“I can’t exactly remember the first time it happened… or the second… or the third. But starting around the age of 25, friends, family, distant family, distant friends of friends, and random people on the internet all started asking me those inappropriate questions about my life.
‘When are you going to get married?’
‘When is he going to put a ring on your finger?’
‘When are you going to have kids?’
‘How are you going to manage your career when you have kids?’
While often well-intentioned, these questions created a set of subconscious rules I so desperately wanted to live up to while simultaneously fighting them at the same time.
Still, I smiled and did a fake little laugh whenever someone asked because, well, isn’t the number one rule for all women to be polite?
When my husband and I finally purchased our first home in 2013, we decided it was time for us to start having kids. He had just graduated from school and was starting his career as an athletic trainer while I was building my massage practice and starting to incorporate coaching into my work. I called it BodyMind Coaching, and there is something so powerful about the process. I knew I was onto something.
At first, we did the ‘just have fun’ plan for getting pregnant. However, my husband worked long hours and my work was physically draining, so our attempts to keep it light and easy quickly waned. Within a few months, we upped our fertility game with daily ovulation testing, supplements that turned my pee bright yellow, weekly acupuncture appointments, crystals, meditations, all the woo-woo recommendations, and of course, poses and positions to increase conception.
At some point, the ‘just have fun’ slipped away and a year had passed with no baby. Every month was its own rollercoaster ride. I would get hyper-focused on any teeny tiny possible sign of conception and then be heartbroken a week later when my period started again.
Then I would run into that old friend, or in one case, my high school biology teacher, and they would ask that question: ‘So when are you going to have a few rug rats of your own?’
I didn’t smile. I didn’t care about being polite. I felt broken. Who was I if I couldn’t get pregnant? Who was I if I never became a mother? Who was I if my life didn’t match the expectations the world had placed upon me?
2 years passed as we attempted to get pregnant naturally without any luck. While the family track was not going to plan, the business track was amazing. As a massage therapist, I had reached the pinnacle of success—my practice was booked solid with amazing clients. I truly felt like I was making an impact on my clients’ lives.
Physically, though, I was exhausted. When my husband and I met with a fertility doctor, I wasn’t surprised when he told us our chances of conceiving naturally were less than four percent. He recommended we start IVF as soon as possible. I held my breath as he pulled out the packet of information on IVF. He went down the list of types of treatments and circled the most expensive item. My husband gently squeezed my hand as I started to do the math, figuring out how many extra clients I would have to see in order to afford the treatment.
That’s when the doctor said something that broke my brain. ‘Oh, and Laura,’ he said, with no empathy whatsoever, ‘since your work is physical, I recommend cutting back on the amount of hours you work to increase your chance of conception.’
My heart dropped. Any possibility of becoming a mother felt like it left the building and I was left with an empty womb, never fulfilling its duty. How would we ever be able to find an additional $15,000 while I worked less? It seemed impossible. We left that meeting, hand-in-hand, determined to figure it out.
When I look back at that moment in the doctor’s office, I now know the doctor gave my husband, our future family, and myself a gift. I have always believed I am smart enough to figure out any situation and I know many opportunities show up as challenges. That experience in the doctor’s office forced me to think differently about my work. Up until that moment, I had operated under my Midwest upbringing of ‘hard work.’ I never realized my working hard was also costing me so much in my life. Even if I worked harder to afford the treatment, I would be back in the same position when a child arrives—working harder to afford that next level.
When I walked out of that office, I knew I needed to start asking a different set of questions. How I could still make a difference through my work while making how I worked easier for me? What would it look like to have a business supporting my life instead of my life supporting my business? Most importantly, I started to question all those subconscious expectations placed upon me for years. I could feel the layers of who I was supposed to be crack while a softer and empowered side of me started to emerge. What if I could create a life, family, and business that worked for me?
Just asking that question felt insanely selfish and also insanely freeing. If I didn’t have to live up to other people’s expectations of what my life was supposed to look like, what might be possible? As the questions I asked started to change, so did the support that showed up.
Within a week of that doctor’s appointment, a friend of mine made a comment opening the door for me to quickly generate the money for our first fertility treatment. We were at a networking event with other holistic practitioners when I shared a bit about our circumstances. She was a hypnotherapist who had a track record of being bold and straight to the point. She listened intently while sipping her iced tea. When I finished, she paused, turned straight toward me, and said, ‘You know… that BodyMind Coaching thing you do is really powerful. You should teach other practitioners how to do that.’
2 months later, I took my first group of practitioners through my online program while we started our first round of IVF. I used to think my career and motherhood were separate, and I felt like I had to sacrifice one for the other. But my journey of building a business and becoming a mother is so deeply intertwined. It was through building my business I became the mother I wanted to be, and it was through becoming the mother I wanted to be I built a business spanning the globe and generating multiple seven figures in the process.
BodyMind Coaching supported my husband and me through four failed rounds of fertility treatments, two disrupted adoptions, and one magical adoption welcoming our son, James, into our family in 2019.
There are so many external expectations placed on the shoulders of women and it’s so easy to internalize who we’re supposed to be instead of asking ourselves who we want to be. For me, I wanted to be a successful businesswoman and I wanted to be a mom. Deep down, I have always known I could create a scenario allowing me to have both.
I don’t want to be another person who tells you that you can have it all and be it all. I believe that kind of thinking is often what creates the overwhelming stress we deal with on a day-to-day basis. What I want to leave you with is you have the power to CHOOSE who you want to be and how you want to show up. The only person who gets to decide the rules you play by is you. And you matter.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Wieck, founder of BodyMind Coaching. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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