Becoming a mother is one of the most transformative life experiences.
Some women find complete satisfaction in the role, while others are forced to make difficult choices and some wish they had remained childless. We set out to capture the breadth of this human phenomenon — to uncover stories that were less about parenting and more about the fundamental shift in identity that women experience when they consider becoming a mother.
Through a call-out posted to The New York Times and on our social media channels, we asked you to share stories.
More than 1,300 of you responded.
These submissions have been lightly edited for brevity.
We heard about raising a child with a difficult past:
“I was licensed as a foster parent … and 48 hours later I was placed with my first child, a toddler who didn’t eat, sleep or talk, not even to say ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy.’ Six weeks later, when I finally reached the unwilling case worker, all she said was, ‘It was a meth house. What more do you want?’ And that launched my first go at motherhood — 10 of the most brutal, wrenching, exhausting, exhilarating, life-changing months I’ve ever had.” — C. Denby
We heard about losing your own identity:
“I regret not being prepared for the most terrifying moment I could never have anticipated on that day. I regret the loss of my innocence of what I thought being a parent meant. I regret the days of not constantly worrying about the well being of someone you are terrified to lose. I regret the loss of myself.” — Kaye
And of the trials of infertility after age 30:
“Like many little girls, I loved my baby dolls. But once my 20s were gone, I began to feel concerned about how I was going to have a baby. At this point, I was lesbian, living in New York, saddled with student loan debt, not in a meaningful relationship, not even in a steady job. The dots were not connecting.” — Sarah
From these stories, we created Conception: An animated video series told through the voices of six women, launching Jan. 18.
You’ll meet a young Catholic woman who has come to terms with her feelings of resentment toward her child; sisters who decide to share the ultimate gift; a pregnant woman who lost her partner; a mother who had her dream family but wanted a new identity; and one who almost took her own life. We owe immense gratitude to the women who agreed to share their stories.
The emotions in these videos feel universal: doubt, love, anticipation, regret. Yet we know they only represent a tiny sliver of the universe of motherhood. There is infinite room for storytelling that encompasses more facets of motherhood, including but certainly not limited to: same-sex couples, infertility, a child lost at birth and the choices women make every day about whether to have a child or not.
You can share your feedback or your story with our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Every Thursday evening, we’ll spotlight a new episode here. To receive weekly email reminders, sign up for the Well Family newsletter below.
Trailer edited by Emily Rhyne.