Name: Nina Lesser-Goldsmith
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Tell us about yourself.
Before your journey to parenthood began, how would you describe yourself? What types of things do you like to do for fun?
I’ve always been super active. I love living in VT because I can get outside during all seasons. I love hiking, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, boating. I have been an avid Crossfitter for 4 years now – it changed my life in many ways. My husband and I love to travel. We have traveled all over the world. We are also both trained Chefs and love to cook and enjoy good food with friends.
What do you do for work?
I own and operate a Natural Foods supermarket – we have two stores, one in Burlington and one in Saratoga Springs NY. I am partners with my mother and my brother – it’s a family business (my parents started it 30 years ago).
Tell us a little about your partner, spouse or support system.
Are you married/do you have a partner?
Married. We were together for 9 years and married for 3 before trying to start a family.
My husband is the most amazing person I know ☺ And honestly, this whole experience has brought us closer. His name is Zach and I will write ALL about him in my very long story!
Your extended support system: Do you have friends or family that you relied on for support?
My family is amazing and we are very close. I share an office with my mother and brother as we run our business together so we see each other every day. My dad also lives locally and I see him every week. Because my mom and brother were with me in California during my first loss the whole process really took a toll on them too. They shared in much of my deep sadness. I know that especially for my brother, who was in the room with me when I delivered my first baby, there was some deep emotional stuff happening. I think we all suffered some level of PTSD from that experience.
I have amazing friends. They were all there for me the whole way. They would let me talk endlessly about my feelings. They were always supportive and always sensitive to my needs.
We're there friends or family, events or circumstances that you to chose to avoid during this period?
When I got pregnant for the first time, my brother and his wife also announce they were expecting a couple weeks later. My sister in law and I happily shared in our early pregnancies together. When I lost mine there were certainly a lot of emotions. I know it cast a shadow over her pregnancy – we have talked about it a lot since. I made a conscious point to stay connected to her as her pregnancy progressed. I knew that if I went away from her I would regret it someday or that I would be sad that I had missed out on the beginning of my nephew’s life. When my nephew was born he became a bright light in my life. I am really happy I didn’t shy away from them during that time, even though it was painful at times.
I had one friend who got pregnant right after my first loss. She is what I refer to as “so pregnant” – meaning everything she did was about pregnancy. She talked about it all the time and it was as if nothing else in the world was happening. She also happened to be one of my friends who has the biggest heart and was one of the best listeners. I did avoid her for a period during the middle of her pregnancy. But at the end I came back around – it was important to me to share in her joy.
In general I had a lot of strange emotions when I saw other pregnant women. I would feel the most intense feeling of envy – I wanted what they had! It was not jealousy. Jealousy is when you wish you had it instead of them. I tried really hard not to deny other people joy. I tried really hard not to play the “why me?” card, but instead to ask “why NOT me?!” I’m not more or less special than anyone else…we’re all just bozos on the bus. Hard things happen. This was my path. Even when I was pregnant I would see women more pregnant than me and feel the same intense envy. And then I’d remember that I was pregnant too. But somehow I never felt like I was part of the club.
Tell us about your experience trying to get pregnant.
We recognize that we are asking you to reflect on and share a very vulnerable time in your life. Each experience has highs and lows and we are asking you to share these with us in an effort to help others. I have been through miscarriage several times and I know how hard it is to talk about it. If it's possible, please share all that you can. We are hoping in doing so you will find it as a way to continue to heal.
Can you share how you go through the difficult times?
There were so many aspects of my journey – spiritual, emotional, physical…I really became a new version of myself. I write a lot about it in my story, but I cannot say enough about the personal work I did in therapy during this time. I now work with a lot of women coping with pregnancy loss and the one thing I tell every single one of them is they need a good therapist. My therapist is brilliant. He helped me look deep into my soul and learn how to name my emotions and how to embrace them. I am a stronger person because of my experience, but it was not without a lot of work.
If there were times when you though you wanted to stop trying what or who kept you motivated?
I never wanted to give up. If I learned one thing from all of this it is that I was meant to be a mom. It became more and more important to me as the time passed. I have never been a determined person – I cruised through school, college, etc. I was ok at sports. I like my career, but I never had a drive to be the best at anything. But I found myself intensely invested in becoming a mother. In the times I was worried I’d never be able to have a baby of my own I researched adoption with the same abandon that I researched my own fertility.
The other side of the journey.
How has your journey changed you as a person, parent, friend?
As a person I believe I am stronger. I know exactly who I am and what I want in life. As a parent I am eternally loving. I know that Teal chose us because her soul needed the purest kind of love. I appreciate what I have every single day. As a friend I am more empathetic. I recognize that whatever my friends are going through that is hard is valid, and real. I am a better listener and more understanding.
How has your journey changed your relationship with your partner?
I write about this in my story as well. I never knew I could love my partner the way we I do now. I learned how to expose my whole heart to my partner and be vulnerable. I learned that it is ok to need someone. I don’t anything could break Zach and I apart after this experience.
Knowing what you know now would you do anything differently?
Yes – I would have gone to a specialist earlier. I love my OB and they were more caring, accommodating and encouraging than most doctors, but they are not fertility specialists. They are great at delivering babies, but if I could go back I would have gone to a fertility clinic to get pregnant where a specialized care plan would have been created for me earlier.
Can you share some of the positive things you learned from your experience?
I learned that you need to be an advocate for yourself in the medical world. Unless you research and speak up about the kind of care you want/need you’ll essentially be lost in the system or you’ll have to suffer much hardship before you are labeled a special case. I pushed hard for many of the tests I needed and asked for more thorough care than they would have given me otherwise. Sometimes you have to be willing to pay too. Often times insurance won’t cover tests, but to really find out what your body needs it’s worth it to pay for specialist visits and alternative care – in my opinion (and I fully recognize that I am privileged person of sufficient means to do that. I know it’s not always an option for everyone).
The majority of what I learned was on a more deep/spiritual level. I learned things about myself and about how to deal with my emotions and feelings. I learned how to love my husband bigger and better than ever before. I learned how to be a better friend, and what kinds of friends I needed in my life. I even broke with a friend during my journey because I realized they just would never be there for me the way I needed them to be. My journey to motherhood truly has been the greatest learning experience of my life. I have gotten to know my true self – I write a lot about this process in my story below.
Do you have any regrets?
Not one single regret.
Do you have any advice for people considering having a family?
Remind yourself from the beginning that it is a process. Prepare for it to possibly be hard at times. No one’s journey is the same. I know people who have had miscarriages and it barely affected them.