Miki Agrawal hopes to inspire women to embrace IVF
Miki Agrawal hopes to inspire women to embrace IVF

While adoption, IVF, and surrogacy have certainly become more mainstream ideas, the path to motherhood is often still shrouded in secrecy, complex emotions, and a lack of straightforward information. Often, any path to motherhood that deviates from the picture-perfect ideal is seen as “other”, a stigma that undoubtedly creates more stress for modern women who constantly aim to “have it all”. As a multi-industry disrupt-her, entrepreneur and CEO, wife and mother, and best-selling author, Miki Agrawal boldly lends an honest voice to taboo subjects.

From her journey toward mental wellness and dealing with hyperthyroidism, Agrawal has never shied away from illuminating audiences to the splendor of transparency, honesty, and acceptance. Now, the mama-of-one is earnestly detailing her IVF journey. As always, Miki Agrawal’s unique voice, penchant for positivity, and holistic approach take center stage in her documentation of the good, the bad, and the sometimes bloated IVF journey to motherhood.

...But the first one was easy

Throughout her life, Miki Agrawal has expertly worn many hats, juggling professional demands with a blooming personal life. In 2017, Agrawal’s first child, Hiro, was born. The pregnancy came easily, and while the experience was entirely transformative for the new mama, the journey to motherhood was met with ease, grace, and a worry-free spirit. Thus, when Agrawal began to consider adding another member to her tribe, her initial struggles were met with surprise. Like many women who have experienced a successful first pregnancy, she assumed that the second would follow suit. In an attempt to grasp a “big picture” understanding of the unique nature of her second attempt at pregnancy and childbirth, Agrawal looked within...

Why not now?

Often, stories of women getting pregnant “immediately” prevail in the media, and the coveted “honeymoon baby” reigns supreme as a signal of fertility and the American dream family. However, getting pregnant isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, and countless women experience varying results. So, why aren’t these stories readily available to the masses? Why aren’t there honest accounts of women’s experiences (both mental and physical) during this important and emotional time?

In her own motherhood journey, Miki Agrawal looked inward for answers about her seeming “inability” to conceive her second child, whom she intentionally refers to as, Hart. Taking an honest self-inventory, she realised that she was perpetually “on”, constantly connected, and professionally available at all times. As a successful entrepreneur and founder of innovative companies like WILD and TUSHY, Miki Agrawal’s professional passions align with those of the modern professional woman. Disrupting industries and propelling change in the personal hygiene markets became her calling card, but with great successes, Agrawal admittedly found herself spread thin.

The Chrysalis Period

Wanting to literally “get away from it all”, the entrepreneur dedicated some time in late 2019/early 2020 to a holistic trip to Santa Barbara, wherein she stepped away from work and electronics. She focused on de-stressing, re-centering, and going into what she often refers to as her “chrysalis period”.

Often, professional women have to juggle careers and motherhood, with one success potentially coming at the detriment of the other. Often overworked and plugged in at all hours of the night, many women find the need to rebalance their professional and personal lives to create a better sense of harmony. This creates an open space and opportunity for inward reflection, and the ability to proactively take care of one’s mental and physical health and wellness. While these concepts may seem somewhat unattached to the concept of pregnancy and fertility, creating a wholesome space and environment for pregnancy sometimes does require conscious thought, action, and rebalancing.

For Agrawal, this chrysalis period was about balance and preparing her mind, body, and spirit for the arrival of a baby. She thought about power, and what makes individuals powerful. During this solo time, she reported: “I realised that the most powerful people are the most comfortable and confident in uncertainty. I feel like I have been great at business because of this reason, and even with making Hiro, it was a delightful surprise when I found out I was pregnant. I wasn’t looking for certainty and expecting it. I was open to the possibility and wonder of it all. By trying to be so certain of when my next baby is coming, I lost my power in it. I realised that certainty breeds powerlessness because there is no room for magic and delight. The fun leaves and pressure enters. I am so ready to be in the delightful uncertainty of life and all that it offers.”

This thought process welcomes the sometimes messy, long, uncertain, and emotional journey that so many women experience. Instead of counting ovulation days and reeling from potential disappointment, this wholesome approach welcomes uncertainty and invites women to find power in their respective and individual journeys.

A few months after her initial efforts to conceive, Agrawal participated in a baby blessing ritual, in which she reports she “literally created a slide from the universe from the baby’s playground up there all the way to my womb. It was just beautiful. -- I am strong. I am calm. I am fertile. I am ready.” Recounting this special ritual, Miki added, “we put a blessing into this hard-boiled egg and then we ate the egg with our intention of a baby, a healthy child, a healthy birth, an easy pregnancy, a beautiful relationship between Hart and Hiro, a beautiful relationship between Hart and us.”

Creating a supportive narrative

Like many women who choose to bear children, Miki Agrawal believes that “we do anything to meet our babies.” Thus, her holistic and multifaceted approach, and even her belief in positive omens, should be shared and celebrated. Often, within mainstream media, such rituals, beliefs, and approaches are deemed as “hippy-dippy” or otherwise less important than others. However, minimizing any person’s intentional inner and outer work is dangerous, and further perpetuates the secrecy surrounding parenthood paths. For many women, various rituals, exercises, and beliefs foster hope, happiness, and overall radiance of positivity, all integral facets of the journey to motherhood. Thus, voices like Agrawal’s should be celebrated as they help to create a supportive narrative, no matter what anyone’s journey may look like.

Starting IVF and talking about it!

Shortly after her intentional period of reflection and mental preparation, Agrawal did Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). When this procedure didn’t result in a viable pregnancy, Miki Agrawal decided to undergo the IVF process in mid-2021.

Recently, she commented at length, in an introspective social media post, about her inaugural thoughts on the official beginning of the IVF cycle. Agrawal wrote, “I feel glorious today - I am officially going to start the IVF process today. My sweet Hiro Happy chose to fly into my womb with no challenge at all. This next one is still in the stars, and we are going to nudge this being to arrive with even more love (and with a little modern medicine).” Agrawal’s perennial hope and “big picture” thinking reigns prevalent in this initial statement, as she regains hope for what’s to come next for her as a parent.

Commenting on society’s pressures and age-old expectations for women to only journey to motherhood in one set path, Miki Agrawal added, “I was initially sad, and felt shame, for not making a baby without support (thank you society for that), and then, I transmuted that to ‘Wow, I made the choice to wait until much later to have a baby so I can really find my heart-center and I built an amazing life for me and my family.’ Now, I am being given the gift of human science to support my new dream of creating even more love in my family.” Of course, millions of women identify with this pressure to fit into a one-size-fits-all box. While millions of women do experience completely complication-free pregnancies and childbirth experiences, there are millions of women who don’t, who should never be made to feel any different, less successful, or shamed from their counterparts.

It gets intense... and that's OK!

Though pastel-colored print advertisements and television sitcoms often paint rosy pictures of pregnancy and motherhood, many women would agree that the very human process is anything but picture perfect. From raging hormones to literal incontinence, the process gets intense. So, it’s no wonder that In Vitro Fertilization can also be experienced as...well..intense. As the process becomes more mainstream, many women find courage, strength, and solidarity in proudly sharing their “battle stories” along the road to motherhood.

In the throes of the IVF journey, Miki Agrawal recently underwent the egg retrieval procedure. Commenting on the procedure via social media, the always-honest Agrawal reported, “Twelve days of intense hormones injected into my body with intense needles for my first round of #IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), then an intense extraction process, where I had to go under, while they intensely scraped eggs out of my ovaries, and then an intense waiting period. Then, the intense news that of the 12 follicles I had, I got 5 eggs (out of which, 3 turned to embryos). Then, more waiting, until I intensely found out that my sweet little embryos didn’t make it.” According to Agrawal, this news came at an energetic crossroads. After embarking on the exhausting journey together, Agrawal and her husband were spent and longed for some time and space to sort through this whirlwind. Guided by nature, Agrawal looked to the elements to help her heal, literally and figuratively.

This whirlwind of emotion is natural during the IVF process, literally ramped up by hormones, and emotionally maintained by the intense physical and emotional commitment required to complete the process. Rigorous and raw, the IVF process can be both dehumanizing and totally humanizing simultaneously, and yield every feeling in between. With extreme ups and downs, these reactions are normal, to be expected, and are a complex part of a complex process. There’s no right or wrong answer, but honesty and transparency are certainly key to understanding and working through these sometimes contradictory waves of emotions.

Releasing the pressure

In what could only be described as a truly bold move, Agrawal completed her initial commentary on her IVF journey by proclaiming, “I am also releasing the pressure off myself for the outcome of what happens. The universe will decide if this is in the cards for us. I will do everything I can to meet this spirit, but I will sit in full gratitude for what I already have if this process doesn’t produce the outcome we are seeking.”

The path to parenthood might be simple. It may even happen on the first try, with a seemingly perfect union of egg and sperm. Childbirth may be swift and relatively painless, and there may even be a lovely rose-patterned wallpaper creating a warm glow in the background of such a perfected version of motherhood. However, this path may also have many roads, some paved, and others wild and untethered. Some paths may be filled with disappointment and rage, while others may bring unannounced positivity and openness. No matter the road to motherhood (or not), women of the world have undoubtedly done it all. Disrupt-hers like Miki Agrawal have gathered the richest of stories and experiences, and have woven triumphs and devastations into a tapestry of motherhood that deserves to be illuminated. Through honest and transparent communication, and a commitment to lift each other up, women have the power to illuminate every journey to parenthood.