Professional Life, Kid(s) & Infertility
In all aspects of my life, I make no secrete that Little MPB was a hard fought for kid.
In my professional life, when kids come up in conversation, I always talk about Little MPB – let’s be honest, anyone who is willing to listen to me gush about my kid, gets an ear full.
But in my professional life, as a independent consultant without any additional staff, I always make a point to say we are one and done. The reality is, no-one will hire a sole consultant at procreating age, without any back-up plan if they get pregnant and take an entire year off from work.
Sometimes people push the conversation a bit more, like those who are of a similar age and have 2, 3 or even 4 kids (apparently everyone I work with procreates like bunnies). These people are particularly guilty of encourage me to have more kids, I always say something like:
Little MPB was so unbelievably hard fought for, that we are just excited that we even got to be parents that we just want to spend our time enjoying him. So, we are definitely one and done.
I am becoming an expert at shutting down the multiple kid conversation. But I feel it is important to also be honest about how hard it was to have a child for us, simply because there are so many people out there who suffer in silence – in fact, I suffered in silence myself for a number of years, and I remember the deep sense of loneliness. That said, I don’t go into details, just acknowledge our battle and move on.
This weekend, while texting a colleague about non-work stuff, they asked: May I ask, is Little MPB an IVF baby? (To be clear, on more then one occasion this colleague has heard me comment on how hard fought for Little MPB was, and they chose a safe time to ask me. I did not feel put off, or hurt in anyway by the question).
I instantly knew this was a loaded question because in my experience, no-one asks these things, unless they know the hell that is infertility.
I responded, and opened the door to a deeper conversation. No, he isn’t. But our family was brought together through adoption.
They took the invite to the conversation, which lead to an hour long conversation about infertility hell. It turns out, their family member is going through infertility and they wanted to learn more to support them. I shared the basics of what we’ve been through, and how we lost 5 babies on the way to Little MPB. I offered to talk to their family member anytime.
They were genuinely amazed at what we’ve been through and they offered a shoulder for me to cry on or just a listening ear, anytime I need. (A rare and very much appreciated offer, even if I will probably never take them up on it).
I suspect next time I see this colleague in person, there will be another conversation, as the door is now wide open.
For me, this was a reminder, that once you’ve been through struggles to have children, the impacts last forever. And, I cannot not just pretend it never happened, even if I wanted to. Instead, I must continue to raise a voice to the harsh reality of infertility.
And so, I always advocate that finding a community of those who understand is beyond critical. And, while I have my son, I will always offer my support to those who are just entering and/or in the midst of trying to survive the world’s worst club.
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