This post is quite a departure from what you’re used to seeing on this blog.
Last week I turned 30! I’ve always found that birthdays, especially ones in which I begin a new decade, are a time to take stock. I have had an amazing life thus far: I grew up with a caring family, I received a wonderful education, and I’ve made amazing friends. In many ways, I’ve been exceptionally lucky: I’ve already traveled the world, fallen in love and married a wonderful man, and found a career that I adore. I’ve worked hard to put together these pieces of my life, and I love where I am at this point in my journey!
Erik and I at my birthday party this weekend!
That isn’t to say that things have always been rosy. My husband Erik and I have always known that we wanted to have children. Five years ago, soon after we got married, we bought our first house and adopted a dog from the shelter. Once we settled into our new home, we started to think about growing our family with a non-canine child. We also knew that our odds of conceiving, having a smooth pregnancy, and a healthy baby were all better the sooner we started trying… and so began our experiences with the heartbreak of infertility.
Three months after we started trying, in 2009, we were overjoyed to get our first positive pregnancy test! I remember that Erik was in Colorado visiting his brother at the time; I had stayed home to work a couple of weddings that weekend. I called and gave him the good news right away, and when he came back a few days later, he brought me gifts and a beautiful card (that I still have), telling me what an amazing mother I would be! We excitingly began preparing for parenthood.
Skip ahead 16 months to August 2010. I had my fourth or fifth ultrasound, and the constant fear lurking in the back of my mind suddenly became reality — another pregnancy, by this point our third, was failing. There was a baby growing inside me, causing me to get sick everyday, but there was no amniotic fluid in the gestational sac. It was only a matter of time, the doctor said, until I lost this child, too. This visit was supposed to be a routine check-up after we’d made it to the second trimester mark, so Erik wasn’t with me. I couldn’t drive home; I called a friend to pick me up.
I don’t know if there are words to properly describe the anguish that overwhelmed me in the doctor’s office that day, or the grief and despair that fueled a period of depression over the following year. Intellectually, I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that someday I’d be okay again, but at the time, it felt infinitely far away. It took me over a year to work through most of that grief, and there are still times when I’m brought to tears thinking about those experiences.
I’m sharing this narrative for two reasons: the first is because I believe that dialogue surrounding miscarriage and infertility should be brought out into the open. While I am terrified to share our history in such a public venue, women like Callie Mitchell, a brave birth mother who I’ve never met, and Anna Jesus, an equally brave client and friend of mine, inspire me. I’ve found that it helps immensely to share our stories with people who can relate, and to hear about others who have overcome similar heartbreak. There is a part of me that has been ashamed of my inability to carry a child biologically, and I hope that by having the courage to speak out, it will help me conquer that irrational shame. I know that being unable to give birth does not in any way diminish my value as a person or as a woman in the modern era, but it’s hard to reconcile my heart and mind.
Second, I’m also sharing our story with an eye on the future and our hearts open to a world of possibilities! As of February 28, Erik and I have completed an adoptive home study, and are officially eligible to adopt a child! Our adoptive agent told us that the most successful way adoptive parents are matched with birth mothers is through word of mouth. So today’s post is my plea to you: please help us grow our family! We have been through hell, and have come back from it stronger and more capable than ever. Erik and I are madly in love (together eight years this month!), we have supportive families and friends, a beautiful home to grow in, and we’ve learned through brutal experience that we can make it through a crisis without completely falling apart. With so many children out there in need of homes, we didn’t want to risk my health again trying other biological options in order to be parents.
Us with Fawn! Photo by Rebecca Hoyt Photography
If you or any of your friends/family know a woman who is pregnant and looking for a loving home for her child, please contact us or pass along our contact information. Alternately, we’d love it if you could share our story (online or offline, doesn’t matter!) on the chance that someone in your network might be able to connect us with a birth mother. Our email address is email@example.com, but we’d obviously love to hear from you via phone, letter, facebook, telegram, owl post–whatever delivers the message! We’ve created an album introducing ourselves to prospective birth mothers, and we’re happy to provide pictures, references, and a variety of other in-depth information about us. We’d love to talk to a birth mother from anywhere in the U.S.; we’re not limited to Virginia. And if you know of a birth mother outside of the country, you can still drop us a line and we’ll look into whether it’s legally an option for us! We’re not perfect people, but we can provide a caring and supportive home environment full of love, opportunity, and, of course, photography