Mental Health Day

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Dh has been doing really well, health-wise. I haven’t taken off any days since September – most of my time off was when he was in the ICU – I took one day off when he was going to the rehab hospital. I generally don’t take days off, but 2013 hasn’t been too kind. I took four days off in January, a few days off to see doctors, and then there the days that I took off for IUI. So my plan was not to take any days off of work for the rest of year.

And then today happened.

I teach at an alternative school for at-risk students who are always having babies. It’s one thing to have the pregnant girls in class (we talk about English, not babies!), but it’s another thing entirely for them to bring the babies up to campus. I can handle seeing a baby, but I don’t spend all my time cooing over them either. This isn’t anything new – I think there is a fine line between being supportive and condoning their behavior. I think that the baby worship that happens encourages teen pregnancies – especially because most of my students have planned babies. I think my infertile audience can appreciate the inner strength it takes for me to go to work each day.

At this point, I do want to make the disclaimer that I do have some really great teen parents in my classroom. That doesn’t bother me, especially when they came to our school as parents rather than getting pregnant while enrolled in our program. I currently have two teen parents (not parents together) who are great. That’s not who I am referring to. I’m referring to the students who are transient by choice, continue to do drugs when pregnant (or after the child is born), who abandon the baby, and who are just generally the type of people that CPS is called out to investigate. Those are the ones that stick in my mind and are the ones that triggered my mental health day.

One day each year, we invite our former students to come visit us. Most of the time, the students who are productive and doing something after school are in college taking finals or are working. Coming out to a high school at two in the afternoon doesn’t generally work for either of those schedules, so consequently, we usually only see the students who aren’t doing much. You know the ones.

Many of them are either parents or pregnant, and since it’s after school, they are allowed to bring the babies.

That is where I reach my boiling point. I was able to handle it for seven years, but I a refuse to put myself through that again this year, not after what all has happened in 2013. I don’t want to hold the babies. I don’t want to see mothers give their children Coke and pizza. I don’t want to judge the way that they hold the babies and let their necks flop over. I don’t want to sit and pretend like I’m happy for them that they are starting a family at 19 when they have no way to provide for the child. I could go on and on, but if you are a regular reader, I think you get the idea of what I’ve had to go through for seven years. Doing that while infertile and TTC was one thing – but to go and endure that THIS year? Unthinkable. Even my therapist thought taking today off was a good idea. So I did.

I don’t feel like it’s a giant waste of time because DH does have appointments that I am taking him to, the main one being his sleep study. So I don’t feel too guilty.

I know that there will some students who will be disappointed, but I’m not one of the cool teachers they come back to see. Besides, I don’t want to backtrack on all the progress I’ve made with my mental health over the past two months. I generally don’t like avoidance, but I think in this situation, it’s the best thing.

So, I’m spending today watching trashy tv and half-halfheartedly cleaning the house. I might even bring the Christmas tree down today! And I finally remembered the earworm I was singing yesterday: White Christmas!

I never thought that I’d be at this point with Christmas right around the corner and some major dates looming in the future. I thought that I had met acceptance a few months ago when I started the blog, but really, I feel like I’m finally starting to accept everything. The infertility, the termination, my husband’s illness, and even my future childfree future.

I’m going to have bad days, but I’m going to be okay. I’m able to laugh, make plans for my future, and enjoy the life that I do have instead of focusing on the life that I feel like I should have had.

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2 thoughts on “Mental Health Day

  1. Hope I’m not too late to comment!

    After experiencing year of unexplained fertility myself, I get that being surrounded by young, very young pregnant women … girls? would be very frustrating and heartbreaking when someone wanted so desperately to start a family — or least have one child of their very own. I get that.

    I can also see the difference as to why to the young parents who care and are responsible seem different or at least elicit different emotions in you than the parents who feed their kids Cheetos at the trough only to be washed down by Coke finished with M&Ms for dessert while the babies necks to unsupported and mom busily texts for hours. Yep I get that frustration.

    I could not have replied to this blog entry had I not done some recent self-exploration. Recently I have accepted my infertility and our child free and cat full life … but then I got news from DH that a former friend who is extremely obese — over 300+ lbs. who drinks beer and eats sugary treats all while explaining that her diabetes came on because of a horrible virus that she can’t do anything about, but is excited to have her insulin pump … is pregnant.

    Yep, I had to do the ol’ why her, why not me bit. I came around but it took some time. You see when I see pregnant ladies at work or around me or with other friends I’m OK with their pregnancies — actually happy for them and interested in their pregnancy progress. I had to ask myself WHY was I upset with one person and not all the others?

    After thinking about it, it came down to respect. I really don’t respect the BMI challenged beer guzzling loud-mouth acquaintance friend. Once I realized that that’s what it was, the edge of jealously was shaved off and lightened. I thought that there would be no way that I would want to trade lives with this woman — to have her body, her wimpy-scrawny-milk-toast husband, her loud obnoxious mouth, and her abrasive personality just to have a baby. And yes, I know it’s not like we could trade lives and pregnancy status anyway. In that moment, I realized I like my body, I love my husband and I like who I am — that I am not a person who is so opinionated and loud-mouthed that I make people fear to approach me or avoid me altogether.

    Strangely enough I was mentally able to come to a place where I wished her well along with her pregnancy thinking that this change, this added baby could be a positive force in her life … and of course, that her successful pregnancy didn’t guarantee happiness or mean that I was denied happiness.

    I am also older than you V. I’m in my mid-forties so maybe the no baby realization is also a bit easier to swallow for me. I also have had to realize that although I may be of good health, my eggs are older and comparing myself to younger more fertile women is unfair to myself.

    Life seems so unfair sometimes when we compare … and I also think it’s human nature to compare … the hardest part is to remember not to live and dwell in the world of comparison — something I have to remind myself of sometimes.

    • I think you are spot on with the respect bit. I never thought of it like that before, but it makes sense.

      It’s so hard NOT to compare, especially when you are dealing with IF. Whether it’s age, test results (my FSH was higher than yours!), or the procedures we went through, it almost seems like a competition for who is the most infertile sometimes. But, I think that might stem from the fact that people are trying to be positive for others. Like a “I had it worse than you, and I got pregnant” kind of situation. But that never gives me hope.

      I was at a Resolve meeting one time, and a lady was talking to me about using donor eggs, and I think she must about been between 40-45, and she just kept telling me that I was young and wouldn’t need donor eggs.It upset me at first, and then I had to step back because she wasn’t trying to be more infertile than me, she was just trying to give me hope. She told me later that she was very self-conscious of her age – apparently people had made comments to her about that before. I hate that there is much comparison in IF – I think there is a fine line between identifying with someone’s struggle and making them feel like shit.

      I really appreciate all of your comments. 🙂

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