How did it get so late so soon... says Dr Seuss.
Age is a big consideration when one is keen to have a child. And sometimes "life" just gets in the way.
Or does it? Do we always need to be stressing about something or working hard to prove ourselves? Do we constantly need to be working towards goals, creating challenges and over- achieving on them, eating lunch at our desk, working all through the night and making sure we are always available on our iPhone 24/7, chasing that promotion, paying debts off, completing "this" before I get onto "that", the list can go on.
The reality is - what do you want to enjoy in life, what does it mean to you and what do you want people to say about you - rather than stress about obstacles and challenges, live with them but learn to take care of yourself whilst living life.
Being single, in a fabulous career, travelling around the world (in business class may I add), living an amazing social life, blessed with the most fabulous family and friendship network and more importantly having complete control of your own life... what more could a girl want, life is just great... until you get to 38 years old (in my case) and realise you want to be a mum too!
My naive self thought "try for a baby" and keep living life the way you are - don't get me wrong, I wasn't thinking from a social, party girl and travelling perspective but I was thinking of my career path, my senior role and the responsibilities and levels of stress that come with that. The thought had never occurred to me - why should all of this have to change? I CAN have it all...Or in today's society, can I really have it all and not burnout?
Arianna Huffington, in her book Thrive, talks about Time To Renovate The Architecture of Our Lives, this resonated so strongly with me. It talks about how women benchmark success through levels of exhaustion and burnout and how we pay a higher price, compared to men, to participate and succeed in our careers. This is particularly true when you combine a career and being a mum. In Australia, heart disease kills more Australian women than any other disease and 40% of heart attacks in females are fatal. Whilst being engrossed in THRIVE and reading all of these statistics, my dad also said to me - Work To Live, Don't Live To Work - not a truer word could have been spoken.
In my experience, I realised life had to change, I stopped chasing the idea of a successful life and stopped driving myself into the ground to earn that badge of respect in the corporate world and started to think about what I want. I realised that in 15 years time it will be me who missed out on "life" and may have regrets. And I can guarantee all of my old colleagues or the companies I worked for, where I think I really made a difference, will not be saying "Oh that was Emma who made that change and really shaped our future, I am so pleased that she worked so hard into the night, over-delivered and always ate lunch at her desk or on a plane". With the current debates around the gender pay gap, at 18%, it remains unfathomable and just confirmed the fact that I had put all of this time and effort into something that was not giving back... I realised I need to feel valued, as should every female.
You may have ready my earlier posts on my own Single Mother by Choice decisions, IVF/IUI journey and my "MoMo" twins. Well along that journey were some more than tough decisions, I had to choose treatment, I had to learn about IUI, I had to choose a "baby-daddy", go through the pregnancy and then had to make life changing decisions at 9 weeks pregnant about the twins. However, the most important decision I had to make was about me - what is my worth and what are my values.
Being in a high powered job, holding a senior leadership role - was it the right choice for me at the time? My grandmother always said I was wise and that wisdom is a good quality - where was my innate sense of wisdom at this point in my life?!
I had mentioned in previous blogs about conducting health checks on ourselves,how would you rate your a)health b)happiness and c)overall well-being today? How would you truly define your self worth? You know what, our worth is nothing without health.
So all those times I put the meetings, the travel schedule and the deadline demands first - was it really worth it? I am sure you can guess the answer to that.
Self-worth is important when one chooses the IVF path, there is a great deal to consider, decisions to make, a lot of money to part with and you have to be able to juggle medical appointments as well as "life", particularly our working life with manic deadlines, meetings, flight times and to top it off, maintain a social life.
Wanting to be a mother is such a powerful dream and goal for many women...time can go by way too quickly. I now live by 3 core values and nobody, no job, no travel schedule, meeting, deadline and no big corporate company will ever interfere with that again. An old colleague, whom I respect immensely, recently said to me.. "Emma, people lose their way when they lose perspective of their values or they let somebody over-rule their values and beliefs... stick by what you believe in and live up to those values".
What are your core values, what is your worth and what are the obstacles stopping you from living life... define that now because it is a lesson that I think we should all pass on, especially to our children, otherwise we may all be asking that same question as Dr Seuss... How Did It Get So Late So Soon.
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