How did a homework assignment change my life?
June 11, 2009 | By: Liz
Having faith that good things really do happen has been a really big part of my life recently. I know I recently blogged about having faith. Times are hard and it’s hard to believe it can be different. Like everyone else affected by the economy, my husband and I have had a difficult (to say the least) year. On top of employment issues we had major issues with child care which prevented me from working as much as I would have liked (and needed to) earlier this year, I missed a major conference that I wanted to attend, my kids were in a car accident, and we had flu after flu after flu. It got to the point where I sometimes wondered how I was going to get through the day. Everything seemed so overwhelming. I longed to work because building families is truly my bliss and we were doing some fun things (I was in the process of doing something for a client that had never been succesfully attempted before in New York State and I was so close to actually getting it done . . . until a certain set of twins decided to make their preview two months early thereby stopping all the legal mumbo jumbo. But hey the babies were the point of the process, it was definitely not about me being the first to do something, so we did win!! It may sound silly or schmaltzy, but to me it is always a win when my clients become parents!). Even so there were too many days where the best I could do was return emails from my Black Berry.
As a New Year’s present to myself, I had hired a business/life coach and one of the things I talked to her about was feeling like the world was against us and how much it felt like it did when we were going through infertility. How was I supposed to finish my E-Book, I asked her, when I couldn’t even get an hour alone to write? She asked me about how I had gotten through my infertility. We spent an entire session talking about having faith and vision to see your dreams come true. If I was able to have that faith and vision that I would one day be a mother, she said, and now I am a mother (after 6 IUI cycles, 7 IVF cycles, 9 miscarriages, and three failed adoptions including one baby who went back to his birth mother after placement), then she said all my husband and I needed was a little faith and vision to get us through this tough time. Easier said than done I suspected. And I was beyond skeptical. I also was wrong! Completely and utterly wrong.
My homework for that week was to write out my vision for my law practice and my career (my homework for this week was to write out my vision for my life!!). It was an inspiring excerise. The following week, I had to fill in all the details and provide as vivid a narrative of my law practice and my career path as I could (I had to get as specific as writing down what pictures were on my desk and what my office looked like!!). Although I suspect he was just humoring me, my husband did the same thing and re-wrote his resume to include the title of his ideal job and a description of that job. And we’ve been thinking, talking, and reading about our vision every week. My coach also encouraged me to follow my inspiration. I carry around a notebook and jot things down about my vision, or ideas I have for work or my career in that notebook. If an idea comes up for my E-Book but I can’t write at the moment, I jot the idea down in the notebook.
Yesterday my husband got a job offer and the title of the position is word-for-word the job title on his new resume. Yes, the resume he redrafted after I suggested he write his “perfect job” in the Objectives section of his resume after I did that homework assignment with my coach. The job description is virtually the same as what is on his resume too! At first my mind was blown, but now it makes perfect sense.
I have realized as a result of the recent challenges we have faced as a family how much my faith and vision got me through my infertility and how much of a difference they are making and will continue to make in my life now. When we were going through treatment and our adoption, I knew in my heart that one day I was going to be a mom and I didn’t ever let go of that belief. Even on the really awful days (the no heartbeat on the ultrasound days), I focused on what I knew in my heart. I knew that I wouldn’t ever give up until I became a mom. I didn’t have the skills back then to create a vision of my family but I did knit that baby blanket that my son now sleeps with every night. My daughter has one too.
But this vision thing has really got me thinking and I am now inspired to do so many things. I was talking with a client the other day who is waiting to adopt. She is seriously considering starting a new business helping people make adoptive parent profiles because hers was so amazing and I offhandedly told her she did such a good job that could do it for money. It was that good! This new business idea came out of the fact that she was inspired by the project of making her adoptive parent profile and had a vision of exactly what she wanted it to look like. We talked about how I knitted my son’s blanket and thought about our baby with every stitch; she said she did the same thing about her birth mother as she made the profile. She literally envisioned the birth mother who would be reading her profile, what she looked like, what her situation was etc. Every time she sat down to work on the profile, she thought about a different birth mother. The point is that by making the profile she was mentally “making” herself a birth mother! When we were talking about this, she mentioned that she crochets. Years ago, I bought a crochet pattern for a beautiful baby blanket. I don’t crochet, so I thought maybe I would copy it and translate it into a knitting pattern or that I would have someone special to give the pattern to. As soon as I got off the phone (okay maybe it was a few days later!), I mailed the pattern to this client and put a note in that I thought she should start crocheting the blanket and start “visualizing” her life with their new baby (they are not matched yet), the way she envisioned birth mothers when she was making her profile.
I think that my knitting the blanket for my son opened a space in my heart and told the Universe that I was ready to be a mother. Although my son didn’t come home the day I finished the blanket — we actually got “the call” the day I finished my manuscript for The Infertility Survival Handbook — I know that blanket and my book were critical pieces of me visualizing my life as a mother. The book started my new career, you know the law practice and career that I am now spending time every day visualizing so that I have direction, focus and intent for making more families. But I digress.
What I am trying to say (and I am going to start a new category on this blog about this) is that even on those days where we don’t see a heartbeat on an ultrasound that we still have the power to visualize our families, our babies, our pregnant bellies (or someone else’s pregnant belly if you’re using a surrogate or adopting). We have the power to use visualization to manifest our dreams. We may not feel like we have a lot of faith to make it happen but that doesn’t really matter. It’s stating our intent and describing that intent to the universe that is the important part.
So, how’s it working out for me you might ask? Well . . . My husband got the exact job he listed on his resume (that totally freaks me out). My law practice and my career are moving in incredible new directions and I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore; it is too exciting!! My homework is so much fun. I know that what I write down as my vision is already happening and unfolding. I am finally writing my E-Books and I am thinking about taking the manuscript for another book I was writing and turning it into an E-Book too. My staff is excited. My child care problems are solved (yes another homework assignment to describe my ideal child care provider).
My client is crocheting that blanket and starting a new business. I have another client who started decorating their nursery. Another client started a novel (she’s a writer) about a woman going through infertility that finally has a baby and what it was like after the baby came home. The novel is a thinly disguised novel/autobiography about her life. She is living vicariously (or maybe not so viacriously) through her heroine. She says she doesn’t want to publish it, but it is helping her see the other side of her infertility and to focus on her goal of being a mother instead of her next ultrasound.
In The Infertility Survival Handbook, I wrote about having a care package for the two-week wait to find out if you’re pregnant. In The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Adoption, I wrote about having a baby shower before your baby comes home (whether from Arkansas or Russia). On this blog, I want to start exploring the power of visualization. It’s so easy to get stuck, trapped, in the treatment in the ultrasounds. We forget at the other end there are bellies and babies and that we’re going to be parents. We forget to focus on our goal. I am not sure how I am going to do it yet (maybe by giving everyone homework assignments), but I want a space on this blog to get you into the space of thinking about your goal, what got you where you are today . . . the desire to have a family. And to remind you that you still have the power to create that family, no matter what that crappy ultrasound may have shown you today.