The journey to motherhood is different for every woman. Sometimes traditional approaches to motherhood do not work and when they fail that is when women on the journey begin taking different paths to motherhood. Alison Murray is a woman whose motherhood journey includes becoming a blended family, pregnancy and loss, adoption, and a miracle. Murray’s story is as much a story of the journey to motherhood as it is a testament to faith and seeking professional support and resources unapologetically.

EBONY spoke with Murray to discuss her unique path to motherhood and to hear the lessons she has learned from her journey to motherhood.

EBONY: What was your journey to motherhood?

Alison Murray: My journey to motherhood is not what I dreamed it would be. I had it all planned out in my mind after I got married. Dwayne [her husband] and I would wait a couple of years and then start growing our family. What I wasn’t thinking or appreciating at the time was the fact that I became a mother the moment I got married, as I gained my bonus son, Deuce. So, as planned, we waited a few years and then started trying to conceive. The desert that I would find myself in over the next seven years would be so devastating, I seriously doubted whether motherhood would be a reality for me. After four second-trimester miscarriages, one infant loss, and the miracle of our two sons (one through adoption and the other live birth), I can humbly say that my journey to motherhood has been one fraught with so many trials but ultimately one of triumph.

What led to your decision to adopt?

The decision to adopt came after our second pregnancy loss. I was sitting in church while a presentation was being given about adoption and fundraising to support birthmothers associated with a local adoption agency. My stepson gave me a hard jab to my ribs and then a not-so-secretive nod to the pulpit. Dwayne was in the choir loft, so I had no idea what he was thinking. However, after church, we started to have an initial discussion about what going down the path of adoption would mean for our family. It was not a backup plan or a second option. We desperately wanted to add to our family, and we were presented with a way that we honestly hadn’t considered. The adoption process is not for the faint of heart, and we learned and are still learning that the process is a challenging one.

How did you overcome miscarriages and loss during your journey?

I didn’t. I’m still not over them. Even when I was finally able to give birth to my son, the scars of that time and trauma remain. After Joshua died, the doctors forced me to take a break from trying. That was a very difficult space to be in. I was 35 and thought that the door was closing. What I held onto was that Joshua was the first child to survive, albeit a short time outside my body. Joshua was God’s promise that Malachi was coming. That’s why I advocate so heavily for mental health for those dealing with infertility, grief, and bereavement from pregnancy loss and infant loss. Therapy saved my marriage and my life. It gave me space to work out all my thoughts and emotions. To be quite honest, I still don’t attend baby showers. It’s a personal preference. One of my mantras is “Protect my space and Protect my peace”. Gently declining things like baby showers are how I accomplish that. But I still make sure the momma-to-be gets an awesome gift.

What words of encouragement or advice would you offer to other women on a similar journey to motherhood?

No journey is the same. In the valleys or the desert, it’s okay not to be okay. Try to hold on to “your happy”. Most importantly, lean on Romans 8:28. He hasn’t failed me yet, and I know He won’t fail you either.