I woke up in the middle of the night the other day thinking about love, specifically one of the most selfless acts of love I have ever personally witnessed. I know of a couple, I have only met them once, who tried for years to have a baby. They went through every kind of test and what must have been personal, intimate probing and poking imaginable in their quest to be parents. Nothing worked. After trying every kind of fertility treatment available, they decided to see if they could find someone to be a surrogate mother. Even that did not come easy.
A young mother I know very well stepped forward and offered her uterus to this couple. Doctors extracted eggs and sperm from the woman and the man who had been trying to be parents and created a baby in the hopes of implanting it into the surrogate. Alas, even the zygote that was created was not viable (there are tests to determine that … who knew?). After several tries, the couple turned to another woman who donated an egg. At least the baby would be biologically the father’s child and the mother would be able to hold and love and raise this bundle of joy they spent so much effort in bringing into the world.
It worked! This time the baby who was created was implanted into the surrogate and within a week tests revealed the woman was pregnant. Having had two children of her own, doctors determined it was likely the woman would have a successful, full-term, healthy pregnancy. Nine months later, a healthy baby girl was born so easily and quickly the parents didn’t even have the time to make it to the hospital to witness the birth of their daughter. They did get to hold her within moments of her birth, however, with all the joy and excitement that new parents feel.
But the story doesn’t end there. After years of miscarriages and losses and heartbreak, the couple who found the surrogate and had been told it would be medically impossible to get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term – after all, that’s why they had ended up where they were – found out they were pregnant. It turns out God doesn’t always consult with doctors. The mother-to-be had been there before and expected the same loss she had experienced several times. This time that didn’t happen.
Within weeks of her surrogate daughter being born, her natural daughter came into the world. The baby was early, very early, but healthy. She struggled a little in her early life, but thanks to love and care, she thrived. The couple whose repeated heartbreak turned to profound joy found themselves not parents of one healthy daughter, but two … nearly twins … daughters of different mothers who are, no doubt, destined for greatness.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but think of the women involved in this story. My daughter was the woman who offered up her uterus to help this couple have a child they had so desperately wanted. The couple, who were able to share in her pregnancy every step of the way, experiencing ultrasound heartbeats of their daughter and 3-D images of her before she was born and were also blessed with the miracle of their own child despite years of loss and pain.
To this woman who is celebrating her first Mother’s Day as the mom of two baby girls, I wish a lifetime of the joy like I have known raising a daughter who could be so full of love and generosity. To my daughter, with two wonderful children of her own, I wish all the happiness, laughter and love that comes with being the recipient of dandelion bouquets and squeals of laughter during tickle “fights” and boo-boo kisses and so many other little things that bless a mother’s life. To my own mother, thanks for raising me to be appreciative and happy and content and fortunate to have lived the kind of life that makes me look back and think if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing. And finally, to my mother-in-law, I express my deepest gratitude for bringing a son into the world who is the most amazing man I have ever known thanks in no small part to her parenting skills and love.
To all moms out there … love your children. Hug them, kiss them, challenge them, teach them respect and honor, make sure they learn not only how to read and write and do math, but how to take care of themselves and contribute to the world in some way.