Having emotional stability at home makes a huge difference in the outlook of life. Plus getting encouraging news again and again also has an amazing effect on my emotions. All these positive changes mean that I can deal with baby bumps a lot more easily. Last Wednesday was my presentation to expectant moms. I was so thankful to God as He put my life back in order again after having a few chaotic weeks. Otherwise, it would have been a lot more difficult for me to put on a brave face and talk to these pregnant ladies. I also think I could separate my emotions out because I am passionate about my work. It really was not bad at all. There were a total of 15 of these ladies. I stood there in front of them talking about brain development of babies and the different ways they could interact with their babies from the first day of birth. Because all the expectant moms were sitting down, I could focus on their faces instead of their big bumps. I cared more about connecting with them and making sure they understood what I was saying rather than worrying about them being pregnant when I was not. It was a success. It has also been going well at work with my pregnant coworkers. I made small talk with the pregnant ladies at work rather than avoiding them all together. I sat in the lunch room one day, listening to my engaged pregnant coworker talk about her wedding and altering her dress. I felt brave. I didn’t chime in but I did not flee either. I welcome this change as I do not want to feel even more isolated than I already feel. I hope that this is an upward trend for my emotions in the next few months as we gear ourselves up for our donor egg cycle. I like the Isabelle in this state much better than a few weeks ago, when life was grim and the bottom of the pit was dark. I am slowly climbing out of the pit. The view is getting better and better.
A few months ago, I was invited to participate in a project which requires me to create curriculum to teach Chinese parents ways to boost young children’s communication at home. I have been developing the content of the workshop since then. A couple of weeks ago, I gave a twenty-minute presentation to about 25 Chinese parents and other caregivers. I am not much of a public speaker. If I can, I prefer not to speak in front of a large group of people. My throat would get dried and my hands would be shaky. A few years ago, I probably would have said “no” to this opportunity out of the fear that I would make a fool of myself. It is just not my thing. This time it feels different. I have been doing the same things in my career for the last ten years. It was about time I challenged myself to do something that I had never done before. I have to say I actually did quite well on presentation day. I projected my voice and spoke confidently of something about which I am passionate. The feedback from parents was good as well. The project co-director is an interesting lady. A powerful person who has many connections. You can tell that she gets things done and gets them done her way. She has a very strong personality and not easy to work with. She was the one who casually asked me if I had children and jokingly told me not to get pregnant until after the workshops are done. We chatted on the phone to debrief about the presentation as well as to discuss the direction of the project. She disclosed a new recent development of the project, which is to develop a monthly prenatal class for first-time pregnant patients at the clinic to teach them early communication skills with babies and childcare option. I am the guest speaker that she has in mind. This is a brand new idea to me as initially I was asked to present to only actual parents, not expectant parents. My emotional side was screaming, “Oh No… that means that I will have to see many women with big bumps on a monthly basis and there is nowhere to escape from them” and “Oh No! More public speaking…” My rational side supports the idea of working with these expectant mothers before their babies are born so they are armed with the knowledge to get a head start. God has a sense of humor. You are not always comfortable with seeing big baby bumps? Here is an opportunity to get used to them by seeing lots of them on a regularly basis. I could choose to hide and escape. Or I could choose to take up the challenge head on and see how God would lead me. I am happy to report that I said Yes to the co-director, but I think I will need a lot of God-given courage and strength before the kickoff presentation. I admire Meghan and Jane who work with pregnant women on a daily basis. I hope I can channel their professionalism and passion for these ladies.