On a Wednesday afternoon in early June I received a message from Stephanie Roth, a D.C.-based fertility coach and blogger who thought our shared passion for helping women achieve their dreams of starting a family might provide opportunities for collaboration. We sat down shortly thereafter, and I knew she was right! I was inspired by her own story of triumph against the odds and excited by the opportunity to work together. To learn more about how Stephanie is helping others - and how the birth of her son changed everything, read on...
How did you know it was time to make a change?
Ha ha! I knew for years that it was time to make a change before I actually did anything about it! I remember as far back as 2003, sitting at my desk in Cubeville, feeling absolutely miserable. I knew I that I was meant for bigger things than I was doing, and I wanted to be doing something different, I just didn’t know what. I was also held back by a tremendous fear of giving up the security I had in my life, and I felt completely powerless to actually make the change. I actually believed that some people in the world were meant to follow their purpose, and others were meant to work in the crappy jobs that kept the world running, and that I fell into the latter category. Yes, I really short-changed myself!
What gave you the confidence you needed to move forward?
The birth of my son propelled me to move forward, for a couple of different reasons. First, that event gave me a very clear sense of what exactly it was that I wanted to do, which I didn’t have before he was born. I went through a lot to conceive and give birth, and made many positive changes to my life in order to do so. The journey was such a roller coaster, and I learned so much about fertility, health, wellness and myself, that I knew that my mission was to help others build their families, and that is what I’m doing now. So the birth of my son really gave me a clear sense of my “why” and the service that I wanted to provide, which gave me the confidence to move forward.
The other reason my son’s birth propelled me to move forward is because I want to set the example for him of working hard and following your dreams and not living a life of mediocrity. That is how I hope he will live his life, and the best way to teach him those principles is to live them myself.
Who/what inspires you today?
I’m inspired by the fertility clients that I work with. The unwavering desire they have to be parents, and the work they’re willing to do to get there -- becoming healthier, researching the various treatment options available to them, continued problem-solving to weather the fertility roller coaster, always ready and willing to try something new, and in some cases traveling to all edges of the world to have a baby – in all cases radically transforming their lives, being open and flexible to whatever life might throw their way, and going down paths they never dreamed they’d find themselves, all to achieve their dream. They’re pinnacles of strength and amazing survivors, and I’m in awe of them.
What are you dreaming about now?
I’m dreaming about creating a community where women can openly, honestly, and fearlessly share with each other about their fertility paths, and support one another on the fertility roller coaster. My longer-term dream is to create and run a foundation to help would-be parents defray the costs of making their dreams come true through grants or other financial assistance to help with the expense of fertility treatments. I’d also like to write a book to inspire others on their fertility journeys.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
To be very clear in my “why” – why I want to do the things I do, and approach life in terms of the contributions I can make, and the service I can provide, to help make the world a better place. Everything falls into place and it’s easy to find the path when you’re very clear in the “why.”
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started?
I wish that I had known that it’s okay to make mistakes. No one is perfect, and mistakes are inevitable when making lasting, meaningful changes in your life. I’m a perfectionist, and this is a hard lesson for me, and one I’m still learning. The world isn’t going to end because we make mistakes, and no one is going to think any less of us. In fact, mistakes often show our vulnerability and humanness, and we need to embrace this side of ourselves more in order to live in a place of authenticity and connect in a really meaningful way with others.
What encouragement can you offer someone who wants to make a change but is apprehensive?
Trust yourself, and believe in yourself. You’ve been living with yourself for a long time, and you know yourself better than anybody else. Listen to your inner voice. Chances are if you’re even thinking about making a change there’s a reason. Trust that reason. Trust that even if you don’t have all the answers right now, that just by getting started the answers will reveal themselves to you, and you’ll find the right path to follow.
What book(s) or other resources have provided guidance or inspiration for your New Beginning?
One of my favorite books has been “Daring Greatly,” by Brene Brown. I’m still reading it; it’s teaching me so much about being an active participant in my own life.