Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Everyone's Asking Again

I haven't written lately because I've been fortunate to pick up some holiday hours. I've been working hard, and I love it. I love my job. I'm so glad I didn't drop out of the graduate school program that I hated. (Instead I started this blog. October 2016.) That program was a means to an end, and now I get to work in this new profession. I liked teaching, but I knew I needed to do something different after infertility.

I work with adults now. I am learning a lot about older adults and the aging process. It's interesting and relevant because we are all aging. Every single one of us.

Interestingly, after going a couple of years without being asked if I had kids, I am now asked again somewhat regularly. Also interestingly, it doesn't even bother me. 

I am usually asked by older adult patients. I think it's just a common question to ask in conversation. I also think the question is sparked by my caregiving in the moment. I love providing patient care. I follow the rules and make sure I do what I need to do for ethical reasons and for the purposes of health insurance reimbursement. But I always take at least a moment to really see the person. Look them in the eyes, ask how they are doing, and listen to whatever they need to share. So, I think I probably give off a pretty maternal vibe, which is why people ask. I've always said I was born to be a mom.

But I'm not a mom. Obviously.
And I'm learning to be okay with that. 

It's easier for me now that I know I'm not going to have children. For 32 years I assumed I would. For four more years, I tried doing so. And then I sort of realized it wasn't happening...

That feeling of being in limbo really, really sucked.

But I digress.

Ten years ago when I was asked if I had kids I would feel so sad because the answer was no.
Now when I am asked I just simply say no because I don't have kids. 

Now I know I'm not having kids. I've grown into that idea, and I've created a life I want to live. 

And it's funny to me that I'm usually asked if I have kids at least once a day at work by a patient.

 And it's amazing to me that I'm okay saying no.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Going Home

I got to celebrate the holidays with my family this past weekend. It was good, and I am grateful. There weren't any surprise pregnancy announcements, although it wouldn't have bothered me if there were. I am not in that space anymore. If a family member announced a pregnancy, I would be happy for them and not sad for myself. I used to be. But not anymore. Both are fine. Both spaces are understandable places to be.

So I am where I am now. I enjoyed seeing my cousin's kids (who are the same age my kids would've been). They are growing up, and they are genuinely nice kids. One kid looks just like my cousin and the other kid looks just like my cousin's wife. Genetics are cool like that. I find it fascinating. Now that it doesn't completely depress me.

I got to see my niece for the first time in four years. It's crazy that it was that long! Stupid pandemic. Stupid work schedules before that. She's happy and working and doing her thing. It was so great to see her and spend time with her.

I got to see my nephew too. But thankfully, I got to see him last year. He is also happy and working and doing his thing. 

The three of us live spread out across the country, so I will never take our time together for granted. They're both in their late twenties now. My sisters are older and each had their kid younger, so I got to be an aunt when I was a teenager. I love my niece and nephew so much. And we're all getting old! Hahaha.

Traveling isn't my favorite. I make exceptions of course, or I would never see my family. I also hope to see my best friend from college sometime this year, visit my old city next year, and travel to Europe and New Zealand in the future. 

So I packed my things, left my house, and traveled to a big city where one of my sisters lives. I masked in the airport, on the plane, and in indoor public spaces even if not many other people did. But I got to see my family last weekend, and I am so, so glad I did. At one point, my dad was watching sports and my mom and I were reading books in our recliners, and I felt like a kid again.

Seeing family, wherever they are, can be like going home.

But I'm a country mouse now, haha. 

So I had a great visit... 

And then I went back home.


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Get Your Mammogram

Yesterday I went in for my annual mammogram. It's my third year to do this. It's not too bad,  especially compared to other medical appointments I've had in the past. This appointment involves you and another woman who gently positions you so you can get your pictures taken. (Ok, x-rays, not pictures lol.)

I know women put this appointment off. Please don't. Please make time for it. Get it on your schedule. Get it taken care of. Early detection can have a big impact on prognosis.

At the beginning of my appointment, the woman apologized for the computer being down and needing to ask me some questions. So of course, she had to ask about my family medical history and then my own medical history. When I shared that I had five failed fertility treatments, she immediately said, "I'm sorry." And you know what? I believed her. I didn't feel pitied, and I didn't feel dismissed; I just felt that she was truly sorry that my treatments failed. We didn't talk about it in further detail, but I appreciated her comment. I said, "Thank you for saying that."

She continued, "I don't have children, but I never wanted any." And, honestly, it's always a breath of fresh air when I meet another woman without kids. Having no shame I immediately said, "You don't have kids? Do you want to hang out?" Hahaha. She didn't take me up on my offer, but we both agreed that everyone we knew was busy raising children.

And that was it. A couple of questions. A couple of pictures. And hopefully I'm good to go for another year! If any problems are detected, then I will move forward with that new information.

So there's your friendly reminder: get your annual mammogram please!

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Know Your Limits

The second semester of my doctoral program is coming to an end. I don't know why, but I am still always surprised at how tired I am at the end. Yesterday I wrote a simple discussion post for one of my classes and promptly passed out for two hours.

Sometimes I wonder how I'd have the energy to raise children.


When I have that thought, I quickly redirect my thinking. If I was raising children, I would do it. I would find the necessary energy. I mean, I've worked with thousands of kids. I've been in countless classrooms of 20 - 30 of them at a time. And none of them were even mine! 

So I would've been fine. I would've been tired, but I would've been fine. Hell, I'm tired now. I think all adults are tired. This society doesn't value rest and it can be hard to find the time ourselves. (Side rant: Why does *everything* fall on the individual to solve??)

But I digress.

So, school. Finishing up the semester.

I'm lucky to be in a really good cohort. My classmates are smart, hard working, and experienced in a variety of settings. I am learning so much from everyone. We also help each other a lot. People will send each other articles they come across if they know it's on someone else's topic. We will zoom or group text to talk about our questions and confusion. It's really positive.

All of our research topics are varied. I mean, the topics are really all over the board. Everyone knows I'm studying women who are involuntarily childless after infertility, and everyone has been very supportive. Interestingly, one of my classmates is studying the opposite of my topic. She's researching post-partum health and wellness for women. We have had several conversations with each other about our topics and have shared articles with each other as we've found them.

It's truly been awesome collaborating with her.
We both agree that there is a severe lack of support for all women.


We must always know our limits.

She asked me for help with one of her assignments. I looked at the topic of her articles for the assignment. Lactation.

I couldn't do it.
I couldn't read two articles about new mothers and lactation.

And that's okay. It's okay that I don't want to read about that topic. I don't have to. It's fine. My aversion to the topic is not a judgment against me. It's just me protecting myself. Conserving my energy by shielding my heart.

I let her know I couldn't help because the topic was too difficult for me. She completely got it, even apologizing for asking (which wasn't necessary). I wasn't mad at her or sad for me. I just knew I couldn't put any time or energy into reading her articles.

We must know our limits and respect them.