Attorney Emilia Bechrakis Serhant, wife of Million Dollar Listing New York star Ryan Serhant, has written a new children’s book, published yesterday, entitled To the Moon and Back for You (Random House Children’s Book), illustrated by EG Keller, exploring infertility, IVF and her quest to become a mother. Serhant’s daughter Zena is now one, and it took the couple two years of trying to conceive. Through child-friendly imagery and text, the story recounts a woman going to great lengths to become a mother, without sharing any medical or clinical terminology. For instance: “I wanted you so badly. Sometimes I thought I’d never reach you. But I never did give up.”
Serhant said in an interview that she started writing down ideas and words when she was pregnant. “I wanted to write a beautiful poem for my daughter, my miracle baby. As I heard more and more stories from other women who struggled to conceive, I wanted to write this children's book for their babies, too. I wanted something to memorialize the journey, the obstacles, the help, the many ways we become parents.” Serhant posted last fall on Instagram that while the process of IVF took a toll on her, she “wouldn’t change any of it,” writing that along with the lows, “there were enlightening highs. When Ryan and I got o see one another at our strongest and even our best. We bonded more than ever before.”
To a large degree, the book speaks to parents more than the children who will be looking at its artful pages. In her author’s note, she writes that while she dreamed of being a mother since she was a little girl, struggling to get pregnant left her heartbroken and, even worse, isolated. “Was I the only one who felt afraid? Were other people struggling and hurting in the same way?” she writes. That being said, Serhant also has a message she hopes children take away from the book. “I want them to know that no matter how they came into being, no matter the struggle, no matter the method, no matter the timing, they are so loved and beyond cherished,” she said. “As parents, as mothers, we would do it all over again, if it meant that was the only way to have them.”
Serhant said she was honored to work with Keller, who’s also illustrated the New York Times bestseller A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, among other titles. “One of my favorite pages is a special interpretation of the rainbow baby,” said Serhant, referring to the term for a baby born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of an infant. In the book, this image consists of a mother is holding balloons made up of the colors of the rainbow, while holding her baby in a basket in the other. “The other is of the many people that are involved in bringing a baby into the world when you undergo IVF.” This image features a stack of people towering up into the sky, with the mother reaching for her child at the top of a star above the title moon (seen in the image on the right).
For those who’ve seen Serhant with her husband on Million Dollar Listing New York, the book is a chance for her to expand on her personal experience. “While the show followed some of our personal struggles, and our relationship, it showed a mere glimpse of how much this difficult time impacted me,” noted Serhant. “I think this book has given me a reason to speak out more of what I went through, an opportunity to lend an ear to others who have been there before me and who are currently going through worse. While my journey ended in success, my compassion for other women, and couples going through the same, has only increased.”
Of the message she wants to give to fellow parents, Serhant said, “I hope parents will use this book as a chance to talk about how their miracle baby came into being, or a chance to talk about how there are different types of families and different ways children come into the world. I hope they'll feel like this book represents their story of loss, regaining hope and never faltering determination. I hope mothers out there will read this book and know they are not alone; that there is an entire community out there of women who have been through similar struggles and that they are bonded not only in their painful journey, but in their unwavering strength.”