11 Very Different Stories On Having Children (Or Not)

In order to have a more open and compassionate dialogue around the many routes to parenthood, we asked 11 people and families: What was your fertility journey?

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Piera Gelardi, 39, executive creative director and co-founder of Refinery29
Fertility Journey: IVF, miscarriage, gestational surrogacy
When you try hard for something and it doesn’t come to you, you can start to doubt yourself, to doubt if the thing you want is meant for you in the first place.
In seven years of trying to have a baby, I had plenty of time to question.
I started off blindly hopeful. I stopped taking my birth control, thinking it would just happen in its own time. (I called it “not not trying” to get pregnant.) My husband and I weren’t totally sure we were “ready” to be parents, but everyone says you’re never ready, so we decided to give it a go. One day, my period was late and I fully freaked out. I was terrified that it was happening! The next day my period came. I was perplexed by the mixed emotions as I processed both disappointment and relief.
After a year of “not not trying” and not getting pregnant, I decided to go see my Ob/Gyn. That’s when the barrage of needles, tests, and discoveries started.
I quickly learned my path to becoming a mom would be a winding one, and over the years, I built up a whole parade of issues. First it was hypothyroidism, then PCOS, then I learned I had a large pedunculated uterine fibroid, and finally that I have a unicornuate uterus, which is a genetic defect I’d lived with my whole life and only discovered at 36.
Please don’t feel bad for me. I loathe being pitied. That’s why I lied to most of my friends and family through the years of trying, and told them I was too busy having fun to have kids.
The way we talk about infertility — the dreaded “barren womb” — is all wrong. Barren means bleak, empty, lifeless, but I didn’t feel that way. My life was so full, exciting, and worthy of celebrating, with or without a baby. The feeling that something was missing ebbed and flowed, but I felt that if I told people, I would have to carry around their sadness for me like a heavy reminder of what wasn’t in my life when what I deeply needed was to feel the beauty of all that was.
On my 37th birthday I got pregnant via IVF. It felt like a fortuitous sign. Then at 13 weeks I miscarried dramatically in the office bathroom. So much came crashing down.
Two doctors told me that I’d likely have to get pregnant several more times to stretch my uterus. This meant I might have to endure a series of miscarriages — each at a later stage — until I could carry to full term. Since this was a hard path to electively go down, I decided to open myself to all the options. I had a call with an adoption agency, learned about surrogacy, and pondered how I might “mother” in other non-traditional ways.
In the midst of everything, an unfathomable offer came my way. My sister-in-law Teresa offered to carry a baby for me and my husband. I was floored by her generosity, awestruck that someone would do something of that magnitude for us.
Last November, my daughter Viva was born into a sea of love. Brought forth by the most beautiful act of generosity and kindness. And in the moment she was born, all of my doubts washed away and I felt the most uncanny sense of calm and clarity. What was meant for me — and had always been meant for me — was finally here.
In the seven years it took for me to become a mom, I spent a lot of time wondering, questioning what the future might hold. Now every day I’m awoken (a little earlier than I would like) by Viva’s singing. When I peer into her crib and her face lights up at the sight of mine, the present moment is the only one that counts.
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Amy Emmerich, 43, president and chief content officer of Refinery29
Colin Oberschmidt, 40, studio technician
Fertility journey: Male infertility, IVF
Colin: We were married in October of ’09, and I had a sperm analysis in November of 2010. That test came up pretty much normal, which threw us in the wrong direction. In August of 2011 the same test came back showing I had zero sperm, so there may have been a false positive.
Amy: I was pissed when I realized that Colin’s sperm mobility was what was holding us back from having children. I was 35-years-old and every doctor assumed it was “my age.” I felt like we wasted time and money. I felt ignorant. How could I not have had the information I needed about my body? I felt sorry for Colin, I was prepared to carry the burden, but I don’t think he was. And for a man to have lower sperm count affects everything about him.
Colin: For me, there was never a big shock. Frustration was definitely the feeling. And not having answers.
Amy: No doctor could explain to him why this happened, one test was fine, but the rest weren’t. He got poked, prodded, tested, and no answers. There’s not enough money for male fertility issues — most of the money and research is around female issues. So, the information is limited. It’s not just us who are going through this — male sperm count has been consistently decreasing since the ‘50s.
Colin: I had to see a urologist and doctors ultimately prescribed Clomid, a drug often prescribed to stimulate ovulation in women. In men, it can trigger an increase in testosterone and the creation of more sperm. I quit drinking for almost a year, and we did tons of tests. Through the process, I didn’t open up much. I’m not a big sharer. I did talk to a coworker who's gone through something similar, and who helped me navigate what our insurance would cover.
Amy: This experience shook me. Gone was the magical notion that you can "just get pregnant" when you have sex. There would never be an "oops" miracle. It made me question everything. Should we be together? Were we not supposed to have children? A year of therapy helped us get to the next step and try IVF.
Colin: I was eventually able to produce sperm and we did IVF. Luckily, my insurance covers up to $10,000 in fertility treatments, and we ended up with eight viable zygotes. We inseminated two the first time, and froze the remaining six.
We went to the doctor two weeks after that transfer, and the ultrasound revealed one embryo was doing well. We were pumped, but it was very early. We had two implanted into Amy’s uterine wall. One ended up being Emzy, our daughter, the other split very early and ended up miscarrying. It was very scary. Amy woke up one night with a bunch of blood at four or five in the morning. But there was still the one, and she still looked great. At around the 12-week mark, we told people that we were having Emzy, who’s six years old now. We weren’t keeping the whole thing a secret. I told my mom, but we weren’t engaging with people that much about it. We weren’t sure if we would be successful or not. When Emzy was nine months old, we went through the procedure again and that led to Flash, who is five years old now. I tried not to think about a lot of things I felt in my heart during the process — but this whole time, I knew we were going to be successful. Maybe there’s a societal stigma about not being able to conceive “naturally,” but having two kids really outweighs the stigma for us.
Amy: There are both small and large parts of being a parent that are amazing. My favorite two times of the day are the hour I get in the morning for cuddling and then reading time with the kids at night. On a larger level, your kids reflect all the great and bad about you. Every day is about growing up alongside them, and that’s pretty significant.
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Christene Barberich, co-founder and global editor-in-chief of Refinery29
Fertility Journey: Miscarriages, IVF
As science-driven as the fertility world has become, it's been my experience that it's also very archaic in how it measures fertility and assesses protocol. You have to figure out where you are on the spectrum — beyond just being “fertile” or “infertile." I’ve learned there can be so much nuance. When I began trying to get pregnant, the first three doctors I worked with — all highly respected physicians specializing in fertility — gave me the same tests and assessed me based on the same markers. My "advanced maternal age" (I was 41 when I started) was the most significant. But none of them could understand why I kept getting pregnant over and over again, yet couldn't maintain the pregnancy. It wasn't until I worked with Dr. Jeffrey Braverman, a reproductive immunologist, and his partner Dr. Andrea Vidali, that I learned how specific each woman's case really is. You just have to find the doctor who has the patience and tenacity to help you get there.
What I've learned is that fertility challenges don't discriminate. Some things are easy to remedy and others are a little more involved. We all just need to find the path that works for us and makes us feel strong and able, not sad and broken. Regrettably, I believe the latter is how our culture still views women who struggle with pregnancy.
Everything in your life changes in an instant when you have a baby. And it takes some time to catch up. I cried a lot (the sleep deprivation didn’t help). And I felt I could only cry to the friends I knew who wouldn’t judge me or make me feel inadequate. I think there’s an assumption that if you work so hard to have a baby for as long as I did you’re not allowed to complain or have doubts. Like, How dare I? But the friends that let me lay myself bare as I adapted are the ones I’m indebted to. And my husband, of course.
No one prepares you for how life-altering having a baby is. Before she was born, I had so many worries, too many to count, but when she arrived, even though she was seven weeks early, I just knew that my life — a new one — had begun. As scared as I was and as all over the place as I felt with my crash of hormones, I would look at her and just be in complete disbelief that after nearly 10 years of trying to have a baby, she was finally here. But she is.
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Cori Smith, 28, activist, public speaker, artist
Fertility Journey: Egg freezing, endometriosis, hysterectomy
Unfortunately, unlike many transgender people, my transition wasn’t my first medical priority. That’s because I had endometriosis, which I was diagnosed with at 16. It caused debilitating abdominal pain and put my transition on the back-burner.
I began my medical transition at 23, and after eight months of taking testosterone I was still having period spotting, which is uncommon. Since I first started menstruating at 13, I’ve always had heavy, horribly painful periods. And, even while taking testosterone, I started having really severe issues that made me collapse at work. My father would have to pick me up to take me to urgent care. I knew this was the endometriosis, and not even the testosterone was helping. At that point, I started looking into a hysterectomy. But I always knew that I wanted my own biological children.
If you want to have biological children when you’re in my position, it’s going to cost a lot of money. Adoption is also an option, but I wanted the opportunity to have my own kids, too. To me, it was really important because my family is very small, and most of our blood relatives are back in Scotland. So as I prepared for my hysterectomy, I went to see a fertility specialist to freeze my eggs.
I got help from my parents to pay for the surgical aspect, which was somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000. They knew this was their best shot at getting grandchildren, so they were willing to help. There was also medication leading up to the retrieval, which ordinarily would have been approximately another $4,000. But I filled out Fertility Lifelines Compassionate Care Application for financial assistance. Because of my income level, I got about 75% of the medication costs covered. So, it was only about $1,500 or $2,000 for medicine for me.
I had to stop taking the testosterone and begin taking hormones for the egg retrieval — such as “Gonal-F,” a follicle-stimulating hormone, and Novarel, which triggers egg release. It was hard to go off testosterone when I had been on it for so long. People had begun to look at me and automatically gender me as a man, which I’d always wanted, so it was difficult to halt that process. But I was able to look at the big picture. Three weeks of going off testosterone was the price I had to pay for the chance at a biological child.
Because I was on testosterone for so long, and because my ovaries had been through hell thanks to surgeries for endometriosis, I wasn’t even sure if the egg retrieval would work. But I ended up getting 14 eggs. They’re still frozen. The plan is to hopefully get sperm from my partner and use a surrogate to have a completely biological child. Which is pretty amazing, given that we’re a gay male couple.
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Sade Strehlke, 32, health & wellness director, Refinery29
Fertility Journey: High-risk pregnancy
When I was 25 I was diagnosed with Lupus. It’s an autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue, joint pant, skin issues, and possible organ failure — it can also make conceiving harder and pregnancy tricky. Luckily, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac so I went to the doctor as soon as I felt “off,” and as a result my Lupus is pretty well regulated, with just one medication, plaquenil, an antimalarial drug with minimal side effects. I don’t require steroids or immunosuppressants like others afflicted with the disease. But the higher chance of difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriage, birth defects, along with the effects of this daily and lifelong pill, were on my mind when I decided to have a baby.
After being married for six years, my husband and I just looked at each other one day and said: “What are we waiting for?” There were some obstacles: We lived in different states. He was in a rigorous PhD program that was a four hour car drive away. I’d be alone during most of the pregnancy. But that moment, at the cusp of my 30th birthday, was the right time to start trying — especially if we might run into trouble and need medical intervention to make our hope of four to six kids a reality. (We’ve always been ambitious dreamers.)
I was thriving in my career and it made no sense to keep on waiting. I’d watched my mother try and not be able to give me a sibling in her mid 30s, and I knew I wouldn’t have the mental fortitude to go through that. So I downloaded a fertility app to figure out when I was ovulating, bought a special lube that was supposed to make sperm swim faster, and put my legs up in the air for 10 to 15 minutes after sex. I got pregnant the first month we tried. I was elated, but thoroughly shocked that it happened so quickly. I was like: Daycare, shit. My husband has two to three years left of school, shit. My career, shit. The permanent entrance into adulthood, shit. The nausea, tiredness, dizziness, twisted fibroids (those were new), low progesterone, gender disappointment, gestational diabetes scare, 60 lbs weight gain... shit, shit, shit, shit, shit — and shit.
However, after that dreadful first trimester, the pregnancy was relatively easy and low-key. I had about twice the doctor appointments that a pregnant woman with no autoimmune disorder would have, but every single test — including four fetal echocardiograms, because babies born to people with lupus have a chance of developing neonatal lupus and congenital heart block — revealed nothing. The hardest part by far was being away from my husband and not being spoiled by a partner like in the movies.
Around 35 or so weeks I learned I’d be induced (which I’d later find out is its own special hell) around 39 weeks in order to make sure everything kept going smoothly, as you can run into more problems as the baby grows. That ended in a 24-hour labor, two hours of pushing, a C-section, and postpartum preeclampsia. But in the very end, I got my precious Harrison. A very large, very loving, very rambunctious baby who’s almost two now. As we start thinking about the second one, I hope everything will be as “easy.” But if it’s not, that’s okay. Harry’s here, and he’s all I need.
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Susan*, 33, pediatric cardiologist
Fertility Journey: IVF, miscarriages, adoption
After trying for a year to conceive naturally, we went to a fertility clinic and had every work-up imaginable. We ended up doing four fresh cycles of IVF and eight embryo transfers over the course of about five years, for a total of five negative pregnancy tests and three miscarriages.
When our doctor suggested a fifth, fresh cycle of IVF, we opted out. We were tired of all the science. I felt like an experiment. None of this felt natural, and I thought maybe we should take it as a sign that we weren’t meant to be using so much technology to grow our family.
After that, it was a pretty easy decision to turn to adoption. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, because I do carry some guilt that the IVF didn’t work. We had no idea how adoption worked or where to start. There were hundreds of pages of paperwork from all the different agencies, and we ended up using The Adoption Consultancy as a tour guide through the craziness. One weekend, we just sat at our kitchen table and powered through all the pages. We stayed in PJs all day, and probably worked for eight hours nonstop to get through it all.
We were lucky to get matched to an expecting mother so quickly, because some people wait years. The birth mother chooses you, and you never know what somebody is looking for. You try your best to portray who you are, but it’s a challenge if you’re not chosen. It makes you wonder if there’s something about you that’s off-putting, but honestly everyone wants something different: a stay-at-home mom, a person who works, someone who lives in the city, or on a farm. It’s so subjective. We just tried to be ourselves.
We ended up getting matched with an expecting mother in late July 2018. Our son’s birth mom was only 12 weeks at the time, so it was a long wait. He was born prematurely in December, but — unbeknownst to us or the adoption agency — she was considering not going through with the adoption at all. She didn’t tell anyone she gave birth. She had stopped answering my messages and wasn’t meeting with the agency as she was supposed to. On New Year’s Eve, we got the shock of our lives when the agency called to tell us that she’d actually given birth two weeks ago. In the end, she decided to sign the papers after all. We were supposed to be hosting a New Year’s party that night, but it turned into a different sort of celebration. We were toasting to our family. We got on a plane Jan. 1, and flew to Florida to meet our son. He was still in the NICU, but was discharged a few weeks later.
He’s now almost four months old. He’s meeting his milestones, gaining weight like a fiend, has the chubbiest cheeks, and the sweetest smile. I can’t imagine my life without him. I’m amazed every day that it’s possible to love someone this much. There’s no doubt in my mind that our path was leading us to him — it was just a matter of timing.
*Requested not to use her last name for privacy reasons
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Laura Delarato, 32, senior creative at Refinery29 and founder of the newsletter 1-800-HEYLAURA
Fertility Journey: Childless by choice
I had a dream that I was pregnant when I was 15. When I woke up, I had extreme feelings of anxiety. I felt like because I made a baby that I had to give up on every single thing that made me who I am in my life. I wasn’t willing to give myself up, and I was so scared for the baby. It was an interesting dream, and it helped me make the pretty massive decision not to have kids.
It’s not to say that I don’t love kids, but the idea of raising a child and putting myself on the back-burner is something I don’t want to do. I wouldn’t want to bring a child into a world where they aren’t my first priority. I would say that’s an incredibly emotionally mature and responsible thing to consider. I would never say to someone that their want or need to have a child is any more or less valuable than what I’m doing for me.
Women live in this world where we’re constantly told our only goal in life is to have children. We’re told we have this miracle power to birth humans, so why waste it? I wouldn’t say that I’m wasting that opportunity, but rather that I’m giving myself the ability and autonomy to achieve my goals. It’s okay for me to want my body for myself and not for a kid.
I grew up in a really close family unit, where family is recognized as the most important thing. There’s a parade for anyone who has a child. But I go against the norm. I celebrate with my family every time there’s a birth, and I kiss the babies. But I still don’t feel the need to have one.
My true goal in life is to be the woman who made an entire generation of women stop hating themselves with my writing and my newsletter about body and sex positivity. I don’t get a normal amount of sleep in my schedule trying to do that now, so how am I going to fit this baby into that? Without kids, I have so much more time to do my passion projects and make the world a better place.
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Georgie Wileman, 30, professional photographer
Fertility Journey: Endometriosis, adenomyosis, and hysterectomy
Before my hysterectomy, pain was totally dominating my life. I got to the point where I couldn't walk; I was in a wheelchair. I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a painful disorder that causes tissue similar to the inside of your uterus to grow outside of it, and adenomyosis, a sister disease of endometriosis, which means the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into its muscular wall. To treat the endometriosis, I had many surgeries including ablation, during which doctors remove growths and scar tissue or destroy them with intense heat. During my fourth surgery, I was diagnosed with adenomyosis. Finally, on my sixth surgery, I finally had a hysterectomy to treat the adenomyosis.
Before that, I lived on the couch covered in heating pads and ice packs. For me, having a hysterectomy wasn't a question, because I wasn't living life. It was no existence at all — my family and partner had to take care of me. As soon as I heard that I had adenomyosis, I knew that I needed to have a hysterectomy. I truly believed that it was what I needed, but my surgeon said I couldn’t have the hysterectomy right away. He wanted to save my uterus as much as he could. That made me feel, at the time, that my potential children's lives were being put before my own. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted a hysterectomy.
My life now is way better. Just being able to walk six miles in a day and do what I love, reaffirms that. But I think the hysterectomy certainly did hit me hard afterwards, knowing that I can't have my own children. I'm very excited to adopt one day, but having children is still something that I'm grieving for. When I see children in the street playing, it's difficult in the moment. It upsets me, and I live quite close to a few schools, which is tricky. But I'm sure that’ll will pass.
The first thing my partner said when we came out of the ultrasound that confirmed I had adenomyosis was this: “The world doesn't need more children, it needs more parents.”
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Jamie Stelter, 37, NY1 traffic anchor and co-host of Mornings On 1, Spectrum New NY1,
Fertility Journey: IVF, miscarriages
For the longest time, I would tell all of my friends that I wanted five babies. So far, I’ve had five miscarriages, one baby, and am expecting my second in four months. My husband and I knew even when we were dating that we wanted a big family. We envisioned big family dinners, and lots of activities.
We started trying to conceive in 2014. Eventually, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which prevented me from ovulating. After seeing a fertility specialist, we tried intrauterine insemination. The first time it didn’t work, but the second time it did. At nine weeks, however, I miscarried. I had to undergo a dilation and curettage — commonly known as a D&C — to remove the fetus from my uterus. Then I got pregnant soon after without any intervention with identical twins, but lost both. In a period of three months, I lost three babies.
We took a little break, and then tried IVF. We had a really successful egg retrieval, and wound up with six healthy embryos. They implanted the healthiest of the batch and that’s our daughter, Sunny. She’s two now, and just starting to talk.
When she was nine months old we decided to try again, and I got pregnant after the first embryo transfer. We thought we had cracked our fertility code, but at nine weeks I miscarried. I took pill similar to misoprostol, used to help empty the uterus during abortions and miscarriages. I inserted it into my vagina, the way I would a tampon. It basically bombed my uterus, and the result was probably one of the most traumatic nights of my life — it was painful, and I bled like something out of a horror movie. I thought, I'm bleeding out a baby that I wanted. It's devastating.
Next, I had a chemical pregnancy, meaning I miscarried early on, before most women even know they’re pregnant. I felt like, even though Sunny didn't know, I was letting her down, because we were trying to give her a sibling. I was so mad at my body. I was so mad at everything.
The money part of this was also stressful. We are very privileged, and I’m aware of my privilege for being able to even try IVF, but the money stuff still worried me. My husband Brian just kept saying, "You focus on everything else, don't worry about the money." But it was so hard not to have that weight on me knowing that each try cost a lot. Each cycle cost a different amount, based on how much insurance was used versus how much was paid out of pocket. It costs about $15,000 for a full cycle of IVF, including procedures and medications.
We ended up doing another egg retrieval because all embryos are graded, and each time we tried, we were using an embryo with a worse grade than the next. So our doctor recommended we try for another batch of “Sunny grade” embryos, as we like to call them. It worked, and I'm now more than six months pregnant and due in August. We would love to have more babies, but I never thought each one would take so much time and so much of a toll on my body. For now, I’m looking forward to having another little person at the family dinner table I always imagined.
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Michelle Herrera Mulligan, 44, senior editor at Atria books, motivational speaker, novelist, and journalist
Fertility Journey: Childless by choice
My partner and I have made the decision to not have human children. It’s complicated, however, because in the Latino community families are very close-knit, and family is everything. It was a foregone conclusion that of course I would have kids. All that really matters in life is family. But I was conflicted. Deep down in my heart, I knew that to be able to make it from where I was to where I was going in life, it was very unlikely that kids were going to be in that picture.
When I was a teenager, I was in a pretty high stress environment. My younger brother is disabled — he has a life-threatening illness. So we were constantly going to the ER. My mom was always struggling to make it, and we were all working so hard. I got a job when I was 12. When people asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I just thought: I want things to be calm. I want to have a calm life where things are beautiful and I have the time and the space to value and appreciate art. And to cultivate really incredible relationships, have lots of adventures, and a lot of idle time. Maybe that sounds strange, but like, none of those things were in my life as a child. Everybody I knew who had kids was struggling to make ends meet.
My mom used to tell me: "No, you're going to change your mind." There were times when I did change my mind. But I always ended up coming back to my original decision.
When people say you’re going to change your mind, it really undermines who you are and your identity as a woman. Regardless of the identity that you create for yourself — whether it’s an artist, executive, or teacher — there's going to be somebody out there questioning it. Someone making you doubt yourself. Research shows that women are questioned at every turn, in the workplace, in school, even from the time they're able to talk, walk, and think. So when you latch onto an identity and a desire for yourself as a human being, and then people try to plant seeds of doubt in you, it's harmful. You’re being undermined. It's as if to say, everything that you fought for, everything that you've worked for, everything that means something profound to you, doesn't matter.
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Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, 30, active-duty service member in the U.S. Navy, co-owner of SW3AT Sauna Studio.
Tamiah Brevard-Rodriguez, 35, director of the undergraduate research center at Rutgers University, co-owner of SW3AT Sauna Studio.
Fertility Journey: IVF
Alyza: We’ve been together for seven years. We actually met because I was her personal trainer. Miah’s carrying my egg. I went through the IVF process and removed my eggs in August of last year and a [fertilized] egg was transferred to Tamiah last December. We chose to have a child in this way so that we could both be included in the process and so the baby feels a connection with both of us.
Tamiah: We went to Florida for the holiday after the transfer and we were just trying to keep our minds off it. We were just wondering if the transfer worked, and we were riding actual roller coasters to keep our mind off things.
Alyza: The whole process was a rollercoaster really.
Tamiah: Yes there were a lot of shots. We both took shots at some point, she had three needles a night for a few weeks, and I took a combination of estrogen and progesterone each morning for nine weeks. I would have welts on my back, because I was allergic to the sesame oil in one.
Alyza: By the end we were both so hormonal and overly emotional. It turns turn you into a teenager. It was all so crazy. But we thrive in chaos.
Tamiah: She thrives better than I do. I’m a worrier. I was Googling all the symptoms and things that could go wrong with this.
Alyza: Yes, but she’s the calm to my chaotic storm. You can't do this process without some anxiety, though. You have to think about everything so carefully, like what your insurance will cover, and how to pick a doctor. We wanted a doctor who was going to understand us. Who’s worked with women of color. You have to look at that, people have their own biases, and you don’t want those to shine through when you’re trying to create a family.
Tamiah: Even picking a sperm donor wasn’t easy. We wanted someone who was genetically similar to me, so that she could have as much of both of us as she could.
Alyza: We got a positive pregnancy test on Christmas Day. We just found out that we’re having a girl. I’m just excited to create an amazing human being. There’s a lot of crappy people in the world, so it’s important to create a next generation that’s kind and smart and innovative. Her being kind is the most important thing to us. She’ll have thick skin because she has two moms. She’ll be sensitive to the fact that everyone needs love. We’ll definitely instill in her: “You are different, so be kind to others who are different.”

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