As Beautiful As Your Work

Amitha mentioned about this Tanishq contest on a FB bloggers group 🙂 Thanks to my affinity to look for like minded people on networking sites, I came across Sulbha Arora. She usually tweeted about her adored niece, Mumbai, the new house, her marriage, love of wine and good food. A few times I found her tweets and pictures to hint at being a Godmother and the love she got from the child’s parents etc. After a little research I got to know that she is fertility specialist. 🙂

What joy it must be to gift someone a life they can pin their life to. Infertility figures are staggering across the world. In India the number is anywhere between 15-20 million.

Rotunda is like a second home for Sulbha. Here she and absolutely fabulous team brings smiles and cheer to a lot of families. It gives me so much joy to share about this beautiful person.

When I asked her how has she been able to handle so much without cribbing, she replied, studying medicine makes you patient and her mother is exactly like this too 🙂

Here is what she told me:

Who is Sulbha?

Dr Sulbha Arora is a Gynaecologist and Consultant Fertility Specialist. She completed her schooling from the Arya Vidya Mandir High School (ICSE) at Santacruz. Thereafter she went on to pursue her MBBS from the KJ Somaiya Medical College, Sion; and obtained her MD & DNB degrees in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the Bombay Hospital & Research Centre, Marine Lines. She was awarded the MOGS Dr Shantabai Gulabchand Traveling Fellowship, which helped her to complete her Basic & Advanced Training in Assisted Reproductive Technology from the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre, Israel. With over a decade of experience in the field of Infertility and IVF, she has extensive knowledge and skills in all aspects of this specialty. She is known for her warm and compassionate nature, and prefers to treat people as ‘fellow human beings’ rather than just patients.

My mother has been my biggest role model throughout my life. I have learnt to be patient, compassionate and strong from her. She is the pillar of strength for my family, and I have always seen her effortlessly manage everything she does, with a smile. I am what I am because of her. She is my inspiration and I strive to be like her.

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What makes you go to work everyday?

My passion for my profession. They say ‘If you enjoy what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life’; and I find that saying very apt for me. The stress induced by infertility has been compared to that felt by terminally ill cancer patients and people suffering from AIDS. Counseling thus plays a very important role in my field, and its importance cannot be emphasized enough. I firmly believe in talking to my patients at length and am happy to answer every small & big query they may have, even if it takes up hours of my time. This is what I enjoy doing. This is what I am.

Did you ever hope of having an alternate career?

No. Never. Right from the time when I was a student in my Second Year of MBBS and stepped into a Gynaecology Ward for the first time, I knew this was it. I felt at home. I didn’t want to study anything else, I did not want to be anything else. When I applied for post-graduation, if I had not gotten admission for my MD in Gynaecology, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I had no other option in mind for miles. Nothing else even came close.

Are Indians shy to talk about infertility?

While this might have been the case some years back, it does not any more seem to be so. As awareness grows, people are more open to talking about it. They feel comfortable talking to us. However, this also depends on the treating physician. It is up to us to put the patients at ease, so they can open up about their problems. Sadly, although they can speak to their doctors very openly, Infertility still continues to remain a large social stigma. A big taboo. Like it is the woman’s fault. I really hope the day is not far where women can share their struggles and their fertility journeys with their friends and families. This would also help inspire other women who are struggling in the same boat. Just as breast cancer victims are sympathized with, and considered as ‘victims’, I hope the world around us will soon start to acknowledge the struggle, the grief, the despair and the stress that infertile women go through… and the strength that pulls them along. They deserve a lot of credit for it.

What is your advice to parents going through infertility treatments?

My biggest piece of advice would be to not stop living their lives. People will advise them not to stress, which is easier said than done. They will advise them to be strong and to be patient, which is not always easy either. If we have not walked in someone’s steps, we will never know what their journey is like. Very often I see that women have stopped enjoying life or even living it. They get so obsessed with the thought of having a baby and the fear that they may never, that they start to wrap their whole existence around this one goal. Happiness does not depend on any external factor. We must never stop doing the things we love to do, the things that bring us joy. We must continue to live. We must try and be happy. It’s in our hands to try, and if it’s in our destiny… one fine day we will have a little miracle in our arms.

I would also like to tell them, not to let the stress of infertility affect their marital life. Fertility treatments can take a big toll on the marital relationship. The woman is undergoing a lot of hormonal changes. The IVF process is exhausting. She may have mood swings. She may be unreasonable. She may be angry or hurt and say things she does not mean. The husband needs to understand where this is coming from, and be supportive of her. At the same time, the woman needs to understand too. Husbands may not show their emotions as openly as women do. That does not mean the process does not affect them. It does not mean that they are not involved. It does not mean that they don’t want the baby bad enough. Different people have different ways of reacting, and the husband & wife need to understand, respect and support each other throughout this difficult journey. Sometimes even a simple hug says more than words can.

How does your typical day at work look like?

It usually starts off with the OR cases, where we do the Egg Retrievals or Embryo Transfers. The rest of the day is lined up with Consultations, Follow-ups, Ultrasound Scans or IUIs (Intrauterine Insemination). In between seeing my patients, I spend my time replying to patients’ emails, organizing conferences and writing chapters for text books.

Do you get enough time to strike a work life balance?

I definitely try to maintain a good balance. It’s important to unwind. I live by the mantra ‘Work Hard; Party Harder’. I love reading, so I try and spend the hours stuck in traffic jams on my way to work & back, to get some reading done. You will always find a lot of books in my car. It’s never a question of not having the time, time is something you just have to learn to manage well.

What do you do with the time that you have outside the clinic?

If my work is my passion, my family is my oxygen. When I’m not at work, I love spending time with them. Whether it’s a movie & dinner date with just my husband; or catching up with my parents and sisters. We have a very close knit family, and they are my biggest support system. One hug from my nephew or niece can make all my stress just melt away. When I’m not at work, I try and spend as much time with them as possible. It recharges my batteries.

She is happily married to Mihir 🙂

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Stay Beautiful Sulbha. God Bless.

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This post is for As Beautiful as You contest by Tanishq.

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One thought on “As Beautiful As Your Work

  1. What a beautiful post this is….indeed as beautiful as the person.
    And having gone through all this I know exactly what she said.
    Wonderful post Pallavi!

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