Motherly Wisdom

Motherly Wisdom - An Ode to Mothers on Mother's Day

My mother invested her life in ensuring my three sisters and I achieved our dreams and goals. She always said, “You can achieve anything! The world is your oyster as long as you work hard and treat people with respect.”

Her wisdom always stuck with me growing up. I started medical school when I was 19, my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology when I was 23 and then a master’s in epidemiology followed by a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at ages 28 and 29.

I knew I wanted to make a big contribution with my life. When it was time to do my fellowship, the clinic which was considered to be at the forefront of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in North America, Cornell University Medical College in Manhattan, was where I had to be. I wanted to contribute to the ever growing body of knowledge and make a huge impact by helping women and couples build their families. I would have gone to Timbuktu if it was the best place to train, but lucky for me, the clinic was in Manhattan.

I chose my career path because I love the fact that science and technology evolved at a mind bending pace and that kept me challenged intellectually. I also loved that it involved intellect and procedural skill. My patients were extremely motivated and depended on me to make a difference in the destiny of their family. With the advancements in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), we could wipe a lethal gene from their family line and it was those aspects which kept me motivated and inspired to keep doing more.

I then spent time as a clinician scientist at the University of Ottawa where I worked almost 24:7. In recognition of my work, I received invitations to speak internationally on topics. I was also honoured with research awards as well as grants for fertility preservation, patient decision tools and healthier birth outcomes. After that, I moved to a prestigious position at the University of San Francisco – one of the top three medical schools in the U.S. – where I worked with an amazingly brilliant team of attending physicians, lab scientists and fellows in a beautiful setting with inspirational patients. However, my family was still in Canada and I knew I would eventually settle in Vancouver.

When I moved to Vancouver to join Genesis Fertility Centre, I was ready to settle. My goal was to continue to build a personal life and start a family of my own. Professionally – I wanted to help individuals and couples become pregnant and to be a partner of a groundbreaking Canadian fertility clinic. In 2012, I was presented the opportunity to make the clinic my own.

From the days of my fellowship I always knew the kind of clinic and team I wanted to build – a clinic where the latest cutting edge technology and science was combined with compassionate, individualized and evidence-based care. I wanted to be a part of team where every member understood the far-reaching impact of their actions and where everyone could reach their potential.

I struggled with this decision only briefly. As much as I was ready to build personal goals, relationships and family, I felt this was my destiny. My mother shook her head and said, “But when will I see grandchildren?” I told her my promise to her was every child born from this clinic would, in some essence, be her grandchild.

It was then that she fully understood my life passion to help others build their own families. Through this acceptance, she indirectly allowed me to give other families the wisdom she had taught me years before.

Before this Mothers Day weekend, I want to share Deana’s story with you, in honor of my mother. Deana also knew her destiny was to be a mom. She gave her all unconditionally, unwaveringly and with the full intent of her being. It is that powerful destiny and commitment that has given me the ability to helping so many other women become moms.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother, Deana, and all moms and moms-to-be out there today!