For many, the path to motherhood is unusual, often marked by difficulty and fueled by hope. As someone who experienced a traumatic birth with my second child, I understand how these experiences shape how we parent and who we are as moms.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, I asked my Facebook community to share the extraordinary ways they came into motherhood. These women embody the beauty, grace, love and faith that is being a mom.
An invader in the womb
Like many couples, Mikenzie, who runs the Facebook page, Me and all my boys, and her husband struggled with infertility. When an IVF cycle helped her become pregnant with twins, the couple was excited their dreams of having a family were realized.
The dream turned into a nightmare, when, during her four-month checkup, a mass was found on one of the sonograms.
Mikenzie was sent to a high risk doctor, who grilled her and her husband about her fertility struggles, IVF and when the mass appeared. The couple explained how they were told the mass could have been twins, then a triplet, then a vanishing triplet, then just an unknown mass which kept growing.
The doctor checked the twin boys and everything was fine. He then measured the mass and informed the couple that it had gotten bigger.
“You have a partial mole,” he said. He went on to say how fetuses rarely survive alongside a mole, and that moles can even cause cancer.
A partial molar pregnancy is a variation of a molar pregnancy, an abnormal pregnancy in which an embryo (the fertilized egg) either developed incompletely, or doesn’t develop at all. Instead a cluster of grape-like cysts (known as a hydatidiform mole) develops in the uterus.
Alarmed by the doctor’s warning, Mikenzie worried and researched. She also got angry. Angry at the doctor for his cold and harsh attitude. Angry at her body for attacking her dream of motherhood.
With the support and compassion of her regular OB, Mikenzie was able to get through what would go on to be a difficult pregnancy. Aside from the usual pregnancy ailments, she had to endure the constant fear of the mole attacking her babies’ placentas.
Mikenzie made it to 36 weeks, and the boys were both healthy and ready to exit their mother’s womb.
The two babies were removed one by one, via C-section, and were confirmed to alive and well.
Mikenzie and her husband held their babies, as the doctors worked to remove the mole from her body. The mole was delivered to University of Texas-Southwestern University to be a case study due to that fact that it was so uncommon to be found in a twin pregnancy in which all parties involved survived.
Good riddance, thought Mikenzie
“I was so happy to know it was gone.”
To read more of this story, click here.
Cancer survivor finds hope in IVF and surrogacy
Elizabeth Joyce, who blogs at Writer Elizabeth Joyce learned she had cancer in 2005 just three months shy of her wedding day.
If the stress of an upcoming wedding and dealing with a cancer diagnosis weren’t enough, Elizabeth and her partner needed to act quickly in order to preserve her chances of having children.
“We rushed a cycle to freeze embryos before I started the chemotherapy that could cause me to become infertile,” Elizabeth shared.
With her cancer in remission for a year, Elizabeth and her husband thawed half of their embryos and began their IVF/FET journey. One embryo took and the couple welcomed their son in 2008.
The pregnancy was not an easy one.
“It nearly killed me,” Elizabeth said, noting how an emergency hysterectomy was needed do to failure to deliver the placenta and severe hemorrhaging. It saved her life, but plunged her into despair.
From despair came hope in the form of a gestational surrogate.
Elizabeth was fortunate to meet a woman who agreed to carry her remaining embryos to term.
Elizabeth and her husband welcomed their twin daughters in 2010.
“Now, our family is complete.”
From jobless to mom-to-be
Losing a job is hard enough, but imagine losing a job and finding out you are pregnant?
Brandi from the Cultured Baby World, had been laid off from her job for two weeks when she discovered she was two months pregnant.
“I was scared to say the least because I wasn’t sure children were in the cards for me,’ Brandi shared.
Brandi put her faith in God, and went on to give birth to a beautiful baby girl.
Brandi is now home raising her daughter, working on her website and a book.
“Funny, how life works out!”
Sometimes, family chooses us
Lisa Leshaw, shared how it was her own mother who lead her down the path to parenthood.
” My mama met my future husband first in a parents without partners meeting. She did the matchmaking,” Lisa recalled.
Love bloomed between the pair from the very first date.
By the fourth date, Lisa was introduced to her beloved’s two children.
One year later, she became their step-mom — a role she wears with honor and pride.
We’re not getting any younger!
“You know those old fashioned memes that say stuff like: ‘Oh, I forgot to get married?” Well, that pretty much happened to my husband and I. We were like, ‘We better do this! We’re not getting any younger!” — Angela Anagnost-Repke
All mothers are extraordinary
Whether you experienced a “typical” path toward motherhood, or your journey was full of twists and turns, the choice you made to raise tiny humans into adulthood is nothing short of extraordinary. Take a moment to think about this achievement and be proud of all you do.
Happy Mother’s Day!