My Journey to “Mom”

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journey
(photo credit: Ravanelli Photography)

Hi everyone, I’d love to share with you how I became “Mom” to my four babies…

I am Janine, a mom of two angels and two rainbows, currently living  in Port Chester, NY. A little bit about me…Wine, coffee, Friends reruns, cooking, exploring new places, and meeting new people, make me tick. Wanting a complete change of scenery (I grew up in Stratford, CT), I journeyed to a couple of different colleges before switching gears completely and pursuing my passion; baking. After graduating with a culinary degree, I went on to be an executive pastry chef, a cake designer, and a corporate sous chef in NYC. I married my husband, Bryce, in 2012, knowing pretty early on that he was the one! My journey to motherhood is a little unique and I am thrilled to be here sharing my story and advice.

Becoming a mother did not come easily to me and each of my children are IVF miracles. Our struggle with infertility brought us closer together as a couple but also brought with it sadness and stress. We remained hopeful, though, and were blessed with identical twins. Gavin and Chase, were born in June of 2014. Sadly, I delivered them at only 21 weeks and 2 days gestation, and due to their severe prematurity, they each only lived for two short hours.

Losing my children was the lowest point of my life. I battled severe depression, overwhelming guilt, PTSD, withdrawal from family and friends and basically, the world. Through grief therapy and a wonderful support group (Hope After Loss) I was able to start allowing light back into my life. We decided to open our hearts to IVF again with a frozen embryo. My rainbow baby, Nora, was born in August of 2015.

Becoming a mother to a living child was the most joyful, frightening, and beautiful, experience of my life. Parenting after loss is so incredible, but also so challenging at times. I worried about every single thing and still battle feelings of fear and guilt. I hope to share with you some of my journey about pregnancy and parenting after loss, as I know, firsthand, that loss moms struggle with the juxtaposition of joy and grief.

In February of 2017, we tried more fertility treatments to give our daughter a living sibling, but unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. Feeling broken and defeated, we almost gave up. After talking to friends and our fertility doctor, we decided to try IVF one last time. Our son, Nolan, was born four weeks early in November of 2017. His stay in the NICU brought back feelings of depression and PTSD which was very challenging for me. I am just now starting to feel like myself again, finding a new normal of mothering two children in Heaven and two on Earth. We talk about our angels daily and I owe the mother I am today to my twin boys.

Having always wanted to be a mother (yes, I was the weird 8-year-old who dressed up as a pregnant mom for Halloween – my parents must have been mortified), spending every day with my babies is such a blessing. Sure, finances are tight, but I wouldn’t trade being a SAHM for anything. We go on adventures, have dance parties in our living room, bake, and do crafts. We sometimes stay in our jammies until 2 p.m. (don’t judge me), eat breakfast for dinner (homemade vanilla cinnamon pancakes anyone?), and have piles of laundry on our couch, but hey, you only live once, and the kids aren’t complaining.

What matters most to me is that my kids remember me playing with them, being silly, and being their number one fan. They aren’t little forever! I am so excited to contribute to Westchester County Moms Blog because I believe that we, as moms, are stronger in numbers. A mama tribe where we all feel supported, loved, and cheered on, is something so important to me and I look forward to connecting with you. Stay tuned for my first post about homemade baby food (it’s so easy and even kind of fancy, you may want to eat it yourself!).  

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Janine is a stay at home mom of four, two on earth and twins in Heaven. She grew up in Stratford, CT and now lives in Port Chester, NY. After graduating from culinary school in 2010, she went on to be an executive pastry chef, a cake designer, then a corporate sous chef in NYC. Janine started her journey to becoming a Mom following her 2012 wedding. After struggles with infertility, she and her husband turned to IVF and were blessed with identical twins. Her twin boys grew wings on 6/26/14, after being born severely premature. Overcoming the darkness of infant loss and finding a new normal were very trying. Janine and her husband welcomed a rainbow baby in August of 2015, who’s name means “pure light.” Their daughter brought so much joy and light back into their world. In November of 2017, their second rainbow and miracle, a boy, was born. Janine works very diligently, as a mother of angels, to make sure her boys are always remembered. She is a facilitator for Hope After Loss, a support group in CT for grieving parents, and honors her boys every day in special ways. Janine loves to do yoga, cook for her family (homemade baby food and all), drink wine, and is always up for a cup of coffee. She is also in the beginning phase of co-authoring a baby cookbook with a dear childhood friend, and creates custom cakes and cupcakes for special occasions. Her sweet creations can be seen on her website www.neaniecakes.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Janine, thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about your heart breaking losses and happy for your joys. We actually went through IVF and just had our first with a surrogate!

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