Southern Voices is a reader-submitted platform for stories from the heart. Today’s submission comes from author and writer Shauna Nicholson Kelly whose new book, The Magic Egg, is now available. If you’d like to submit a Southern Voices piece, click HERE.

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For as long as I can remember, the idea of a blank space meant empty. A hollow abyss of something missing, wondering what could fill the blankness. And as representative as that has been in my home, it was even more so for my life.

My blank space was motherhood, or lack thereof.

Like many other women, my journey of infertility was one of extremes, moments between this blank space that I thought only becoming a mother could fill. I felt, as a woman, I was a broken and blank space. Between a heartbreaking hysterectomy and a Mother’s Day miscarriage, with each low, the space grew bigger.

I wanted to leave my marriage. I wanted my husband to have someone who could give him a family. I didn’t feel like I was anything. I was blank.

I have had the pleasure of working for some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and to fill my own blank space, I kept myself busy by being my clients’ quarterback. I dove headfirst into work. I put my heart and soul into it, while trying to figure out this other piece of my life and wanting more, for me and for my husband.

When we moved to Nashville, I started working on a renovation for Lady A’s Hillary Scott. Having come from California, I was familiar with Kerri Rosenthal because I had seen these beautiful surfboards she had painted. I remember the first time I emailed her, it was to tell her that one of her paintings really spoke to me and I opened up to her about my journey of infertility. The painting was called “Dreams Of Three.” When I saw it, all I could think about was my husband, myself and our new little girl who had just joined our family.

We got our miracle. It took years of heartbreak but finally our beautiful daughter Vaughn came to us through an amazing egg donor and surrogate, who helped make our family complete.

Shauna, husband Jim and baby Vaughn

Kerri and I remained friends, and during Hillary’s renovation project, she created this beautiful Bob Marley piece, “Three Little Birds.” Hillary put it in her music room next to her baby grand with the names of her daughters, her three little birds.

It was actually Hillary who gave me the idea to write a book about my journey of infertility, about Vaughn, my own little bird. And that was how The Magic Egg came to life. It’s a way to share with my daughter her origin story and to hopefully inspire other families who have traveled down this path of infertility. It is a way to say every family is beautiful.

The Magic Egg, by Shauna Nicholson-Kelly, tells the story of how her daughter Vaughn joined their family. 

And, I finally have mine. For the first time in years, I am breathing again. I am strong.

We waited for our little girl for so long and naturally, it has taken us just as long to figure out the perfect way to fill the empty space on the walls of her room. Waiting, for that blank space to be made beautiful. I knew it needed to be special. I knew filling that space in our home needed to be as incredible as our journey was to completing our family. And, I knew there was only one person who could help fill that space in the way I had envisioned it. To move it from this blank space to something vibrant.

From the day our daughter was born, and every day since, we sing her the song “You are my Sunshine.” In fact, just a few weeks ago, she fell at school. When the teacher called to tell me what had happened, she mentioned that the minute she started singing that song to my daughter, she relaxed and everything was okay! The tears were wiped and she went back to playing with friends as usual. The teacher didn’t even know that was our song.

It’s almost like a full-circle moment, our sunshine. The blank space that took up our life and our hearts for so long, hoping the sun would come out. And, it did!! In so many ways. So, it only seemed fitting when discussing the idea of creating something for Vaughn with Kerri, that this song be part of this beautiful moment and something we could treasure in our home forever.

Now, as I look at our daughter, not only is my heart and life vibrant, my home is the same. It took Kerri’s magic, just like the bit of magic we needed to become a family, to make Vaughn’s room complete.

Shauna and Vaughn

A Kerri Rosenthal original that hangs in Vaughn’s room

Working with celebrities and some of the best interior designers in the world, my career has allowed me to learn how to make something beautiful out of blank spaces, and I have even been able to do so for friends and family. It has been one of the greatest joys of my career to create something from nothing, and now looking back on my life and journey of motherhood, it was the same. Only, I was the blank space. And that is a feeling I hope no other woman has to endure.

Shauna Nicholson-Kelly and her husband Jim Kelly have been married since 2014. They moved from Los Angeles to Nashville to raise their daughter, who came to them after years of infertility treatments, a hysterectomy and finally success with a surrogate and donor. She just released her first book, The Magic Egg, where proceeds will go to help another family in their journey through infertility. 

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