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The Journey Of Faith

I credit my journey of being a doctor to a path that is somewhat, contradictory to my profession. Where on one hand, science rules over anything for a medical professional, for me it was faith, spirituality and hard work that got me through my college years. I give a lot of credit to Nichiren Buddhism that I started practising during my second year and continue to do so even today that gave me the confidence of sailing through the difficult years of studying medicine.

Having been born in the family of doctors, and seeing closely happiness, cure and hope this profession had on offer, I was determined to follow the footsteps of my father. However, what I didn’t realize then was that I had chosen a tougher than the expected path for myself. While finishing MBBS was one aspect of it, the harder part was of getting admission and specializing in a field of my choice. This required time to study which between our 24-36 hours of duty, every the third day seemed like an unattainable task. Having been a good student throughout my schooling, the self-inflicted pressure of excelling and getting admission in Delhi got onto me. This made me panic over little things, got me agitated and worry unnecessarily.

Therefore, during this time my family played an important role in motivating me and encouraging me to complete what I have started by giving my 100% to it. Around this time, someone introduced me to Buddhism, a practice that focused on the inner transformation of a person. A chant that started with 5 minutes a day helped me to calm my nerves and make me tougher than my circumstances. Thus, the triangle of family support, faith and dedication helped me achieve my goal. I got admission in the best institute, Maulana Azad Medical College and finished as a Gold Medalist from there. I super-specialized in ART- reproductive medicine that helps in treating couples who were infertile after coming across friends and peers who were going through this problem and also after I realized that they were not the only people with this problem. There were many more, who I was determined to help with my knowledge and skill.

However, the highlights of being a doctor were many, a reason that keeps me hooked to the profession till now. It offers empowerment of giving birth to a new life, or curing an existing life; it gives reasons to make people happy when they come with lost hope; and most importantly, it gives reasons to look at the twinkling eyes of the new parents. Having worked as a fertility specialist for many years, a successful procedure even today gives me more satisfaction than anything else.

But the life of a doctor is not easy. It requires continuous work-life balance and even getting immune to the reality of the profession. From coming face-to-face with some unethical practitioners to patients inquiring about having a gender-specific baby. It was an eye-opener and a challenge I had to fight time and again. But, keeping one’s stand firm and not resorting to unethical is the key to counter this malice.

Since I have always believed in women empowerment and giving them exposure to grow and follow their heart; I enjoyed discussing with would-be parents about the future they planned for their baby irrespective of the gender. Also, in this profession, I get to work closely with the females across social segments, educating them about their own health and guiding them to take the right fertility decision has been of the utmost importance to me. Therefore, counselling is one trait of being a doctor that I enjoy the most. I feel for a woman, it is important to work post marriage and even after having a baby as these things should be additions to your existence and add value to life.

Furthermore, my parents treated both me and my brother equally, and didn’t leave any stone unturned for me and thus, if I can give a piece of advice, I would say, give wings to the daughters and let them fly high. It is the 21st century where girls are no less than boys. Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, to Justice M. Fathima Beevi who became the first female judge; to Kalpana Chawla who was the first Indian woman to reach the space; Priyanka Chopra who is ruling Bollywood and Hollywood, and many more like them have put India on the global map, and there is no reason why others can’t.

Therefore, on International Women’s Day let‘s take a pledge to offer sons and daughters the same schooling and opportunities and let them take their own decisions and excel in the field of their choice.

The writer is Dr Aastha Gupta, advanced fertility & IVF consultant, and Gynaecologist at Delhi IVF and Fertility Centre (Views Are Personal)

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