Hearing other people's stories is a privilege. Being there for people when they are at their most vulnerable is a big responsibility. I would have never considered a new career, much less one in healthcare (I *hate* anything medical and I'm the most anxious patient ever), if it weren't for my experiences with infertility.
I still don't like it when things don't go according to plan. I definitely don't like waiting. I don't like injections, blood draws, or ultrasounds. I'm sure I never will. But I can handle it. All of it. And I remember all of it too. Because of this, when I work with people I try to really see each person, empathize with their feelings, and validate their experience.
And people will talk when there is someone to listen. They will tell you their pain. They will tell you their worries. They will ask you questions you don't have answers for.
Every day at work I experience so many different feelings and situations.
Today I heard an elderly person say, "I'm trying to live, but it seems like I can't live or die." It reminded me of when I felt like that, in between living and being dead. This person has different circumstances from me, but these awful feelings transcend many different scenarios. I felt like I could relate. There was nothing I could say, but I could listen.
Also today, I heard another elderly person say, "Yeah, I never married. I never met the right man. Didn't have children either. I just did whatever I wanted. Like I do now. It's great!" And just like that, on the complete other end of the spectrum of my infertility-related feelings, I could relate to this sentiment too. It felt great.
I don't have children and I do whatever I want. Of course, I have to live within the parameters of real life and my budget and everything. But not raising children is the reason why I changed careers, why I moved out of state, why I got divorced, and why I live where I live now.
I'm doing what I want. I'm living my life, not anyone else's.