A Working Girl's Guide to Infertility and the Workplace
Posted on December 7, 2011
Anyone dealing with infertility knows what a true commitment it is - the emotional and physical toll it takes on your body, your mind, the doctor's visits, and the financial burden. And, as if dealing with infertility wasn't hard enough, now add your job to the mix and this becomes a dangerous combination to those who cross your path!
Many people work because they have to, not because they want to. Let's face it, how many of us go to work because we love our job, enjoy getting bossed around, and then at the end of the week are thrilled when we see our measly paycheck? And of course, chances are that your paycheck is going towards those uncovered infertility treatments. Unless you are independently wealthy, work, for some, is a necessary evil.
Now add all of the other things that you need to deal with at the workplace. Should you tell or not tell the boss that you are going through infertility treatments, the never ending doctor's appointments, and the the weekly baby showers for every other woman who works for the company except you. It's fascinating how popular you become and how you are the talk of the office by your colleagues because they monitor your attendance at these events better than your boss does!
Another thing that your fertile co-workers don't have to deal with is going to said boss and announcing that you are trying to have a baby and the good old fashioned way of doing things isn't working - can you say mortified? But at the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you. Always side with the decision that creates the least amount of stress for you as workplace stress should be the least of your worries.
And then of course, there are the baby showers where every woman is pregnant and there is a party every week. Here you are at Yet Another Baby Shower wondering to yourself, "Why in the world am I here and do I even know who this pregnant woman is?" Yet you feel obligated to go to the shower because everyone else is going and you don't want to come off as a miserable infertile woman. And of course, you have to sneak away from work for that always entertaining doctor's appointment. You know, the place where the medical staff at the office sees you every single day.
Now on to the main event-the waiting room at the doctor's office. There you patiently sit, watching all the women as they check in for their appointments. The women already waiting to see the doctor are sizing you up, trying to diagnose your infertility issues. "Hmm, what is her story? Old eggs? Bad sperm?" C'mon ladies, you know you have all done this at one point or another. It's a physically and mentally draining process but one thing you truly need to keep in your corner is humor. Remember when it
comes to infertility; you are either laughing or you're crying.
Ok. The truth of the matter is that there is little you can control during the infertility process. But remember, you can control what you tell your boss and also your co-workers about your infertility treatment. You can control if you want to attend those office baby showers. At the end of the day, your relationship with your coworkers and your boss is based on your job performance, not on your attendance at baby showers. Co-workers who are friends understand. Co-workers who are simply that and nothing more should be treated with professionalism, not friendship, so you are off the hook there. You can also control self-diagnosing other infertility patients as they walk into the waiting room. Sizing up the chances of others will not have an affect on your own Look, this is a hard and difficult journey, so make your decisions based on how much stress they will or will not cause you. You are not being selfish here, you are simply taking care of yourself and being proactive on your own behalf. It is alright to say no. And always remember that laughter is the best medicine, even if it is in the doctor's waiting room!
Michelle Bianco is a New York based life coach specializing in infertility stress and relationships. Michelle spent ten years as a self proclaimed "miserable infertile woman", but now lives life by her own design with laser sharp focus. Learn more about Michelle@ www.coachmichellebianco.com."