Liz met Lisa LoCicero back when they were both actresses in New York. They became roommates and have kept up with each other ever since. They have always been each others mentors, friends, and inspiration. We can’t wait to share her story with you.
Liz & Lisa
Before becoming a mom at 30 I’d been working as an actress in New York and LA for about 5 years. I’d done a Soap and some little films and prime time shows and was just having the beginning of what seemed like the pilot season I’d been praying for.. three shows were trying to make test deals all at once when I had to call my agent and say.. uummmm… I’ve got some news…
You often hear stars talk about how happily producers will write in a pregnancy. The key word there is “star”. When no one’s ever heard of you that ain’t gonna happen. SO it was terrible timing. Quite a surprise, and at a time before I knew how wonderful being a mother was.
I can tell you it was hard. To feel as if all my hard work had gotten me to exactly the point I’d wanted to be and all my professional aspirations and ability to be independent might be going down the drain. It was a dark mix of both excitement and despair. I really didn’t feel like I was ready to be what I thought “Mom” was and NONE of my friends had children. I had no sense of what the actual modern day reality of motherhood was. Luckily, I was in the middle of getting a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology at the time and the work there helped me see a path of motherhood that was “adding to” instead of “taking away”. I had fear that being a mother would rob me of who I was and everything I’d worked towards so instead, I set a strong intention that it would be something that made me better, stronger, smarter, kinder, more joyful.. and it did! (of course) But you can’t know that until you know it!
Luckily for me, my baby boy has always been amazing. My husband and I always felt he was just a winning lottery ticket of babyness. SO cute and smart and cuddly! He was by no means an easy baby though.. He demanded constant attention, but we gave it to him and that early bonding really makes a difference as time goes on. Not clingy, not whiny, no “terrible twos’ (whatever that means) and he’s grown into a really funny, kind, smart and easy going kid. Now a uniquely insightful teenager. My husband and I prefer his company to pretty much anyone else! He is 14 now and I have a 9 month old daughter as well. One of each! I would say it’s uncanny how much alike their baby personalities are. I think I was afraid to have a second child because everyone always says that their kids are polar opposites and I worried that Luke’s polar opposite would be the anti-christ.. but maybe with the huge space in between they both get to be only children, but with siblings!
I guess my biggest mom challenge came after deciding to try for a second baby in my mid 40’s. Funny how the first one happened despite trying not to and the second was the quintessential roller coaster ride and money hemorrhage that every late in life mom dreads. The upside is obviously that it ultimately worked!
We’d been thinking about the possibility of going back to baby land for about awhile. A castmate set me up with a reading from her sought after psychic (not something I have a lot of experience with). After blowing my mind with several pretty intense and specific revelations she hit me with this, “Theres a little baby here who’s been trying to come through for a few years now and wonders what the hold up is. He was meant to come around your 38th birth day, but I see you getting pregnant shortly before your 45th birthday”… That sort of took my breath away and made me realize how much I actually wanted what she said to be true, and I decided to get proactive about it.
We started down the path slowly in “just seeing what happens”, then moving on to checking in with a specialist, then several IUI’s and finally an IVF that seemed totally perfect but ultimately failed.
Every woman who’s gone down this road knows too well the seemingly endless cycles of hormones, injections, blood draws, bloating, hormonal insanity.. some may be familiar with drinking the horrible tasting, gut churning Chinese herbal tea mixtures. My stomach would start heaving every night at sunset just thinking about drinking it.
Ask any 44 year old woman trying to get pregnant how many times she’s googled “odds of having baby after 42” or some combination of those words.. She’ll tell you it’s about 10 times a day. And the statistics on line are not good. Various sites say various things, but you generally read that after age 45 there’s about a 0% -1% likelihood that you will carry a baby to term using your own eggs. Not what you want to hear.
I had several friends who did conceive in their mid-40’s and I honestly began to believe that the ones who said they’d used their own eggs were just not telling the truth and that that was their prerogative.
There is such a huge build up of hope with the IVF. You actually feel connected to the little cell in the microscope! We kept worrying about what we’d do with triplets or twins and then when you get the sad call that you got nothing… It’s hard.
We considered quitting after every failed attempt because it’s so depressing to see that single line on the pregnancy test over and over, but I kept thinking about the little hypothetical spirit the psychic had spoken of! I kept feeling like if I stopped with the interventions it was like slamming the door in this little baby’s face and it broke my heart!
After the failed IVF I went in to discuss with my doctor if it was worth it to keep trying, and to his eternal credit he said “At your age, you are statistically as likely to have baby naturally as by using IVF”… OK. So on the one hand, what I assumed he meant was “Sorry Charlie. Game over. Go home and enjoy the child you have”.. but also, it gave me the freedom to not feel like I was slamming that door. That if it was truly meant to be, it could happen.
I decided to change my tactic. I had been relying on the scientific route, but honestly, not taking as good care of myself as I could have been. Mentally, emotionally spiritually and physically I was drained by the roller coaster ride we’d been on. I re-energized my meditation practice, went back to the Chinese herbalist and acupuncture, cleaned up my eating, put my husband on a high dose of vitamin C (recommended by the fertility doc as VERY important for men trying to conceive!). I went in for something called a Maya massage at my local spa, which is supposed to help with fertility amongst other benefits. I’ll never know which combination of these things did the trick, but I conceived naturally the day after that massage.
You hear this story so often: woman trying so hard to conceive using Assisted Reproductive Technology, gives up on the intervention and has a natural pregnancy on her next cycle. It’s happened to me and several of my dearest friends. People always say “ well, It’s because you relaxed”.. Maybe. But I think there’s more to it. Though I do believe that’s part of it.
I can only say it worked for me. If you are in the middle of this process, I am wishing you the best!!
I think my lowest point as a mom came after hearing the IVF had failed. I wasn’t discussing the details with my then 13 year old son, but I knew he could tell I was depressed and I didn’t want him imagining something really awful, so I told him the whole story. All of it. Including the bit about the psychic and the doctor giving me statistics and my decision to shift my focus to personal well being instead of relying only on scientific intervention. TMI, right?? My son thought about it for a moment. He put his hand on my shoulder and said “I really can see why you’d be so sad. That doctor sounds like a very noble and scientific man. I think it’s like The Matrix. He’s like The Oracle.. he had to tell you you weren’t “The One” so you could go out and do the thing that “The One” would do. I cried for a minute, then hugged him and realized why I wanted to make another baby so badly. Of course he was right. I was pregnant the next week.
Many of my closest friends have gone through fertility struggle at the same age and I can’t imagine having done it without their support. No one can take the disappointment away with each failed attempt, but someone who can truly commiserate is invaluable. My girl friends were so supportive and now we are all old ladies with little babies together. It’s really beautiful!
The best part of being a mom… That’s a hard one. I’m watching my 10 month old sleep right now as my son practices his drums in the other room. Watching two young lives that I’ve created turn into these people at two different stages in life. Getting to experience this first stage of consciousness with my daughter as my son is turning into an adult.. It’s just the most amazing thing! Common as dirt, but a constant miracle! And the most creative thing you will ever do, if you’re paying attention..