On November 2nd, 2020, at precisely 2:24 pm, little Briar Juliette Lockwood came into the world weighing in at 7 lbs 1oz. Quite an accomplishment, considering that the birth mother was a 51-year old woman that had just given birth to her own “granddaughter.”
Before we begin Julie Loving’s amazing journey, it’s worth noting that it’s extremely rare and quite risky for women over 50 to give birth “naturally.”
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development about 9% of men and 11% of women in the U.S. have experienced fertility problems, with between 10 to 20 percent of births ending in miscarriages.
So, when Breanna and Aaron Lockwood had difficulty conceiving naturally, they opted for fertility treatment. Unfortunately, these resulted in Breanna suffering two heart-breaking miscarriages.
That’s when Breanna’s mother, Julie Loving, stepped up and volunteered to be the couple’s gestational surrogate, offering to carry her own grandchild to term.
51-Year-Old Mother Serves as Her Daughter's Surrogate After She Is Unable to Get Pregnant https://t.co/o8M3w4OTO5— People (@people) June 25, 2020
Gestational surrogacy is a medical procedure where eggs are retrieved from one woman and implanted into another. At which point, the woman who received the fertilized eggs becomes pregnant and delivers the newborn for another person or couple. However, at 51, you’re defying the odds.
Breanna told reporters that her mom had persistently pushed the surrogacy solution. “She came to me multiple times saying, ‘let me do this for you’.”
Breanna continued, “I kept repeatedly telling her no, as I didn’t even think it was a possibility. But now I’m just so grateful, having my mom carry is the closest place to home.”
Julie, a two-time marathon runner, felt she was well-positioned to carry her daughter’s baby. “I kind of felt like I went through this with her from the beginning, I felt all of her grief and her struggle.
“I knew that I was healthy as a 51-year-old, and I knew I could do this for her, I took good care of myself. I actually don’t feel 50, I feel 30,” Julie said.
Lockwood’s physician, Dr. Brian Kaplan, is the reproductive endocrinologist at the Fertility Centers of Illinois. He explained that Loving, “passed all tests to be Breanna’s gestational carrier, evaluations with a high-risk obstetrician, her own OBGYN, her primary care physician and a psychologist, and has now delivered a healthy baby.”
“It is important to note that this is a very, very uncommon situation, there were exceptional circumstances and exceptional relationships that made this possible,” said Kaplan, who congratulates the family and shares their excitement in welcoming baby Briar. “I saw Breanna endure a mountain of heartache and this celebratory milestone is long overdue.”
“My mom was an absolute rock-star through a difficult delivery,” Lockwood wrote in an Instagram post announcing the birth. “The sacrifices she took to bring this little slice of heaven into our world takes my breath away.”
Breanna added, “Holding my daughter in my arms, my heart is bursting. The feeling of how I would do absolutely anything needed for this child is radiating through me when I look at her, and reflects back on what my mom did for me.”
The mother-daughter duo has been widely followed on Instagram, where Lockwood shares their surrogacy journey with more than 129,000 followers.