One of the best things that came out of blogging about our infertility journey was that I received many, many email from readers sharing their experiences. One of them is Christina. I won’t give away any spoilers about her road to motherhood but I am thankful that she is willing to talk openly about what she had to go through. Here’s part one of Christina’s story.
Once upon a time, I’d failed my Physics exam in Secondary 3. I cried so hard that the vice-principal took me into her office.
She told me, “You may not be good in science, but someday, you will make a GREAT mother.”
I was pretty insulted, like really, couldn’t she find any other talent or aptitude in me?
But yes, that’s exactly how I’d viewed motherhood – that having kids would just be a given and that it would never be anything I would need to be worried about. My grandmother had 13 (!) children, I was an “accident” for my mother who insisted she’d taken precautions and my periods have always been a perfect 28-day cycle.
In fact, when my husband and I tried to conceive, the next month, I discovered that I was pregnant. On my first check-up, everything seemed to be in order. I was spotting a little, but the gynaecologist told me that was common, gave me some hormone pills and prenatal supplements, and congratulated me. I began reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
And that’s when the unexpected occurred.
In the 9th week of my pregnancy, the gynae could not detect a heartbeat from the foetus. The next day, I went for the D&C procedure.
The weeks leading up to it had been tough. I was puking continuously, but just at that time, my workload also grew heavier. I was working in a small family business then, and my boss would sulk every time I told him I needed to visit the gynae.
“Everyone is covering for you, you know? What are you doing about it?” he would ask me, and I would then apologise repeatedly for my absence, lack of performance etc. He even became suspicious that I was slacking off when I went for external meetings, and would call me repeatedly to check on where I was and when I would be returning to the office.
The few weeks after the miscarriage, I cried a lot during this period, and yet there was also numbness and shock as well, if that makes any sense. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had absolutely no idea what the future would be like. In fact, I had no desire to even think about the future because as it is, the present was more than enough to handle.
When I went back to work after the medical leave, I found work piled high. I also found out that I needed to be working the next two weekends for some major event, on top of the usual five-day work week. I thought throwing myself into busyness would be a good thing, but I just ended up feeling very tired.
One day, a colleague told me, “Boss is angry with you. He thinks you slacked off and went home early after attending that meeting with X.”
This was not true. I’d had another meeting after X’s meeting that day and it had all been locked down in the shared office calendar for everyone to see.
Something just snapped. I wrote a terse e-mail telling him to please check the office calendar instead of making baseless accusations.
I got hauled into his office the next day and got yelled at for that “disrespectful e-mail”. Again, he went with the whole “you know how much you have burdened everyone else with all your sick leave” spiel again and I burst into tears.
The boss rolled his eyes. “Oh God, stop crying like that. You and your hormones just get out of my office.”
I replied, “Me and my hormones resign with immediate effect.” I packed my things up and walked out of the office.
When I reached home with my box of office supplies that day, everything that had happened in the last few weeks just hit me in full force. I literally felt someone had punched me in the stomach and I felt I couldn’t breathe properly. I’d lost a baby. And now, I’d lost a job. I’d never felt so worthless. My husband just held my hand as I asked him repeatedly between hysterical sobs, “What am I going to do with my life?”
To be continued…
Post note: The mother of the ex-boss was in the office during the time of the “showdown” (this being a family business). She called me immediately after I’d left the office to apologise for her son’s behaviour. “He’s like that, I’m so sorry,” she said, as if he was a bratty three-year-old who’d just had a meltdown in the supermarket (note: he’s in his 40s). She also asked if I could retract the resignation. When I told her I just couldn’t, she then added, “I’ve had a miscarriage before, I know exactly how you feel and I respect your decision.”