Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sensitivity Training

Now that I have experienced both infertility and loss, I find that I'm rather sensitive to how others who aren't going through these struggles talk about pregnancy. At a end-of-the-year staff luncheon, the conversation got turned to babies when one of my colleagues shared that her daughter is expecting in December. I am too, but opted not to share my news with my colleagues yet, other than my amazingly supportive supervisor. In the last couple of months, two colleagues have both given birth--I would have been right in the middle with my first pregnancy. So everyone starts talking about babies and who the next person will be to announce a pregnancy. Our "big boss" then starts claiming that "there must be something in the water" and "anyone who wants to get pregnant should just join our staff" and tells a story about how a woman upstairs couldn't conceive for 13 years and the suddenly found herself expecting as soon as she joined the staff. Although our staff tends to be really supportive, I don't know if this woman (who isn't a part of our immediate office staff) would want her fertility journey shared with our entire staff!

As supportive as my colleagues are, they haven't experienced the losses that I went through. I don't plan to share my pregnancy with them until I'm definitely showing--and I've got a long torso, so that could take a while! I cringe at the thought that they are taking bets on who will be next (yes, they've mentioned such a thing in the breakroom). It breaks my heart that when I do finally tell the "big boss" and she asks "what took you so long?", that I'll crumble as I try to explain that I lost the first two.

To their credit, I need to point out that some of these same "insensitive" colleagues were the same individuals who picked up my car for me from the hospital and carried my workload for the two days I was out.

So how do we conduct "sensitivity training" regarding infertility and loss to others who take fertility for granted and assume that any woman should be able to effortlessly pop out a baby within a year of their marriage? I wish I had a good answer, and I wish that I was braver (and less emotional) and said something today to my colleagues.

As for my blessing of the day, I got a call from my dearest friend from 2nd grade this afternoon. The last time I talked to her was about 6 weeks ago--right around the time when I thought I might be ovulating. My friend has a December birthday--and we're expecting a December baby. She called to see if I would serve as a reference for her when she takes the Bar Exam. I'm so proud of her, and I'm honored to be able to speak to her "moral aptitude", since any morsel of virtue in me comes from my friendship with her.

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