Below my office is a daycare center and early educational school. Each day as I come into work, I see parents dropping off their little ones. Sometimes I see them being extremely cute, loving, and affectionate as they say goodbye to their child. Other days I see them rushing around to drop off their strollers, answering phone calls, and scrambling to get their child in the classroom door without being late for their day, meeting, or work.
Today, I watched as a father played hide-n-seek ‘goodbye’ with his child. His wife had taken the child inside, and he stayed back with the car. After a few minutes, he got out of the car and went up to the window; a one-way window heavily covered in daycare ads facing the playroom. He touched the window and would then duck down to hide. This playful game persisted until his wife returned from inside. They both blew the child kisses and got into the car.
It is precious moments like these that make me hopeful that someday I will get to share similar moments with my own child. I’m not delusional that parenthood is going to be easy or all fun and games, but seeing parents reluctantly saying goodbye helps me know that is what I want. I am confident that whatever life brings during childrearing, it will be well worth it. I know that having my own biological child (or children) is important to me.
The choice to freeze my eggs came easy for me. After working in the medical field for over a decade in women’s health, I had lots of time to debate these sort of topics. I have many friends older than me who also struggle with whether to not to freeze their eggs, and I was able to learn from their experiences. I realize how these decisions are not so clear-cut; the debate and struggle on whether to take such an important step is real.
My own mother, at the tender age of 33, had already completed our family of 4 children by my age. She speaks openly about how she longs for us to have our own kids someday. I secretly know she wishes for them sooner than later. While I am still unmarried, single, and dating, the thought of children is always present. So I always made it clear to my family that one day I would freeze my eggs. This was my way of preparing my parents for the reality that the traditional way in which they created a family might not happen for me.
The opportunity to freeze my own eggs came as time opened up in my hectic work and travel schedule. Until then, I felt like I was always recovering from one life change to the next. While I realized there was never a good time, I was determined that now was the time to say “yes” to egg freezing and to give myself future options.
It wasn’t until I physically went through the process and became the fertility patient myself that I finally understood the emotional journey I would go on. I knew I would inject hormones into my body for 10-14 days to stimulate my ovaries to produce follicles. I knew I would feel bloated and wouldn’t be able to exercise or workout. I also knew my efforts would not guarantee that I would one day have a child as a result. What I wasn’t prepared for were the effects of the hormones and the emotional roller coaster it would take me on.
I craved and desired to hear other women’s stories of their egg freezing or fertility journeys. I desperately wanted to feel “normal” and validate the way I was feeling. I scoured the Internet for anything explaining this experience. I found very little on the topic and even less on women speaking out about how they felt during the treatment. So I began to record my own experience during this process in the hopes that I would be able to help other women going through the process.
Fortunately, I had many of the favorable factors and outcomes with my egg freezing cycle. I was young, healthy, and ready to comply with the process. I responded well to the medication and had a great cycle on the first try. Other women may not be as lucky. Every moment that I wanted to complain about my discomfort, I stopped and reminded myself to be thankful that I was able to do this in the first place. I knew I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take advantage of this new technology and insurance cover a majority of the cost.
No matter where you are in your life, egg freezing can be a way to stop time. No, it isn’t a fool-proof plan for creating a family, but it can be a “Plan B”. Like an insurance policy, egg freezing gives you more options in the future for when you are ready to have a family.
If you are struggling with your life plans and where your biological clock fits, I encourage you to educate yourself on the topic. Don’t leave your future to chance. You have the power and the strength within yourself to create different outcomes. I am confident you will be thankful that you took this bull by the horns.
The most important thing I have learned during my egg freezing journey and wisdom I have gained by interviewing countless other women about their journeys to motherhood, is that everyone has a different path to get there—and that is okay. There is not a “one size fits all” policy when it comes to motherhood.
I want to encourage every woman to support other women and friends instead of being critical of their decisions or paths. We all deserve love and encouragement from one another because regardless which road you choose, no one road is easy. This journey is not a simple one to figure out. I only want the best for you and for happiness to fill your life.
Now pass it on…
Over the last decade, Valerie has been working within the medical field specializing in Women’s Health. She has a passion for educating and helping women understand their bodies to fertility options. As the founder of eggsperience.com, she has focused on helping guide women through the complex and challenging paths of fertility decisions. Valerie hopes to provide educational information for women at any reproductive age and start the conversation about protecting our future-self. She offers advice from her personal egg freezing experience along with a collection of first-hand accounts from other women’s journeys. Originally from East Coast Pennsylvania, Valerie moved to Chicago after undergrad where she works and travels to improve health care.
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