Smita Parikh, MD
All you need is ... a little perspective
I always envisioned that starting a family would be easy peasy. I remember when I went to go see my gynecologist and told her that my husband and I were going to start trying soon. She seemed excited for me and said that each month you have a 25% chance of getting pregnant so that by 6 months there was a high probability that I would be pregnant. I was ecstatic at the mere thought of it and began daydreaming about taking a pregnancy test, announcing our news to friends and family, and of course decorating the nursery. I wanted to be a mom for the longest time and I had finally arrived at a point in my life where it could become a reality.
Of course, if you know my story, things did not go as planned. In fact, I didn’t actually get pregnant with my first child until 3 years later. Those 3 years felt like an eternity and were the longest, most painful 3 years of my life. When I look back upon that time, it was difficult but not because I didn’t have a child yet, but because I changed into a person that was unrecognizable to myself.
I was devastated by my inability to conceive naturally. To make matters worse, it felt like it was all my fault. Why had I waited so long to start trying? Why did I ever take birth control? Why did I even go to med school when I should have been focusing on my dreams of being a mom sooner? The negative, self-blaming thoughts just kept on coming and it deeply effected every facet of my previously well balanced life. I had sunk into a deep, dark, sad hole and I had no clue how to get myself out. And the tears, oh the tears. They just wouldn’t stop. There were countless nights I cried myself to sleep because with each period that came, month after month, I mourned the loss of what could have been.
My parents and my husband tried to support me through this experience in the best way they knew how. But this was difficult for them to. For any parent, it’s hard to watch your kids struggle. And for my husband, he was dealing with his own feelings while also trying to be strong for me. We had each constructed a vision of what starting a family would look like in our heads and our expectations had not been met.
At some point along the way, it was three simple words, spoken at the right time, that finally gave me some perspective.
“Life isn’t fair”
It was a lightbulb moment for me. It was true. It’s not.
I had been so wrapped up in my own struggle that it felt like I was the only one dealing with adversity. Everyone faces hardships. Cancer, divorce, the loss of a loved one, financial instability, the list goes on. We all have “stuff.” We all struggle. It was in that moment, that I knew I had to push past this and continue on with courage rather than fear and sadness.
This was a big lesson that I needed to learn and am grateful that my fertility journey taught me this.
My vision of how my family came to be would be different from what I originally thought, but that was okay. I would figure out a way to become a mom and that’s all I needed to know. As soon as I accepted that, I was able to keep moving forward with confidence, hope and optimism.