My own circuitous path towards motherhood began almost a decade ago, though it’s hard to believe as I look back that the years have tumbled by so quickly.
I became pregnant unexpectedly at age 27 at a stage in my life when motherhood couldn’t have been further from my mind. In spite of the fact that I wasn’t in a healthy relationship or in any way ready to be a mother, I was devastated when that pregnancy ended. The miscarriage sliced me open in every possible way: I wasn’t sure I was worthy of being a mother, but I knew for the first time that I was capable of a mother’s love – and it’s a heartbreaking thing for loss to be what teaches you what kind of love you’re capable of.
In the months and years that followed, I’d mark time, as many mothers of lost children do, by the anniversaries that would have been: the due date that would have been my child’s birthday. The holidays. Do I even count as a mother? I’d wonder on Mother’s Day. Does my grief matter?
I met the kind, generous man who would become my husband just over a year after that first miscarriage. Still reeling from the loss, I wasn’t ready to say out loud that I wanted to have children, so we agreed that we’d both be ok either way: ok if we had children; ok if we didn’t. My ambivalence masked a lingering sense of fear that I might not be worthy of what I wanted.
As anyone who’s ever been ambivalent about having children knows, it’s an uncomfortable place to be: I wish I could tell you I reached a place where I felt sure that I wanted children, but the truth is that I reached a place where I was tired of not knowing whether we were going to try. So we began trying to conceive, and my ambivalence gave way to determination – a determination that was only strengthened when it became clear, six months into trying to get pregnant, that something was wrong.
After a battery of initial fertility tests, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to have biological children together due to male-factor infertility; none of the options we were offered as potential paths forward felt right. What flooded back to me was the feeling of immense love and grief for something that had been taken away without my consent, something I’d lost before I’d even had a chance to name how much I wanted it.
But this time, in a healthy relationship with a partner I knew I could parent with, I realized that I wanted to move forward: knew that we’d find a way to have children, whatever it took.
The short version of the story is that after 18 months of struggling to figure out what to do, we conceived triplets on our second round of intrauterine insemination (IUI) with the help of a sperm donor from a donor bank. We lost one of the triplets towards the end of the first trimester, and called the remaining children “twins” moving forward for simplicity’s sake; it was hard to imagine explaining to strangers why there were only two triplets for the rest of our lives. My pregnancy was difficult, complicated by hyperemesis gravidarum (that’s where you vomit for five months straight; it’s not a pretty sight).
The twins’ birth in March of 2016, blessedly, was beautiful.
In the weeks that followed Milo & Emilia’s arrival into the world, I realized that I wanted to shift my coaching focus to work with women who struggled with fertility challenges and pregnancy loss. Though we encountered a handful of extraordinary professionals in our journey to conceive (I nod my head to our incredible fertility clinic counselor and acupuncturist), our path had also shown me the enormous gaps in clinical care. I wanted to become for other women and families the support I’d wished I had along the way: a supportive, nonjudgmental advocate for a truly integrative approach to fertility, knowledgeable in compassionately navigating pregnancy loss as well.
This website has had its own “fertility journey,” taking over two years to travel from initial idea to birth. As the mother of fast-moving toddler twins, projects move a lot more slowly in my life these days! It’s my hope that over time, this website will become a comprehensive resource for women who are looking for a different approach to fertility and pregnancy loss than what’s often found in fertility clinics: an approach that’s holistic, inclusive, trauma-informed, and patient-centered.