I wish there was a stronger word for LOVE. Cause I want to express how much I love to hear how ashes have become beauty and a source of empowerment and inspiration to live fuller and with great intentionality.
That’s how I feel about Kevin and Ariana Martin. Aside from the fact that they are the HUGHEST Unbelievably Human Supporters I have yet to meet[Kevin has the site saved to his home screen] they are phoenixes. I have journeyed, from a distance, with Ariana and Kevin through their efforts to become parents. I was soo moved by their journey to become parents, I asked Ariana and Kevin to share with us(they interviewed themselves :) ). May this story move you, whatever your situation is, to always preserve and in perseverance be honest with where you are and live and find light there.
Kevin and Ariana met in college, dated for five years and where engaged for eight months and have been married for five years.
Couple Question: Was having children a shared desire & if so for how long?
Kevin: We almost didn’t get married because of our baby arguments. She wanted kids immediately.
Ariana: Kevin wanted to wait a few years. He argued, let’s finish graduate & medical school, save money, enjoy being married first, buy a home, then bring kids into the picture. The time Kevin wanted to have children became the delivery date for our inevitable twins, over 4 years after we married.
Couple question: It took about 4 years for you to conceive, how did you stay connected and motivated?
Kevin: Well it depends on the time frame. The first year and half while trying to conceive we dealt with monthly disappointments by communicating, eating out (too much!), watched funny home movies & enjoyed being newly married.
By the 2nd year we suffered a miscarriage and Ariana suffered tremendously. That year was filled with isolation; we stopped participating in baby celebrations. Ariana isolated herself and my attempts to help her cope led to my helping her avoid babies and pregnant friends/relatives. I later found spiritual strength through prayer and an increased reliance on God. I had never needed God up to that point in my life. Church was something I did, not something I lived; this would change.
Year three, Ariana, developed depression. The anger began contributing to her making mistakes at work. She became angry, and the only strength I could muster was work and maintaining a marriage, sometimes on my own. Outside communication began to cease. Her anger towards me was based on me not being as angry as she, thus being interpreted as not wanting children. She struggled with inadequacy not able to conceive while having to deliver babies to ungrateful mothers at work. What kept us together was God, outreach, patience, seeking help, and depending on each other. When seeking help she was reminded that getting help doesn’t make you weak, inadequate, or unworthy. We tried not to judge or blame each other. We continued developing our church relationships and focused on our vows to each other. The main motivation was having no where else to go and wanting our marriage to work.
Couple Question: What do you love about each other, that kept you committed to making the marriage work?
Kevin: She’s the greatest women I’ve ever known & my greatest teacher. She balances me and makes me better.
Ariana: I love Kevin. He’s everything I want to be, the essence of what love –honesty, kindness- and a giving heart is. I also admire his perseverance.
Couple Question: Was it hard to be around people with children?
Ariana: Of course! It was excruciating! It wasn’t just hard being around people, it was hard being in your very skin. Every Christmas card with your friends w/ their children, every baby shower invitation, every baby birthday, every restaurant dinner with a family and their screaming baby, every commercial pushing pampers, household cleaning products and safety mechanisms on new vehicles. When you walk the dog and see families playing in the park, riding bikes & pushing strollers; it’s difficult and it seems like there’s no where on earth where you can go to escape it. It was very difficulty after the miscarriage. We received formula constantly and from a company that reminded us that our baby did not exist. We had to write them to inform them to discontinue the service.
Couple Question: Did we ever consider giving up & what made us keep going?
Kevin: Ariana thought about giving up after year three of trying to conceive. She prayed for God to remove the desire to be a mother as the yearning to be a mother was painful considering that it was not her current reality. Everyday & every month was a reminder of what was not: us being parents. This disappointment, bitterness, anger, vulnerability, became the middle of her existence. Her upbringing was chaotic and out of control, which led to her trying to control everything possible in life. She was fighting the truth; the time wasn’t right, though she wanted to give up and hated herself for having these urges to be a mother.
Couple Question: What kept you going?
Ariana: What kept us going? God. He would constantly show me (when I was actually listening) that He was with me. One story stands out; one afternoon after work I entered the elevator to depart, soon after the door opened, a white crib entered followed by a young couple. The crib had large colorful letters that spelled HOPE. When I asked the lady was she the mom, she stuttered and said YES, we are adopting her. I smiled and stated my husband and I are considering the same. After they got off, another woman in the elevator said she and her husband conceived through fertility treatments and she would have done it again if necessary. I walked off the elevator confused, but at peace knowing that God was saying he had our back with whatever option we chose. It is a blessing to have options.
Couple Question: When did you begin to see the beauty in your ashes?
Kevin: The change came by changing our perspective. After years of trying, Ariana began to see the world differently, with the help of her husband. She stopped being angry at the sight of expecting mothers and started to declare the impeding pregnancy. The final change came by accepting a young child as our Godson. He didn’t know it, but he saved us.
Ariana: We decided to ADOPT and felt liberated. We began to embrace friends again, host events, inquire on friends children; We listed the pro’s and con’s of adopting v. treatment. Side note: we asked God for a sign after deciding to adopt as the cost were so astronomical, two days later the agency called and told us we received an anonymous donation, the plot was thickened.
But in the end we were blessed to have the opportunity to pursue IVF essentially with no cost and that was the determining factor.
Couple Question: How did you feel once the IVF worked and you found out you were having twins?
Ariana: At the beginning of the pregnancy, cautiously optimistic. During the majority of the pregnancy- anxious. When delivered the babies were very premature so, frightened for their lives but relieved that they were in this world and safe. Overall we felt grateful.
Kaden Michael and Kasen Thomas were born on February 16, 2014.
Couple Question: How do you see one another as parents?
Ariana: I see Kevin as a roll model, provider, nurturer and being the boys number one cheerleader, never giving up on them.
Kevin: I see Ariana as the quintessential mother, cooking, cleaning, disciplining, tutoring, all while loving, laughing, dancing, and nurturing our sons.
Couple Question: How do you see us as a parenting team?
Kevin/Ariana: We’re a good balance. We both believe in responsibility and celebrating life. We’re going to make uniformed decisions, not allow the children to place us against one another and remain their number 1 supporters. We will allow God to give us insight and provide us with the wisdom, patience, and understanding; so that we can be the parents He wants us to be. Our children have a purpose in the world, they are here despite all odds. We are grateful to them for choosing us to be their parents and more grateful to God for allowing us to be.
Photo credits: Liv (me) and Kevin and Ariana Martin
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