I am halfway through my pediatrics coverage for my co-worker who is out on maternity leave and... I just don't like it. Quite honestly, it has been messing with my mind. I have always loved kids, always loved working with kids. But apparently, I am freaking over it.
I've said before that I never intended to have a career working with kids. I became a teacher to kill time until I became a stay-at-home mom. Spoiler alert: that never happened. Then I kept working with kids because that is what I knew and what I was good at.
I was really resisting the idea that infertility changed that for me. But I'm starting to be honest with myself. Infertility and being childless not-by-choice DID change it for me. I accept that now.
Infertility changes everything.
It's not entirely infertility's fault. There are some other factors that I just don't like now. When I started working with children, there were no iPads. Kids were not constantly plugged in. Kids did not expect to be entertained all of the time. Kids eventually got bored and felt motivated to read or to engage in creative play. Not anymore.
But infertility IS a major part of why I don't like teaching or working in pediatrics anymore. I don't want to deal with the consequences of other people's parenting. (Or the lack thereof.) I didn't get to parent, so I don't know kids' pop culture anymore. And I don't care. I still haven't seen Frozen, which is old by now, and I know I never will.
It's a world I'm not a part of. I've created a whole new world for myself, one that honors who and where I am now. Going back into pediatrics feels like major regression. It also makes me irritable. Just ask my boyfriend. (Thanks for the support, babe! It's almost over.)
I also traveled and saw my family this weekend. That is different too.
I talked to one of my aunts about my research project, involuntary childlessness after infertility. She was very receptive and even read my powerpoint presentation. I used to not be able to talk about the topic at all, especially with fertile people. That has changed.
I got along with my mom too. That's new. Of course, I am giving myself full credit for that one because she is still difficult. But I just don't care anymore. Not like I used to. Her personality is not my fault, and I am not going to make it my problem. I stood up for myself when needed, but mostly I just redirected the conversation to better topics when ugliness started rearing its head.
At one point she was trying to tell me what my boyfriend and his young adult son should be doing. I told her that her comments were full of judgment, and she argued with that. But I did not acquiesce. She has not made an effort to get to know my boyfriend and his life, nor does she know much about his son. In addition to telling her how judgmental she was being I said, "I don't have to worry about any of that. I don't have kids."
She started arguing with me!!!
She said, "Well, that's not true." (It's not true that I don't have kids??) She continued, "You take care of a lot of people. His son is living in your house right now so that gives you a say. You take care of your patients. You take care of..." I cut her off. I simply said, "I. Don't. Have. Kids. All I have to take care of is myself."
Geez, she is such a control freak. And a self-professed expert on everyone else's lives.
Anyway, sorry about that. I just needed to vent about my mother who will never get it.
But I HAVE changed. I DO care less. I don't expect her to understand, and I've stopped explaining myself. It's progress. And I have infertility to thank for that.
Infertility changes everything.