Motherhood Project Story – Melissa: Navigating the Roller Coaster of Motherhood


My whole life all I’ve ever wanted to be was a mom. When I was little and someone would ask
me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say teacher or doctor but all I really wanted to
be was a mom. It has always been my deepest desire to be a mom. But my road to motherhood
was anything but easy and not at all like I planned.
But isn’t that how life usually goes? We make plans and have dreams and hold so tight to them
that we believe everything is going to work out for the best. Because imagining the alternative is

That’s exactly what I thought when we started trying to get pregnant. I believed with everything
in me that it wouldn’t be hard to get pregnant. It seemed to happen so easily for other people so
why would it be hard for me? But it was hard for me, really hard. We tried for over two and a half years before we finally saw a specialist and I was officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I didn’t even have a reason for not being able to get pregnant. I just couldn’t. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to struggle. The word “infertility” was not supposed to be a part of my story. But it was, and I hated it. I was ashamed I couldn’t get pregnant.

During the two and a half years we were trying I didn’t really say anything to anyone. I suffered
in silence for a long time. Because every time I would share that we were struggling I was just
met with unwanted advice, and empty words from well-meaning people who had no idea how
painful infertility was. I was told time and time again “Just relax and it will happen.” “It’s just not God’s timing yet” “Everything happens for a reason” “You should just adopt” or given very unnecessary advice like “Make sure you cut out caffeine” or “Have you tried putting your legs in the air after sex?” or
“Have you tried *this certain position* to get pregnant? That worked for us!” or one time I was
told to stand on my head after sex! I actually laughed when I was told that one. People really do mean well and I know that but when women are dealing with infertility no one really knows what to say so the things they say come out more hurtful than helpful. I experienced that so many times and I know so many other women have to. For how common it is, infertility is still so taboo.

My faith in God really struggled in this season. I couldn’t see how God could let this happen to
me. I was hurt and confused as to why this was happening. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t deserve this.
But through all my doubting and questions my faith actually started to grow. I didn’t understand
why any of this was happening but I started to understand that regardless of what was going on
God was still good and he was with me in my pain. My faith in God is what got me through the
painful journey of infertility.

Once we started treatment, by some miracle I was able to get pregnant on my first round of IUI!
I couldn’t believe it. After years of praying and crying and waiting I was finally pregnant!
My pregnancy was amazing. I loved being pregnant. It was hard but after fighting for so long to
get pregnant I was so grateful for every ache and pain, every wave of nausea, and every
restless night of sleep. We found out we were having a girl and we were shocked but so excited!
I have high blood pressure so I had a scheduled induction for 38 weeks. My labor went well and
on December 10 2019, my beautiful baby girl Shiloh was born. My hard-fought-for, answer to prayer
baby girl was finally here! We were so in love.

And then I tried breastfeeding and things got really hard again. My whole pregnancy I planned
on breastfeeding. My body couldn’t figure out how to get pregnant on its own so I was going to
make sure it could feed my baby. It never crossed my mind that maybe I wouldn’t be able to do
that either. My daughter never latched correctly and caused a lot of damage as a result and each time I
tried to breastfeed I felt excruciating pain. I tried so hard but breastfeeding didn’t work out. Each
time I tried to nurse I had a panic attack and I knew the best thing for me was to stop

I felt like a failure and was so ashamed. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t able to breastfeed. My
postpartum experience was off to a rocky start and it was only going to get worse.
I thought if I stopped breastfeeding my mental health would get better and it did. But only
slightly. I was still having a really hard time bonding with my daughter. I was anxious all the time
and had many obsessive thoughts. I cried all of the time and didn’t feel worthy to be her mom. I
have vivid memories of rocking my daughter in her room and crying into her hair, telling her that
she deserved a better mom. I had just become a mom and I felt like I was already failing at it.
I was anxious and ashamed and angry that I felt this way. I fought so hard for her, why was it so
hard for me to be a good mom? I was in a bad place. My husband noticed how badly I was
doing and encouraged me to talk to someone. After weeks of him encouraging me I finally told
my therapist who said what I was experiencing was not normal and I might need medication. I
honestly felt relieved knowing I wasn’t crazy.

My OB then put me on Zoloft and I’ve been on it ever since. In the beginning I was a little
embarrassed that I needed medication but I’m not anymore. I’m proud and thankful for it
because I can be the best version of myself as a mom when I’m on it.
When my daughter was about 10 months old we started trying for baby # 2. I hoped I was one
of those people who got pregnant naturally after infertility but sadly I was not. I needed fertility
treatment again. Our plan was to start seeing the fertility specialist again in March of 2021 and
go from there. But by some miracle I got pregnant in February! Only to lose it a few days after I got a
faint positive. I had an early miscarriage. I was confused and angry that this happened.
But I had very little time to grieve because I got pregnant two cycles later on my first IUI again. I
was so thankful but grieving the loss of my other baby.

My pregnancy was much harder on my body and I did not enjoy being pregnant this time. I was
grateful for the life growing inside me but it was a really hard 9 months. I had a scheduled
induction again for my son but he came quickly and on his own a whole week before! On Dec 2
2021 my son, Micah, was born. While I was pregnant I decided I was going to try breastfeeding again. I didn’t put pressure on myself like last time but I at least wanted to try. I’m so glad I did because I successfully breastfed my son for 14 months! Something I never thought would happen. It was one of the
hardest things I’ve ever done but I’m so damn proud of myself for doing it. My postpartum experience with my son was so much better than I could have hoped for. It was
hard adjusting to life with two kids but I was grateful to not be suffering mentally like I was the
first time.

If you’ve read my whole motherhood story you can see that it has been quite the rollercoaster. I
think most motherhood journeys are that way. They are up and down, good and bad. As moms
we experience the highest highs and the lowest lows.

I know I am not the only one who’s gone through infertility or postpartum anxiety or felt like a
failure for not being able to breastfeed (btw YOU are not a failure if you didn’t breastfeed) or for
any other thing I thought I was doing wrong as a mom. I know I’m not the only one who’s felt alone and isolated in motherhood. I suffered in silence for
many years while I was going through infertility and then PPA because I was ashamed. Once I
came out on the other side I vowed to never let another woman feel alone or ashamed and I
started sharing my story with all my friends who are trying to have a baby or just had a baby.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this project so I can share my story with even
more women. If you find yourself feeling alone or ashamed or scared and uncertain, I would
love to be a friend to you and walk with you on your journey to motherhood and on the journey
of motherhood.

Shortly before I was asked to be a part of this project I really started to feel like myself again.
For many years my journey to motherhood and in motherhood were defined by shame. Shame I
couldn’t get pregnant, shame I had PPA, shame I couldn’t breastfeed, shame over my kids not
sleeping through the night and shame over a million other little things that don’t really matter.

But just a few months ago I felt that weight lift off my shoulders. For the first time since I started
trying to become a mom, I am actually confident in my ability to be a mom. I believe I’m the
mom my kids deserve and they were meant to be mine. I still have hard days because raising
kids is hard but I’m finally secure in who I am as a mother.

Motherhood can so easily be marked by shame but you don’t have to live that way either. You
are the perfect mama for the babies you’ve been given. Motherhood is hard enough and we
don’t need to carry the weight of shame any longer.

Motherhood has changed me in so many ways. It’s made me stronger and more resilient. It
showed me that I am capable of so much more than I imagined. It’s also made me softer and
grew my heart in ways I never knew possible. Motherhood is everything I thought it would be
and nothing like I thought it would be and I am so thankful I get to be a mama. It’s the best thing
that’s ever happened to me.

Join Melissa in Embracing Motherhood

If Melissa’s story resonates with you or if you’re seeking support and companionship on your own journey to motherhood, we invite you to join us. Learn more about the other mothers participating int he Motherhood Project by clicking here.

Additionally, if you’re interested in capturing your own motherhood journey through a personalized photo session, consider scheduling a session with me. It would be an honor to document beauty, resilience, and joy of your motherhood experience. Every moment deserves to be celebrated, cherished, and remembered for a lifetime.

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *