I’ve Been Fighting to Become a Mom Since 2011; In 2017, I’m Fighting For HOPE

My husband and I have been fighting to become parents since 2011; a declaration fraught with a variety and intensity of losses that I couldn’t have imagined when we innocently decided we were ready to start our family six years ago. I am asked all the time how we are able to keep at this excruciating pursuit ― that is, how we continue to have hope in this area of our lives in the face of intense tragedy. As we gladly put 2016 behind us and look to 2017, I have been highly reflective of what it means to have hope ― the real kind that propels us forward to act and change. I sense that is what so many of us are deeply seeking as we start this tumultuous new year.

So to 2017, my resolution of hope:

Two and a half years ago, my husband and I were sent home from the hospital the morning after giving birth to our son. Unlike most discharge stories you hear, our ride home didn’t include a nervous father driving cautiously below the speed limit while a frazzled mom fussed over him in the car seat. Instead, it was just the two of us in the front seats of our Corolla, driving home in complete silence. The previous evening, our son had been stillborn after battling an extremely rare congenital condition. While our kind nurses said we could stay at the hospital as long as we needed, I feared that if we didn’t leave that morning they would need to admit me forever. It was an unspeakably miserable ride home, which was mercilessly extended by rush hour traffic in Boston. I remember closing my eyes until we got home, unable to process the presence of people in other cars listening to NPR and drinking coffee, heading to their totally normal jobs for a totally normal day. How could they do such a thing while we were experiencing such deep suffering?

A final goodbye before leaving the hospital the next morning.

Two and a half months ago, my husband and I boarded a Southwest flight from Wichita, Kansas back home to Boston that was ― once again ― anticipated to be with our newborn son. I had brought with me every type of infant carrier on the market and had daydreamed how the flight attendants would fawn over his tiny little fingers wrapped around my pinky. But the mother who had selected us back in June to adopt her child changed her mind just before he was born, deciding to parent him instead. So again we had to go back to our quiet home with its perfect nursery set up, just the two of us. I put on my headphones but turned on no music, closed my eyes and laid my head on my husband’s shoulder, praying that no one would say anything to me. Of course I don’t want pretzels or cookies ― how could you even ask me such a trivial question?

Our flight to Kansas in September, blissfully unaware that we would be flying home a few weeks later without a child.

These two lonely trips home bookended a merciless stretch of IVF cycles and miscarriages and adoption research and endless heavy decisions in between. But still, we press on in hope.


“Hope” is both a noun and a verb, but both of those classifications fall flat to the kind of hope that I speak of. As a noun, hope is exceedingly abstract. I bet if you asked 10 different people what the noun hope meant, you would get 10 different answers that vaguely alluded to other abstract concepts like trust and faith. This type of hope is too hard to grasp for pragmatists like me.

But “hope” as a verb seems so submissive in the way it is typically expressed. To hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow, or to hope that your kids sleep past 5am, or to hope that your favorite soup is on the menu today – this type of hope that we typically throw into daily conversation is completely passive. In fact, I’d argue that this is the type of hope that breeds resentment. If tomorrow your kids wake up at 4:30am and it’s pouring rain and the cafe only has french onion soup rather than red lentil, then you may conclude that you had a lousy day even though you had absolutely nothing to do with what made it lousy. To hope in this sense is simply to watch the chips fall and respond accordingly whether or not they landed in your lap.

To me, hope and fight are highly inter-dependent. To hope without fight is to passively and blindly expect good to come. To fight without hope is to toil in state of defeat, exhausted. But to fight alongside hope is to have an unwavering belief in the importance of a different future and a willingness to open yourself up to more pain in order to get there.


Kari D'Elia
Kari D'Elia
Kari D'Elia is an advocate for connecting people through the power of story, specifically in the areas of infertility, miscarriage, adoption, loss, and faith. Her essays have been featured in the Huffington Post and New York Times Magazine. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, DP, where they dream about living in a climate that never requires a winter coat. You can read more about her son's story here or at her blog, https://sweetflicker.com/

Related Posts


Recent Stories