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.