Donor Conception

Paths to Motherhood – Journeys Through Infertility & Baby Loss

Eloise Edington  |   10 Nov 2021

No one can understand how a miscarriage feels until they have lived through it. As Katherine Hunter will go on to explain in todays Fertility Help Hub article, learning the experiences of other women can be invaluable when it comes to healing.

Read on to find out why hearing from other women about their experiences of miscarriage led Katherine to share her story and to discover an infertility community to tell it to.

An Anthology By Katherine Hunter

How shared stories can help

I don’t know the genesis of human storytelling, but I do know humans have been telling stories for a very long time. Storytelling, whether in oral or written form, is undeniably powerful. Many would argue that complex and paramount human constructs, such as politics and religion, could not exist without human storytelling. Over time, a story may have the ability to transform humanity in a monumental way, on a macro level. And stories, such as the ones that comprise Paths to Motherhood, can also create community, soothe the human spirit, elevate an individual’s self-worth, unearth hidden desires, elicit empathy, and inspire the reader (or listener) to act.

When I experienced my first miscarriage in 2013, I went searching for shared experiences. I was desperate to find other women’s stories about pregnancy loss. No one close to me had experienced a miscarriage (absent my mother 30 years earlier).And even if I had known someone who had experienced a miscarriage, I may still have felt too vulnerable to confide in them about my loss. So, I scoured the internet in search of other women’s experiences. I wanted to know what a miscarriage entailed, both physically and emotionally. I also craved the solace that reading a personal story by a mere stranger could provide. I wanted to feel less alone. I wanted to feel that, in some sense, I had someone holding my hand, guiding me down the path of loss (and later, infertility), and offering a form of comfort.

I found very little support. I remember watching a video clip on YouTube of Beyonce talking about her miscarriage. I felt some sense of relief in hearing her speak, knowing I was not alone. I also found a blogger’s post about her miscarriage. Her words helped prepare me for what would ensue, although I wished she had spared no details. I wanted to know more.

How it felt

I felt too vulnerable during my infertility journey to share my struggles publicly. I did write a blog, and some posts were about my infertility struggles, but I kept the blog private for quite some time and was judicious about with whom I shared it. I felt ashamed about my inability to get pregnant easily and stay pregnant. I felt like a failure. While I could not muster the courage to share my journey publicly, I knew that if I ever did become a mother, I would want to share my story. For that reason, I wrote down as much as I could during the experience. I wrote about the fear, the hopelessness, the depression, the hope (followed by more hopelessness), the rage, the disappointment each month, the longing and the omnipresent impact that infertility was having on my life.

Offering and finding support

“In 2015, I announced my pregnancy with my first daughter on social media. I shared with a large group of friends and acquaintances that I had suffered two miscarriages and gone through two rounds of IVF before finally achieving a viable pregnancy.

Messages immediately began flooding my inbox from many women I hadn’t heard from in years and some I wasn’t close to, sharing that they, too, were struggling or had struggled to attain motherhood. I continued periodically to share details of my infertility journey on social media, and each time someone new contacted me looking for advice, which I gladly provided to the best of my ability.”

On Mother’s Day 2019, I posted this message on social media:

‘First, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. You have an incredibly difficult job—really one of the hardest, and my mom friends inspire me almost daily. But we also have one of the most rewarding and fulfilling jobs and we moms are so blessed. Not only do I want to say Happy Mother’s Day, but I also want to say in a very public way, to the women I know and even don’t know well who might see this: if this day is a poignant reminder of a recent (or not so recent) loss, an estranged relationship, or a deep yearning with every fibre of your essence to be a mom—I am thinking of you and you are not forgotten on this day. You are amazing and strong and resilient.’

In response, a good friend from high school urged me to write a book about my path to motherhood.

I had thought about such an endeavor before, but I told her I did not think my one story was enough to warrant an entire book. My friend suggested I include some “guest authors.”I realized that there could be true strength in a collection of stories on this topic. So with her suggestion, the Paths to Motherhood book was born. 

Paths to Motherhood

The final product was published in August 2021.  The anthology comprises the stories of nine women, including my story. The stories in the book transcend pregnancy loss and infertility; the stories are also paths of self-discovery, relationships, faith, vulnerability, courage, love, grace and endurance.

Women walk different paths to motherhood. Mine was riddled with bumps and roadblocks. My story serves as my memoir of the hardest path I have walked, but unquestionably the one with the sweetest reward at the end.

It is my sincere hope that my story — and the stories of the eight other women in the anthology —can offer you solace, hope, and a kindred connection while on your own path. I pray that some aspect of the book moves you closer—even in a small way—to that for which you yearn with every fibre of your essence: your baby in your arms, clarity, healing, or acceptance.

You can become part of our infertility community by following us on Instagram and visiting us at our website.

You can purchase Paths to Motherhood  here   

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