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Sometimes when we hear about women who are in abusive marriages, we think, “Why the hell did she stay with him?” My own experiences have taught me that we just can’t judge that.

I am 42 and I have a daughter, who is nine and a son, who is six. Both of my pregnancies were planned and intentional. I really wanted to have children. How did adding children affect my marriage? That is a difficult question because my ex-husband was abusive. He was verbally and emotionally abusive and […]

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 […]

I want desperately to be able to say to you, “He’s my greatest teacher, and it’s so humbling, and I’ve learned so much,” and I expect to get to the end of my life or his and be able to say that, but right now I can’t.

My name is Susan. I’m almost 48 years old. I have a daughter, Annabella–we call her Bella. She was 12 on July 4th. And I have a son named Milo, and he’s almost 9. Motherhood was not something I wanted since I was a little girl. It was not something I aspired to. It was […]

I mean, nobody hands you a baby and says, “Get ready, because in 15 years, he’s going to start using drugs and you’re going to have to handle it.”

When you have a sick child, people bring food. They arrange sitters for your other kids. They have your house cleaned for you. When you have a kid who is abusing substances, nobody’s bringing food. Nobody’s cleaning your house for you. No one is offering you a break. So you’ve got to find somebody who […]

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 think motherhood makes you shed some layers to get down to what’s really important. At the core, I am the same, but there is a little more of the core shining through.

My name is Carrington. I am 40 years old. My son’s name is Griffin, and he is six. In my early 30s, a lot of my friends started having kids to complete a life that they had dreamt of. They would say, “I’ve always wanted two kids” or something along those lines. For me, that […]

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 […]

I see my mother very differently. I see how little I thought about what she was going through. I have a lot more respect for everything that she’s done.

I am 42. I have 2 sons: Bennett who is 10, and Henry who is 8. Before children, I was young. I had a lot of energy. I was focused on putting my career experiences in my bank. I had been to school a lot. I have two Master’s degrees and a third undergraduate degree. […]

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 […]

Sometimes I am so grateful for the smallest things. And I don’t think I would have had that if I hadn’t had the illness. Some people say, “oh, that’s such a great thing to have,” but if I had the choice, I would still say, NO. I would be very happy not to have the leukemia. But it’s not a choice.

My name is Aranzasu and my two daughters are Clara, age 13, and Ella, age 11. Describe myself before kids? I wanted to see the world. I had just finished a masters program in Oregon. I had always wanted children. It was also a time that was unsure for us. We had just finished graduate […]

It’s been a long road, but he went from being completely nonverbal and having classic symptoms – like flapping, making noises, no eye contact, humming, no interaction, and doing strange things — to being mainstreamed. He talks. He reads. He writes. He’s considered high functioning.

As a young person, my intent was to go to college and have a career. I was not a family oriented person. I didn’t really think about getting married or having kids. What is that saying? You make plans and God laughs at them. I’m a stay at home parent. My son was diagnosed with […]

My foster daughter experienced a lot of challenges, but I see how she has met these with resilience and courage.

There are different foster systems. I am part of a program that provides support to minors of different ages, who come from refuge camps from around the world or come into this country undocumented from Latin American countries. What they all have in common is that they’re underage and they’re alone. To become a foster […]

Asking for help is hard, especially when it’s for your child. You need a community of people to help. It was really humbling.

I’m Courtney. I’m 53 years old and I’m an arts administrator. I have two children. Hunter, my son, is now 26 and Iona Pearl, my daughter, is now 17. In truth, I don’t know what I thought having a child was going to be like. I had an idea that somehow a child is an […]

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 […]

People say, “you’re so strong. I don’t know how you’re doing this.” I don’t think we are doing something that any parent wouldn’t do.

I’m Erin. My daughter’s Embree and she was diagnosed with leukemia about six weeks ago. She’s seven and in first grade. I always thought I would be a mom. I have a good mom. I grew up in a happy family. I have a brother and sister, who I cherish.  When Dennis and I got […]

I’m from Venezuela. Having a family–it’s what you expect to do.

My name is Carolina. I am 39 and have two boys: Ignacio, who is ten, and Alejandro, who is five. I would describe myself as very independent, proactive, and ambitious, and also very passionate about my career. Having a family was very intentional. I guess it’s because of our culture. I am from Venezuela. Having […]

I really did expect myself to be good at everything before I had my kids.

My name is Kate. I am 42. My children’s names are Sofia and she’s 8 and Aliza and she’s almost 3. Before I had children I lived in San Francisco with my husband Chris. We’d been together as a couple for a long time. I was working at a daily newspaper, covering criminal justice. I […]

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. […]