Sunday, November 6, 2016

and this is how I feel about abortion.

I am a pro-choice woman who, many years ago, had an abortion. I am not ashamed of either of these facts. Often, I find myself, and other pro-choice people, saying things like, “well I don’t love abortion, but in XYZ situation I fully support a woman’s right to choose”. This is a problem for me as it implies:

1) that other people do “love” abortion, or more accurately, don’t fully comprehend its weight and are cavalier in their decision to have or not have an abortion. 


2) that sometimes some women deserve access to a safe abortion and other times other women do not.

I firmly disagree with both of these sentiments. We (collective) are free to our pro-choiceness, without having to justify that we are also good people. 

When I say I am pro-choice, this is precisely what I mean:

I believe that people are good. Women, as it turns out, are people.

I believe that people are smart, and compassionate, and kind, and strong, and fierce.

I believe that people have the ability to keenly discern whether or not an abortion would be an appropriate choice for them.

I believe that people should have the ability to make informed health care decisions, free from my judgment on whether or not they deserve to do so.

The end.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I see you, and I love you.

I am email buddies with a good friend of mine who lives far away. Her name is Elle, she is fourteen, and I met her at church where I hang out with youth on Sunday nights. Being email buddies entails sending each other questions back and forth and answering them thoughtfully. Elle has taught me about being email buddies as I am a first timer at this. Fortunately, she is a wonderful teacher. In our most recent exchange she asked: “What’s the best decision you ever made?”

Without hesitation, this is what I responded:

Marrying my husband. My role as a wife has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life, different from my role as a mother. I am (for lack of better words) biologically wired to love and protect my children. This is not true for Yosi (my husband), who is the best person I know. The responsibility of being fiercely committed to my marriage has shaped my identity in ways I’m very proud of. 

I sent off my reply to my buddy and went about my day. As I meandered through my list of to-dos I kept coming back to the last sentence. The responsibility of being fiercely committed to my marriage has shaped my identity in ways I’m very proud of. Whoa.

We married young, Yosi and I. We were in our teens with a toddler in tow when we said “I do.” Those first years of our marriage felt like playing house. That’s nice talk for:  we were lazy with each other. We lived in the same space, slept in the same bed, enjoyed each other’s company, but we were not in it. It was not until we hit a rough patch, an inevitable bump in the road, that we realized the blaring truth that our marriage was lacking in a major way. With great humility I realized that it was me who was lacking. I was missing the depth of commitment, devotion, and selflessness required to build a healthy union.  So I dug in, and fought hard. I lived and breathed by the mantra “Love is a choice. Love is a verb.” And it was through that energy that I harnessed the power of unconditional love that fuels us today.

It’s been many years now since we have found our stride as a married couple and I’d be lying if I told you it has gotten easier. My values as a wife have gotten clearer, and I’ve certainly gotten better at embodying them, but it is still very much an active choice I make each day to love my husband unconditionally. To give him the best of who I am, to collaborate to raise our children, and to have some god damn fun once in a while, are all choices we make together over and over again.

In this season of our lives, we are knee deep in the weeds of parenting.  Our kids right now are demanding more active parenting than they’ve needed in seasons past. We’re tired. The hands-on requirements of our crawling, cruising, teething daughter leave us both physically worn. Then we have the boys. The school-aged, friend-making, soccer-playing boys are the heartbeat of our home. Nolan, at six years old, is a persistent learner. He asks questions from the moment his eyes meet the new day until his curly head finds his pillow at night. And Christian is nine going on fifteen. He is finding his footing as an independent young person with a fervor that draws on every ounce of parenting energy we have.  We’re giving ourselves, wholly, to our sweet babes these days and it’s not leaving us with much to give each other.

We’re keeping our heads above water the only way we know how, and it’d be easy for us to lose touch with each other. But we are still choosing to be fiercely committed to each other, the love we have cultivated, and the foundation on which our family is built. On a good day it looks like a check-in text to see how the other is doing or maybe a game of uno after bedtime. Oftentimes though, it is less formal than that. It’s making him coffee while the house is still dark as I fumble to get dressed and out the door before the sun comes up. Or it’s him taking a turn to rock the baby at midnight so I can sleep awhile. Somedays all I have left is finding his eyes with mine and telling him with my whole heart, “I see you, and I love you.”

This season of our love story looks mostly like hard work, but through it all I’ll be here by his side, ruthlessly devoted to us.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I'm still here. I have lots to say, and so much to tell all of you. But today, today is a celebration.

Today Bunny turns one.

A year ago today, I leaned on my husband as we talked about baseball and pie during contractions. My doula was a saint. And there were a pair of anxious folks off to the side of the room.

A year ago today, I was surrounded by love. I wanted to go home, but at 8 centimeters I leaned into all the support and joy that was filling the room and trusted my body.

A year ago today, I watched a woman hold for the first time, the baby she never thought she would have. I watched a fresh new dad, cut the cord of his fresh new baby.

A year ago today, I looked through tear filled eyes as a new mama and a new dad fell face first into unthinkable, unconditional love with their son. We all had tear filled eyes, actually.

I remember looking over at my OB, the OB I love so dearly, and whispering to her that the look on their faces was everything. That new parent ecstasy, that is what brought me to surrogacy. That the look made every contraction, and push, and every 9.8 pounds, worth each minute. She nodded because she saw it too.

I've said it before, but I don't know if I can ever say it enough. Surrogacy has given me just as much as it has given them. I am honored to have brought Bunny into this world. I am honored to have literally carried hopes and dreams under my heart, and to have brought him into the arms of his parents.

Today Bunny turns one. I wish him... I wish all of us, The Happiest of Birth Days.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm still here.

We've had a lot of changes around here, but don't think for one second I forgot about you dear blog friends. I've missed you all. In my time away I've grieved some grief, soaked up some sun, laughed with the littles, and bought a house and dog with my dear husband. You know, just normal summer stuff. Here's a photo recap. I'll be back soon to fill in the blanks. 

^ this is Lincoln. he has stolen all of our heats with his wee wrinkly grin.

^ this is our fist selfie has homeowners.... two minutes of homeownership and grinning like fools.

^ this is our new home.

^ this is a dream come true.  though the picture quality is poor, this photo is everything I've been waiting for. 

Be back soon,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the things I would have said.

I didn't write the eulogy, but if I had.....

I've thought about this for the last month since my uncle died. I've thought about which words I might use to talk about his life and his death, and about which stories I might tell that do the best job of telling the true story of who he was.

I've written and erased, and typed and deleted, before I realized that I was being completely ridiculous.

I was making entirely too difficult something which, in fact, is quite simple.

This is what I would have said:

He showed up.

As a friend he showed up, always ready to party like a rockstar. Or help you move. Or celebrate a Vikings win (or strategize for the next game, when they'll certainly win).

He showed up in his career, day after day. Project after project.

He showed up for his family. For his wife - for nearly 30 years, a marriage filled with love, laughter, grace... and some more laughter. I learned from him and Jackie what that looks like, and it's beautiful.

Wonderful stuff, right? A beautiful life... But we're all still waiting.

[here I would pause and look up and around the full-to-the-brim church]

These are all honorable ways to be remembered - but none of these descriptions quite capture how you will carry his memory do they?

I bet you will remember how he showed up for you when you needed him.

I'm guessing he showed up for you when you needed a friend. Or maybe he showed up to watch you play football, or to watch you cheer, or maybe a swim meet, or dance recital? That who he was - he showed up, usually with great energy, or a great idea, or just the right thing to say to shine light on a tricky situation.

Or maybe not.

Maybe he had empty arms and nothing to say. But you know what?

He still showed up - with a hug as big as his presence.

But you all know this already, that's why we're all here today. We are here today to show up for Dave, one last time, just like he has shown up for all of us.

I'm heartbroken that his life has ended. I'm sad for myself, and for Jackie, and for his children, and granddaughters, and all who loved him. At the end of the day, this church will be empty, we all are going to leave here today and be sad about saying goodbye to someone we love. We'll walk away, and grieve our grief, and live our lives. And time will pass and the sorrow will dull to a fine ache. But that's not the end. Not even a little bit. Every time we show up and are present for the people we love, he'll be there too. That is love, and love is eternal.

"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is not separation." Rumi

Sunday, May 11, 2014

a poem for today.

It's Mother's Day today. It was a lovely day, despite the rainy cold weather. I checked my email after tucking the boys snugly in bed, and I found this in my inbox from Jill:


Something I wanted to share with you...

"The moment a child is born the mother is also born
 she never existed before
 the woman existed but the mother, never
 a mother is something absolutely new..."


Thank you Carmen...forever, thank you

Sometimes you're a surrogate. And sometimes your eyes well up when you realize, again and again, how surrogacy has given you just as much as it has given them.

Happy Mother's Day,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

sometimes you're a surrogate : what people say part 1

When you're pregnant, there are lots of people who want to talk to you about being pregnant. When you're pregnant with a baby that isn't yours ALL the people want to talk to you about being pregnant. I figured I'd talk about some of the wonderful and wonderfully interesting things I've heard when talking to people about being a surrogate.

The number one thing people say, or have said, is "Won't that be hard to give up/part with/say goodbye to/hand over/go home without the baby?

My simple standard response was something along the lines of, "Not in the way you'd think. The goal of this whole process was to put a baby in the arms of this couple who I care so much about, and I think that will be incredibly exciting."

I do not, and have never, wanted to keep baby Bunny. My pregnancy felt very different, because I did not bond with the baby in my belly like I did with my boys. Before Bunny flew home I loved snuggling, smooching, and cuddling with the squishy little babe, but I loved it even more to watch the new parents swoon over their new addition.

The more complicated answer is, of course it's hard. But still not in the way you'd think. It's hard because I just did the most fantastic thing ever, and now it's over. It's hard because I've grown to know and absolutely love this family, and as it turns out, they live on the other side of the country. It's hard because we all share this amazing, unique bond, we've been through a magnificently long, exciting, intensely emotional process together and when it was over we gave hugs and they boarded a plane home.

The best way I can think to describe the hard part, isn't hard at all, I'd say emotional. It's the single most emotional process I've ever been a part of.  I feel like that word is packed, for me it is anyway, but when I use it here I'm doing so to convey that exact thing. Surrogacy is so packed with emotion, but in the absolute best way I could have imagined.

Competing for the next most common statements would be, "I could never do that!" and "I've always wanted to do that!"

To the friends in the former camp I would usually try to emphasize the scope of the process. Folks tend to oversimplify gestational surrogacy in their heads, but this is simply because they don't know how extensive the matching/legal/psych and medical screening/cycle prep can be. So I elude to how "It's quite a lengthy process to get going, but once the serious busywork is out of the way it's so rewarding."

Often I'm tempted to say, "It's not like I just decided I wanted to be a surrogate and then went and did it." Except, that's exactly what happened. But I want to be sure to talk about the fullness of what the adventure entails, just in case they are serious about investigating a surro journey and honestly want to know more.

To those who say, "Oh, I could never do that!" I usually agree with them with "You know, you're probably right." I'm not attempting to sound pretentious, I swear! I always follow it with a dialogue about how each individual knows themself best and if they don't think they'd would enjoy a surrogacy, that's a-OK. The extensive, emotional, and complex process isn't for everyone, and there is nothing wrong with that.

If you hate pregnancy, you probably won't want to be a surrogate. If you honestly think you
would have a difficult time emotionally, surrogacy probably isn't for you. Admitting that surrogacy isn't a good fit for you is a million times braver than ignoring these things only to realize you were right and really shouldn't have proceeded with a surrogate pregnancy afterall.
I'll leave you with a short and simple question that I've gotten three times only. And thank goodness. "So did you have to have sex with someone else?"

Now, I try not to get upset when I've been asked this because obviously these people really don't have
the slightest clue about surrogacy, or they have been terribly misinformed previously. Surrogacy never, ever, involves sex. If someone tells you differently, they are wrong. People operating under this misconception are most often referring to a planned adoption, which is not, in any way whatsoever, the same thing.

On that note, see you all soon!