28 April 2014

A Collaborative Post on Cup of Jo


Today a collaborative post I did with Joanna Goddard is up on Cup of Jo.

This is such an honor for me!

I must say, I was so surprised when Joanna's name popped up in my inbox a few months ago. She wanted to interview me. She had read my post called "Adoption, Stamina, & Desire" and she wanted to know more.

So, we made plans to talk by phone.

I was a bit nervous about the phone call as infertility and adoption are extremely sensitive subjects to so many. Plus, my words would be heard far and wide on Joanna's blog. Oh my. I didn't want to botch this one up. I thought of all the women who read her blog - many who are in relationships (or want to be), many who are new mothers (or who want to be someday) - and I hoped that I could say something that might be of benefit to them. I wanted to say anything at all that might give women the hope that life could be good - that we really, really can make it good, no matter what our circumstances are. And that it's worth it to try. Because the world needs all of us.

I decided to just talk to Joanna as if she was someone I knew and cared about (this always helps my heart to feel more open and fearless when I do this.) I wanted to see her as the woman, mother, wife, friend, sister that she is.

Doing this helped. I have to say, I felt like our conversation was as real and meaningful as could be.

We talked about love a ton - the best kind of love between mother and child, husband and wife.

I found myself pouring my heart out the way I aspire to.

I found the two of us having a conversation that touched us both. And to me, some parts of our conversation even took my breath away. It wasn't because of what was said. It was because love really is the most important thing we could ever talk about.

I felt so grateful to connect with someone who does so much for women; a fellow New Yorker; a fellow blogger; a mother of two boys; someone dedicated to gathering women together for conversation- sometimes fun, sometimes heartfelt; and a woman willing to share her story and her voice.

With love, Mara

P.S. Greatest compliment: Joanna told me I should write a book. :)

For anyone new here who would like to see more posts about my journey with infertility, here's a sampler. You can see the rest on the sidebar:

Mother's Day For An Infertile Woman - I was asked to speak in church on Mother's Day, I chose to speak about how I found healing even while having that dream unfulfilled.
We Found Out The Results of Our IVF (Round 1) This post was written by Danny and I think it's especially touching.
A Block In Blogging (I wrote this while trying to figure out what to do after that failed IVF.)
Our IVF Results (Round 2)
What I've Been Doing to Heal
To Birth A Soul - How being unable to have a child set me on a path to birthing my own soul and finding happiness
The Work I Did To Be Happy

31 comments:

  1. I'm here after reading your interview on Joanna's blog. I just love your comments. I was especially touched when you said that this experience has been a sanctifying one. I think that's a beautiful way to look at each and every trial and experience in this life. You are truly a beautiful person, and I would definitely read your book, if you ever write one :)

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    1. Ashley, so happy to have received your comment. It is kind of a miracle anytime a trial does become sanctifying. Oh my, it's what the best stuff in life is made of. I'm delighted to hear you resonate with that as well. xo

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  2. I'm also here after reading your piece on Cup of Jo - I was toggling between NYT's motherlode section and didn't even realize which tab I was reading. Your piece was sensitive and so insightful, and very generously shared a piece of your journey through life with readers who are at a million different points within their own lives. I too struggled with unexplained infertility for almost three years and then just as mysteriously spontaneously conceived a child, a little boy who is now one. I'm surprised at how emotional I felt reading your piece, how it brought up that long period of time before the baby, and made me wonder about how I will handle what lies ahead (can we conceive again, etc) and just want to write that I feel you illustrated really beautifully the myriad feelings that a woman experiences during unexplained infertility, and I am so happy I got to read it and will return to read again. Thank you Mara and here's wishing you continued peace and happiness and BEST OF LUCK living the best life you have, the life at hand!

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    1. Sirena, thank you for such a heartfelt comment. It's nice to connect with others who have been through it all. Regarding all that is ahead for you - one thing that you can do is channel the love for your little boy. Let your love for him help you to decide to heal and be whole and offer the best of yourself, even if a second child never comes. This kind of thing worked for me (I just used my love for my unborn children - and it helped to transform me completely.) Much love, M

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  3. Hi Mara, I just read your story over at Cup of Jo and admire you so much - you are so brave to share and have such wonderful insight. I've been down a similar road but have never put a word about it into my blog and don't really even like to talk about it with my friends. I found myself nodding vigorously at so many of your points. Thanks for the reminder to always live with love at the center. Best to you as you strive to live your best life!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, we're so glad that what was written resonated with you! We certainly hope to see you again here in the comment section :)

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    2. Hello dear- thanks for your note. I remember the days when I didn't talk about it with anyone. That was a very painful time as a lot of energy went into dodging the subject or just keeping up appearances and pretending that all was ok. It caused so much distance between me and friends/family. When I finally could be transparent and vulnerable enough to share, it's like I felt comfortable in my own skin again. I also connected so much more fully with those around me. Sharing your story may not be what you want to do - now or in the future. But I just thought I'd share my own experience in case it helps. Much love to you. And may all good things be ahead for you. xo

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  4. I just found your blog via Cup of Jo where I was so very touched by your post. I can't wait to delve more into your blog. I have been told I'll never have my own children... and when my husband and I miraculously got pregnant, I lost the baby at 26 weeks. It is so easy to lose yourself in infertility and I really love your thoughts about moving forward and being a whole person without a baby. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. It can be very easy indeed to lose yourself in loss of any kind. I'm so sorry for what you and your husband have had to pass through with infertility and miscarriage. Mara and I can both say from experience, that if you allow it, even the worst and most difficult moments of life can provide the fuel for the greatest personal transformations.

      We really hope that is in your future, and we hope you join us more on the blog as we try to write about how that transformation has happened in our lives.

      Much Love - Danny and Mara

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  5. I also found your blog via A Cup of Jo. I'm so glad you shared your story and I can't wait to learn more about your adventures in Ecuador. My partner and I recently travelled to South America for 3.5 months and spent a few weeks in Ecuador, it was wonderful. Sadly, we never made it to Cuenca but we did visit Banos which I would highly recommend if you ever need some adventure and relaxation (they have awesome spas, white-water rafting, zip-lining, etc), plus the setting of this lovely town is remarkable as its nestled in the hills.

    Anyways, I would definitely read your book, I think it could be helpful for so many… if you choose to write one! Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

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    1. Well, we also LOVED Baños...I think we posted about it a while ago in our exploratory phase of checking out Ecuador when we came for a month. Can't wait to get back there!

      And yes, we'll get started on that book write away :) Actually, we really do have a couple of ideas we're working on to help people who are struggling through the process. This blog is an attempt to provide a lot of resources, but eventually material gets lost and forgotten in the archives, and we're working on creating something that is much more accessible and can help people through.

      So...stay tuned!

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  6. Hi Mara, I also read your story on Cup of Jo, I'm in a very similar position to you and just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story. It's something I find so very difficult to talk about with anyone and reading the experiences of others makes me feel like it's not such a lonely road. Best of luck with the future! A book sounds like a great idea

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    1. Thank you, my dear. This means a lot. I remember those hard days when I felt so alone. I'm thankful for this internet that helps us know we are indeed, not alone at all. I have felt comforted, too, by knowing there are others out there in my shoes. Together, we can feel a boost of strength to carry on and be the best we can be. Much love, M

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  7. I am a long time reader of your blog and saw the post on Cup of Jo. Congrats! The things you said in that post are all things you have written about on your own blog but it was a good reminder for me. I can identify with almost everything you said but for a slightly different reason. I too am working on accepting that my life is nothing like I had dreamed or have been planning it to be. As of right now I have no idea where my life will take me. I don't even know where I want it to go anymore but I trying hard to figure something out. Wishing both us of hope and luck toward our futures!

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    1. Dear Tiffany - isn't life nuts? It's crazy that so many of us have lives that are nothing like we had planned on. It always surprises me. But I guess that is also what can help us transform into people we never dreamed of, too. I have found those hard moments to be groundwork for miracles and new paths and wisdom. I send you all the love and support and sisterhood that I can from this blog - I really believe that things will come together for you and that you will find your way. Much love, M

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  8. Thank you so much for being a fellow warrior and having the courage to share your story! I'm in the process of building my blog and getting my first book published, both titled Ever Upward. It feels validating to see someone with a similar story. Thanks again, Justine

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  9. Mara and Danny, that was a lovely piece on Cup of Jo! I hope it brings even more wonderful attention to your blog and congratulations on your continued success!

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  10. Mara -

    I wanted to come to your blog directly and thank you for your post on Cup of Jo today. I was where you are almost exactly 13 years ago - 10+ years of trying to have a baby with unexplained infertility, including ectopic pregnancies with no known cause. After the last ectopic pregnancy and emergency surgery, we also knew that we were at the end of that road. We didn't rule adoption out, but we agreed that it was time to just rest and heal and move on. We jokingly called our life without children the "more money for us" plan. I'm not sure I could have clearly articulated it at the time, but I knew that I didn't want to adopt as a second choice or a back-up plan. I wanted it to be out of joy and a clear wish for it. So I needed to grieve first. 2 years later, out of the blue, the idea of adopting popped into my head and brought a smile to my face. Our daughter is about to turn 10. Trusting myself on the journey was the best thing I could do. You are doing it too. I wish you well. - Kristina

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    1. What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing! We too feel the need to approach it in a similar manner. We in no way have ruled it out, but want to make sure that if we do it at all, it will be because we are truly ready. Besides, as I'm sure you can understand, sometimes you can just use a break from all the bureaucracy that is involved in getting a child through medical means or adoption. There's only so much of it you can take.

      And yes, it is about trusting yourself, and having confidence in your decisions to ultimately lead you to a life that will be full and rich and rewarding.

      Thanks Kristina!

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  11. Wow your post over on Cup of Jo was fantastic. I am pre-baby, marriage still and have just been diagnosed with a medical condition that may make it impossible for me to have children. This post really opened up my eyes to the fact that not having children is not necessarily a negative thing. Too say the least, I was extremely touched by your post. I cannot wait to read more about your decision and journey. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us readers. - Elle

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    1. So glad you could read something from this perspective so early in the process...perhaps it will give you a heads start to begin considering now how you want to approach this challenge in a healthy way. Though of course it would be nice if we could change some of the circumstances we've faced, at the same time Mara and I often say we wouldn't change a thing, because without these hard things in our life we would not have learned the lessons we did and might not have much of anything to share.

      The lessons learned have been a most rewarding part of our life journey. We are actually grateful for them.

      Hoping you can find similar joy and growth and love and development in your own path!

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  12. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can't imagine how hard your experience must have been. Have you ever heard of the story of Abraham from the Bible? He and his wife Sarai struggled with infertility until they were almost 100 years old when God blessed them with children - not what they were planning their lives to look like, I'm sure! But my point isn't that maybe God will give you children one day - I have no idea if that's true or not. I wanted to say that the really cool thing about being a Christian is that you don't have to have children to leave a legacy. Investing in people's lives will give you a lasting reward in Heaven, because souls are eternal. Abraham's faith, above all else, was rewarded. I encourage you to find hope and a new life in scripture. Pour out your heart to God because He knows how hard this is for you, and He wants you to find life and happiness in Him. Much love.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I love the story of Abraham for many reasons, certainly among them is I'm encouraged by their journey of faith through unexpected circumstances.

      If you are new to the blog, you might like this post where I wrote a little from the perspective you shared - It's a talk I gave in church on what it means to choose happiness in a Gospel context.

      http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2013/06/choosing-happiness-sunday-sermon.html

      You might also be interested in this post when Mara spoke in church on Mother's Day about finding joy through her faith despite having this dream unfulfilled -

      http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2011/10/mothers-day-for-infertile-woman.html

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  13. You guys are awesome. The world needs more people like you. I so admire your willingness to share your hearts, your experience, your wisdom, and your faith so ardently. Thanks for sharing your light. XO

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  14. Dear Mara, you're such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and the challenges of your journey with all of us. For a long time, I didn't want children and I think part of me was afraid that I would not be able to have any. We have recently started trying but the fear of 'what if' is always there. I really admire you for trying for 10 whole years and not giving up. I know that I wouldn't have the physical and emotional stamina to keep trying for so long.
    I just wanted to say thank you for talking about these issues openly...and yes, you should write a book. All the best.

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  15. I've been following your fertility story on and off through your blog since we met last summer at ALT NYC. I read your story today on Joanna's blog and I wanted to pop in and wish you the best. I can't offer any advice but I wanted to let you know that I admire you and you're decision to make the best out of life. xx

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  16. I've been following your blog from what feels like the beginning and it was perfect timing to have your wisdom and words come into my life. I refer to you as my spiritual healer because I do literally feel that because of you I was able to keep moving forward with my life, in whatever way that meant, regardless of the circumstances around me (now 10 years of infertility too).
    It was such a nice surprise to see your name come up on Cup of Jo, another blog I read quite often. Your words still resonated deeply and once again helped me to feel less alone in this.
    And I agree, you DO need to write a book!

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  17. Your Cup of Joe post was beautiful, as are all your posts on infertility. Each one of your posts helped me with my struggle so much. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you & Danny nothing but the very best~

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  18. Dear Mara and Danny,
    Not sure where to start as I never comment. I have been married for 2 years and have been trying for 3 years. After trying different meds, we did IUI twice and the third scheduled IUI did not happen because the follicles never matured. Long story short, I sometimes feel really down. And today was one of those days when I was feeling so low and alone in my struggle (my husband is supportive but sometimes I feel like it's all my fault) that I couldn't calm myself down. I then decided to go to Joanna's blog and saw your post and felt so much better. You made me feel less alone in this journey. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. God bless.

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    1. Daniele, Mara and I are so grateful to hear that something like that was able to happen for you. I hope you stick around. I really really hope you take a look at those posts I linked to above on infertility.

      The Cup of Jo post only barely touched on things we try to share regularly to help people in the healing process. It really is possible, and you can use this difficult moment in your life as the great catalyst for the most important changes you'll ever make, changes that will have lasting impact on yourself, your marriage, and any future children that might come your way.

      It is a hard journey, but it is the best one there is. Welcome to the blog :) Because that's what we try to make it all about.

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  19. I loved your Cup of Joe post. You guys are so amazing and it's wonderful to see how much love you are putting out into the world! Looks like you are having the best time in South America--thanks for taking us along for the ride. Much love from Brooklyn!

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