workin’ for a livin’

So I think that I have one of the worst jobs possible for someone dealing with infertility. I work in a home-visiting program for prenatal and postpartum women and their children. “Women,” I guess, can be used loosely, as most of my clients are teenagers. (I’ve had moms as young as 12 years old. Yeah.)

So our programs goals are support and education. We focus on strengthening parenting skills and hope to prevent future problems. We focus a lot on birth control, because, these girls are some of the most prolific that you will find. With many, many of our clients, it often takes not one but two, count them, TWO oops! pregnancies™ to figure out that they need to use birth control. Yeah.

When I got this job, I thought it would be great for me to learn so much about pregnancy and babies (and I have learned a lot about both) because, hey, we were going to start “trying” soon. And then I realized I hated this job (for many reasons, not the least of which is that I’m overqualified—I have a master’s and even my supervisor doesn’t), but I didn’t really need to quit, because I would be pregnant soon, and that would be a natural way out of the job. Ha, ha, ha.

So I’ve been in this job about two years and three months, and have wanted to quit for, oh, about two years. I actually got to the point last May where I was GOING TO QUIT FOR REAL…and then Mr. X decided he didn’t want to renew his contract with his job and so we would only be in this city for another year anyway, and was it really worth it to find another job, change insurance, and then just have to leave in a few months?  (Mr. X’s job pays a LOT more than mine and is much more specialized, so it basically determines where we live.)  Notably, it was also this career decision of Mr. X’s that led to our deciding to put the IVF process on indefinite hold until we get settled somewhere else.)

So I didn’t quit. And so I go to work every day and talk about pregnancy and babies, and visit incredibly young mothers who often never even had a real chance in life, and see babies and children that I just hope will have better lives than their mothers.

Maybe I’ve hardened, but the funny thing is that these pregnancies and babies don’t bother me nearly as much as pregnancies and babies in my “real” life. This really struck home for me a few months ago when my co-worker ended up with an oops! pregnancy™. I realized then that it was much easier for me to go visit some pregnant sixteen year old in the projects than to have to listen to my co-worker debate the benefits of girl babies vs. boy babies in the office. Or talk about how she was disappointed (DISAPPOINTED!!!!) when the ultrasound showed that she would be having a girl. Yeah.

I guess I am able to separate more from my clients (though they do get to me on a number of levels), which is a good and important skill to have in social work. I definitely see myself and my life reflected more in my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances than I do in my clients and it definitely gives me that punched in the gut feeling more when I see one of them pregnant than one of my clients. I do wonder what the unconscious stress this job is adding, though. I often think it would be so nice to get a break and not have to see pictures of pregnant women, or talk about pregnancy and babies so fucking much.

The good news is that (hopefully) I can quit (for real) in about six months. The bad news is that I still have to deal with what must be one of the world’s most fertile group of acquaintances out in real life, and I don’t think I can quit them.


16 responses to “workin’ for a livin’

  1. I really don’t know how you do it. And I thought I had it tough just having to PARK near the labor and delivery center at my hospital! I promise never to complain again. On the upside, you are probably really helping people…but on the bad side, that must make for some VERY difficult days.

  2. I do not envy you your job at all. There were a few years there where I simply could NOT have done it. I admire you for sticking it out. I am a teacher, and two of my students (6th grade) in the past three years have gotten pregnant. It’s hard — but I think you are right — it’s harder when it’s your peers (friends/family). Perhaps because we identify with them more? Plus, it’s hard to be jealous of a young child having a child — you just know her experience will be nothing like the ones we want to have.


  3. Hmmm…that would be an ouch for me too.

    I have worked in the childcare industry on and off throughout my entire working life. It is among the most enjoyable things I do and the most painful.

    So i entirely get where you are coming from…For me the worse part is when I give them back…My empty arms, car and home sting more than anything else could or does.

  4. Btw: thanks for commenting my blog!

  5. You really have a very tough job indeed! Empathy….I am so shocked about your co-worker’s attitude (sorry to be having a girl), and to think that she is working for the same cause. I am glad that there will be a definite end to your work-misery in the near future. How do some people get so fertility lucky, totally escapes me.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. It is hugely appreciated.

  6. Oh my – you are so strong to be working in this field. I understand what you were saying about ‘we’re trying so I can transition out when the little one comes’. That was my plan last year and, well, it didn’t happen. I decided I needed to leave on my own and independence day is next Friday!!!

    *ICLW 66*

  7. Thank you so much for the comment on my blog. It feels so good to know people are reading along and understand what I am going through. My super-fertile friends for sure don’t understand. Your job, how hard is that. I think I kind of understand where you are coming from. I was a preschool teacher for lower income families and these mom’s would just get PG one right after another “oops”. It was hard. I feel for you, and good luck in the new year, in all you hope and dream for.

  8. Girl. I understand COMPLETELY. I work as(get this) a Labor and Delivery Nurse. Day after day I get bombarded with pregnancy and birth from all angles. because not only is everyone else in Atlanta pregnant and coming to deliver at my hospital, but my co-workers have to be the most fertile bunch I have ever been around. I can’t quit, because I am the only one working.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.


  9. I don’t know if I would be strong enough to stay at a job like that. I don’t life my job and have said I planned on quitting once X happened and I’m still there 4.5 years later. I give you a lot of credit.


  10. You’re a strong, brave woman to continue to do what you do.

    I hate how we have to think about insurance and whatever else it is when we want to transition on to something else. For some reason, it always makes us second guess ourselves, doesn’t it?

    I know that in the end, you will make the right decisions for you and your family! One day, you’ll have your dream job of being a Mom, and nothing else will matter. 🙂


  11. I am impressed that you have lasted as long as you have in that job. Wow, it would be tough. HOpe life is kinder to you soon.


  12. I often think that if I had TRIED to get pregnant when I was 16, maybe I’d have had some luck. So much for being a good girl.

    Hang in there–one day at a time, right?


  13. Wow you are very strong woman to do that every day. It would be very tough. ((HUGS))

  14. That sounds like a rat race of the grandest proportion. The amazing thing is that you get through it – everyday. I doubt you have “hardened” – I just think you are very strong.


  15. Oh, that sounds difficult! I am amazed that you are able to deal with that every day, and it speaks to your strength that you are able to separate yourself from your clients enough to do so and continuing doing your job.

    I also find discussions on being disappointed in gender to be one of the most difficult things to hear someone talk about when it comes to babies and pregnancy. I’ve never understood that, maybe because my first baby was a m/c so from the very beginning all I wanted was a baby that was alive.


  16. Pingback: slacker (days 11, 12, 13) | Dreaming of Quiet Places

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