This has been tough. Digging in deep enough to let you in, but I promised myself to be authentic with you. I was hoping this letter would be celebratory. After all, it’s 2017! We – along with you, should be celebrating the blank pages of the new year but I’m left reeling from one of the toughest years of my life, personally.

I’m just days away from turning 36 years old, and by most standards – I can comfortably say I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. The more than decade long career as a television news broadcaster, the guts to leave it all behind and launch a college kid’s dream of owning a magazine. Here I am. I’ve done it. I’m doing it! I’m proof that with hard work, perseverance and a lot of passion – you can accomplish anything.

Everything I’ve plastered on my vision board is coming to fruition. Everything but becoming a mother. While there’s still so much more I want to accomplish professionally – nothing tugs at my heart more than the desire to have a family. Like many women, I waited to start a family. But I don’t have any regrets. I didn’t meet the man of my dreams (literally – and there was a time in my life I thought that would never happen too) until five years ago. We got married in March 2014, and have been trying to become parents ever since.

When I say trying – I don’t just mean the ‘Babe! It’s time. I’m ovulating. Let’s hanky panky.’ And that is so not sexy by the way. There’s nothing quite like a married couple getting it on just to procreate.

Do I have permission to let it all out? I’m giving myself permission to be vulnerable. Too many of us put on a mask, armor ourselves – pretending our lives are perfect. And guess what? We are not perfect! Don’t look at me and think to yourself for a second that I have it all together. Am I blessed? Yes. That’s because I’d like to think I’m an eternal optimist. But do I have days where I feel like everything around me is falling apart? You bet.

Christmas 2016 will go down as one of the most trying emotional times of my life. We put our faith in a ‘Christmas Miracle’ – what we got was yet another test of our faith. Our second round of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) failed. Yes, you heard me right. The first round was hard enough. But to get the devastating news that I was not pregnant again on Christmas?

Fucked up.

More than $30,000 later …here I am, left wondering – will I ever become a mother? There’s nothing like spending tens of thousands of dollars to change your mindset about money. Poof. Gone. And still no baby.

And as I drove to the gym the morning after – I yelled to the world, ‘Is that all you got for me? Is that your best shot? You think you can break me? You can’t b-r-e-a-k me bitch.’ This is the tame version.

The challenges we’ve faced would break anyone. It will test your self-worth, your faith and your marriage in more ways than one. And here we are, still standing.

I’m going to be fine, and we’ll never give up. Women like us don’t give up. 2017 is still a blank canvas.

So many women – too many women look in the mirror hating themselves. I’ve had too many of these moments after dozens of shots, a bruised and bloated stomach, surgeries and months of waiting and anticipating what turned out to be dreaded results.

It’s a time of new year’s resolutions – the we’re not good enough as we are resolutions. Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals. And I’m not excusing unhealthy behaviors. But there’s something refreshing about letting it all out – flaws and all, saying to the world, ‘This is me. This is who I am. And I’m okay with it.’

So for once, I said to myself – this is me right now. My body has been through a battle. What’s there to hate?

That is what’s so inspiring about our cover girl. Rachel McCrary is innovating the fashion industry. She’s tellings us to look at our reflection – and love ourselves. McCrary has created something we can all feel good about.

Instead of being like 99% of publications on the market today – you won’t find an article about how to lose weight. If you want to, more power to you. My husband owns a gym – trust me, exercise and health are extremely important to us. But I love the message behind Rachel’s body positive movement. And I appreciate her honesty about entrepreneurship.

She’ll inspire you to be more real. And the world needs more of that.

This is my Letter from the Founder for the January 2017 issue of HER Magazine. You can download our latest issue in iTunes or Google Play

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