- A Chicago woman gave birth to her grandchild after her daughter’s years-long struggle with infertility.
- 51-year-old Julie Loving says she has kept fit from running and focusing on healthy nutrition.
- Now, her daughter Breanna Lockwood is sharing the family’s journey on Instagram.
A mother’s sacrifice knows no bounds; that is the first piece of parenting advice that Julie Loving, a 51-year-old Chicago mother, exemplified when she stepped in to carry her own grandchild after her daughter’s four-year struggle with infertility.
And now, new mom Breanna Lockwood knows exactly what that unconditional love feels like with the long-awaited arrival of her daughter. Lockwood shared the news with a photograph, welcoming her to the world and revealing her name, Briar Juliette Lockwood.
“My mom was an absolute rockstar through a difficult delivery. The sacrifices she took to bring this little slice of heaven into our world takes my breath away,” Lockwood wrote in the post.
“Holding my daughter in my arms my heart is bursting. The feeling of how I would do absolutely anything needed for this child is radiating through me when I look at her, and reflects back on what my mom did for me,” she continued. “Every move and decision I make for my daughter, I’m finding the answers through how my mom raised me. The way she loves and the selflessness she exudes is pure, genuine and kind.”This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
Many loyal commenters who have followed her story shared an outpouring of support and well wishes for Lockwood, her husband Aaron, and her mother, Julie, during their unique, inspiring story.
In July, Breanna Lockwood told OprahMag.com about their unique journey to parenthood. The Lockwoods got hitched in June 2016, and Breanna’s grandfather’s escalating battle with cancer put a jumpstart on the couple’s plans to have a baby. Lockwood tells OprahMag.com that they wanted to have a baby before his passing, hoping that he would get to meet his great-grandchild. Their attempts to conceive proved to be more difficult than they expected.
“I kind of always thought it was going to happen really quickly,” Lockwood says. “You spend your whole life preventing—and when you stop to preventing, it doesn’t happen right away.”
She adds: “I really struggled with talking about it; it put a strain with family and friends and your marriage. It’s something that really rocks someone’s world.”
After months of trying on their own, the couple visited Dr. Brian Kaplan, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois, who suggested they begin fertility treatment. Two heartbreaking miscarriages later, Lockwood says she developed Asherman’s syndrome, which is a condition that is acquired from scarred tissue in the uterus. For Dr. Kaplan, it was time for a new option, but Lockwood was determined.
“What really helped me when I was really struggling was that I was very determined. I kept saying ‘I am going to be a mom.’ I think that’s important for women to know that there are options,” Lockwood says.
“I kept saying ‘I am going to be a mom.’”
For some couples, determination is one thing, but the cost of surrogacy is another, and the price tag for The Lockwoods was nearly $100,000. To assist with the problem of cost, Loving presented a solution: she’d carry her grandchild for them. She persistently volunteered herself to her daughter, who was reluctant at first. But, eventually, Loving won her over.
“I kind of felt like I went through this with her from the beginning. I felt all of her grief and her struggle. I knew that I was healthy as a 51-year-old, and I knew I could do this for her, I took good care of myself. I actually don’t feel 50l I feel 30!” Loving says.
When she brought her mother in to visit Dr. Kaplan during an appointment, there was some expected hesitation. “I could see a look in his eye, and I could see his wheels beginning to turn a little bit,” Lockwood described. Being uniquely fit, Loving passed a series of tests: cholesterol, psychology tests, panels of bloodwork, and more. Miraculously, Loving got the green light from both her daughter and the doctor.
“This is obviously a very unique scenario and was done after very careful personalized medical, psychological and ethical considerations,” Dr. Kaplan says. “The family dynamic, unconditional support and sacrifice and the resilience of the human spirit was humbling for me as a physician.”
Loving—a two-time Boston Marathon runner who pays very close attention to her nutrition— acted as their gestational surrogate, meaning that she carried Breanna and Aaron’s biological child… and her biological grandchild. Loving says what she provided was simply a testament to a mother’s love and sacrifice. “No doubt, no regrets, I would do that. I love her so much I just wanted to help her.” Her daughter admits: “The baby book looks wild right now.”
Now, the family is going public with their remarkable story. During their hardest and darkest days, Lockwood says she was very private. Her experience was painful, and she says sometimes people unintentionally came off as insensitive.
But as her journey has transformed into something so extraordinary, Lockwood is sharing every step of their story with her more than 31,000 followers on Instagram.
“I decided to go public with everything to celebrate my mom and everything she has done,” Lockwood says. And although she has struggled with letting her guard down after years of disappointment, she allowed herself to get excited. Her husband—who Lockwood calls the most laidback, easygoing guy— helps her feel more positive whenever she began to feel doubtful. He has always believed “it’s going to work,” she says. And while he had been forced to keep some distance during pregnancy appointments because of the Coronavirus pandemic, he worked to make sure their baby’s nursery was all ready to go.
As for Loving, she said she was excited to carry a child again during what she had described as a pretty easy-going pregnancy, though she did admit she felt a bit more fatigued.
If you want to continue to follow along on their journey, Lockwood’s Instagram account is an open book, in which she shares her personal experiences and resources to raise awareness about infertility, treatment, as well as mental health tips. “I was shocked by the reception it was really eye opening and touching,” Lockwood says.
And this story, she says, will be one that her daughter will get to know about as soon as she’s able to grasp it. And she hints at sharing more news about the delivery. “My mom Julie, and baby Briar are doing fantastic and healthy! I have SO MUCH to share on our birth experience, but right now my husband and I are soaking up these newborn moments!”