We wrap up our three-part motherhood blog series today with FOTO Founder, Katie Norris, whose story is outlined by the beautiful and vulnerable experience of relinquishing control and heading into the unknown. Filled with hope and choosing to continue her fight, she recounts the joy and pain that is the journey to motherhood.
I’ve experienced Mother’s Day in three unique ways. Hoping, celebrating and grieving.
For three years, I would sit through the Mother’s Day church service and they would have the mothers stand to be acknowledged. They looked so proud and with fresh negative tests on my mind, I would just take a deep breath and hope that one day I could stand with them.
It was such a special day to experience my first Mother’s Day. I put on new outfit on my daughter and was beaming with joy. We got to the celebration and it was hilariously anticlimactic because she had a severe code brown and we lasted only ten minutes!
Katie Norris, Founder of FOTO with baby girl Rose
Last Mother's Day we found out that we were pregnant and shared the news with our friends and family. A few weeks later we found out that I had low HCG levels. I was forced to brace myself for a potential loss and a road that I hoped that I would never endure, miscarriage.
Just like every child is unique, so are our journeys to motherhood. When we say yes to decide to start a family, we are saying yes to letting go of control and saying yes to the unknown. I think this journey to motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences one can take and something to truly celebrate on Mother's Day. It is a day to celebrate the mothers in our life, to celebrate new moms whether they are natural, foster, adopted or surrogate and to encourage the ones that are fighting to be moms. Mother’s Day is a day we can all look at one another, our community and acknowledge the journey.
My journey started off like many. My husband and I were married for five years, and we felt it was time to try to start a family. We thought we were so “ready” but life had other plans in store for us.
Two and half years went by and no pregnancy. At first I didn’t let the negative pregnancy tests get to me but soon enough it seemed every time I hopped online or met up with a friend there was always pregnancy news. Baby showers were getting hard to attend. I fought to stay positive. I hated this feeling but I think many of us have experienced this anguish. A friend of mine gave me the best advice that helped me during this season of waiting and that was to go serve someone else. I was able to do that through my work at FOTO and Fotolanthropy and that helped me to shift my mindset. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, I was able to focus on serving others.
Her advice helped, but I still had difficult moments. One afternoon, a close friend called to share with me the great news that they were pregnant after one month of trying….infertility club readers, you know how much the “we got pregnant on our first try” comment stings. This friend meant the world to me so I pulled out the best response to her that I could to congratulate her and then put down the phone and finally just let it all out. I let out three years of hope, three years of countless pregnancy tests, surgery and doctor appointments. It was official, I felt defeated. I cried out to God, “I am so tired. I am trying to be strong, but I am losing hope. Will I ever get the chance to become a mother and carry a child?” This day was such a turning point in my life. I had to surrender it all.
Well, as we all know life has a funny way about surprising you. A month later, our world changed when we learned that we were pregnant! It was an indescribable feeling and one of the most joyous moments of my life. To read the word PREGNANT on a test after three years on NOT PREGNANT was truly surreal!
Throughout the season of waiting, I would read stories of other women and found it to be so encouraging. It helped me to remember that I was not alone and that all of us will have our own unique story. What I didn't expect was the outcome of sharing your struggles. To share the news that we were pregnant with our friends, were unforgettable moments of joyous tears, cheers and even speechless expressions. We all got to witness a miracle together and we all celebrated the seasons to our baby. This baby was surrounded by community and prayer warriors.
The season of waiting was over and you bet your buttons I wanted to soak in every bit of morning sickness, sonograms and baby planning. One of my favorite moments was when we decided to learn the gender with my family! To say our family was excited was an understatement...check out this video of the gender reveal below.
On April 4, 2016 we welcomed baby Rose to the world and she had a fan club of 20 family members.
Infertility is such a difficult journey but what I have realized is that it actually became a great blessing in my life. I look at my daughter Rose, her scrunched nose and grin and know that God’s ways are so much bigger than mine. She was so worth the wait and all that time passed so that she would be our daughter. The journey to Rose taught me patience, faithfulness and how to experience the fullness of joy.
Our journey to baby #2 has already taken it’s unique road. It was extremely painful to endure a miscarriage but we hope we can overcome and trust that the timing will be perfect, we feel peace with that because we have Rose as a daily reminder.
Wherever you are in the journey, I would like to extend hope to you that in some way, you will find your path to motherhood. I hope our stories can encourage you to look at the mother's around you with new perspective on Mother's Day. Let's say thank you, let's comfort, let's encourage and let's empathize because community has power.
To my baby Rose, you were worth it all!
Check out these other personal stories from young mothers on our team:
One Mother's Story: The Road to Revelry by Director of Social Media Kristen Fields
One Mother's Story: A Worthy Journey by our Director of Public Relations Jodi Phillip