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  • Kassandra Vaughn

Why the TTC Over 40 Journey is Different for Overachieving Workaholics

When you're over 40 and have a pattern of being both a workaholic and an overachiever, the fertility journey IS different... and requires a level of transformation that others won't have to experience at such an intense level...

I have always been (and will always be) the Capricorn combination of an overachiever and a workaholic. As long as I can remember, I've done everything early- reading, starting kindergarten, going to college at 16, having my first baby at 19, graduating from college at 20, becoming a professor at 22... It's as if I incarnated into this lifetime in a mad dash to get things accomplished... and this sense of "I've got to hurry up and achieve!" has only gotten louder with time.

Now... You can see how thrilling AND exhausting living that way can become over 45 years... and, while I did go through secondary infertility in my early 20s (21-25) and managed to get pregnant naturally with Babies #2 and #3 at 25 and 27 (even with PCOS and endo and insulin resistance), I really didn't 'slow down' to achieve those things.

In fact, looking back, I know that it was the working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week and doing a strict gluten, dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine free diet at 24 that helped me lose 60 pounds (reducing insulin resistance and inflammation), get fit and conceive my second and third child... even though working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week left me feeling exhausted most days and probably made it take longer to conceive than it would have if I'd been less extreme about my fitness.

But, I was 20-something... and my body was young enough and my mitochondria were strong enough to overcompensate for the non-sense I was putting my body through.

That is not true of my body at 45.

So... now I have to face and address the core issue of always doing too much, burning the candle at both ends, and exhausting myself (mentally, physically and emotionally) that I did not need to face in my 20s because, if I'm going to get pregnant now, a TOTAL life transformation MUST take place.

From a spirit baby perspective, Walter Makichen describes it like this:

"Although each of us brings a karmic script into this lifetime, we all come to a point on our pathway when it is possible to take an entirely new direction. Creating a new karmic path is actually quite a challenging prospect. Our karma prepares us for the lessons and roles we will face in our lifetime. When we create a new destiny, we are essentially making an act of faith in our ability to face the unknown."

And herein lies the core message of this blog post:

When you are an overachieving workaholic, the journey to having a baby, especially after 40, IS different.

It requires creating a new karmic path that you aren't used to. It requires changing the very fabric of how you live your life. You can no longer burn the candles at both end. You can no longer be the woman who races twelve marathons a year, works 80 hours a week, and is building a business on the side.

And maybe there are a few workaholic overachieving women who continue to do 'all the things' and still get pregnant after 40. They are unicorns and I can admit that I am not in that club.

The reality that I'm having to face, at 45 in the TTC journey is this:

If I REALLY, REALLY want to have this baby, HOW I live my life has got to change.

And that wasn't a reality I had to contend with on this same journey at 21... and it wasn't a reality I was willing to face when I started my current TTC journey at 38... It's only now, at 45, that I'm saying to myself "Okay, fine... Maybe it's time I give ME a break from burnout, stress, and overwork. Maybe it's time I approach having this baby from a divine feminine, whole hearted, and ease-driven perspective. Maybe it's time I gave myself permission to SLOW DOWN..."

So let me share with you the steps I'm taking (and will fail forward through because I know it's going to take trial and error to fully shift this tendency):

  1. I put a laptop/phone shutdown/shutoff time on my Google calendar. It hurt to even do it and, yet I need to put work away so I have three hours before bed to wind down. My laptop/phone shutdown/shutoff time is 6:30 pm MST. That was so hard to do!

  2. I put all of my fertility activities on my schedule at times that do not require me to get up early or stay up late. That means the spirit baby meditations, Mayan abdominal massage, yoga and weight lifting (no more than 1 hour of exercise a day, 6 days a week) happens somewhere between 7 am and 5 pm... or it doesn't happen at all. No more waking up at 4 am to make sure I get to the gym before it gets busy. That's gone...

  3. I eat within one hour of waking up and then schedule my eating times for the day being sure not to go any longer than 3-4 hours between meals... and finishing my last meal by 7 pm so my body has time to digest before falling asleep. Eating within one hour of waking up and eating every three to four hours, for me, is about maintaining steady blood sugar levels (I use a Continuous Glucose Monitor) because wacky blood sugar levels, for me, causes hormonal imbalances which can negatively impact egg quality.

  4. I am making peace with the fact that, from a work and output perspective, I am going to be much less productive. I will not be able to crank out writing and publishing another book in 14 days or less. I will not be relaunching my YouTube channel and putting myself through the rigor of producing one to two new videos every week. I will not be creating digital products on the level that I know that I'm capable of. I may have to postpone starting my PhD in Clinical Psychology until I'm beyond these baby making years. Building our dream home ourselves is definitely NOT a good idea while TTCing. This is, by far, the hardest pill for me to swallow because it means that I have to be okay with not achieving what I consider to be my standard for performance... and I have to be good with not being back at that level for years. After all, once I have the babies, guess what? Life is going to continue to be less productive work wise because I want to fully bask in and enjoy raising my children... So I might as well get used to that now.

And this transformation, at least for me, DOES require creating an entirely new karmic path... and it's scary. Overachieving has been how I've known my own value since I can remember being alive. It's my norm... and to shift to a place of more allowing and flow... and EASE... I've never lived in that world for very long.

However, if a baby is what I want and, more importantly, if being the kind of mother I want to be to that child is what I want, then how I've been living my life up until 45 WILL NOT WORK.

And that's why this journey is different for overachieving workaholics than it is for women who have not spent their life being so... and there's nothing wrong with saying that... and... if we're going to give our all (oh- overachieving yet again) to this TTC journey, it means we will have to let go of the superwoman identity of doing all the things all of the time that has given us a sense of purpose and value in the world.

Instead, we will have to live the words of a character Robin Williams once played in the movie "What Dreams May Come":

Sometimes, when you win, you lose. Sometimes, when you lose, you win...

On this journey, perhaps it's time to lose at overachieving so we can win at having our babies...

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