Post written by Dr. Natalia Grob
Follow Natalia Grob, MD on Instagram
The journey of life is often unpredictable, filled with twists and turns that shape who we are and how we perceive the world around us. As a fertility doctor, my mission has always been to support individuals and couples on their path to building a family. However, my personal journey through divorce has brought new dimensions to my practice, enabling me to connect with my patients on a deeper level and offer a unique perspective on shame, vulnerability, and healing.
A Whispered Word – Facing Divorce:
When I first started sharing the news of my marriage ending, I almost whispered the word “divorce.” The sense of shame was overwhelming, stemming from the realization that life hadn’t gone as planned. The societal stigmas surrounding divorce exacerbated this feeling, making each utterance feel like a confession of failure.
Connecting Through Shared Pain
In my role as a fertility doctor, I encounter patients struggling with their dreams of achieving a family. By the time they reach me, many have internalized a deep sense of shame and disappointment, feeling isolated as life diverges from their envisioned path. This shared experience of shame and unmet expectations has allowed me to connect with my patients on a more human and empathetic level.
A patient recently told me: “I must be the only older woman freezing her eggs.” She shared this with me moments before undergoing anesthesia for her egg retrieval. In the recovery room after her successful procedure, I shared with her just how common her story is in my medical practice. She had no idea that there were so many women just like her. I then shared my journey as a divorced single mom and that I’m also freezing my eggs this year. We laughed about the ridiculous number of egg health vitamins we were both on and shared the connection that we were doing everything possible to stack the odds in our favor for our future fertility goals.
Owning Our Stories
The Power Against Shame: One of the most potent tools we have against shame is embracing and owning our stories. The power of shame diminishes once we vocalize our experiences and share our journeys with others. My personal stories of shame and recovery have become a cornerstone in building relationships with my patients, offering them a safe space to discuss their fertility journeys openly.
The truth is that as much as we like to think we have everything in our lives figured out, the universe can surprise us. It’s my job as a fertility doctor to make sure I normalize the conversation about our fertility so we feel empowered to make the best decisions for our future goals.
Supporting the Journey: As a fertility physician, I am not here merely to prescribe treatments. My role extends beyond the clinical, focusing on supporting each individual and family on their unique journey. Sharing my story authentically, as a physician who has experienced divorce, has enriched my practice, making me a more compassionate and understanding partner in my patients’ paths.
As a former biochemistry major and self-professed “science nerd”, my patients are often surprised when I encourage them to consider adding a holistic approach to their fertility treatments. They are even more surprised when I share how meditation has helped me personally during difficult moments or how yoga has been instrumental in learning to connect with and trust my body on my healing journey.
A Journey of Healing and Growth
The journey through divorce has been transformative, teaching me more about myself, humanity, and the deep connections that bind us all. It has made me a better person, a more present mother for my boys, and a more compassionate physician. Together with my patients, we navigate the paths of healing and growth, embracing the challenges and celebrating the victories.
Our journeys may be filled with unexpected challenges, but it is through facing these that we discover our strength and develop a deeper understanding of those we serve. By sharing our stories and embracing our authentic selves, we can build stronger connections, foster a sense of community, and promote healing – both as individuals and as a collective.
At Kindbody, we are not an “IVF factory”. We are here with the goal of helping you achieve a healthy family. One of the best ways I can do this as your fertility doctor is by treating the whole you – by acknowledging the grief in your story and the need for additional support to help you be successful with your treatment.