I have spent my life and career helping others. Maybe it was being a Campfire Girl or all those sleepovers with girlfriends, but early on I became a listener and empath. My path has been far from conventional but I’ve always followed my heart. I was raised in a small town in Massachusetts but when given the chance to fly, I went south to Atlanta, GA where I studied cultural anthropology and ecology at Emory University. I always had a longing to go to Africa and spent a semester in Kenya. Seeing the suffering of others had a profound effect on me and I knew I wanted to return. After graduating from college, I headed to Mauritania, West Africa with the Peace Corps. Even though I was an agroforestry volunteer, I was drawn to the clinic to attend births. It was there the seed was planted for my journey to midwifery.
Upon return, I volunteered as a doula in Boston. I then moved to New York City where I completed Columbia’s Nurse-Midwifery program. I went on to work at public hospitals in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. My desire to do international work continued, however, and after the Haiti earthquake, I went on two missions there. Shortly after, I joined Doctors Without Borders and completed missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and Nigeria.
During all of this time, I longed to find a partner and have a family. Despite meeting and dating men over the years, I never found a connection that felt truly right. I watched as friend after friend found love and started their family. It became harder and harder to bear. In my late 30s, I started to feel that panic set in. Will I meet someone in time? Should I try and do it on my own? How long should I wait? Maybe this next guy will be “the one.” But at 41, both devastated and hopeful, I decided to try and get pregnant on my own. Very quickly into the process I was confronted with my greatest fear, that I had missed the window. My egg reserve was minimal and of poor quality. I still remember a nurse saying to me, I don’t know if you would even respond to IVF, meaning no matter how many meds you pumped into my ovaries, very few, if any eggs would be viable.
It was a terrible time. I was angry, depressed and stressed at work. Still, I tried to get pregnant. 6 IUIs, Mini IVF with 6 retrievals, I finally got one chromosomally normal embryo. But it didn’t stick. After much grieving,I decided to use an egg donor. I got pregnant on my second try and now have my 5 year old son, Ben.
Since then, I’ve wanted to buy a van and drive across the country telling women, if you know you want to have a family, make a plan, regardless of whether you’re in a relationship. We spend so much time trying not to get pregnant, there needs to be more focus on the children we do want, especially for single women. We’re living in a time when you don’t have to give up your dream of having a baby, just because you didn’t meet someone. My hope in sharing my story is that you will begin your own journey now. Let me help you!
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