Friday, May 28, 2021

Feeling Insecure

I don't know if this is my nature/personality or if this is left over from my experiences with infertility, but I am feeling really insecure about my new job. I feel like it is not going to last. I feel like I will get fired and it's my last option in this area for this career path.

To reiterate the obvious, it is a very insecure feeling.

Where is this feeling coming from? I think to myself... It is a new job and I am always nervous about new jobs. I did not get a good feeling from HR at orientation. But, I like the job so far. A lot. I like my boss and my co-workers and my job responsibilities. But I did not like the feeling of the message from the CEO's email this week.  And I still feel weird about quitting my last job in this small town. (I feel uncomfortable but not regretful.) So I suppose it is a mixed bag of emotions. And they all feel pretty strong.

Plus, I'm waiting to move again. It's a positive situation, but it is still stressful.

I guess I'm still just wanting more stability.

Where did I get this idea that at some point in my life I wouldn't feel this way anymore? 
Where did I get the idea that I would ever feel settled?
Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Life is always changing.

Maybe it is just my nature/personality. 

But infertility certainly didn't help. I still have so many frayed nerves left over from those years. 

I've noticed that I can't believe anything is going to happen until it's actually happening. Even while it is happening, like with my job, it can still be hard to believe. I have a palpable feeling of discomfort because I have this feeling that it's not going to last.

It's like how the saying goes. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

So I ask myself, "What information can I get from these feelings?" With regard to my new job, I think I understand that I have felt 50-50 about it. A couple of things have been incredibly awesome and a couple of things have given me a really bad feeling. So, it's a job. I have a job for now. I will enjoy the good parts and appreciate the growth and experience it will give me.

I remind myself that I will be okay. Whatever happens. I've already been through the worst. For me, nothing compares to losing motherhood and my children. Keeping my job or losing my job, I will survive whatever comes my way. I am secure in that knowledge. In that way, I am very free. 

However, right now, I feel uncomfortable and insecure and I don't like it. 

I look forward to this passing.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Back in the (Fertile) Workforce

I started my new job this past week and I am so thankful. One, it's a job so that's good. Two, it's a position that's in my new profession that I went to grad school for so that's awesome. Three, it is going really well so far! I like my boss, my co-workers, the facilities, and the professional and autonomous nature of the job. Yay!!!

I share an office with a team of approximately ten people. And boy are they fertile, hahaha. Talking about their kids is a popular topic of conversation. But you know what? It hasn't bothered me. I mean, that's their life. That's what they do. They come to work and they go home to their children. What else are they going to talk about? My understanding of their reality and the fact that it doesn't hurt me shows me how far I've come in my healing process. Yay again!!!

At first, I was concerned I was going to be the ONLY one without kids. I would have dealt with that just fine, but I am honestly relieved that that is not the case. The young guy that sits next to me doesn't have kids. Then I learned that another co-worker, who I'm guessing is around my age, also doesn't have kids. When I told her that I didn't have kids either, she quickly said, "Oh there's several of us that don't have kids," and she named three more co-workers. 

I shared with her, "It might sound weird, but I'm glad I'm not the only one without kids." She got it. She immediately said, "Oh yeah, it's definitely something that they talk about all of the time." 

My boss and co-workers that are parents aren't annoying though. It's only been a week, but I haven't heard any of the pro-natalist themes of "if you don't have kids, you don't know real love" or "only people with kids are busy" or any of that crap. So far, they've just talked about their kids' schooling, illnesses, and activities. Pretty normal stuff.

Years ago I worried about rejoining the fertile workforce. Then last year I worked with a bunch of young teachers that didn't have any kids yet, so I wasn't exposed to constant children-related chatter. But I knew that was a unique scenario. I mean, I work with kids. And most adults have kids. I communicate with parents, whether they are clients or co-workers, all of the time.

It doesn't hurt me. It doesn't sting. It doesn't make me wistful. I don't go home feeling like my life is empty and meaningless. Holy crap, I thought this day would never come!

I don't think I'd be this recovered if I was still living in the house I bought for my children. I don't think I would have made this much progress in my healing if I hadn't really evaluated what I wanted out of my involuntarily childfree life. I wouldn't be this whole and healthy if I hadn't grieved long and hard and then changed practically everything in order to create a life I wanted to live.

But I did sell my children's house. I did do all of the work to apply, return to school, and graduate so I could enter a new profession (one that gives me great joy and meaning!). I did move out of the city (and state!) where I had planned on raising my children. I did it all.

And now I am able to work with and around parents without pain. 

At the end of the day, I can go home to my happy life that I've created for myself.

My latest sewing project.
Last weekend I learned how to make quilted zipper pouches
with chip and candy bags using iron-on vinyl.
So easy and so fun!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Awkward Introduction

Yesterday I went to orientation for my new job. 

Different people from different departments came to tell us about different policies and procedures. The facilities person talked about safety. The payroll person talked about payroll. The benefits person talked about benefits. Etc. It was a little boring, but it was fine. The organization provided lunch. There weren't many of us new hires. All in all, it was pretty uneventful.

Until HR came to talk about HR stuff. 

The guy came in the room, sat down, and introduced himself by saying how many kids he had.


That's what had been missing all day. I hadn't heard anyone talk about their children. How funny that it was a guy that was the one to do so. Anyway, so he went on about his kids, their ages, blah blah blah. It was easy to tune him out. 

Maybe I'm sounding callous, but he didn't say anything about himself. He only defined himself through his children. It's just a limited way of thinking. Ok, maybe I sound judgmental. I admittedly have very little patience when someone I just meet talks only about their children.

Then he turned to the rest of us. Asked us to introduce ourselves. But he didn't let us guide our own introductions. He asked us questions individually. He asked us if we had children. 

What in the world...

He got to the woman next to me and asked where she was from and what her job was going to be. He asked if she had any kids. She smiled, said yes, and listed off the ages of her sons.

Then he turned to me. The first thing he asked was, "Do you have any family?" I could have easily said that, yes, I moved here with my boyfriend and that we are very happy here. But I didn't want to give him that. So I just answered his question the best I knew how.

Him: "Do you have any family?"

Me: "Yes... I have parents."

(pause, a little awkward)

Me: "And sisters..."

(slightly longer pause,
a little more awkward)

Him: "Do you have any kids?"

Me: "No."

(much longer pause,

I didn't say anything else. No explanation. No elaboration.

He didn't say anything either. He seemed uncomfortable. He moved on.

I thought about how far I'd come. I thought about how his questions would have made me sad in the past, how they would have made me mad just a year or two ago, and how I found them absurdly funny in the moment.


I am so thankful for my progress in recovery.
I am so dang thankful for my healing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

One Month Later

One month ago I wrote that 2021 had me feeling depressed without much to look forward to. The pandemic sucked, unemployment was stressful, and I was still working hard to create a life I wanted to live after surviving infertility without my children. I was worn out. Tired. Disappointed.

One month ago I felt depleted but was trying to remind myself that I wouldn't feel this way forever.
(It's my favorite coping strategy.)

One month ago I felt unsettled... Unmoored... Anchorless...
Almost directionless. Rootless for sure.

One month later... And so much has changed. Most relieving, I am fully vaccinated!!! I won't be changing my behavior any time soon. I'll still be wearing a mask when I run errands. I am going to keep avoiding crowds. But the mental relief that I feel... It's indescribable. But it also comes with a side of guilt. We still have so far to go in getting the rest of the world vaccinated.

One month later... And I've received a job offer! Today I went to orientation to learn about policies and procedures. It wasn't exactly thrilling, but I am thankful that I'm on track to resume meaningful employment again. I'd like to say that maybe I will retire from this job, but I'm going to stop saying that. I don't know what the future holds. But maybe I will make it through the probationary period haha. Maybe I won't quit. Or move. 

One month later... And I'm under contract to buy a house. Um, what?! That's the most unexpected thing of all. I wasn't even looking. Buying a house was not on my radar screen. But I saw a house online that was affordable (yes, affordable!) with two bathrooms (I really want two bathrooms), a carport (yay, covered parking), and a nice backyard. I KNEW it wouldn't last long. So I went and looked at it and put in an offer. The next day my offer was accepted. 

So... We will see... Anything could happen. But things are looking good... And now, instead of constantly daydreaming about fabric and everything I want to sew (quilts! clothes! bags! stuffed animals!), I am now constantly daydreaming about fabric and everything I want to sew AND this new (old) house that might become my home!!! Wow.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

I Mailed a Mother's Day Card

Well. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. It used to be a day that really, really bothered me. In fact, I refused to leave the house. Now we are in a pandemic and I don't leave the house much anyway so that part won't be different. 

What is different is how I feel about the day. Honestly? I just don't care. I really don't. I think I'm just tired of society's obsession with putting mothers on a pedestal but not really doing much to actually support them. It's all a bunch of lies, a bunch of fake admiration. 

Being a mother is hard. And awesome. I assume. But I wouldn't need a day to celebrate a role I had, a day that I would end up coordinating anyway. I wouldn't need false praise from companies that don't actually provide childcare, flexible work options, or even a decent living wage. It's all pretty infuriating to be honest. I am truly sorry for mothers' hardships, but... They are also not my problems. I had/have other problems.

But I digress...

For years, the day DID bother me. A lot. I wouldn't call my mom. I wouldn't get on social media. I would just order pizza and stay on the couch. And, let's be honest, cry. It's called self-care. 

But this year is different. I got a preprinted postcard from the regional food bank in the mail. That's how I realized that Mother's Day was coming up. It was something I could mail to my mom after making a donation in her honor. And my honest-to-goodness first thought was, cool idea!

I did it. I went online, made a donation, filled out the postcard for my mom, and dropped it in the mail. I haven't mailed her a Mother's Day card in yearsss. 

But this year I did. I mailed her a card. And I'm kind of excited about it. She and I are getting along lately and I think she'll really like the postcard and the donation made in her name.

Of course, we're still in a pandemic so I'll continue to stay home tomorrow. I also won't spend much time, if any, on social media. If I do, I will scroll past all of the inevitable tribute posts.

If this day bothers you, that's okay. It's a pretty emotionally loaded day. For a lot of reasons. 

But it might not always be a debilitating day for you. 

I can honestly say I don't pay attention to when it occurs. I don't have to be aware of it like I used to in order to successfully avoid it. It's just not on my radar screen. It doesn't bother me anymore.

I will still probably order a pizza though. Sundays are good for pizza.

Plus, I just really like pizza. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Non-Empathetic Text

Speaking of people who steal our joy... One of my sisters really hurt my feelings last week. I hate that I'm still thinking about it, but, well, I am.

She's not known for being sensitive. In fact, she's been quite mean over the last decade. Ok, if I'm being honest, she hasn't really been nice for the past couple of decades. It breaks my heart because she was so important to me for the first fifteen years of my life.

She's pretty demanding. If she calls, she expects me to answer. She still sounds bitter that I would put my phone on "Do Not Disturb" while I was studying in grad school FOUR years ago. 

(At the time, I told her that grad school was hard and I needed to concentrate. She actually said that grad school wasn't hard for me, that grad school was hard for her because she was also raising a kid at the same time. !!! I honestly ripped into her and said that I wouldn't even be in grad school if I had gotten to have my children. We didn't talk for several months after that.)

Last week, I was napping. After my second vaccine dose. So, obviously, I didn't answer her call. She sent me a text: "I just got your voicemail... So I don't know if it's a connection problem with your phone or you just didn't want to answer."

I promise I try not to read too much into text messages. But still. That tone.

I texted her back when I woke up. No response.
I texted her the next day. No response. 

She wrote back on the third day saying she couldn't send me photos to my phone. She also said she knew "it was infertility day the other day... And I thought of you." (I think she was thinking of National Infertility Awareness Week.) I texted back and said that it was a bummer I wasn't receiving the pictures she sent. I also wrote, "And thank you for thinking of me. Never thought I'd have to live through my worst nightmare but I did." She wrote back, "We all do."

It just hit me wrong.
I didn't like reading that.

I think if you're going to try to extend empathy to someone, especially regarding such an emotionally-charged subject, you should refrain from making it about yourself.

I probably should have just let it go but I wrote back, "Well I didn't want to live through it but I did." And she wrote back, "Me neither."


So, in an effort to quit dragging out what was starting to feel like a competition I wrote, "Yeah... We are so strong. Even if we don't want to be. We just can't help it."

So, that's her effort when she's thinking of me I guess. From now on, I will just say "thank you" and not engage in conversation about infertility with her. I hate to say I'm being too sensitive because our feelings are our feelings but... If you felt similarly when you read her comments, any validation is appreciated. If you have a different perspective, sharing that is appreciated too!

Again, I know it's important not to read too much into anything sent over text. I'm a big believer that important conversation topics should not be addressed in this format anyway. But dang, it just really hurt my feelings.

She'll never get it.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Beware of Vampires

I'm not sure what made me think to write this post just now, but it's a good warning nonetheless.

Guard your energy. Be aware of vampires. Your grief is yours, your journey is yours, and your recovery is yours. No one is entitled to the wisdom or rewards of your hard work.

When I started my new job last fall (the one that I quit this past winter), I was so excited to meet my new co-worker. Unfortunately, my excitement did not last long.

It's okay to be unresolved. It's part of the process when you're coming to terms with not having kids. But it's not okay for other people to thrust their unprocessed feelings onto us while simultaneously expecting answers. We are not their therapists. They are not paying us a co-pay. Their healing is not our responsibility.

Be mindful of when people latch on to a new friendship too quickly. This was a very common experience for me in my teens and twenties, and I suppose it's more developmentally appropriate at those ages. But in our forties? No thank you! Close, stable, and healthy friendships take time to develop and grow.

This new co-worker of mine asked me very personal questions right off the bat. At first, I thought I was helping her. I would answer them. Then she would argue against my answers. And I wouldn't feel good. That's when I knew the situation wasn't healthy. 

I felt judged by her for not adopting. She actually questioned me why I didn't foster children. I was going home and venting to my boyfriend almost every day after work. I realized I needed to save my energy and protect myself. I stopped sharing any personal information with her. 

Perhaps the reason I am writing about this today is that I realize I haven't heard from her since I quit my job. I haven't felt judged or questioned about my life without children for four months now. 

With some time and space away from her, I realize now that she was judging and questioning herself, not me. But it still didn't make me feel good. I didn't do all of my own work and come this far just to be treated like that, by someone I had just met no less!

Sometimes we can be helpful to others who are living through their worst nightmare, but it shouldn't come at the cost of our energy or our hard-earned contentment. We are not responsible for other people's happiness.