Have you had a once in a lifetime meal experience? It might be pear and gorgonzola tortellini in Florence, moussaka in Santorini or flan with sea salt caramel at your favorite local Spanish restaurant. For me, those meals were memorable, but the best meal of my life was at Panda Express, down the street from my husband’s office one afternoon more than four years ago. We had received the call—the unbelievable call—so different from the previous five years of calls. I was pregnant. We shared that meal with tears of disbelief and joy. My husband bought our growing child a stuffed panda bear. It was a defining and unexpected life moment in the most mundane of places
My husband and I married in our early 20s. Friends at the time expected us to have multiple kids before we were 30. But, we were young and driven–grad school, the DINK (double income, no kids) lifestyle, achieving in our careers and having fun doing it. Several years went by, and we decided we wanted to have kids. Because that’s how it works. You decide. Then you’re pregnant. Then you have one/many perfect kid(s). Voila!
A few years went by. We mentioned our desire to have children to friends and always received helpful advice: “You should go on a vacation. You’re nervous about it. Just relax.” People really mean well, don’t they?
Finally, a couple of seemingly ordinary experiences—a conversation with my pastor’s wife, the gift from a long-time friend of a book depicting a woman’s personal fertility story—led me to self-advocate and go to a fertility doctor. This doctor visit was one of the first times in which I realized I was beyond blessed. My company, Accenture, offers amazing fertility benefits as part of our healthcare package. Fertility treatments can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, a real financial struggle in the midst of feeling like the lone barren person on the planet.
Once begun, fertility treatments and procedures are constant and demanding. They are typically cycle-dependent, failing to fit neatly in your one-hour window between meetings. Nevertheless, I was determined that my work performance would not slip—hiring high performers is what makes Accenture great.