Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at Hunter Museum of American Art
Lucia Cook, Ooltewah
Coming from a big Caribbean family, I often looked forward to the day when I would get married and start a family of my own. I was excited when I married my college sweetheart, Robert, in 2002, and just as excited months later when we became pregnant. Our initial joy and excitement quickly turned to nervousness as we learned that I had large fibroids and our baby may not survive.
With every doctor visit, I anticipated being asked, “Ms. Cook, are you sure you want to continue with this pregnancy?” and every time I was ready to confidently respond with, “We plan to continue unless God decides otherwise.” Four months later, I delivered my stillborn baby boy, Isaiah, at just under five months pregnant. We were devastated, but we still had hope. After having eight fibroids removed and becoming pregnant again, I delivered my second stillborn baby boy, Marcus, the following year.
Did we want to try again? Could we handle another loss? They say that the third time’s the charm, but we decided to give ourselves and my body some time to heal. We knew that God would direct our path, and, at the age of 27, I had a hysterectomy.
At times I felt like a failure, but what felt like a denial ended up just being a delay. Six years after we first became pregnant and only two months after applying, we were approved for a newborn adoption! I vividly remember flying to California and waiting in the delivery room for the C-section to be completed. We were finally starting our family, the one I had dreamed and prayed about for years. As I held Napoleon for the first time and looked at the not-so-tiny human who would change our world, I realized I wasn’t a failure; God had been preparing our custom-made blessing, tailored exactly for us.
The lesson in the blessing? When your path looks different from others and you are being tested and you want to give up, know that if God brought you to it, He will bring you through it.
The pain in our process was for a purpose. The experience taught me a deeper sense of empathy and shaped my true desire to help others achieve their dreams. I have the opportunity to do that in my personal and professional life, and it brings me great joy. From inspiring other women to adopt children of their own to helping people simply be their best selves and achieve goals they never imagined would be possible, it was all worth it.