In this episode, Daphne shares a very exciting personal update and what she has learned along the way.
Now, you have probably already noticed by the title of this episode, but on the off chance that you are listening back and you are not checking out the titles, I wanted to make sure to start with a disclaimer here. If you struggle with infertility and pregnancy is a topic you’d like to avoid hearing about because it’s too painful, please skip this episode, and because this is one of the more personal episodes, if you are looking for straight actionable advice, my feelings are not going to be hurt if you need to skip over to one of our other episodes on salary, LinkedIn, standing out in competitive job markets, resumes, or career clarity.
Daphne shares how her priorities have evolved throughout her life
Now, getting into it, I wanted to start off by sharing this interesting article I read in Psychology Today about how people’s values change as they get older. To sum up what I read, people were most interested in things that bring excitement when they’re younger, which totally makes sense. Power and success is a common value for those in early adulthood and later adulthood, while children and family is more likely to be a key value in middle adulthood. Both genders experience these same patterns and what they valued for the majority of the study, and this article was a little bit old. It was released in 2015, but I really saw it at the perfect time as I was writing this episode. It made me reflect on some of the biggest priority shifts I’ve had throughout my adult years that I wanted to share in this intro.
About a decade ago, my main priority was just simply moving out of my hometown and planting my roots anywhere different. I was looking for whatever job I could in the teaching profession in whatever school district, just to move away from my hometown, and I ultimately landed that job. Then about eight years ago, my priority was growing my career and climbing the corporate ladder after I left teaching. As you may know, for the past few years, my priorities have been focused on serving teachers in transition. Since 2019, which in retrospect has been a pretty long time, I have thought about or worked on this project nonstop, and for two of those years I was working pretty much two full-time jobs at the exact same time. Eventually in 2021, I hired an amazing team of former teachers and career experts, and that’s when I was really able to find more work-life balance, but then creating the company, understanding how to manage and lead a team, that had become my ultimate priority. There was so much for me to learn when it came to this new challenge.
Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m 38 as I’m recording this right now, I’m so happy about all of the things that I’ve accomplished in my life, but I knew that there was one thing missing that I wanted to focus on, which was starting a family with my husband. Back in January, I released a podcast episode. It was called Last Year’s Reflection and Making 2023 Your Best Year Ever, and I shared my word of the year and my goals for the year, and I mentioned in that episode, I was really hopeful and optimistic and wanted to start a family.
To be honest, my husband and I actually started working towards that goal almost a year prior in January of 2022, but we got more proactive and serious about it by August of 2022. Well, I’m really happy to report that we got what we wanted. I found out in early May of this year that I am pregnant. I was actually traveling in Cleveland speaking at this really large business conference, and I had a feeling the very last day that something there was just a little bit off. The day I flew home, I got my first positive test and eight weeks later, we actually found out that we were pregnant with twins. Now, after 48 hours of complete shock and disbelief, we got used to the idea. And we are, dare I say, excited.
Most of the time I’m over the moon at how blessed and fortunate I feel, but it would be completely dishonest to not acknowledge that there are times I am absolutely terrified. I got what I wanted and then some, but I’m scared and this is a feeling that many of you may know is totally normal for any big life transition. If you’re listening to this and you’re a mother, you may be saying to yourself, “Don’t worry, this is what we all go through when we’re first-time moms.” This is probably a common pep talk that you give others. I’ve gotten a lot of really great reassurance through people that I admire and I’ve confided my fears with in the last few months, but even the best advice doesn’t really make my brain totally shut up.
My excitement doesn’t outweigh my fear of the unknown. They both are going to probably live in my head until I’m on the other side. This feeling, this fear, it reminds me so much of all of the conversations that I’ve had or my team has had with teachers who finally got a job offer after obsessing over it for months or even years, only to be terrified to actually take it. And that aha moment really led me to create this episode where I’m going to share the five lessons that I’ve learned so far on my journey to motherhood that can be applied to any big life transition.
Daphne explains that it is normal to feel like things are impossible in seasons of high stress
That leads me to number one. It’s normal to fear that something is impossible during times of great stress. Infertility fears are valid. I have people in my life who I love who have gotten that news, and it is beyond devastating, and that is just from my perspective of a friend who sees from the outside and loves them. I can’t and won’t pretend that I know how it feels once that fear is actually confirmed for the person who is experiencing that, but I had not gotten that news, and everything that I heard from the doctors and fertility specialists that I was seeing was telling me that I shouldn’t have any reason to fear that it was impossible for me. But at times, I felt completely hopeless. Like giving up.
I felt embarrassed to even admit these fears because I knew they weren’t really based in logic at that phase. It was clear that I was having distorted thinking patterns throughout this process, but it didn’t make it any better. Even if I could identify black and white thinking patterns or if I had any sort of cognitive biases that’s sneaking into my head, it didn’t really make it any easier.
I would be fine for a few months—I would be optimistic and feel pretty good, and then I would go completely dark and begin to feel jaded and believe it was impossible. And one thing that was really interesting for me to look back in retrospect on is that my perception of time felt completely altered. The worst of it only really took a few months, those lowest moments, but I really felt like it was forever. It felt like it was almost a lifetime, those few months of me feeling really low, and it honestly was me being completely on track for the norm of what people and doctors had anticipated, but if you told me that in the middle of it, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
My takeaway from that is just to reiterate, stress and impatience can have this huge, significant impact on your emotions. It increases anxiety, frustration, disappointment. These emotional states can further amplify cognitive biases and hinder your rational thinking. These fears can often happen in job searches. You may feel like it’s taken an absolute eternity and will never happen for you, but in reality, it may only be a small fraction of your time on this earth that you’re really going to spend in this transition phase.
The question to ask yourself when you are really struggling and in the middle of it: Is this something that I will care about in one year? Is this something that I’ll care about in five years or 10 years? Is putting in the hard work for one year or two years worth it for something that will change the course of my entire life? These questions can help you step back from projects or stressors that are not a priority to help make room to keep you moving on your main and most important goals. Personally, I am in my busiest season right now, so if I won’t care about something in six months or a year, it is not going to be making it on my list of goals right now.
Daphne shares how you can use fear to remind you of what is truly important
Going to number two, use fear to remind you of what is important. Even now, I get terrified that it’s going to get taken away from me, that I am letting my guard down too quickly and I’m too happy. I found these really great statistics that I refer to weekly if not daily in my most low times that confirmed, yes, there are risks, fear is valid, but they also helped to reassure me that statistically, it was far more likely I would get the result I was working towards. Your fears are justified, but they’re also there to help teach you something about yourself.
One of my favorite prompts from my therapist is, “What is fear telling you is important?” Now, this might sound silly and it’s such a small example, but I was actually anxious about this exact podcast episode. It took me a lot longer than I would like to admit to write it, and I have recorded and scrapped one version of it already. What I realized my fear was telling me was that it was important to not make a podcast entirely about me. Even though I’m really excited to share with you our good news, I still feel like it’s so important to bring value to this audience and to help you conquer some of the biggest issues that you are facing. So, I wanted to make sure that I integrated some lessons into it and took a lot of time and intention before I released this episode.
On a much larger level and scarier level, I am really terrified that I’m not going to be a good mother. I have worst-case scenarios pop up of me being unfit or unqualified altogether for motherhood, and these fears tell me that I need to do more research, to make sure that I know as much as I can about creating a nurturing environment and supporting brave and strong little girls and whatever I can do to ensure that they’re raised in a happy home. Fear means that you care. It doesn’t mean that your prediction is going to come true. Fear of rejection, financial stability, fear of disappointing the people that we love the most, these are all telling us what is really truly important to us in this moment in our life so we can act accordingly.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not supposed to do the dang thing. There are going to be risks associated with every big and meaningful thing that we do, and I wish that this was the part of the podcast where I could promise you that 100% of the time, everything was going to work in our favor and we were going to always get the outcome that we wanted, but there will always be risks involved in these really big important decisions that we make. But if you know that something is truly important to you, this is the time that you work to mitigate those risks associated with that fear. You can also challenge your fears to see if they’re grounded in reality or you can research what can be done to avoid or lessen any negative impact on those things that you truly value the most.
Daphne talks about why it is important to not compare yourself to others
Lesson three is to stop comparing yourself to others. And there were some times in my lowest moments where I shouldn’t have gone on social media. I started to resent other people for achieving what I wanted. The only thing that really helped me at this stage was sitting back and remembering what I had, what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’m grateful for. I don’t want to focus on what I have versus what other people have in a competitive way. I’m just focusing on me because my priorities are completely different than other people’s priorities. Make a list of everything you’ve done in your life that you’re proud of or you’re happy about, and remember that there are so many things to be grateful for beyond success or promotions.
Maybe it’s time that you know that’s well spent and that’s our most valuable resource. Maybe you were able to have a great relationship with your elderly parents during their later stages of life. Maybe you were able to make really great memories with your children during the summer. These are all things to sit back and realize, that was time well spent, and now I’m in a different phase. Now, my priorities are changing and this is my time to start looking towards doing the things that other people may have done in different stages in their life as well.
Everyone’s priorities are different in parenting and in these big life transitions. As an expecting parent, I have gotten way too many cooks in my kitchen telling me what I should or should not be doing as far as breastfeeding, sleep training, what I should be eating right now. You name it. Everyone has a different need, so remember, if someone else is listing out all their non-negotiables for a job, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the exact perfect fit for you or that you have to follow their non-negotiable list. Make sure you’re factoring in what’s the most important thing for you.
Daphne shares that you really can do anything—but not all at once
Number four, you can do everything and anything but not all at one time. I had a picture in my head of a strong capable boss babe CEO, who could absolutely do everything pregnant with twins. I want to be a great leader to my team. I want to be an amazing wife. I want to get fit for this pregnancy to have energy for two babies. I want to help the people who reach out and need help, and I want to make sure that I continue to put out amazing content for you. Oh, and I also want to create intense spreadsheets for my baby registry. I want to remodel my house. I want to put the nursery together, and I also need to juggle weekly doctor’s appointments for the next five months.
In actuality, some days, I am just surviving, and I’m going to have to come to terms with those days that I just have to stay in bed. That I can only do exactly what is needed from me and not go above and beyond. Some days, I can only give 30% and many of you may be able to relate with this. If you are teaching full-time and running a family, your timeline for big projects may look different than others. Give yourself grace if you do not have 100% to give every single day. If you can look at whatever is on your plate and try and outsource what you can but also look at your list of current priorities, and then pick the top three that are urgent or the ones that will stack and support other long-term goals that you have and continue to remind yourselfâ€”you can’t do everything at once. You can do anything, but you can’t do it all at once. You are still moving forward on something that is going to make a lasting impact on your life.
Daphne explains why it is good to embrace being a novice
Number five, it’s okay to be new at something. I have to come to terms with not knowing anything about being a parent and being totally in over my head, and it’s okay for me to have these big feelings of grief about the phase of my life where I used to quote, unquote, “have it all figured out” and be an expert in what I was doing. I have to have faith in myself that I can do things that other people can do, and you may need that pep talk too.
Imposter syndrome is real. It pops up and makes us feel small like we are incapable of doing things that we absolutely are capable of doing, and it’s just important to recognize when we’re talking down to ourselves and to reframe our thinking. If you have to do a cheesy mirror pep talk, do it. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to be new at something. Everyone has to start somewhere. I know that I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. Whether it’s learning a new job or achieving a new goal or figuring out how to be an amazing mother, I am strong and I am capable and I can do anything.”
Now, to sum up the five lessons that I’ve learned so far on my journey to motherhood. Number one, it’s normal to fear that something is impossible during times of great stress. Number two, use fear to remind you of what is important to you. Number three, stop comparing yourself to others. Number four, you can do everything and anything but not all at once. And number five, it’s okay to be new at something.
Now, before I go, you may also be wondering how this news is going to impact you, the listener. Fear not. I have been working hard to record and bank podcast episodes in between morning sickness far in advanced, so that there won’t be a gap in the podcast. We also have a really solid team at Teacher Career Coach. It’s made up of former teachers and career experts. If you’re already in the Teacher Career Coach Course, you have met them in our private community, so they will be answering emails and DMs and taking care of supporting this community even when I do go on maternity leave. Rest assured you are going to get amazing support with people who truly understand and care about this audience.
I know that my life is going to be changed in so many ways when these girls are born, and I also know that my complex feelings are valid and that everyone feels them. I can’t let my big complicated feelings distract me from one of the most wonderful moments of my life being just around the corner, and I hope that you don’t let your fears distract you from the changes and the growth that you are making right now. The most exciting parts of life are about evolution, new decisions, and new directions. Thank you so much for being here in this really special episode, and I’m so excited to be able to share new reflections and growth throughout my transformation, and I’m also excited to see where you go and what you do with your life. Thank you so much for being a listener to the Teacher Career Coach Podcast. We’ll see you on the very next episode.
Mentioned in the episode:
- Our career path quiz at www.teachercareercoach.com/quiz
- Explore the course that has helped thousands of teachers successfully transition out of the classroom and into new careers: The Teacher Career Coach Course (If you are a Teacher Career Coach Course member, you can also sign up for our one-on-one Career Clarity calls.)