Voices from the WE ARE WORTHY SUMMIT: Introducing Brandi Lytle

Brandi's Story:

Embracing, Accepting, Redefining, Loving...

They say all little girls dream of their wedding day.  I didn’t.  But I did dream about being a wife and a mom.  Part of that dream came true quite easily.  I married my wonderful husband when I was just 23-years-old, filled with hope and the certainty that this was the beginning of my happily ever after...

 Even though he promised not to, I wasn't sure my ornery husband wouldn't smash cake in my face!      Dec. 10, 2000

Even though he promised not to, I wasn't sure my ornery husband wouldn't smash cake in my face!  Dec. 10, 2000

Already a Wife & Ready to be a Mom...

Three years into our marriage, we decided it was time to grow our family.  But ten years, seven failed IUI fertility treatments, several adoption meetings, and countless tears later, we still didn’t have a baby. 

I was ready to adopt through child services, but my hubby told me that he didn’t want to try anymore.  No more treatments.  No more meetings.  He did not want to spend ten more years trying.  He wanted to accept our life as it was—childless—and just move on.  And I was utterly crushed.

How could we give up now?!  We had to keep trying!  What if one more treatment, one more meeting led us to our child? 

But he was done.  And I had a choice to make.  Would I rather have my husband and no baby or a baby and no husband…

As I considered that, I realized that my dream was never to just have a baby.  My dream was to have a family, to be a wife and a mom.  Without my hubby, I couldn’t attain that dream.

So, at the beginning of 2014, I decided to embrace my infertility and try to begin accepting my childless life.  But I couldn’t give up on my dream of being a mom.  Now, that may sound impossible.  If I was accepting childlessness, then I had to accept that I’d never be a mom, right?  Well, I couldn’t accept that.  So, I had to redefine what "momhood" means to me.

Redefining "Momhood"...

Redefining momhood meant I fully and whole-heartedly embraced my role as dog mom.  We had a new fur baby, Madalynne, which is what we had wanted to name our baby girl.  Since we would never have a two-legged kiddo, we decided to name our four-legged kid with our favorite name! 

As an over-zealous dog mom, I post too many pictures of Maddie, celebrate her birthday, and buy her presents.  In fact, I have so completely embraced my dog mom role that a family member told me that my relationship with Maddie is “unhealthy.”  Although her comment made me stumble for a moment, I decided that her opinion about my life doesn’t really matter, especially since my hubby encourages my dog mom role and takes his dog dad role pretty seriously, too!

 Celebrating Maddie's 2nd Birthday!  May 1, 2015

Celebrating Maddie's 2nd Birthday!  May 1, 2015

Redefining as a Host Mom...

One year into fully embracing our dog parent roles, my hubby and I met a foreign exchange student and her host mom at a cooking class.  After class, we looked at each other and said, “I think we could do that...”  So, we filled out the paperwork and two months later, we had a two-legged kid in our home… 

I truly do not believe that we would have hosted Bruna if we’d had a baby of our own.  And that would have been a travesty because the six months we spent with Bruna were the absolute BEST time of our life!  Being her host mom pushed me to continue to redefine momhood for myself. 

Bruna allowed us to be parents and have some of the “firsts” that we had only dreamed of.  And along the way, we became family.  Like my relationship with Maddie, not everyone understands my feelings towards Bruna.  In fact, another family member told me that I was crazy to call Bruna our daughter.  But again, her opinion doesn’t matter.  I know what I feel in my heart…

 I never thought my daughters would be a foreign exchange student from Brazil and a furry Pom!  April 2015

I never thought my daughters would be a foreign exchange student from Brazil and a furry Pom!  April 2015

Loving with a Mom Heart...

Being Maddie’s dog mom and Bruna’s host mom has helped me realize that there are so many ways to love with a “mom heart.”  I have always felt a deep connection with my nieces and nephews.  I love being their aunt, or more specifically, “Tia.”  But now, I understand…  I love them with a “mom heart.”  They are my kids, and that is why I simply cannot embrace the term “childfree.”  I don’t ever want these kiddos to think that I want to be free of them…

 Having fun with my nieces and nephew.  December, 2017

Having fun with my nieces and nephew.  December, 2017

Embracing, Accepting, Redefining, Loving...

I am now in year five of embracing my infertility and accepting my childless life.  I still have the occasional wobble, I still wonder sometimes…  But mostly, I focus on the bright sides of my childless life and fiercely embrace my roles as wife, dog mom, host mom, and aunt.  My dreams, my “happily ever after,” have come true.  I just had to redefine…

I am Not So Mommy…, redefining momhood and loving with a “mom heart.”

~by Brandi Lytle

 Brandi Lytle, founder of "Not So Mommy..."

Brandi Lytle, founder of "Not So Mommy..."

Brandi Lytle, founder of Not So Mommy…, is a wife, dog mom, aunt, host mom, infertile woman who is embracing her childless (but not childfree) life and redefining what momhood means to her.  Brandi’s hope is to inspire others to be their authentic selves and discover a Plan B that brings them joy!