What am I Doing?!
I greatly struggled with both the decision to take a recommended medical leave from work and the decision to start writing for myself. As it turns out, having 4 consecutive miscarriages was just the excuse to I needed to start writing from myself, from my heart – hence this blog. I’ve always loved to write, and in fact I am paid to write technical things like policy, bylaws, reports which are all full of technical jargon. So, the writing I am accustomed to is fact based, to the point and completely absent of emotion. But, the decision to start writing for myself has allowed me to open up about a lot more of the stuff going on in my brain.
What it comes down-to, miscarriages or not, I have a deep-rooted need to do something more with my life. This is where the medical leave from work starts to come into play – taking this leave will help me recover emotionally and help me figure out what I want to do with my life. But I have no clue what that is – I’ve discussed this in my past post Taking the World By Storm. I always thought a big part of my desire to do more would be to dedicate myself to my children. But, after 4 miscarriages, what I know now, is that I can no longer just assume we will have a family, and therefore, I may never be in a position to dedicate myself to raising children. I don’t mean to be cavalier about this, but, it is very true. Like it or not, we have a very high likelihood of not having children.
After spending way too much time thinking about why we are trying to have a family now, I can honestly say, a large part of why we decided to start trying to have children, was that I was looking for more in my life. My husband has said on more than one occasion, he absolutely wants kids, but he doesn’t care if they come right now. This schedule is in my head, not his. In many respects he is right. I’ve used the excuse of our biological clocks as why we need to have kids now (which is true and waiting longer will result in additional fertility problems), but there is a lot more to why I want kids now. We both agree that kids seemed like the logical next step in our lives – we have the financial means to afford children, we have the family cars, we have the large family house, we have the trained dog, we’ve done some adventurous traveling without the responsibilities of kids, and kids would also provide me with a higher purpose to my life to.
But, I can honestly say that a large part of why I was ready to have kids was a direct result of my distaste for my profession, my frustration with my lives’ work and my desperate need for something more. Having kids gave me an out form a meaningless job and career, while letting me share in the happiness, joy, sadness, that comes all with all the major life milestones of being a parent. Really, it just made sense to have kids and take a break (rather, escape) from work for a few years. But I also now recognize that even if by some stroke of luck or near miracle we end up with a healthy child, raising children may not be enough for me in the long run. Having a child and returning to my soul sucking job and industry is not going to be a lifelong solution, as I once thought it would be.
So, all of this means that I recognize that I need to find the answer beyond the traditional family route. This may sound nice and easy, but honestly I’m frustrated and annoyed by this. I have no clue where to start. And the fact that I don’t know where to start, just makes me more frustrated because I adamantly know that I should be able to find the solution because:
First, I’m fairly well-educated, yet, now that I’m asking a question of myself, I cannot find the answer. Not having the answer, or at least being able to find the answer is foreign to me and I find it dreadfully uncomfortable. I’ve always been able to research and find answers or at least best practices to emulate within my specific circumstances. But, right now I cannot. There are no books written on me, or on how I am supposed to find my way out of this situation and find fulfillment in my life, or how to accept our potential life changing reality, or where I should turn for advice. Yes, there are books on many of these topics, but none relate directly to me. None provide the answer.
Second, I’m trained to find solutions to problems for other people, not myself. I have never looked inwards, I always look outwards at society. I have an Undergraduate degree with a major in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. I also have a Master degree in Planning.
- Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions (Wikipedia)
- Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, nation, government, and politics and policies of government (Wikipedia).
- Planning (urban, city, and town planning) is a technical and political process concerned with the use of land and design of the urban environment, including transportation networks, to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities (Wikipedia).
I am literally trained to look at other people and how they live. Analyze what makes a healthy society; analyze how development patters will consequently affect future residents; analyze how people live; analyze what factors contribute to a highly functional society; and, analyze trends and statistics on a very broad level. Basically, how people interact with each other and the spaces they are in on micro and macro scales. I am also trained to manage projects and teams to help ensure successful outcomes and results in a fast paced environment.
I am not trained to look at myself! As some who has spent the last 12 years looking at others and society, it is really quite daunting to start looking inwards. To start looking at myself is really freaking scary and might just cause a real breakdown!
Thirdly, in no part of my upbringing was I taught to take care of myself. I was taught to be a great person, to make a difference, to be positive, to be caring, to help those in need, to achieve top grades, to be fiscally responsible, etc. To be something! Although, this was amazing advice, at no point in time, at least not that I remember, was I taught to put myself first. My parents did not impart any great lessons about how to take care of myself. If anything, my subconscious has taken these lessons and interpreted them into causing great guilt about spending time on me. I guess my well-being was just supposed to develop somehow along the way?
So, now while trying to put myself first, I am struggling with massive guilt about my own perceived selfishness. Mostly, I am feeling incredibly guilt ridden for not pulling my weight financially in my marriage (which is kind of ridiculous because at least for now I’m being paid a reduced wage while I’m on my current medical leave). But, I feel as though I am not contributing. The idea of even buying a book to read makes me feel so guilty that it’s probably not healthy. I have never been a freeloader, but now I feel like one. And, while I know my husband and I made the decision that I would take a medical leave from work largely so that we can try one more time without any work stress during the pregnancy, I know there is only going to be so long that I’m going to be able to deal with my guilt. My guilty mind perceives the situation as my husband working so that I can spend my time blogging; buying and reading books; meeting with my psychologist; and, meeting with career councilors as I try to figure this out. Not the most noble of pursuits.
So, now, I continue to struggle with this idea of what to do with my life. This new-found desire to find myself is all great and dandy, and I know on some level that part of finding myself will be dedicating myself to others (does that even make sense?!). But, before I can do that, I have to find out more about me. What makes me happy? Who am I really? What can I do? How can I inspire? How can I transition from where I am today to wherever it is I am going to do in 5, 10 or 15 years?
I’m an average person, not an extraordinary person. So, how am I supposed to do this? And how am I actually supposed to make a positive contribution to the world? How am I actually going to take the world by storm? Or even, just make a small positive mark on the world?