I had been holding my breath, and finally I decided to share about another side of my life that only my family and very few had known of before. At the end of the day, we are all the same: we have glories but we also have the struggles behind and what matters is how we thrive beyond those. This hopefully helps you understand about me just as another normal woman who has her own battle but was fortunate enough to be able to turn them into golden opportunities.
It was the final year at university when I had to take a two-month apprenticeship at a local school in order to graduate. At the same time, I was selected to be one of the only two student representatives from Vietnam to participate in a two-week Asia-Europe exchange program. I presented to the teacher in charge of my group about how I would make up for the absence; however, all my efforts only resulted in severe objection. I still went to Paris for the conference, having the threat that I would never graduate lurk in the corner of my mind until I spent one hour of self talk on an A4 paper to clear my brain off in a freezing morning. I was a bad student, in the teacher’s eyes. Finally, I graduated summa cum laude with the best apprentice results accompanied by the life-changing experience earned in Paris.
Early in my career, I joined my 2nd employer being three months pregnant. I did not inform them when being interviewed as I had not passed the first trimester “safe to inform” mark, which as I later realized was also in American and Europrean’s culture. I was harshly and semi-publicly reprimanded by a manager during my 1st week. I was also surrounded by a lot of scrutinizing eyes. I was a bad employee, as how the manager perceived. On the way home one day, I burst crying and spoke of quitting with my husband. I ended up staying with the company for more than five years, building the strongest experience in my area. One of the highlights is that after I came back from my two-month maternity leave, my manager asked me if I could be the acting Country Human Resources Manager for Vietnam as the person left. I accepted although I had no clues how I would go about doing that “big” job, and that turned out to be my best experience ever in my career. The manager became the best manager and a mentor that one could ask for.
I was three months pregnant while deciding on a job offer in an emerging industry in Southeast Asia. After a few sleepless nights, I took a leap of faith and joined the roller coaster, leaving behind a great company where I had well established myself. I started the new adventure with a big belief that however hard the work was, my baby would be fine as I got full family support. One would find a seven-month-pregnant me waking up at 4am flying on a budget airplane for a day long meeting then catching a return flight that landed at 12am back home. After a year, when looking back, I myself hardly believed in the amount of impact I was able to create, which includes the set-up of nursing rooms across all geographies (in a company led mainly by young males if you may), and the Women Network for the development of female talents.
A few years ago, my husband and I had been trying really hard for our second baby without success. After a lot of research, I self-concluded that we had secondary infertility. My gynecologist advised us to pursue IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). We did not, as we wanted to let nature decide. What we did, instead, was to improve our lifestyles by eating healthier food, going to bed earlier, exercising more regularly, spending quality family time, and doing acupuncture. One day after four years, and after two overseas vacations to be exact, I did not see my period come through per the calendar: my pregnancy test showed two solid lines. We both were surprised with great joy. Our son was equally happy as he had been asking for a sibling all the time. Nine months later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and equally important, we felt that we were physically and mentally strong enough to raise up another happy family member.
I delivered our first child through C-section due to an emergency which I was not physically and mentally prepared for. I kept feeling bad about myself until I gave birth to our 2nd child. Normally. Without any pain killer. Against the common belief that the subsequent birth following a C-section must be the same.
The more I walk through my life, the more I am in love with my personal motto that everything is possible, and the brain, if well utilized, could make miracles happen.
I would love to hear how you conquer your battles as well!