In an as-told-to essay published at Mater Mea, Rhonda Ross—the only child of Motown legends Berry Gordy and Diana Ross—bared her soul about the journey she went on to become a mother at 37.
The now-46-year-old had three miscarriages and revealed that when she began trying to have a child in her 20s, she didn't always know that she had fertility problems.
"I was in my 20s and everybody said, 'Ah, you're in your 20s! You're fine! Just try harder!' " Ross recalled. "Then, by 30, they're like, 'Well, maybe we should check some things out.' And then by 35, they're like, 'Well, now you're old,' " she said, laughing.
Ross explained that her first three pregnancies ended because of complications.
"Then, in early 2006, we got pregnant through IVF [in vitro fertilization] and miscarried twins at eight weeks. After that, we got pregnant naturally and it turned out that pregnancy was ectopic, and so we lost that [baby]. Then we conceived naturally again […] but I had fibroids, and as can happen when you have fibroids during pregnancy, I went into labor early. So we lost that pregnancy, too."
Ross credits her faith—this feeling she had that never wavered—that she would ultimately have a child.
"I knew, I knew, I knew that I would be a mother," she said. "I knew it. There was all of this darkness, but there was this pinpoint of light, and I thought, 'I still see it. Nothing is justifying it, but I still see it.' "
She described how she took some steps in her life to ensure that she wouldn't have to move around a lot if and when she got pregnant again: "One of the things I made a decision about after the third miscarriage was that whenever I got pregnant again, I was going to put myself on bed rest. I wanted to find a way to have income outside of my performances, and since I had already been interested in real estate investment, [I started my brokerage firm]. I healed myself for a year. At the end of that year, we tried again.
"And with one try, we were pregnant again and it was Raif. No help from doctors, no anything. I did go to a high-risk OB-GYN, but the truth is, it was a very healthy pregnancy and Raif has been very healthy ever since," she said. Of Raif, who was born one week before her 38th birthday, she said, "It was like he was meant to be here. He wanted to be here."
Ross also talked about how the ordeal strengthened her union with her husband. "I think these kinds of things either make or break relationships, and it made ours," she said.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.