There are many roads on the journey to motherhood. Leah Campbell took one less traveled by, and her story offers wisdom and hope.
Leah always knew she wanted to be a mom. In fact, it was the period of her life that she most looked forward to. In college, Leah donated her eggs, and her journey took an unexpected and ironic turn as she experienced severe complications and developed endometriosis. It became so severe that within 6 months, Leah’s doctor told her that if she wanted to have a baby, it was “now or never.”
In daily pain, Leah felt her dreams of a baby were being ripped away. Because she wasn’t in a relationship, she faced the idea of motherhood alone. “It was devastating and incredibly isolating,” Leah remembers.
She quickly took action and began researching women who became single mothers by choice. Although many of the sources painted a bleak picture of single parenthood, Leah took heart in the fact that she was raised by her dad alone.
“I knew that I could be the kind of mother I wanted to be and provide the kind of family my child would deserve, all on my own. Once I realized that, I knew I wanted to pursue treatments,” Leah said. “The thought of never being a mother scared me far more than the thought of being a single mother.”
When Leah was 27, she did two rounds of IVF, using an anonymous sperm donor. Both failed. Her eggs were rated "fair" quality—after having been "excellent" just 2 years before.
“My body just didn't seem to want to get pregnant,” Leah said. “I was absolutely devastated. You don't go into treatments thinking they aren't going to work. Even when you know the stats, you still hope you’ll be lucky. My first cycle, I was so convinced it worked that I actually started telling people I was pregnant during my 2 week wait. When I found out the embryo had never attached at all, I hated myself, my body, and my belief in that body. It was brutal.”
Slowly Leah let go of her dream of having a biological child. She realized that she couldn't physically, financially, or emotionally continue to pursue that path to motherhood.
To come to terms with this, Leah began blogging and training for a half-marathon. She became determined to rediscover the happy, vibrant girl she had been in college. She also moved to Alaska!
“I did things I wouldn't have been able to do if I had gotten pregnant, such as traveling and going on spontaneous adventures,” Leah said. “I still grieved a lot for what I had lost, but I remained committed to taking care of myself and learning to love the life I had been given.”
Leah decided to apply to become a foster mom. And that’s when her story took a complete U-turn. A co-worker knew of a woman who was due to give birth in one week and was disappointed to not feel a connection with the prospective adoptive parents . The woman was desperate to find a new home for her baby. The co-worker connected the woman with Leah, and after a few minutes, the woman asked Leah to become the the chosen adoptive mother of her unborn baby.
“The pieces all lined up like fate,” Leah said. “Adoptions don't happen like this. You don't have someone just ask you to take a baby. People wait years and spend tens of thousands of dollars for healthy infants. But for me, it happened just like that. A week later, I was in the delivery room when my daughter was born. And she has been with me ever since.”