family right away, so we waited a few years. By the time I was twenty-nine, we were expecting our first child. It was so exciting and life-changing, and all was going well. And then one day, I didn’t feel well. I was already 17 weeks pregnant, but I could feel that something was wrong.
After speaking with the doctor, he assured me I was okay. I tried not to think about it, but by the next morning, I was still not doing well. I went in for an ultrasound, and it was confirmed that the pregnancy was no longer viable. What a way to say that?! I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I convinced myself that there must have been something wrong and so it was for the best. We would wait and try again.
Well, little did I know that this was just the beginning of our infertility and miscarriage roller coaster ride. I spent the next 8 years trying to get pregnant, and when I did get pregnant, they ended in miscarriage. As one can imagine, I had many conversations with God. Is this not meant for me? How can something so natural be so hard? I felt sad and scared. But every time I thought about giving up, some kind of message would come through.
One time after maybe the second or third miscarriage, I was so defeated and heartbroken. I was furious. I screamed at anyone that would listen that I was not going to believe blindly anymore. If I didn’t get some kind of practical communication that I am on the right path, I was giving up and I would no longer be a believer. None of this blind faith crap!
Later on that day, I had a knock on my door. I opened the door to see a man that I did not know. The man said that he lived in my neighborhood and that every day he walks by my house. As he did so, he said he would always get a strong message to stop and talk with me. But that day, it was no longer a message. He was actually halted in his tracks.
He said at the risk of you thinking I am crazy, I am supposed to tell you that everything is going to be alright, and there is a reason for all you are going through. He assured me that he had never done anything like this before, and he hoped that it made sense to me. I cried, I was humbled.
A friend was there, and when he left I turned and I said to her, “You are my witness… Did that actually just happen?” Needless to say, I kept going. A couple more years passed by with much of the same. By the time I was 37 years old, I was a very successful owner of several retail boutiques and an aromatherapy bath and body manufacturing business. Infertility is a full-time job and it is exhausting. I was trying to decide whether I was going to pursue a full-on career to grow my business and become an international company, which would mean possibly giving up on the whole motherhood thing for good.
I decided to have another heart to heart with the universal powers that be. “If this is what I am supposed to do, then you need to make it happen by the end of the year. If not, I am giving it up and focusing my mother energy on the world around me.”
You see, the gift that I gained from this time that had passed is that I was no longer attached to how I would become a mother. That was in August. I honestly had come to accept my fate. If motherhood isn’t what was meant to be, then there was something else for me.
That September, my mother-in-law called me and asked if we wanted to adopt a baby. Without hesitation, or even asking my husband, I said yes–after all God was working in my timeline! After that, the next 5 weeks were a blur; there was so much to do between home studies, letter writing, preparing a baby room, etc. It occurred to me about a week before the due date, “What if this doesn’t happen? What if the birth parents change their minds? What if something goes wrong?” After so many disappointments, I was feeling scared and vulnerable. I am a planner, and this was shaking my total need for control to the core.
Fast forward to the end of that week, on a Friday morning. I woke up from a dream that I had a son. I felt sure he was here but was so confused because no one had called. I tried to put it out of my mind and started out the door to go to work. I got in the car, but I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I went back in the house and called (this was before cell phones). It seemed like I was on hold forever, but when the attorney finally came to the phone, she said, “We have a boy!”
I knew it! I was already connected to this little boy, and I believe he was born from my heart. I said I will make the plane reservations, and she asked me to wait until she called me. That was the most difficult 24 hours of my life. My heart stayed in my throat, and I barely slept a wink between the joy of this beautiful boy being born and the worry of this not happening. I also felt a deep connection to the birth parents and their bravery to do something so selfless for the well being of this gorgeous soul. I did not know them, but I will always feel connected to them in my heart.
I got up on Saturday morning, hoping for, and at the same time, dreading the phone call. I looked down and saw the mail from the evening before laying on the counter. There was a letter addressed to me from one of my clients. I opened it up and the first thing I saw was a quote. It said, “For this child, I have prayed, and God has answered that which I have asked of him.” I knew then that this was going to happen, and I went and packed a bag. Thirty minutes later, we got the call to get on a plane to pick up our son.
The most beautiful day of my life was the day I became a mother. We named him Zachary because, in Hebrew, it means “Remembered by God.” We truly were.
So you see, the road to motherhood can be very different for all of us. We don’t have to birth the child to be their mother, we just have to love them and carry them in our hearts. This is my story of becoming a mom. I know that there are many others with their own stories of becoming mothers: stepmothers, surrogate mothers, man-mothers, adoptive mothers, biological mothers, mothers in law, Mom aunts, and Mom uncles. I know there are many of you going through infertility and miscarriages, and this day can bring sadness. I just want to remind you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you are not alone. Stay open to what could be, and know that if it happened for me 26 years ago, it could happen for you too. The impossible became possible. That is what I know–I lived it.
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to the Moms and the Moms to be and the Moms in the making.