Smita Parikh, MD
How determining your life vision can help you through your fertility journey
This past week we celebrated my firstborn son’s 4th birthday. With each birthday of his, I can’t help but reminisce about the hard work it took to bring him into this world. The years and years of tears, shots, doctor appointments and disappointments will always be a part of my journey to motherhood. But as each year passes, the detail of every cycle and of every “failure” fades into the background and those memories are replaced with the memories of first words, first steps, first tantrums(!) and the joy that came from creating a family I deeply desired.
Many of you that are going through this process may say “well, you were one of the lucky ones.” But I do not believe this was luck. This was my life vision and the result of the work I put into making it a reality.
One of the most positive things that came out of my fertility journey was the opportunity to sit down and really think deeply about the vision I had for my life. What would I want people to say about me 50 years from now? What was my passion or my contribution to this world? What kind of person was I? I was forced take a step back and think, write and visualize how I wanted things to be.
I thought very deeply about whether becoming a mother was a part of my life vision or if it just seemed like the next best step in my life because that’s what most people did. As I evaluated my thoughts and desires, I ultimately determined that becoming a parent was a non-negotiable for me.
This clarity in my vision, gave me renewed purpose and direction. Up until this point, I was flailing, deep in despair, and self-pity. But, now that I knew it was part of my life vision to be a mother, I worked tirelessly to make that happen. I laid out a plan. We would try IVF a few more times and if I wasn’t able to have my own baby, then we would reevaluate and move on to other options, because in my heart, this was my vision for my life and I would do whatever I needed to do to get there.
This shift in mindset created a clear pathway for me that excited me about my future rather than focusing on all of the negative experiences we were having. I knew that no matter what, we would have a family, even if it didn’t come about the way we initially expected it to.
So, I challenge you, if you are on this fertility journey, to pause and spend some time thinking in great detail about what you really want from life. Pretend you looking at yourself 50 years from now - what do you see, feel, hear? Everyone will have their own vision and there is no right way or wrong way to do this. Creating a clear vision in your mind (and write it down!) of what you want your life to be, will give you an endpoint and from there, you can start mapping out the best way(s) to get there.