Beginnings: Journeys Towards Parenthood

You will lose it sometimes. And that’s ok. You won’t be the first or last mother to say, “I can’t do this…”

My daughter’s name is Eden (like the garden and Hebrew for “the delight of God”) Sena (“destiny given”) Kokui (which means “first born daughter”) and Segbefia (which means “humble”). Eden Sena Kokui Segbefia. I was in graduate school in folklore when I met Eden’s father. A professor of mine had gotten a Fulbright to do […]

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, all of these kids were getting ready to swim. They were thinking that this moment would be the most important thing that would ever happen to them. But, in my world, as the only mother swimming in the Olympics, I knew that having my daughter was the most important thing.

Before kids, I guess I had a lot of free time. Life was more about me. I was always swimming. I started swimming when I was seven and training seriously by the age of 11. I went to my first Olympics in 1984. Since then, I have been putting in six hours of swimming every […]

Then I heard a voice–maybe my own–say “what kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be the person that can deal with this? Or do you want to be the person who [can’t]?” I decided I wanted to be the person who could.

How would I describe myself before having children? I was really pretty laid back, and I didn’t worry about much.  I always felt like things would work out. My husband and I always knew we would have a family. We ended up having four children. Our oldest is 18, Alex would have been 17 this […]

If I had known everything that was going to happen, my life may have been very different, but the best thing that happened was that I was so busy working and being a mom and kind of just living in life’s moments that there wasn’t time to panic.

I had worked in childcare since I was 12 so I knew I wanted kids. I also knew that I couldn’t have children myself because of a health issue. On my mom’s side of the family, my great grandmother had my grandmother when she was 25. My grandmother had my mom when she was 25. […]

I don’t feel the same pressure to do as well with my academics in order to make sure that I become a tenured professor. I realize that following these more personal goals have an incredible value, too.

How did I decide to become a mother? I was talking with a client about her long-term goals and whether her behaviors would lead to those goals. It dawned on me that if I were to look at my own long-term goals of eventually becoming a mom to more than one kid, what I was […]

I feel like my life has taught me over and over and over and over again that we just don’t know the end of the story.

When I look back at my diaries, I feel like I was waiting to become a mother for as long as I could remember. It was a very deep, intuitive yearning. I got pregnant very easily the first time. For many years, I had warred with my body for a variety of reasons. I have […]

There came a point where I just got tired of being sad all the time. I wanted to be a mom, and I didn’t care anymore how it happened.

I have daughter who is 2 year and a half, who was adopted from birth. When my husband and I talked about it, it seemed natural that we would have children together. My husband was adopted. We thought we would probably adopt at least one child, and have one child “naturally.” We started trying and […]

The most important thing I tell [others going through this] is “Love your baby. This is the moment. It is essential that you love that child as much as you can while the child is here–both for the child’s sake and afterwards for your own.”

My name is Monica. I am 46. My first child was born nine and a half years ago and he died nine and a half years ago. He would have been ten in April. I have two more sons upstairs who are six and eight. Our decision to have children was intentional. We had been […]

I’m just thankful to be alive and to get to enjoy my daughter.

I’m almost 40 years old. My daughter just turned six. My daughter was very planned. We’d been married for a year. I got pregnant pretty quickly and we were very excited. Her birth was an 8-5 job. When I woke up around 6:30 am, my water broke. We got to the hospital at 8 am. […]

I was in high school when I became pregnant. I was a straight-A student, in AP classes, in track and band, but that all changed when she came.

I am 21 years old. I have a three-year-old daughter named Faith. (Before Faith) I guess I was your typical teenager. I was in high school when I became pregnant with my daughter. It was my junior year. I was involved in track and band. I was a straight-A student looking forward to applying to […]

All the caregivers in the orphanage hugged her goodbye and were crying. Then she grabbed my aunt’s hand and walked out.

My daughter, Pia, is 2 ½. I was single until I was 36. I am Indian, but I grew up here. I had my own dental practice starting at 29 so I was pretty career-oriented. I did go through the process of my parents trying to arrange a marriage for me. It was just like […]

Don’t forget to grieve the infertility. If you don’t recognize the grief, it will be there for the rest of your life.

I have a 6-year-old daughter and a 7-month-old niece who I carried. Before kids, I was living in San Francisco and had been married for seven years. I worked in higher education and I used to work as a labor coach. I had always wanted kids. I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids […]

Advice? Don’t get too caught up in struggling with how things should be, because they just are.

My name is Mary. I’m 52 years old and I have eight children, between the ages of 34 and 7. I was 28 and in graduate school when I had Bernadette. I was not married. She was not planned. There’s almost 6 years between Bernadette and Moira. I was very sad because I thought I […]

IVF is a lot more involved than I ever thought. It’s also a very emotional experience, because you don’t know if it’s going to work or not. You’re just hoping you beat the odds.

My name is Erin. I’m 43. I have three children—Andrew, Evelyn and Emily and they’re all four years old. My husband Ethan and I have been married for 12 years. We had talked about having children. I work fulltime. He works fulltime. So we decided to wait a little while… seven years. When we started […]

To adopt, you must put things out there about why you wanted to be a parent and your hopes and dreams for your child. I remember thinking not everyone has to go through this process.

My name is Toddi and I am 46 years old and my daughter is Lina Marie Wah and her birthdate, as far as we know, is October 12, 2002 Before I had Lina, my husband and I were living in Denver. While we were there, we decided we wanted to have children. In the process […]

Our pregnancy was 100% planned and I think it’s important to say that because Elizabeth was born with spina bifida.

The first time I had to operate on a child [after having my daughter], I remember looking down and thinking this is someone’s child.


We didn’t find out that Heather had Downs until a week after she was born.

I am Brenda. I am 44. Jeremy is five and Heather is two. Before kids, I was a database administrator for AT&T, very techy. I liked sports and was very athletic. I didn’t really think about how kids would fit into my life. I thought we would take them skiing, camping, and out to do […]

We lost him at full-term.

I’m Toni. I’m 41 years old. My daughter is Fabienne Annabel and she’s four. Before I had children, I lived in big cities. In Philadelphia and San Francisco. I had the typical life in the city where you make a family out of friends because my family was far away. I went out a lot. […]

We had to plan. We knew we had two days. We had to order the sperm. That was my job. Fed ex.

My name is Renee. I am 41 and Luca, our little boy is almost 2 years and we’re expecting a new arrival. My partner Caroline is at 15 weeks now. I was pretty much a work-a-holic. I’m an architect. I’m also very social and go out quite a bit. When I met Caroline, we were […]