From Pathology to Graphics: Designing Empowering Visual Narratives for Women in Healthcare.


A Letter To Me Before You

Dear Me,

Adversity. It has been a part of your life the past 23 years and it will continue to be a part of your life. As in previous situations, adversity will challenge you, fuel you and empower you to do more than you could ever imagine. There will be many ups and downs but through it all, you will learn many lessons. Lessons that you can use and pass to your beautiful children.

At the age of 23…

You will learn what it is like to lose love from a relationship but find ways to love yourself and have fun. You will re-embrace your love for dancing and enjoying the company of true friends.

Lesson: Cherish the moments you have to yourself, learn about yourself and most importantly love yourself.

At the age of of 24…

You will meet the man who will eventually become your husband and the father of your children. He will not meet all of the criteria you created in the perfect man for you (let’s be honest, the list is not realistic)… but he will be true to you, love you for who you are and treat you with the upmost respect.

Lesson: Learn to trust. Learn to bring the walls down that you have built over the years.

At the age of 25…

You will embark on the hardest educational journey ever by starting graduate school to become a Pathologists’ Assistant. It will not be medical school like you envisioned, but it will be better.

Lesson: Practice working on your discipline now because school will not be easy.

At the age of 27…

You will have the biggest feeling of accomplishment as you graduate from graduate school and start working at a prestigious hospital. Your work ethics and maturity will quickly lead you to become a supervisor. This will challenge your strength and confidence.

This year, you will also get engaged, start planning the wedding of your dreams and start a new chapter in the story of your life.

Lesson: Focus on your time management skills. Balancing your supervisory duties and your PA duties will be stressful as you work to save people’s lives. Also, enjoy every moment and make memories with your fiancé as it will be different when kids are in the picture.

At the age of 28…

You will experience a big loss and a big gain. The matriarch of your family, your grandmother… will pass away from cancer. This will be especially hard as the family becomes upset with you for using your medical knowledge and trying to explain her situation and what is the next best course of action for her. They will eventually see that you were right.

Right before your 29th birthday, you will marry the man that makes you happy and loves you in an unforgettable wedding (it will be talked about for years to come).

Lesson: Trust your education. Do not take others emotions personal. Be happy and live each day to the fullest.

At the age of 30…

You will be given one of life’s greatest gifts… the gift of carrying a child.

Lesson: Be grateful. Enjoy every single moment of it.

At the age of 31…

Just 3 days after your birthday (say goodbye to the month long birthday celebrations), you are given the best present ever… the gift of becoming a mother to a beautiful little girl. Your world is forever changed. You become a family of 3. Everything you do from that point on will revolve around your daughter. Learning to be a mom and adjusting to the change in routine will take time. There will be scary times which are outweighed by the number of beautiful and fun memories you will create. You will switch jobs so that you can work overnight and watch her during the day.

Lesson: Trust the learning process and trust your intuition… mami certainly does know best. Also remember to take care of yourself.

At the age of 32…

You will be given one of life’s greatest gifts again… the gift of carrying your second child. This pregnancy will be more challenging than the first pregnancy. You will not listen to your body and will push your body to its limits. This will ultimately lead to unwanted consequences.

Lesson: Listen, listen and listen to your body. Take care of your body.

At the age of 33…

Just 2 days after your birthday, you will receive another amazing gift… the gift of becoming a mother again to another beautiful little girl. Your world will change again as you adjust to being a family of 4. Being a  mom is a little easier this time around, but being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease will force you to resign from your job. Having to stop doing what you love and going from a two income family to one will be scary and HARD. This diagnosis will CHALLENGE you, but you will realize it is a blessing in disguise because being home with your girls is priceless.

Lesson: You cannot control what happens to you so try to find the positive points (as little as they may be) and focus on those. Enjoy the time with your daughters. Focus on your health. Everything happens for a reason although you may bot see it at first.

At the age of 34…

You will begin your entrepreneurial journey while being a SAHM. It will be not be easy and their will be many ups and downs but stick with it. You will learn so much about yourself along the way.

Lesson: Invest in yourself from the beginning health wise, emotionally and in your business.

At the age of 35…

A major family milestone is reached… you purchase your first home and plant your roots. It will not be your dream home but it is the home that is perfect for your family. A heart-wrenching event will overshadow this milestone. You will be given one of life’s greatest gifts again and it will be taken from you unexpectedly as you become a statistic. You will become 1 in 4 women who have a miscarriage (you can read my miscarriage story by clicking here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3). Nothing can ever prepare you for this. It will be a loss that you never fully recover from (not that anyone really could). It will test your marriage. You will question your worth and abilities as a mother. You will feel lonely and like the world around you is crumbling.

Lesson: Allow yourself to grieve. You cannot do everything alone. Ask for help from your family and friends. Seek professional counseling.

At the age of 38…

Many lessons will be learned through all of the ups and downs. These lessons will make you a strong, confident and amazing person/mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/role model. Embrace with open arms what comes next. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said… “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

If you had the opportunity to speak to your younger self, what would you say?

This post was written as part of a collaboration with other amazing moms challenged to reflect on life before kids. Make sure to check out what they had to say by visiting their blogs!

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My name is Michelle and I am the wife of the hardest working man I know, the Mami of 4 beautiful and AMAZING kids (3 girls and 1 boy) and a Pathologists’ Assistant turned Stay at Home Mami turned Owner and Creative Director of Mami Works Design Studio, LLC. I am super excited to share my experiences and learn from you. As women/moms/entrepreneurs, we must stick together and support each other!

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