I have been doing a lot more public speaking lately, well, prior to the holidays, and I have enjoyed every aspect of it. It’s a great opportunity to connect with others, and especially women, who are my target audience. One of the talks I’ve developed is designed to ask women what they breathe for. Now I don’t mean I want to know the mechanics of how they go about breathing. I want to know what it is that inspires them to get out of bed every single day and face the world. And honestly I’m asking because I want to identify an answer for myself. Here’s a fraction of my story…

On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 I was at home and had undergone gum grafting the week prior. I wasn’t feeling quite right but I continued plugging away with my school work as much as I could. I had just started the doctoral program at Pepperdine University and was trying to keep up with all of the reading and assignments as well as operate my ‘day job’. But that day I was just not feeling right.

I was trying to get ready for a morning meeting and went to wash my hair. I turned on the water and realized that I didn’t know what to do next. I turned the water off, then back on, and again came up mentally blank. Thankfully my husband had stayed home from work that day, and at the risk of confirming his belief that I am a hypochondriac, I went and told him that I couldn’t remember how to wash my hair. He encouraged me to go back to bed, so I did. My friend, who I was supposed to be meeting with, called later to see where I was and I informed her about my bizarre morning. She came to check on me about an hour later.

When my husband answered the door and brought my friend in to my bedroom to see me they both were shocked. I was having a seizure. They quickly called 911 and the ambulance came to take me to the hospital. Thankfully we lived in Plano at the time and the ambulance took me to Plano Medical Center.

At the age of 37 I was having a stroke, and not just 1 but a stroke in 2 places. Two days later I had a brain surgery to remove the clots that had formed. The surgery was supposed to last approximately 4 hours, but my surgery wound up taking over 7 hours. I was supposed to be in ICU for a minimum of 10 days but by the grace and healing of God I was home in 10 days. I came home the day before my 38th birthday.

What Do You Breathe For3 - Cortney Baker

I decided that it was best for me to withdraw from school that semester and focus on my healing. I went back to school for the spring 2013 semester and jumped right back in with my old cohort. I just finished my doctorate in December 2015 and I’m asking myself “now what”?

It’s weird, honestly, when I’ve had such a focused goal (like school) and then it’s over, there can be such a let-down. I liken it to postpartum. I had that, too, so I’m not in any way, shape, or form making light of that. I am just saying that it feels so similar to having such a big expectation and when it is over and it’s not what you thought it would look like then it feels very unsure.

So I’m speaking publically now and part of my conversation just happens to be asking other women what they breathe for. What inspires them? What do they get out of bed every day for? And I would love to hear from you as well. What do you breathe for? What inspires you? What gets you out of bed every day?

Tell me… I would love to hear from you!

~Dr. Cortney Baker (cortney@cortneybaker.com)

What Do You Breathe For1 - Cortney Baker