There was a time in my life when I would spend my days in the corridors of infertility clinics waiting for scan results and hormonal injections. Days filled with anxiety, disappointment and frustration. I had left my flourishing career in science in the pursuit of motherhood. It was a risky choice, the worst outcome being both jobless and childless.
I had cut myself away from the world then because I neither had any answers to the questions people asked me nor an appetite for receiving any advice. I trusted my gut feeling and that was it. My only supporting logic was doing things at the right time in life. In this case, tapping in on my biological clock before too late because the fact is that though our world has advanced technologically, human bodies have remained the same biologically!.
It was an extremely difficult phase when I had no answers to my own questions and doubts. Will I ever be able to become a mother? Did I make the right decision to step out of my flourishing career? If so, what was the whole point of my going across the seas, living by myself, going through a long-distance marriage, to get a PhD? Will I ever be able to get back on track later and fulfil my ambition to become a cancer drug discovery scientist?
Though I could portray great confidence on the outside, and even consoled my dear people who were concerned about me, my inner turmoil ate into me, manifesting as severe stomach pain, later diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). I did not know then that mental turmoil/stress underlies most physical ailments.
During this very difficult phase when I was battling uncontrollable pain, undergoing scores of tests and infertility treatments, solace came in the form of my mother-in-law Mrs. Geetha Nayar. After leaving my job in Bangalore, I decided to live with my in-laws in Kerala as I was tired of living by myself when my husband, Capt. Ashwin Nair was away sailing and my parents were working abroad in the middle-east.
My in-laws created a positive and happy environment around me. They honoured my decisions and applauded my courage. They instilled in me 'hope', 'faith' and 'patience'. In the two years that I lived with them, not a single day went by without deep philosophical discussions on life. What I am doing today as a speaker and a coach is in essence a continuation of the exploration of life that began around this difficult time in my life.
This experience led me to shift my thinking from 'obstacles to opportunities' and 'helpless to hopeful'.
I persisted through four years of testing times. And one day my heart jumped with joy at the realization of a new life taking shape in me. It was not just the beginning of my precious son's life, but also the beginning of a new lease of life for me. This phase coincided with my co-authoring and publishing my first book 'Roomies/Foodies'. Though I was both jobless and childless at one time, today I have both, plus a renewed life purpose.
The amazing truth about life is its transient and cyclical nature- nothing lasts forever- whether good or bad!
This is the reason why we can always be hopeful in difficult times!
Take a moment to reflect back on some very difficult phases in your life. Indeed those were tough times! But the fact is you did cross them. Even this tough, suffocating phase with the pandemic shall pass one day, however long it may seem now.
What ultimately matters now and then are the people in our lives.
Just take a moment to think of all the people who have stood by your side during difficult times, or offered help, and thank them sincerely, deeply from your heart.
Ending with this verse from the poem 'Ode to the West Wind by great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley' which best describes this truth:
"The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow......
...The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
The line 'If winter comes, can spring be far behind' is so profound and beautifully describes the cyclic nature of life. Here we are like the winged seeds lying low and quiet during the dark winter times waiting for the spring to arrive to sprout and come to life!!
Dr. Lakshmi Ramachandran, PhD has 20+ years of experience in the science/research field as a researcher, communicator and administrator. She is a coach (ICF & Belbin) and a motivational keynote speaker.
Dr. Lakshmi envisions coaching made accessible to the scientific community, the way it is for business executives. She believes that navigating a science career is not only about acquiring a PhD, more credentials and having a great network but it is also about finding the right space in science where you are most fulfilled and happy.
This underlies her Keynote theme of 'Living a Productive Life' where she redefines productivity as a measure of fulfilment. She has spoken on various global stages and has trained/coached on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Self-Empowerment, Overcoming ImposterSyndrome, Science of StoryTelling and Productivity. She is also an active proponent of female participation in science and has co-led the Gender Summit 2019 in Singapore. She has a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from University at Buffalo, USA, has co-authored an award-winning memoir book 'Roomies/Foodies' and is a mom to two young boys.
Social Media Links:
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