I always wanted it all, but I never knew what I really wanted.
Having it all might have meant living the dream life of a “woman", having a family and a successful career simultaneously.
I envisioned myself settling down, earning myself a successful husband that loved me unconditionally and encouraged my personal growth.
I planned to have a family no later than the age of 30. I preferred having two children, one boy and one girl. I wanted to achieve great success in my career and my plan was to reach that peak no later than the age of 35.
Well, I turned 34 this summer and to my naïve surprise, life did not go as I had planned. I have been blessed, lucky, worthy or something along those lines to have found someone that wants to experience life with me. We settled down a few years ago and I've been nesting ever since.
My “real" professional journey just started. Although I had imagined myself reaching the peak of my success around this age, I feel like I just found my professional character and the strength to serve my calling, without the fear of failure. I guess I mean that, I am more clear about what it is that I have to give, and I have become confident that it is of service to people. I am an author and business coach and I assist in the growth of individuals, teams and organizations. But the main absence in my journey has been that there is no sign of the boy and girl I had so precisely planned to have by now.
I wanted it all, but what should I have compromised? I chose my twenties to build a firm foundation for my professional career by advancing my education and build on my work experience. I dedicated myself to relationships that didn't turn out the way I expected, and my search for my “partner in life" took turns and more time than I had anticipated.
-Shocker, I know!
In the midst of everything I also had the burning desire to travel the world and experience life, while I was “young". That passion fueled me to move across the world where I eventually settled down in the city of angels. Where in the world could I have squeezed in childbearing in my “roaring twenties"?
My most fertile years had been between 19-26, and I had gone against nature by postponing having children to advance my education, career and relationships. I was told by my elders that life gets better with age, and that I have all the time in the world to achieve what I “want", but did I really have the luxury of “time?"
My age was not the only thing that was counting against me in my quest of starting a family. I was diagnosed with endometriosis about a year ago. I had suffered from this painful condition since high school, and I've had multiple surgeries to remove it but it kept coming back. The irony of this condition is that it is the cause of infertility and the cure lies within a full term pregnancy. That means that it has prevented me from getting pregnant, and the way for me to cure it is to get pregnant. Isn't that an ironic paradox? My condition has worsened with age as I had skipped my most fertile years, and I was now paying the price for trying to have “it all."
Given today's social and professional climate more and more women are delaying pregnancy. Since our most fertile years are scientifically proven to be in our 20's, then how can we match that in the society we live in today? A society that demands individualistic social and economic growth to sustain a desired and fulfilling life.
Introducing: the science of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology that, in summary, extracts eggs from a female and manually combines them with sperm samples in a laboratory. If the egg becomes fertilized, the embryos are transferred into the uterus. From there, patients wait to see if a pregnancy takes place.
Freezing eggs allows women to fulfill their dreams on their own timeline without depending on their biological clock.
IVF is in no sense traditional but it is absolutely liberating to be able to take charge of our fertility as we are tackling the challenges of society today.
Women and men should not pay the price of not being able to start a family due to the social and economic factors that we are all affected by today. What is one to do when they have not found their partner in life, or do not have the financial ability to afford a child?
What is one to do if conditions like endometriosis, fibroids or sperm deficiency detains you from naturally becoming pregnant?
Due to my condition the option of IVF has been liberating and an obvious choice to start our family. Our choice has not been easy financially, emotionally or physically. IVF has cost us about thirty thousand dollars and I am not yet pregnant. My body is literally bruised by all of the shots I have been inducing myself with. My hormones run haywire and I have to mindfully coach myself out of bitter thoughts like “why do I have to go through this" and “ how could I have prevented this from happening" and last but not least “if it was meant to be it would've happened naturally". I am putting myself through all of this because of my souls urge to feed its maternal identity.
The two reinforce each other, family and career. Family grounds me, and gives me the inspiration I need to succeed and thrive professionally.
I am ecstatic and confident to start my family at this age, with the experience and knowledge that I have today. My idea of having “it all" has become about creating a balanced life. I am mindful of my choices and try to do the best I can. I make choices with the intention of finding balance and I welcome the experience of life without anticipating the outcome or attaching it to any results. No matter what comes my way, I will be at ease.
One of the large forces in the last century of global growth, have been the rise of women. 70% of women in America work and have children, which means that women can do it all.
So if women can have it all, what do you really want? And what is the price you need to pay to have it all?
Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each day.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of 3, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.