Reframing the Problem

My struggle with my job continues – to quit or not to quit?

Someone said something to me today that really helped. He pointed out that every time I talk about my decision, I keep using the terminology of “walking away from my company and career”. When in fact, what he hears is that I’m looking to take care of myself. And maybe something that would help, is if I stop looking at it through the guilt-laden perspective of what others will think of my choices. Yes, there will always be people who don’t agree or don’t understand but I cannot change that. But, what I can change is my perspective and so maybe it’s time to reframe the situation to start putting my health, both physical and emotional, as the priority.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this – just ask my Psychologist (I can see her smiling if she were to read this). She’s been trying to tell me this for a while. But, somehow his terminology just clicked for me today.

When are you planning on having kids? / Are you planning to have kids? / Do you want kids? 

In my life before experiencing miscarriage / recurrent pregnancy loss, I’ve been guilty of asking this question, or at least one of the million versions of the question.  I didn’t ask it often, because I knew it was kinda taboo, but now I really get it.  I can now confidently say that I’ll never ask it again.  Why you ask?

It’s asked innocently enough, but it hurts.  It’s a reminder when I’m not expecting it, which makes it just a little worse.  It’s like a tiny scratch on an open wound which means it just adds to the silent pain I’m already experiencing.  After the question is asked, the rest of the conversation goes something like this: the gears start turning and a million thoughts run through my mind all at once – will we ever actually have a living child, do I want to tell this person the truth, I don’t have the energy for this right now, etc.  So, after a weird silence (to accommodate all the gears turning in my brain), I end up stumbling through a response that goes something like “umm…maybe one day.”  All the while, I’ve started awkwardly fumbling around in my purse looking for “something” just to avoid eye contact and then as quickly as humanly possible I start trying to change the subject.  (Clearly, as I exhibit all these classic signs of lying, it’s clear that I am not a good liar and am positive that I would fail any polygraph test on any topic I’ve ever tried to lie about).

Actually, a quick side note this just reminded me of a few years ago when my husband’s mom was drilling him on our family plan.  He gave the best response I’ve ever heard – “you taught me practice makes perfect, so we are just practicing, a lot”.  Needless to say, my mother-in-law was stunned as this was clearly a bit too much information for her.  Thankfully this seems to have scared her straight, and she has never brought up the subject again.

My only advice, if you are going to venture into this territory, be prepared, you may hit a nerve and get an answer you weren’t expecting.

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