Off we go.
I'd bet you haven't heard her name, but you may have heard about her story. She is a mother and grandmother in Iowa, and in a strange medical twist of fate, got to be both at the same time.
Her daughter, Ashley, wanted to have children, but was told that it would be too risky for her to attempt to carry pregnancies because she has pulmonary hypertension. Ashley underwent IVF procedures to remove eggs to be fertilized and frozen in 2010, but she required a gestational surrogate to help bring the children into the world.
Her mom, Suzie, volunteered.
Though she was older than ideal, the doctors decided that she was healthy enough and had successfully carried enough pregnancies herself to give it a shot. The first pregnancy resulted in a little girl in 2011, and she gave birth to twin girls this year.
Grandma of the year, right here.
Okay, so she's out there sometimes. Okay, so it's more than sometimes. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born to a Roman Catholic family and was writing her own music by the age of 14.
She's had more than her fair share of controversy, this is true. She does a lot of what she does for effect. It's not common to wear a dress made of meat or hatch yourself out of an egg on stage.
She doesn't just make music, she is the personification of performance art. She is hair and makeup and wardrobe and dance and light and props. My youngest child is a ridiculously huge fan of hers.
She's also not just a musician. She is, for a good many people out there, a hero. Perez Hilton is quoted for saying that she writes really deep intelligent lyrics with shallow concepts. Often misinterpreted, she stands up and speaks out for the issues she is passionate about, the most well known of which is youth empowerment. She started the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 after the worldwide response to the song of the same name helped young people embrace who they are.
Put your paws up, baby, because you were born this way.
There is this beautiful tapestry of writers on the internet. Some of us are on the fringes far away from the experiences of others, but connected nonetheless by our desire to write it and share it with the world. Then there are those who's stories run parallel to us for a little while or for just a moment, and our lives touch one another.
Alexa is one of those people.
I met her a while back now, though I couldn't say when, but I'm sure that we were brought together at some point through our stories of grief.
Though our stories are not very similar at all, we share the truth that we put out there for the world again today, that we both navigate this world without a child who should be here. Today, on the Day of Hope, we both share our stories of loss so that others out there won't feel so alone.
|Photo courtesy of the CarlyMarie Project Heal|
Instead of taking her grief and sitting with it, she has become a voice in the universe for the condition that took her sweet Kathryn, twin to twin transfusion syndrome. She is a safe harbor in the rough seas for the parents out there dealing with this often catastrophic condition. She is a place for information, for support, for love, for a voice that whispers I understand and I will help you.
You can find her on her blog here and on her Facebook page, No Holding Back, here.
She is a pillar of strength, and she inspires me every day to work towards helping others by sharing our stories.
Thank you, Alexa. I am blessed to call you a friend and so grateful that our stories on that beautiful tapestry intersected.