Monday, January 21, 2019

The Greatest Compliment

I'm back to my blogging roots--blogging as procrastination hahaha. I started this blog when I was deep into the first semester of graduate school and had absolutely no time or energy. Yet I was also drowning in grief and loneliness and desperately needed an outlet. Who cares about assignments and grades when you're grieving the loss of your children?? So while all of my classmates spent their time reading and studying, I started an infertility blog.

A lot has happened in my life over the last several months while I wasn't blogging. One of those major events was graduating. I did it! I completed my coursework and clinical rotations and walked across the stage to receive my degree. I am proud of myself and my current self thanks my past self for not dropping out. I love the profession I've been studying for the past 2.5 years. Now I just have to study (that's what I'm currently procrastinating by blogging right now) and pass my board exam and I will get to start my new career!

As I progress in my recovery from infertility (three steps forward, two steps back is still progress), I'm able to talk about things or overhear things or just be around things a little more easily. I'm relieved. Living in a heightened, traumatized state is no way to live. It is exhausting.

My last clinical rotation was in a pediatric setting. I'll probably write more about that experience, working in pediatrics as an infertile woman whose lifelong dream was to be a mother, but for now I'd just like to say how much I loved and appreciated my clinical instructor. I got really lucky. All of my clinical instructors were awesome--knowledgeable, experienced, good teachers, and also overall all around cool people.

I got along well with my instructor and we worked very closely together every day. I don't remember how it came up, but I told her that I wanted children and couldn't have them and that's what triggered my whole going back to school venture. Over the semester, I even shared that I had failed treatments and spent years dealing with major depression. It was never awkward and whenever I disclosed any personal information it was always organic, in the moment, and non-dramatic. She was an amazing fertile woman who never said anything insensitive (shocker!!). She'd had her own unexpected life and was very wise. I learned so much from her.

It was a challenging rotation. It would've been for anyone but especially for someone dealing with infertility. I spent five to eight hours a day working directly with children, many of whom experienced abuse, neglect, food insecurity, and homelessness. It was both rewarding and heartbreaking, and I could not have done it at any point earlier in my recovery. I wasn't ready yet. But by the fall of 2018, I had worked hard on my grieving process, worked hard in school, and had mentally prepared myself as best I could for a semester working with children. I chose to do a pediatrics rotation. I needed to know if I could do it or not before committing to a job.

There is no dramatic conclusion to this post. I just woke up, showed up, and did what I could while maximizing my learning for twelve weeks. But at the end of the semester, I received one of the greatest compliments of my life. My clinical instructor told me I did an incredible job. It felt good to hear her say that. But she continued. "No, I mean it. This is a difficult experience for anyone. All of my students have had a hard time. But for you to do as well as you did, especially after everything you've been through with infertility... It's amazing. You have a gift in working with people and I am so proud of you for working so hard to create a new life for yourself."

Damn... Who knew a little recognition of my pain, loss, and hard work could feel so good?



  1. Oh Phoenix,
    Congratulations! Well done. You have worked incredibly hard. And you made it! You can be so proud of yourself.
    I am happy you had such a wonderful instructor. Her words really touched me ♡.
    Greetings from Switzerland

  2. Oh brava! I'm so glad you did well, so glad you had such a great instructor, and that you found it rewarding. And glad too that you coped with the heartbreaking parts of it all too.

    Also - I will say that I know that a little recognition of our pain, loss and hard work feels amazing. You deserved it, and I'm thrilled you got it!

    Congratulations on your graduation too!

    (And forgive my over use of exclamation marks in this post. But they were necessary. lol)

  3. Wow, I got goosebumps while reading your post! I'm so happy for you that you were ready to work in pediatrics and that you managed it so well. You can be proud of you! I'm sure your instructor is right when she says that you have a gift in working with people :)
    Congratulations on your graduation! I wish you good luck for your board exam and all the best for your new career! <3

  4. wow, what a wonderful compliment to receive! Well done, you obviously made a great impression :)

  5. Oh wow, well done! That must have been so satisfying to hear (it certainly was for me to read too!).

  6. Congratulations! And I am so glad that you got the recognition you deserve. It is so lovely to have how hard things can be after coming out the other side of things from fertile people. And you are, I'm sure, a rockstar at what you do. I'm excited to hear about your experience with clinical.