Bridging the gap

The Joys, Challenges, and Life Lessons of Motherhood: A Personal Story

Yamicia Connor, MD, PhD, MPH
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Personal experience and stories
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May 24, 2024

As I sit alone in my hotel room, I find myself feeling incredibly grateful. Unfortunately, a canceled flight has stranded me in Aspen, CO following the 2023 Aspen Ideas Health Conference. Before becoming a mother, such a situation would have been amazing - an extra night in a beautiful hotel, in a beautiful place. But now, my heart longs for nothing more than to return to my two babies.

Life certainly has a way of reshuffling our priorities, doesn't it?

What made things worse was that tonight, I experienced severe cramping that stirred up fears of a miscarriage. As a physician, I know that miscarriages in the second trimester are rarer, occurring in about 1-5% of pregnancies. But they are not an anomaly—I've seen plenty in my career. Having endured a first-trimester miscarriage myself, I am all too aware that as the baby grows beyond 12 weeks, every loss becomes progressively more difficult.

In this moment of gratitude and vulnerability, I find myself inclined to offer a glimpse into my private world.

My husband and I value our privacy; we're not the most active on social media. So, our privacy concerns expanded with the precious additions to our family in 2021—our beautiful twins, Yonas and Yohanna. Our continued reluctance to share their lives online stems from numerous valid reasons—the potential for exploitation, the corrosive nature of social media, contributions to mental health issues; the list goes on.

However, as my career pivots more towards pregnancy care for others, I realize the importance of sharing my experiences as a mother. These experiences are as much a part of my professional growth as my 18+ years of medical training as an OB/GYN. So, allow me to introduce you to the smartest, kindest, spunkiest, and cutest toddlers in the world - a statement I assert with complete bias and absolute love!

Being a mother has profoundly influenced my motivation to build Diosa Ara, the company I started dedicated to empowering patients through science and evidence-based medicine, promoting equitable care, and enhancing obstetrical and gynecological outcomes and experiences.

It may sound cliché, but there's nothing quite like the experience of motherhood. It roots you in the present, inspiring a depth of thoughtfulness, patience, and kindness. However, I won't sugarcoat the truth - motherhood can also be exhausting, frustrating, and emotionally challenging. The loss of personal autonomy, time, and the strain on relationships can lead to many difficult days.

These experiences - both the uplifting and the challenging - shape the approach we take at Diosa Ara. I look forward to sharing it all with our community.

If you are ever in conversation with me about my motherhood adventures, you will hear tales of how my children learned to walk at 9 and 10 months old, respectively, and how they started talking around the same time. I'll never forget my daughter's first words, "I know," which is a perfect reflection of the determined little personality we call Yohanna.

You'll hear about how they can both carry on full conversations at two years old, their strength and athleticism, how my son counts in three languages, and how they both have an endearing mix of humor, assertiveness, and typical two-year-old impatience.

But I also want to share the challenges and the hardships which have taught me just as much, if not more.

Stories like my son's birth with a cleft lip that required surgery in his first year, my return to work four weeks postpartum following a cesarean section, or my harrowing experience of workplace trauma due to my identity as a mother, which led to a difficult end of a significant phase in my career. The mental health challenges that ensued, the tumble down the stairs with my son in my arms, his subsequent leg fracture at 11 months old when he was just getting the hang of walking, and the guilt that consumed me afterward.

These experiences have deeply enriched the way I care for women throughout their pregnancy journeys and increased my empathy for pregnant women beyond what textbooks or medical training could provide.

Personal experience is irreplaceable.

I look forward to sharing these experiences, along with the details of my current pregnancy, with our Diosa Ara community. We want women to feel like they are part of a family that is committed to promoting optimal outcomes for them and their children.

There's nothing more exciting than the thought of more healthy Black and Brown moms and babies joining our extended family. Our commitment to positive outcomes goes far beyond the drive to run a successful business. Simply put, I want to build a better world for my children, and that starts by helping women in my community have the safest, most joyful experiences possible.

Are you a woman of color considering or at the beginning stages of the motherhood journey? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to learn more about how my vision for more equitable experiences in maternal care and the work of Diosa Ara can support you and your future.

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