For the first time in the last few days, I forgot I had an IUI done last week. Was it just my imagination? Maybe the fertility clinic is a recurrent nightmare from which I just woke. I was sitting in the Great Hall at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), waiting for my tumble in the graduation wheel. I felt like a normal student, with normal student symptoms and normal student aspirations. I even had a normal student lunch, consisting of soggy fries (the word slaptjips in Afrikaans describes it the best!) with my mom.
The keynote speaker was Dr Helen Rees, an incredibly accomplished lady who is the Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute and has multiple degrees in medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, tropical health, political and social science (Cambridge University) and business (Harvard). Read more about Prof Helen Rees here. More impressively (to me) she also managed to be an activist during the Apartheid years in South Africa. I felt more than a bit silly – my greatest accomplishments being limited to not messing tomato sauce on myself and not falling on stage!
I wanted to highlight some points from her speech which gave me chills and was the mental hug I needed. She quoted Nelson Mandela:
Prof Rees was a doctor working in the public sector in a very uncertain and restless time in South Africa and she understands something about being brave and failure. She said, we can edit the quote of Nelson Mandela slightly, using the word failure: “I learned that failure was not the absence of success, but the triumph of failure. The successful woman is not she who does not fail, but she who conquers that failure.”
We, who keep on IVFing, who keep on IUIng, who keep on blogging, who keep on stumbling ahead though fertility clinic corridors… or who decide to build a life worth living after IVF and IUI are doing exactly that.
I had an incredibly special day. My husband and mom came to support me and afterwards we went out for dinner with all five my parents (how lucky am I!) at a Mozambican restaurant, complete with peri-peri chicken, flame-grilled prawns and calamari in coconut and lime sauce.
I received two beautiful bouquets of flowers from my mom-in-law and my dad. I feel so spoilt to have all of these incredibly accomplished and brave people who has formed me and taught me all I needed to know about being a successful and happy human.
I’ve started meditating for 10 min each morning using the app Headspace, thanks to postivfworld for the suggestion in her blog post. It is teaching me to let the thoughts come into my mind to acknowledge them and then to let them go. With that being said, it’s time to finish my tea and finish this post, let it go and return to being productive at work and putting my degree to good use.
Stay Brave Ladies!
Master Rogue Scientist (MSc (Med) Human Genetics)