I have exciting news to share with the Parsley community—the bump is real! I’m just over 18 weeks pregnant (that’s four and a half months) and this is the first time I’m sharing it publicly.
I only shared the news with my team at Parsley last week, and my extended family this weekend. Baby Berz has been in secrecy mode all summer.
Why have I kept it quiet?
Don’t worry. I haven’t been keeping it a secret because there is something wrong. Based on my genetic screening I am not a carrier for any known inheritable disease. According to a new blood test called Panorama that screens for genetic problems and tells you the baby’s sex, and my ultrasounds, I have the same risk of my child having a major problem like Down’s Syndrome as a 20-year-old woman. I am monitoring my own thyroid and nutrient levels closely. So far everything is in optimal range.
I never even got morning sickness. I’ve been working out as much as ever, flying across the country to launch our LA center, closing our company’s first round of outside funding, and building an all-star team.
I’m tired, but no more tired than anyone who is a practicing physician and CEO of a fast growing company would be. Ok, maybe a little more tired – but just a little.
So why haven’t I been all over social media declaring how beautiful and amazing everything is?
It has to do with my goal of creating space for me and the little boy who is coming into this world in February.
Pregnant women these days are often thrust into the public eye. I didn’t want to feel compelled to redefine myself in other people’s eyes right away. I haven’t wanted to explain every one of my choices—what I am eating, how I am exercising, what prenatal vitamin I am taking—not because I won’t share all of this and more—but because there is something wonderfully peaceful, affirming and strong about holding space for this personal knowledge to grow with me for a little while.
How often are we alone with information these days before we get sucked into the social media vortex and tap the share button?
Never. That’s why I took this time and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In 2016 I think space is a greater luxury than time, and it’s one you have to proactively create for yourself.
I have also needed, for my own reasons, to accept and embrace this reality for myself in solitude. I am being stretched—mentally, emotionally and definitely physically (up not one, but two bra sizes in the first trimester. Eek!)
My sense of identity has been shifting. There have been moments when I’ve felt terrified, depressed, and in a weird state of nostalgia for my own childhood. Images of my own childhood in Baltimore have been looping through my mind far more often than usual.
I’ve also wondered about my independence. I lack sufficient role models for the kind of mother I want to be— one who is deeply connected and present with her family while still running a company and still looking and feeling healthy and vibrant herself.
And to be totally candid? Gaining weight has triggered very old issues around body image I thought I’d left behind in college. I hadn’t realized that part of my identity still hinged on being physically fit and how changes in my body, no matter how natural, could unearth issues around control I’ve had my whole life.
I’m not a different person now, but I’m being forced to become bigger in a way, because the shape of my life will now require me to be and own more than I ever have before.
I’ve had to work hard to be present—I’ve been getting a massage regularly, something I usually skip in favor of something more active like yoga. I’ve turned to some of my healers and advisors to gain perspective on these major changes. I’ve had to fully own this thing that I clearly wanted and created for myself, but hadn’t fully aligned with before getting pregnant.
Everything in my life has changed. I’m open about my pregnancy, public and excited. I can’t wait to be a mom in 2017. And I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned with the thousands of women in the Parsley community.
My personal health has always informed the work I’ve done with Parsley. My pregnancy is no exception. At Parsley Health, on a daily basis, we help women overcome hormone imbalances, irregular periods and even diagnoses of infertility to get pregnant naturally and avoid IVF. Part of why I started Parsley was to create a community of doctors and patients constantly sharing best practices. I’m excited for all of you to be on this journey with me.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.