Celebrating the Journey to Motherhood with Ashlee Elledge

As we head into Mother’s Day Weekend, a celebratory time for some and a difficult one for others, we wanted to take a moment to honor that every person’s journey is different. Beautiful, heartbreaking, rewarding, hard as f**k… sometimes all of the above at once. This story specifically highlights fertility challenges, loss, and the joy that came at the end. 

*If this feels like too much for you at this time, please feel encouraged to pass. 

We are delighted to feature a very special mom- a close friend, investor, and literal family to Eddy, Ashlee Elledge. Her journey to and through motherhood is one that we hold close, one full of the high highs and low lows. We’ve witnessed her manage the rollercoaster with grace and now shine as a mama to 5 month old twins.

Photo by Sara K Blanco Photography

No matter where you are in the journey of motherhood or supporting someone through it, we hope this piece provides light and broadens your perspective on Motherhood, the many forms it can take and the often difficult road to get there. 

Q + A

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us and so many others. We admire you for so many things, one of them being your openness to tell your story and help others, who might be going through something similar, feel a little less alone. Let’s dive right in… 

As women, our journey to and through motherhood all looks different. Your path to becoming a mother had its ups and downs. Tell us about your story. 

Growing up, I always assumed my path to motherhood would look like my own mother’s. Married in my early 20’s, a baby around 25… until those ages came and went, and I realized the life I desired didn’t look exactly like anyone else’s. I sought adventure, independence, something different than what I’d experienced in my own family, or even in what I observed with others. I met my husband at 36, and knew it was right when the saying “it takes a strong man to be with a strong woman,” rang true. He was patient (with a capital P), kind, FUN, and created a safe space for me to fully be myself. For the first time, with him, I didn’t shy away from the conversation of having children - afraid it was too early, or might scare him away. I think it was on our 3rd date that I asked if he wanted to have kids, and I received an enthusiastic yes. I knew - this was the man I would raise a family with.


You experienced loss, joy, heartbreak, hope, and longing in your journey to conceiving your rainbow babies. How did you walk through that tough road so gracefully?

It is really tough in the moment to see that others are perceiving you through that lens, and see you walking it with grace. In those really hard moments, I think I just allowed myself to feel it all. Mourn the losses, whether that was miscarriage and the excitement we already shared with friends and family, the ups and downs in the year that followed, and the uncertainty that came with all of it. Nothing was guaranteed, and that fact was clear to me throughout the process. I trusted that our family would come to be, somehow, someway - and tried my damndest not to control it. 

What advice do you have for parents going through similar journeys?

Firm up your support circle. Balance your nervous system. Eat well. Travel when you can. Find ways to laugh daily. And allow yourself to grieve. 

 Photo by Sara K Blanco Photography

What helped you stay calm during the anxious periods? 

I kept the mantra, “What IF everything goes just RIGHT? What would that feel like in my body?” After loss, it was easy for me to have disaster mind, thinking about all the ways things could go wrong - and live in a state of stress, almost panic about every little thing. Whenever I felt that monkey mind taking over, I just repeated that to myself, and it helped calm me. I had a few meltdowns early on, as my body was adjusting to the growing babies inside me. The intense hip and pubic pain, that I thought was just going to be the new norm throughout the pregnancy - went away with the new day. I wish I would’ve known then, that it won’t last - or…. I’d get used to it. Also, learning to trust my body and move in a way that felt intuitive. Swaying, hip openers, squatting - all felt so good and calming when I was pregnant.

Last Mother’s Day, you told me you were pregnant. And now, this is your first mother’s day with your babies earthside. How does that feel? What are you going to do to honor it?

It feels surreal. Still, I can’t believe I’m a mother. Other people are mothers - my MOM is a mother. It’s wild, everything and nothing has changed, all at the same time. This year, I’ll be spending it with family: my mom and dad, sister, 2 of my brothers, their families, as well as my mother and father in law. We have 5 babies born within the last 5 months to celebrate! 

What has been the hardest part of “mom-ing” so far? The best? 

Oof. GREAT question. You know, I was prepared for the signs of PPD - what I hadn’t anticipated was the insane amount of anxiety. I had no idea that PPA was a thing. I was consumed with worry, and had a need to control every little thing those first couple months. I’ve now learned that there are a couple different manifestations of PPA, one of them being “Mama Bear,” which I fully embodied. 

And the best? How could I possibly choose - my heart explodes daily. Juniper just laughed for the first time, looking at her brother. It could not have been more perfect. James wakes up every morning the happiest person on the planet and we swear he’s mirroring “I love you” with “AAAAaaaaOOOO.”  They are so different, and it’s my greatest joy watching them experience this world, from a state of absolute purity.

If you could choose one mantra for your motherhood journey what would it be?

This too shall pass. The hard moments, the sweetest moments, it is all impermanent.

Any words of advice for someone going through a challenging path to motherhood?

You are not alone. You have an army of women beside you, behind you, and in front of you, who have gone this road before. If you are struggling, reach out to someone. Vulnerability breeds support and strength. I had no idea how many women struggled with infertility and loss until we experienced it, and while it didn’t lessen the pain, knowing other women were with me made me feel infinitely less alone. 

Don't be afraid to switch things up. Halfway through our journey to parenthood, after failed egg retrieval, a miscarriage and multiple chemical pregnancies, I switched OBs and fertility clinics. I started seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, saw a doctor who aligned more with how I wanted to approach pregnancy, and a fertility clinic who trusted that I could get and stay pregnant with less invasive practices. Trust your gut, and know that your body, your journey, is not textbook. 

Photo by Sara K Blanco Photography

Thank you Ashlee. You are a true gem, bring a sense of calm to anyone around you, have wisdom on so much, are a talented photographer (@ashleenewmanphoto), can fly fish like no other, are an amazing wife, hold years balancing your career with life’s up and downs, and now are an unbelievable Mama to 5 month old TWINS (and 3 pups!!).  We could not be more appreciative of your time. 

Wishing you the best first Mother’s Day! We love you so much!

Ashlee wore Eddy through the entirety of her pregnancy. Click here to explore her favorites.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published