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  • Smita Parikh, MD

Resistant to ask for help? It's time to get over that and here is why

When I was a second year medical student, I remember talking to my dad (a physician) about how I was terrified of my third year of medical school when I would be doing clinical rotations, interacting with patients and taking part in stressful medical decisions. I worried that I wouldn’t know all the information or have all the answers because there was so much to learn. He looked at me calmly and said, “one of the most important things you need to learn as a doctor is that if you don’t know, ask for help. Don’t guess, don’t do it alone, ask for help. That is one of the qualities of a great physician and that is how you learn.” That little pearl stuck with me, not only throughout my medical training, but throughout the many challenges I have faced in my life.

It seems like such a simple concept – to just ask for help when faced with a difficult situation – but many people don’t view it that way. There have been many times when I have recommended therapy or coaching to a friend or family member who is dealing with a challenge and that automatically sends him or her into shutdown mode.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that reaction. When I was trying to get pregnant, my initial thought was to hide everything that was going on with me. Everything was fine, everything would work out I kept telling myself. I had been so successful in my life to date. Why wasn’t I able to achieve this goal? If I shared any of my fears or doubts, my friends and family would think I was weak or perhaps "less of a woman" and I didn’t want this to alter their perception of me.

What I have learned along the way is that it ultimately comes down to the fact that no one wants to admit they are failing at something. It’s hard. It hurts our pride. It makes us feel weak and vulnerable.

But here’s what I have to say about that now. Who gives a crap?

Admitting that you are failing or need help is a sign of strength. It’s a sign that you are human. And when you start to view it that way, you will realize its value.

If you take yourself out of the equation and look at things objectively, if you had a friend who was going through something difficult e.g. a divorce or the loss of a family member, and you knew he or she was struggling to regain a sense of balance and happiness in this world, would you even hesitate to recommend a good resource, therapist or coach? Probably not.

Our friends and family though loving and supportive cannot always give us what we need 100% of the time as we go through our fertility journey and sometimes when they don’t fufill that need for us, it causes us to separate ourselves from them or feel resentment about those important relationships. Rather than jeopardizing those relationships, imagine working with someone who is there to only talk about YOU and the challenges you are facing in a private setting (i.e they are not going to go and blab about your problems with the rest of your family or friends circle).

This is your time to be selfish, take care of your wellbeing, and arm yourself with the tools and resources you need to get through this and be successful on your journey. So take this opportunity to do just that and ask for help from a trusted expert.

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”

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