SPOTLIGHT: A Conversation with Amy: A Story of Surviving Infertility and Dancing in Cages

Today is significant because we are finally launching our “Spotlight Interview Series” here at MWOB.  I have had an amazing response from both MWOBS and moms WITH blogs who are interested in being interviewed.  As opposed to other interviews you might see going around blogtown, each interview I conduct is more like a conversation.  I have no set questions or a specific topics and each interview is unique. 

All of us mamas have a story.  Or many stories.  About who we are. Where we come from. What stirs our souls, what makes us laugh, what makes us crazy, what dreams we hold onto, what others have we let go, and simply all that glorious stuff that makes us us.

We may feel at times that we’ve lost a bit of ourselves on this journey of motherhood and I hope in this spotlight series I can unearth a few buried gems about each mama with whom I converse.

Every mama deserves a little time in the spotlight and I hope you’ll stick around to learn a bit about the story of an avid MWOB supporter, one of my very first followers, one of my college roomies, my dear friend Amy. 
Amy is mom to two gorgeous kids, Georgia, 6 1/2, and Franco, 5. She lives in North County San Diego where her days consist of loading and unloading the dishwasher, plenty of trips to the park, walking her two dogs, hugging her children, supporting her man, and praying for bedtime to arrive as quickly as possible.

(In case you’re not sure, I’m the one in orange.)

First things first….how does it feel to be a mom without a blog?

Two words come to mind …

Un-hip (is that a word?) and awestruck.

The first … un-hip. I didn’t even know what a blog was when my friend (I’m pretty sure she’s talking about me here people) decided that she was going to take on authoring her own blog. When I first became a “follower” I felt so proud of myself that I could actually make it to that official status.

The second … awestruck. After getting totally sucked into my friend’s (uh, this mysterious friend is me again) blog, I am in utter awe of her (my) ability to write so amazingly and to do it continuously. 

(I should have asked her why she was referring to me as if I was not the one conducting the interview but I spaced it.  Moving on….)

Sure, un-hip can be a word. That’s the beauty of blogland.
Next, as your friend, I know all about your journey to motherhood
and we all come to it in different ways obviously but give our
readers a little background on how you became a mom. (it doesn’t have to be the full- on lengthy deal – just summarize it if you can…:-)

Summarize it??? It was frickin’ 7 years of my life!  

Becoming a mom was no easy task for me. Like most women, the choice to have kids was an easy one for me. I knew I always wanted them. I knew I would have them one day or I guess I should say I really, really, really hoped it would happen for me.

Then, the fertility nightmare began. 

Our first child was 7 years in the making. Unless you’ve actually been through a fertility struggle, you really have no idea what it’s like. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s horrible. 

In an effort to keep this short and readable and after 6 miserable failed attempts at IVF for myself, our daughter was finally born using a surrogate. She was carried by a friend of ours and I know that there is no way that I could ever put into words how I feel about that gift that was given to us by her. That’s a whole story in and of itself. I had been good friends with our surrogate’s husband but had never really even met her when she began to consider doing this or us. 

It’s truly remarkable and every time I tell the story, I cannot do it without getting emotional. It was the most self-less, amazing, gift anyone could have ever given us. Amazing. Truly amazing.

Once our daughter was born we decided to get out of fertility hell and try a new journey at our attempt at a second child … adoption. We knew that it would not be easy and it would have its own struggles, but the struggles would be different and we were ready for different.

Because of a health issue (my dear friend Ames has been battling MS for years and by the way is kicking MS’s ass), we were told that international adoption would be easier for us than domestic. They had me at the word “easy.” Although if you consider two trips to Russia within three weeks of each other easy, then you are a better woman than I.  

Our first trip was like our honeymoon. My husband and I were ready for the adventure. We were on a plane for 13 hours and then a train for 13 hours and our soon-to-be son was in our arms. It was an awesome trip for many reasons. 

Then came the second trip. A complete and utter nightmare. Since we had just traveled about as far away as you can possibly get before you start to come home again, we found ourselves on the same plane/train and this time it was no adventure. It was hot, the food was disgusting, we were fighting, and for the most part if our new son wasn’t whining, he was crying. We were tired, hungry and very cranky travelers. Not to mention that our son cried 7 out of 13 hours on the plane ride home. That is no exaggeration. 

Can you say … horrific? It was anything but easy.

The moral of this story is where there’s a will, there’s a way. My journey to motherhood was not an easy one, but after many prayers, tears and much determination, our family was finally complete and damn, it felt good to finally start living as a family instead of living trying to make one.

Yes, Ames you are a real life example of where there is a
will, there is a way.

I know mamas who have no experience with having a surrogate
will be intrigued by this aspect of you becoming a mama yourself.
What was the most challenging aspect of the surrogate journey?

The most challenging aspect of the surrogate journey was always feeling inadequate in properly thanking her. I wanted every gift/ note to be perfect. 

To this day, I feel eternally indebted to her.

So know we now the specifics of how you became a mom, but
tell us what really has MADE you a mom.

What made me a mom …

Well of course the obvious answer is around the clock feedings and lack of sleep. But what has really MADE me a mom is the fact that I now live for other people. My kids’ health, happiness, and safety are my top priorities.
I lose sleep when they’re not feeling well hoping it’s nothing serious. I also lose sleep over which school would be best for them etc.

Really, I think it’s that I now LIVE with unconditional love where I maybe had never experienced that prior to having children.

What a great answer. Love it.

So before becoming a mom, give us a sense of who was Amy.
Describe you. Do you remember you?

I worked full-time for the same company for 11 years. It seems like it was an eternity ago. I would work all week and then spend the weekends getting ready to go back to work on Mondays doing laundry, groceries etc.

Looking back, I can honestly say my life is sooooooo much richer NOW. I really don’t miss that life at all.

Besides the working aspect, I have always enjoyed a good get-away with the hubby or my girlfriends. That hasn’t changed. I love my family dearly, but sometimes a get-away is the perfect prescription for a renewed sense of energy doing the mommy-thing.

Activities I enjoy both before and after kids would be dog-walking, going to the movies, and jumping into bed with a good book.

Okay cool. Dog-walking, jumping in bed with a good book.

Sounds good and all but that’s the tame side of you.  Now I happen to have some highly privileged information in the way of a certain picture that was snapped on a certain “Mommies Gone Wild” trip in 2007 that would shed some light to our MWOB audience about another aspect of your personality -may I share it with everyone in this interview??

Of course but I would like to proof it first. Not sure how much
detail you’d like to include, but sure, sounds good.

No worries. I won’t post any nudity. 

Are you getting tired of this interview yet?

I’m not getting tired of it, but I have to admit that I think it will be very boring. I’m not sure I have much interesting to say. I try … but it all comes out boring.

What do you think?

It’s not boring. Believe me. It will all be wonderful. I promise.

Okay the chick behind the bars looks a little bit different than the kind of mom who likes to curl up in bed with a good book. Care to shed some light on THIS mom that we are seeing in this picture?? Like maybe a few reasons why mommy needs to go wild once in a while???

OK, fellow Mama Gone Wild… there is ALSO a photo of YOU in the cage too and about to give birth to your newest cub no less! (Yes friends, I was there on this Mommies Gone Wild trip while my belly was busy baking El Destructo in February of ’07.  I chose to NOT include the pic of me in the cage.  Maybe later. Much later.)

Yes, it is true that I find it a complete and utter luxury to be able to curl up in bed with a good book. For me that is such a treat. However, there is nothing like a good recharging of my batteries to spend a little time away from the bambinos whether with my husband or with my girlfriends.

The trip you are asking me about was an absolutely awesome getaway with 8 other girlfriends all celebrating our 40th birthdays. That one will go down in history for many reasons. It was AWESOME! We had such a good time that it even made the homecoming a little bittersweet. I wanted more!!!!!

I’m always game for letting my hair down and shaking my groove thing on occasion too. (in addition to a good book).

Do you consider yourself a GOOD mom?

For the most part, I consider myself a good mom. Are there areas
that need improvement or things I’d like to change about my parenting self?
Hell yes.

Like what?

I would love to master my patience level. I would love to respond with a calm voice when I am suffering from a lack of patience instead of yelling and grumbling curse words under my breath.

Also, I so desperately want for my kids to be independent and sometimes I wish I had better teaching strategies to foster this. Often I fall into the trap of cleaning up after them, helping them get dressed when they are perfectly capable, brushing their teeth for them etc. I know when I am doing these things for them that it is a disservice to them, yet I constantly fall into the trap.

In addition, I wish that I could be more present with them while playing with them. I try and try at this, but have serious shortcomings. My mind wonders or I say I need to make a phone call or I go and get the laundry, or I go put dinner on etc. etc. etc. instead of giving them my undivided attention even if just for 15 minutes.

I know I can come up with more but feel as if I should stop there or I’m going to start having some serious self-esteem issues.

What do you worry about most when it comes to your kids?

My prayer for them everyday and night is for health, happiness, and
safety thus, the opposite of those is what I worry about.

Of course, I also wish for them an engaging education where they
actually LEARN by DOING instead of LEARN by MEMORIZING! Hence, their
education is a constant worry for me.

Do you feel that the quality or type of their education will be
directly linked to their happiness and success in life?

Honestly, yes. I think it’s third in line after family/home life
and faith in God.

So Ames, as we wrap this up, do you think you’ll ever become
a mom WITH a blog?

Nope, I’m pretty sure I will be a lifetime MWOB.

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