While Mothers Day is a beautiful day to celebrate motherhood, it can also be a difficult day; especially if you are missing your Mama or struggling to become a mother yourself. The journey to motherhood isn’t always smooth or what you may expect.
I spent six Mother’s Days wishing, more than almost anything in the world, that I was a mother. While I was thankful to celebrate my Mom, who is and always has been great Mom!, part of me was also sad; very, very sad. I mean truthfully I was sad every day for a long time, but Mother’s Day always brought it home.
You see, I have three younger sisters, spent years babysitting, and spent several years working with mothers and babies as a nurse. I’d had lots of practice. I knew without a doubt that I wanted children; being a mother was just something I always wanted to be. But at 25, I was diagnosed with cancer that immediately robbed me of my fertility.
The specialist took one look and said, “It looks like you have cervical cancer. We’ll do what we can to save your fertility.” Cancer? My fertility? I hadn’t even attempted to conceive. I thought I had time, a lot more time. But, my tumor turned out to be too large for the procedure I hoped to have. So instead, in January of 2009, I had a complicated surgery that included a hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I knew I would become a mother, but I knew my journey to motherhood would no longer be a traditional one.
After that, my journey to motherhood was a rollercoaster. It involved more heartache than I could have imagined. But, I did eventually become a mother. We had our son, Carter, in 2014.
After that, we thought we were done. We thought our family was complete and, to be honest, we weren’t completely sure we could survive going through it all again. But, Carter had more faith. He started doing things like pointing to an empty chair when we were at a table for 4 and saying, “someone is missing there.” We finally decided that maybe he was right. Maybe he was seeing something that we were too scared to see. Maybe we were supposed to try again. Amazingly for us our same angel of a surrogate was willing to try again. And guess what, it worked – the first time! We had our Caroline in 2019!
I am now the proud mother of two beautiful children, my Carter and my Caroline, who I wouldn’t trade for anything in the entire universe. I’m more than a little bit obsessed with them! I tend to take a lot of pictures and videos of and with my kids. And now, you know why… Although I’ve been N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease in the cancer world) since 2009, I like my family to have the ability to look back on our love and adventures together. And, I like to share the happiness we’ve found with others.
Struggling to grow your family is difficult, no matter the circumstances. My biggest piece of advice is to remember that there is no right or wrong way to add members to your family. What is a “traditional” family today anyway? Sometimes you have to open your mind and/or get creative. For now, remember that you can be a Mother in many ways.
If you ever want to talk to me about my journey to motherhood, please reach out. I have personal experience with fertility preservation, adoption, and surrogacy (gestational & traditional) and would love to help support you during your journey in some small way. You can find me @cervicalcancersurvivor, @infertilitysurvivor, and follow my family @crystalcoastfamily.
Sending love to all of you Mothers out there – past, present, and future. Happy Mother’s Day to you all.
Kristin Ferree was diagnosed with cervical cancer December of 2008, at the age of 25. After treatment left her infertile, she vowed not to let cancer keep her from her dream of becoming a mother. Now a 10-year Cervivor, she lives in Morehead City, NC with her loving husband, David, two miracle babies, Carter and Caroline, a sweet rag-doll kitty, Lilley, and a snuggly puppy, Toby. She is currently taking time off from being a Family Nurse Practitioner to spend more time with her children and loving every minute of it.