Thursday, September 11, 2014
What a difference a year makes
I work in academia. In May of every year, everyone scatters after commencement and for the most part we don't see each other again until August when school starts, so there is always a lot of catching up to do. Last year at the beginning of the school year we had a meeting with a catered lunch afterwards. The department head was moving about the room making conversation with everyone as they ate. I happened to be sitting at a table with a pregnant colleague, a colleague who had a baby only a couple of months old, and another with a baby under a year old. Everyone was making small talk about their kids (I'm sure you all know the type of conversation) when the department head asked me when I was going to contribute a baby to the department (there's a joke that at least one person in our department has had a baby every semester for something like 14 semesters running). I fumbled through an answer, excused myself, and went to my office and had an ugly cry. Fast forward to yesterday. Same people, same scenario. The same department head asked me about my family planning timetable. This year I said: "The truth is that we tried really hard for a long time, we aren't comfortable pursuing the treatment options available to us, and right now we're figuring out what the rest of our lives are going to look like since children are realistically no longer part of the picture. There is still a small chance that I could get pregnant, but the reality is that the chances of me getting pregnant are somewhere in the vicinity of my chances of getting struck by lightening." And then I changed the topic. You could have heard a pin drop. I was so proud of myself. A year ago it was a victory just to get through the conversation without crying publicly. A year makes a world of difference!