One of the most humbling experiences since Drop the Ball came out is hearing from so many of you about the difference the book has made in your lives. I read every word of every letter, DM, and email, and often laugh and cry during the process. Since your stories have had such a profound impact on me I thought I'd start to share a few, of course with permission. Here's is Lisa's*:
Reading your book helped me to not only prepare for the biggest change that's coming in my life (motherhood), but also to stay centered, focused and at ease at the thought that all my life's sacrifices to grow professionally don't have to be put on a hold or even worse, at a halt. I am a 36 year old Puertorican that read your book and felt like you were literally inside my brain!
So many aspects of your life resonate with mine. My husband and I have what I think is an awesome, kick ass partnership. Both very passionate, aspirational, driven, and highly rationale, with previous incompatible marriages, who one day made a very conscientious decision that spending our lives together brings us immense happiness as a couple and makes us stronger as individuals. We typically flow flawlessly in our day-to-day lives...any impasse is quickly resolved with a negotiation. So when one of the hardest challenges we have had presented itself, I had no doubt we would tackle it with no problem. Was I wrong!
After almost three years trying to get pregnant, we made an extremely hard decision to move across an ocean to get the expert medical help we needed.. We work in the same company so telling our bosses that we both needed to work remotely for some months was tough. We knew it could put our careers in jeopardy and even though they accepted, encouraged, and supported us, we knew that our careers would take a hit. At that point I was uncertain about my lifelong dream of being a mother and the anchor that pushes passion through my blood—my work.
The weeks that follow were hard. Millions of doctor's appointments, daily tests, and a box full of medicines that would stir up my whole body. I was in another country, stuck inside a house where I attempted to work remotely everyday while having my body mutilated. That's when our marriage took its first big hit. I struggled daily with the thought of losing my career and saw it coming either way, if the procedure was or was not successful. The lack of human interaction, daily intellectual challenges, and even exercising was really unbalancing me. My husband just did not know how to manage my new troubled self. And then it heighten when we received the news, we were expecting twins. A miracle! But the multiple birth idea only lasted a couple of weeks. We quickly lost one of the babies, but were still blessed with one healthy growing girl. At this point, I had mourned the loss of one of my babies, I had gained 15 pounds due to all the hormones and steroids, and was both extremely happy and terrified about the baby girl that was developing inside of me. My unstable moods swung in my husbands direction, and made what were supposed to be the happiest phase of my life (pregnancy) not so happy.
Then, one day, I had a meeting with my boss’ boss. I've known her most of my life and consider her a friend as well as one of my mentors. She is also a Puertorican woman in her mid to late 30s married with two young kids. In my eyes, she has mastered both an extremely successful marriage and career. So when we start our skype call catching up about how I've been and how my pregnancy was progressing, I couldn't help but verbalize that it’s been quite hard. She knows the type of person I am and quickly catches on to the unspoken elaboration of my struggles. And then she says, I am reading this book, Drop the Ball. It was as if she completely saw through me and knew that the essence of this book was an intact replica of my struggles.
As I turned the pages night after night, I recognized the darkness I was going through and slowly deciphered the change in mindset I needed to get through it. I cannot express how much I needed to read this book in this exact moment of my life. It made me learn so much about myself. I realized I was more vulnerable than I thought. I was not in control of my life, my body, my present or even my future. It made me see a way out, a way to re-asses and adapt, to opening my mind to new possibilities that were okay as well. Slowly I began to put myself together. My husband's patience and support through the process was crucial. As I was reading I shared with him everything I learned. Now I look back and it melts my heart how he genuinely took an interest... he could have just turned the page and moved forward. But he didn't. He had the patience to listen to me, and to understand my thoughts and comments of all the passages that I read out loud to him. He knew that I needed our partnership to learn and grow, as much as I needed to learn and grow myself.
Today I write to you as I enter into my 16th week of pregnancy. We are about to board our plane back to Puerto Rico and settle back into our life after 5 months away. I feel stronger than ever and eager for this new chapter. I know that many changes are coming and I will have to Drop the Ball on many of the things that I used to do. But with our MEL list, lots of love, flexibility, patience and communication we will be the rock star parents that our baby girl deserves as well as the successful professionals that we strive for. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can truly say that my life was changed by the words you shared and that the still unbeatable woman inside of me will make sure to pass on this experience to other women like us.
*Name changed for privacy.