Updated: Apr 22, 2021
I've always wanted to be a working mother. My own mom owned her own business and spoke often as I was growing up about how her work helped her to be a more focused parent. I knew that the same would be true for me. I didn't know what that would look like; would I work for myself (I've always been very entrepreneurial, and clearly it's in my blood!) would I work part time, would I take a break and then come back? I wasn't sure, but it was always part of my plan.
And then I found out that the only way my husband and I even had a shot (pun intended) at becoming parents was through IVF. There are many more eloquent women who speak to the IVF process on social media, I will leave that to them. But when I found out that this was going to be my path to parenthood, I couldn't find any resources for women who were working and going through this horrible process. And in my case, it was after a long time of trying to get pregnant and dealing with chemical pregnancies and other issues.
I started IVF right after getting promoted to be the youngest and only female Vice President at my company, something I was so proud of and had worked towards for years. Simultaneously it was the hardest time of my life. I tried so hard to do it all; succeed in my new role, make more money with my side hustles in addition to my full time executive role to pay for expensive treatments and not let on to anyone that I was really struggling as I filled my body with shots, pills and hormone treatments. I woke up after my first IVF surgery in April of 2019, groggy and in pain, and immediately started replying to work emails. I wanted to prove that I could do it all and I felt no support from my employer as I went through these serious treatments.
I remember thinking in that moment, is this job even worth these sacrifices?
The clear answer was no, but I still wasn't quite yet ready to make a change or accept that my situation wasn't sustainable. That first IVF cycle failed and I know a lot of it was stress related. A few months later, I had an opportunity to work for a client as a short-term contractor, so I took the job. It gave me the needed flexibility to start IVF treatment again in the Fall of 2019.
I am now finally living what I preach! I've loved working for myself through Livlyhood Career Coaching in this season because my job fits into my life and not the other way around. I've stayed really busy and made more money than I would've ever thought working for myself.
I've always planned on being a working mother and have wanted to really feel like I had choices when that time came.
We need companies to make smarter choices to keep women at the table and women need to know we have options. I have no idea what the future will bring but I do know that we aren't doing enough to help women in this season. Too many of us feel that the only choice is to work for ourselves and while I admire that (and am loving it!) I'm not ok with women feeling pushed out of the corporate world.
I do hope that by sharing this I can remind women to love their season and to embrace the inevitable changes that will come in your career as you adapt to what's happening in your personal life. You may need to take a step back from your career goals because you need to take care of a sick parent, you need to focus on your mental health, you have a baby, you move, you're getting married, or you simply need to focus more on something else for a season. This is never where I thought I'd be at this stage of my life, but it's turned out better than I ever could've hoped for.
My husband and I are still trying to figure out childcare and how much we'll each share and work. I'm so grateful to have a partnership in my marriage so it's always been a given since we were dating that we'd work together to raise our kids and adapt as life changes.
Thank you for all of your support as I've opened up about infertility. It's not easy to go through something like this alone and when I finally did open up about all of it with friends, family and this community I felt a huge weight lifted off of me. I want you to know that if you're in the middle of the same fog and darkness trying to kill it at work, take care of yourself and desperate to start your family, that the fog will eventually lift even if it doesn't go away immediately.
Trying to work while dealing with infertility is so difficult!
Be sure to check out my post on how to support yourself or coworkers going through fertility treatments.