A Mother’s Relentless Journey of Faith, Hope and Courage.
by Dr. Dana Harris | photos by Celina DeSantis Photography


There is no role in life more essential or more eternal than that of motherhood. It is among the most complex and demanding role imaginable. The joys and treasures come in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times but amidst all the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction. A mother’s role and sacred duty is to rear her children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, and to foster loving encouragement so that they can develop toward their highest potential.  While both mothers and fathers are essential to a child’s healthy development, it is the mother whose emotional and spiritual impact reaches far beyond circumstances and feelings. Mothers overlook a child’s imperfections and limitations and choose instead to celebrate the gift of love of a child. When a mother has nurtured the developing child in her own body, she feels a compelling and undeniable drive to protect her child. A mother’s love for her child is unlike that of any other and because of that I am inspired to share my daughter’s story, a story of faith, hope, courage and resilence.

On the morning of March 8, 2017(a day that will forever remain in my heart, mind and soul for many years to come), we received the most chilling phone call of our lives. There was a voice on the other end of the phone, telling us that our daughter, Tanya had given birth to her son at 27 weeks. These startling words echoed in my ear for what seemed like hours. My initial reaction was, “Why did God allow this to happen?”  A tiny human being had come into this world three months earlier than expected, weighing only two pounds and three ounces. What was more disturbing was that my daughter delivered her newborn baby all alone in her home without any warning signs whatsoever. The possibility of losing both my daughter and grandson were unimaginable.

When we arrived at the hospital, our daughter was heavily sedated with tubes and wires were hooked in and around her body that somehow seemed like an endless web. Our premature grandson had been rushed to the NIC Unit, where he laid helplessly with paper-thin skin and eyes that couldn’t yet open. He was attached to machines and IV lines and was fighting zealously for his life.  The days ahead seemed like an eternity.  You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.  Our tiny miracle remained in NICU for 60 days until finally coming home on oxygen and a monitor. Both my daughter and her husband are truly blessed to have received the reassurance and support of such a devoted medical team and now they are extremely committed to helping premature babies survive against staggering odds.  In the U.S., more than 450,000 babies are born premature and the numbers are increasing at an alarming rate according to the March of Dimes Organization.  This non-profit continues to do extraordinary work, aggressively tracking and improving the country’s pre-term birth rate.  Delivering a premature baby is undoubtedly quite different from what parents-to-be dream about when they make plans for their little one.  As my daughter remained in the hospital for several weeks, undergoing numerous surgeries, we remained optimistic and encouraged. My son-in- law, Brian, who I absolutely adore, is to be admired for his profound sense of faith as well as the love, support and attentiveness which he demonstrated throughout this overwhelming experience.  As a loving husband and father, he remained by my daughter’s side both day and night reassuring her. What’s more amazing is that he would visit the NICU daily, watching over his tiny son for hours while praying, holding him and whispering gentle words of love and comfort in his ear.

As a mother and grandmother, I remain continually humbled by the enormous opportunities I’ve had raising my daughter. I discovered extremely early that parenthood affords us many occasions in which we find ourselves in a battle between our mind and our heart.  We enter the parenting journey with visions of what it will be. For the most part, these visions are filled with fantasies, beliefs and assumptions. A mother’s job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible. Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish and dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart and nothing will do more to restore contentment and joy than a true spirit of gratitude and appreciation. I will always be eternally grateful for the guidance and support of an extraordinary medical team along with the praise and encouragement we received from family members during this life altering experience.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that our adorable little miracle, Bryce, is now one year old.  He’s healthy, happy, learning and growing each and every day.  He is such a joy to have in our lives and his big sister, London is enjoying every precious moment she gets to spend with her little brother. I am filled with an immense level of pride for my daughter because of the incredible mother and wife that she is and the remarkable, amazing woman that she has ultimately become. As her mom, I have tried to provide my daughter with insight into the important things in life while encouraging her to always walk with confidence, compassion, humility and dignity which I often refer to as “the essentials for living authentically.” May she continue to hold on to her passions, knowing that I will always be there for her with an open heart and loving arms, pushing her every step of the way with faith, hope and courage.

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you!

This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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