Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Really Struggling

I am really struggling and I don't know what to do about it.

Yesterday I blogged about my experience at school as an infertile woman studying pediatrics with fertile professors and mostly very young classmates.

Today wasn't any better. It was worse.

I was in a small class that is discussion-based. We were discussing a research article about the NICU. And the professor asked, "Who here has children?" (Is every class going to start with this question from now on?) And the two people that do raised their hand. The professor proceeded to ask their opinions on babies and things related to babies. I just looked down. The entire time. Waiting for it to end.

Before class started, I complimented the professor on her skirt. She looked at me blankly.

During discussion, she commented on other people's comments but never on mine.

At one point she said, "Most of you are too young to remember this, but..." and went on to describe a typical classroom activity that was very much a part of my childhood. I said "Uhhh" out loud and raised my hand, indicating that I knew what she was talking about. But she kept on talking with no acknowledgment.

Okay, I get it. I hate to sound childish, but she doesn't like me. So do I just not say anything? Not contribute to discussion? Won't this affect my grade? I do not know what to do.

So then the discussion turned to who has kids. Because, you know, parents are the only people that know anything about babies and children. She asked a specific question and my friend, who is a young father, started answering. I looked up and the professor was smiling. No, she was beaming. And nodding her head.

I looked back down and wondered how long this part of the discussion was going to last. Either the parental talk or the poor treatment from the professor lasted the entire time.

How am I going to get through this semester? What do I do?

I am used to the world being unfriendly to infertile women. I am used to feeling invisible. I am not used to sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures like this from people that have power over me. School feels downright hostile. The cold, crappy professors combined with the fertile-friendly perspective on everything feels like more than I can handle right now.

I emailed a counselor hoping to make an appointment. But if anyone has any other suggestions for ways for me to cope for the next three months, I am all ears.


11 comments:

  1. Update: I reached out to a couple of friends and I am feeling a little better. I also had a really good cry session. One friend saw the same things I did with that one professor today, so that made me feel less crazy. Another friend and I commiserated about the program we are in, so that was good to blow off some steam with someone who understands. My best friend said the greatest things to me, like she always does. Very encouraging. And I heard back from the counselor and I have an appointment on the calendar. I'm gonna go ahead and leave this post up because life isn't always pretty and this path can be really hard at times. I am thankful for the supportive people who were there for me today. Onward and upward...

    ReplyDelete
  2. When my mother was going through nursing school, when my siblings and I were small, she had one of "those" professors for a class - just all kinds of difficult. My father sewed her a little stuffed doll, like a voodoo doll, with the professor's first initial on it, that she could keep in her glove compartment and beat around as needed after class...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha!!! This made me laugh. I appreciate your father, and I am glad your mother had a doll he made for her to take out her frustrations on. Excellent!!

      Delete
  3. Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. I'm so sorry it's been an extra hard few days. I think you are really strong, and I admire your hard work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading!! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comment. All we can do is try our best... And I am trying! :)

      Delete
  4. Oh, noooo. This professor sounds hideous. I am glad that you felt better after a good cry and talking it out with your friends. I guess all I can offer is that it is temporary -- it is going to SUCK for the next three months, but then it will be over. I feel like when the "who has kids" question comes up it's tempting to say something weird like "my pencil is blue" or anything just as not related to knowledge. Just because you have or have had a baby doesn't mean you are an expert on the NICU and pediatrics, any more than having a child makes you an expert on teaching. Argh. I hope that you find a good counselor, and I hope that your friends continue to support you as you make your way through this awful class, awful on so many levels! Three months. It seems neverending, but it will end, and you will survive it. Thinking of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!!! Yes, it is temporary thank goodness, no matter how neverending it feels in the moment. And unfortunately, ALL of my professors are hideous. But I have bigger plans than them. I will finish this program and move on and they will be stuck being their miserable selves until they choose to do something about it.

      It's a bit morbid but sometimes I think about raising my hand when asked who has kids. My classmates and/or professors would be like, "Phoenix, I didn't know you had kids." And I could say, "Oh, you meant living children, didn't you? Nevermind." And let the majorly awkward silence just hang in the air... But overall, I just want to keep my head down and get out of there so I will probably not actually play out that scenario.

      Thank you for your support! <3 I keep telling myself: I have survived the last six years, I can definitely survive the next three months.

      Delete
  5. Oh good grief. One of THOSE professors. I don't know if your professor likes you or not. Maybe, as an adult student, she doesn't know how to react to you. Maybe you intimidate her. Maybe she feels uncomfortable because she knows she's failing you. Maybe she's just an asshole.

    I agree with Jess. Just because someone has children doesn't mean they understand NICU and pediatrics. Groan. And I kind of do want you to raise your hand, and then make your comment about living children! But it's probably better not to.

    Just three months to go. It's not long. And we're here with you during it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I really, really appreciate your presence with me while I endure these last several months of the program.

      Unfortunately, I look younger than my age. I am 38 but just last night I was asked by someone if I was in college. (Not wearing make-up, carrying a backpack, and dressing in black concert t-shirts probably throws some people off.) So I don't know if the professor knows how old I am, that I am actually probably closer to her age than I am to most of my classmates' ages.

      She may be intimidated. Or rather, she may be annoyed that I am not intimidated. When we got bad news with regard to our program last semester, I immediately went to her office and advocated for what we needed as students.

      Or maybe she's just an asshole. Honestly, I think that's what it is...

      Delete
  6. "I am used to the world being unfriendly to infertile women. I am used to feeling invisible." Actually, you should not even have to write THIS - but I know... society just is not there yet.
    I am so sorry you had such a tough week. We will be with you in the next few months, Phoenix, at least in thought!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elaine. Good point! We shouldn't even have to be used to unfriendliness and feeling invisible. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I already feel better knowing I have a team of strong women supporting me. It really really helps!! <3

      Delete