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.