Bottoms Up …

My previous boss once said to me, “You don’t have to get everyone to like you.”

This is the same boss who, in the midst of all the chaos at the end of this past April, didn’t do a thing to help me out. The same boss who worried the whole time that I’d find the job horrible and go running back to Detroit.

But, as difficult as my position at this company would get, I actually enjoyed my job. I found that it challenged me in ways I hadn’t been challenged before. And up until the day I was sent home (and eventually told to stay home), I found myself gaining a little more confidence in myself … confidence I had lost so much of when going through the roller coaster of Infertility.

Megan from Bottoms Off and On the Table wrote a post that really resonated with me. In her post she talks about how busy she’s been at work and how, perhaps, she’s using work as a self-imposed coping mechanism while deciding on the next step of her Infertility journey.

And, oh … could I ever relate to this.

Reading her post reminded me of “stepping down” from my previous supervisor position in Michigan in order to concentrate my energies on IVF. After all, I had already been through years of conservative treatment and months of medicated cycles … all with disappointing results. By then I was so exhausted by the monthly cycles of treatment, which included multiple trips to the various doctor’s offices for lab draws and pelvic ultrasounds, only to be concluded with yet another negative pregnancy test.

And how I even managed to keep track of all the supervisor duties I had during those years, I’ll never remember. But what I do know is that once I decided to become a “regular” staff member (instead of supervisor), I suddenly felt as if I had more breathing room … at least enough to allow some positivity and hope into my life before heading into IVF territory.

After our IVF failed, I admit I began to slack off at work; an obvious sign that I cared little about anything during those first months of incredible depression. Then I discovered that throwing myself into work helped distract me from feeling like a complete failure. Flash forward a few years, and now I found myself moving to Chicago to accept a position that I’d hope would advance my career. I, once again became a supervisor; but this time for a high-profile group within a much larger company.

I did this for a number of reasons, but mostly I did this so that I could further my career. My thought was this: If I couldn’t give bear children because Infertility robbed me, then I might as well focus on the part of myself that I knew I could be good at. I might as well be a “successful” career woman.

And then … well, you know what eventually happened with that job. And the ultimate failure I felt from that fallout. What had angered me most was that I felt I went above and beyond my capabilities of being successful (and had been recognized for such accomplishments), but yet my previous boss never bothered to step up for me and fight for me; something she could have easily done. Except … well, this being the same boss who told me that I didn’t need to be liked, I rather think she had something against me. Personally, I think it’s because she had kids and was currently in school, which meant that she couldn’t completely “focus” in further her career …

As I’ve just completed my first week at my new job, I have found myself contemplating the lessons I’ve learned from my last job; what I should take away from that experience. And since I had four months to mull over the past year and a half, this is what I came up with:

There’s no need to “make up” for my inability to bear children with trying to more successful in other ways. Because it’s more important to focus on being happy with who I am and the strong(ish) person I’ve become … even though it’s nowhere close to where I though I’d be at this time in my life.


My previous boss was right. I don’t have to get everyone to like me. Because it’s not about being “liked.” Rather, it’s about being respected … which should really begin with respecting myself. And how can I respect myself if I continue to measure myself on my inability to have children? My life isn’t supposed to be all about whether I or not I failed in the “kids” department. I should be about my accomplishments and about remembering to give myself credit where credit is due.


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One Reply to “Bottoms Up …”

  1. It’s strange how the job and fertility thing become confounded. Actually, I guess it’s not that strange since so much of our time and energy is put into our jobs. It makes sense that we use that as a measuring stick for how “well” we are doing in life – just like we do with children. Though we would be better advised to judge our success by how well we treat other people.

    That seems to be a theme for IFers – if not children, then what? Thinking about being 80 years old, at the end of my life, helps me to determine what is really important to me by anticipating my level of regret. Is that weird?

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