Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Self-Care Above All Else

I missed my first class in this program. I felt really proud about my perfect attendance so far because I've never had perfect attendance in anything in my life. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted haha. Self-care above all else.

One of my classes is discussion-based. Each week everyone reads the same research article and then one person leads the small group in a discussion. Last week I sat down to prepare for that week's article. It was about motherhood. Oh shit... I started reading. Within the first paragraph the article started talking about how motherhood brings meaning to women's lives. Fresh off a recent pregnancy announcement where a good friend's IVF had worked, I immediately started crying.

Oh hell no.

There is no way I'm going to this class.

I can't even get through the article.

I tried again and immediately thought, Why am I doing this to myself? Who freaking cares??

So I stopped reading. I cannot even tell you the relevance of this article to the class or my profession. It seemed pretty out of left field to me. Maybe there was an explanation further in the article. I will never know. I threw away the article and emailed my professor.

I told her I would not be attending class because the article was too upsetting for me, but I was more than willing to do a make-up assignment or read an additional article if needed.

She wrote back. (She never writes back. Add that to my list of complaints about this program.)

She said something along the lines of: I am disappointed you chose to skip class for this reason. You will not have any choice in the future about which patients you work with... Something about being unprofessional... Blah blah blah...

Um... What?

That's not even relevant.

In the future I will not be having hour-long discussions with patients about how motherhood gives women's lives meaning.

Plus, I would not have been able to make it through that discussion without crying. Hard. Listening to my classmates inevitably talk about how their children gave their lives meaning and how they are working hard for them to give them a better life. It was a no-win situation for me. Unprofessional if I missed class, unprofessional if I cried throughout the whole thing.

I wrote her back.

I said something along the lines of: Thank you for your feedback. Each month I make great strides in my grief and recovery from losing my children and I feel confident that I will be able to handle whatever situation comes my way in the clinical setting in the future.

She said nothing.
How rude.

Anyway, I don't really care all that much. I really don't. I'm not impressed with my professor's first response and I'm definitely not impressed with her lack of response after sharing with her that I lost my children. But I don't feel even 1% bad for missing that class. There was no way in hell I was going.

I don't expect anyone else to understand my life. But I also don't have to do things just to make other people happy or comfortable.

I'm the only one that lives my life and I put self-care above all else.


  1. I'm so sorry that you were treated so poorly. I would like to say that I'm shocked, but I retrained in an allied health profession a few years back and this story (plus others you've mentioned) ring very true. My fellow students and I had many conversations about how people in a supposedly caring profession could have so little empathy. It must have taken a lot of courage to explain your position (you could have so easily come up with some other excuse, but instead you acted with respect and integrity). You deserved a similar level of consideration and respect in her response. I am tempted to say that you should complain, but I know that's easier said than done and I probably wouldn't do it myself. I actually came very close to dropping out of my course because of the behavior of the lecturers and placement supervisors, but I'm glad I stuck with it in the end. Good luck.


    1. Thank you so much! Your comment gives me a lot of comfort. Thank you for saying I acted with respect and integrity. I questioned whether I should've just lied and said I was sick or having a family emergency, but I really just wanted to tell the truth. You make me feel better for going with the truth. I will stick out this terrible program because the future career is going to be worth it. Until then, I guess I'll have a lot of material to write about on this blog hahaha. Thank you again for reading and commenting.

  2. I suspect it might have been one of the first times your professor has ever had to face the situation of someone grieving their lack of children. How unprofessional of her not to consider this! I hope she has learned from it.

    These days, I would relish going to something like this, so I could argue against the whole "gives women's lives meaning" theme. But in the early years, I definitely couldn't have managed it. I'm glad you put self-care as a priority.

    1. Silly me for thinking a professor without children might be empathetic. Haven't I learned by now? Haha.

      I love your perspective!! That would've been awesome to show up to class and argue against the whole premise of the article. I look forward to getting to a place where I can successfully do that.

      Thank you Mali. :)

  3. I am very proud of you... I agree with you 100 %: Self-Care Above All Else!

    Luckily you have us... there are plenty of us that understand you!

    lots of love from sLOVEnia,


    1. Thank you Klara!! I am lucky to have all of you! I have learned so much from everyone and from you especially. <3

  4. Wow - sorry your professor was so uncaring! Good for you for speaking up and sticking to your guns!! I often fail to remind myself that even when people are rude to me, I likely made them think on some level. Or maybe even feel, but with some charmers you can't tell:-). Love that you validated and expressed confidence in your own healing process too.

    This class situation would be more feasible for someone in the throws of grieving their lost children if we knew we could walk into the discussion with our perspective, knowing it would be respected, heard and empathized with. That people like your professor don't see that this is a societal, not an individual failure, needs to change.

  5. Does self-care come before other people's expectations and feelings? If I keep an arm's length distance away from relatives my age, will it be OK to honor my self care above all else with the risk of people being mad at me for me not living up to their expectations? This is something I'm struggling with right now.

  6. wow, that's so rude that she didn't even reply! I really don't understand some people. I'm sorry you had to deal with this but I think you handled it well.