On Sunday, most of us will either be handing over schmaltzy Hallmark cards to our moms, or opening ones ourselves from our kids. We’ll be posting nostalgic photo collages to Facebook, brunching with the ladies who raised us, or snuggling close with the tiny humans we now raise ourselves.
In other words, we’ll be celebrating motherhood in all its glory, somehow, someway.
But some of us might be celebrating inside just a little bit harder.
Because for those whose journeys toward motherhood didn’t come quite so easily — those who didn’t see two little pink lines appear on that stick, cycle after cycle — the very fact of being a mom at all feels nothing short of miraculous.
And how could it not? After months, or even years, of meticulously tracking ovulation cycles, schlepping back and forth to fertility clinics, and enduring round after round of painful, intrusive, embarrassing, and oftentimes disappointing tests, finally becoming a mother is what makes it all worth it in the end. Whether that baby arrives from a pregnancy, or from an adoption.
And no one knows that feeling better than Leah Campbell, a writer and mother from Alaska, whose long and winding road toward motherhood left her heartsick and broke for many years. As Campbell tells Babble, she was first diagnosed with endometriosis at 26, and endured two failed rounds of IVF soon after, both totaling $30,000. But while she was ultimately unable to conceive a child herself, that wasn’t the end of her motherhood journey: She is now the proud mom of a 3-year-old girl named Josie, who was brought into her life through adoption in 2013.
“I know all mothers love their children and feel blessed to have them,” Campbell tells Babble. “But I do think there is something extra there for the mothers who had to face the fear that they may never get that chance. Mothers who fought for years as their friends celebrated easy pregnancies. Mothers who faced losses, or doctors who told them it would never happen. Mothers who had to redefine what motherhood might look like for them.”
As a writer, Campbell has written extensively about her own journey through infertility and adoption for years. But recently, she was inspired to ask others to share their stories, too. Posting a call-out on Facebook to other mothers who struggled with infertility, Campbell collected their family photos and powerful stories, and spent hours editing them together for one powerful video, titled simply: “Motherhood Doesn’t Always Come Easy.”
In it, Campbell highlights the stories of dozens of women who finally became mothers in spite of all the obstacles standing in their way. In spite of the endless rounds of failed IVF cycles. In spite of the painful and devastating miscarriages they endured. In spite of the doubt and the fear and the emotional upheaval that infertility brought into their lives.
In the end, the nearly four-minute clip is as powerful as it is inspiring.
“When you’ve spent plenty of Mother’s Days in mourning over what may never be, finally having that little person in your life who calls you Mama?” explains Campbell. “It’s a pretty powerful thing. And I wanted to somehow capture that, to honor it, in a video.”
She absolutely did. Watch the clip above, and prepare to be moved.More On