Friday, January 8, 2010

perspective

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you might know that I currently work in a veterinary clinic. I never imagined, in all of my years of schooling for various things, that I would end up in a job like this. I do love animals, though, and while parts of the job are boring, frustrating, and heartbreaking, I generally enjoy working here.

There are times, though, when infertility rears its ugly head and I want to run screaming from the building. My coworkers are almost all female, and almost without exception, are child-free by choice. They prefer pets to children, for various reasons, and I respect them for their choice. But I am set apart from them, because it has never been my choice to be child-free.

And while I love my pets dearly (sometimes they are the only reason I drag my ass out of bed in the morning), I think I have a different perspective than my coworkers. They see their pets as their children. I see my lost babies, and my possible future children, as my children. My pets are a source of joy, sure. But they are pets.

This is where the bitterness comes in. One fellow staff member has lost two of her cats in the last few months. She is grieving their deaths, hard. I see the way everyone else rallies around her, supporting her, showering her with love to ensure that she makes it through this difficult time. It is wonderful, really, how supportive they are. And I know – because I’ve been there – how real and strong the grief for a pet can be.

This wonderful love-fest leaves me feeling isolated. Granted, most of my co-workers know only about two of our losses. But never has anyone offered me any of the support they are showing her. It is as if, in their minds, those babes never existed. I know, intellectually, that it is most likely because they don’t know how to approach the subject. But parts of me wonder if it is because it’s ME (do they hate me deep down?), and if it’s because they really think that losing a pet is the most traumatic thing that can happen to a person.

I know it is not right to compare grief, to say mine is greater than hers, but I want to shout “BABIES! I lost babies, people.” While they plan a memorial for her cats, I wonder where the memorial for my babies is.

All in all, work is just a clusterfuck for me right now. I feel bad that I feel bad, if you know what I mean. Add that to the fact that we have a slew of pregnant clients and pregnant friends of coworkers right now, and multiply it by the fact that this job was supposed to be temporary (you know, until I popped a kid out and stayed home to become mother of the year) and you have a formula for anxiety and depression.

I think I need to move on, find a job that is more fulfilling and pays more (so we can save what we need to save more quickly). It’s hard though, because I have more flexibility for doctor’s appointments with this job than I would with any other. And for someone with IF/RPL, flexibility in the work schedule is crucial.

Time for some soul searching.

5 comments:

  1. I am so sorry that you are having to go through all of this at work. That just sucks.

    What I have found in my limited experiences with my loss, is that people DO NOT understand unless they have gone through it. I just had a friend and his wife go through a m/c. They really didn't respond when we went through ours, but since theirs I can tell that they get it. Unfortunately, they know the hurt and feelings that are associated with losing a baby. They have been so much more receptive and have really reached out to us.

    I really believe your co-workers response is because they can relate to losing a beloved pet, but can't relate to all the pain you have been going through. I hope you are able to figure out what to do job-wise that is best for you.

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  2. I feel your grief and pain because I have experienced something similar to it. I have had two miscarriages in 2009. One thing I soon discovered was that unless someone has experienced a pregnancy loss, they won't understand and won't know how to support you the way you need to be supported. As hard as it may be for you at work, do not take it personal that your coworkers seem to respond more about the death of pets than the loss of your babies. They just don't get it (especially because many of them have no desire to be a mother right now).

    I didn't go back to work after my first miscarriage. I didn't want to deal with people saying inappropriate things, asking personal questions, and not knowing what to say to me. Although my husband and I could have used my income, it was the right decision for me at the time. If you can find another job that offers a flexible schedule, go for it. If not, remember that your coworkers are not intentionally being insensitive, but they probably just don't know any better.

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  3. It's so true that you really have to have a miscarriage to "get it." I've noticed too, that the more I talk about my miscarriages to people in a matter-of-fact way, the more they seem to feel free to treat them like they didn't matter. Maybe it would be better if we all broke down in front of people on a regular basis so that they could see just how real the pain is, and just how much it hurts to lose someone you've not yet met.

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  4. Hi...I've been there. I had 2 chemical pregnancies throughout my journey. I now have my family and blog to help others. I'm following you now and linking you! I hope you stop by! ;-)

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  5. HI wifey,

    I am sure that your co-workers do not hate you. I'm sure it's just that they don't understand or know what to say. How can people who are child-free by choice understand the pain that we have suffered?

    I tend to think that your co-workers probably do care, they just don't know what to say, and/or think that it is a personal matter.

    I'm sorry you are having a hard time at work right now. I hear you on the flexibility! I hope you can find something else that works for you.

    xo
    Andie
    (who can't be bothered logging in through Google)

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