Shayla Rosen: Proud and Empowered

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As a child, I always imagined my life having a fairytale ending. Meet prince charming, fall in love, get married and start a family.

But life doesn’t always pan out that way.

I pursued both undergraduate and graduate studies in my 20’s and then decided to teach elementary school where I could combine my passion for education with my love of working with children. With that said, I didn’t hit pause on searching for prince charming.

When I turned 30, I decided to focus more on that piece of the puzzle. In that same year, my priorities took a turn when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After being diagnosed, I found it harder to date because I feared guys would run for the hills when they found out I had MS. So instead, I decided to spend my time focused on spreading awareness and raising funds around the cause.

Six years later, feeling proud of all the work I had accomplished around MS awareness, I revisited that prince charming aspect and realized I hadn’t made much progress towards my innate desire to meet someone and build a family. I had heard of egg freezing as an option and decided since I couldn’t exactly control meeting Mr. Right, I could control taking the steps to protect my ability to have children with a future partner or on my own one day. Last year I found a reputable fertility specialist and started my journey.

The specialist put me at ease about undergoing the process even though I had MS. I was concerned about the risk factors and after extensive conversations, they let me know I could continue my MS meds throughout and that there was a 30% chance I could have an MS flare up post-procedure. I decided this was a risk I was willing to take and after completing the initial fertility screen and learning I was an excellent candidate (finally some GOOD medical news!), I decided to move forward.

I didn’t anticipate how difficult the process would be to do alone and its impact on my lifestyle. Given my familiarity with injections due to the MS, the hormone therapy was the easiest part of the process. In fact, Multiple Sclerosis actually improves with pregnancy so the hormones seemed to have a positive impact physically. The hardest part was the toll on my life. I workout daily and enjoy sharing cocktails with friends and socializing. Even though it was only a few weeks off, I found myself having to come up with excuses on why I couldn’t partake. Ashamed? I don’t know. But for whatever reason I wasn’t ready to be open about my choice to freeze my eggs and instead only told a few close friends.

The retrieval went well (proud owner of 20 eggs!) and although I had some challenges with getting back on birth control after the process, I wouldn’t change my decision to move forward in the least. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that fear of not meeting someone and never having kids has diminished. I don’t feel the constraints of a timeline and find myself being much more present day to day. Maybe I’ll use the eggs, maybe I won’t. But my fear of regret is gone and I know I have options. And… I’m dating. And feeling like the best version of myself I can be putting out there.

As more women are speaking up and sharing their stories I’ve realized that “ashamed” feeling I felt less than a year ago has actually changed to “proud and empowered”. I hope by sharing my story I inspire others to share theirs and women interested in knowing their fertility health to ask the right questions.

Image sourced from Pinterest


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