Saturday, December 18, 2010

Infertility Can Bite!

Just when I thought I was ok... I had my last counseling session - at least for now. I've been feeling much more like 'myself' and not in this constant sad state, like I had been for the last couple of months.

I was even able to get excited about my sister-in-law's sister-in-law's ultrasound appointment to find out what they were having, and was ok with the ultrasound pics on facebook (though I think she took it too far to make her profile pic her ultrasound pic, but anyway). I'm ok with all the holiday cards streaming in with all the kids on them (why can't people also put themselves on the cards? why just the kids??), I'm ok with all the kids postings on facebook. So, I'm generally ok.

But then, my boss yesterday has a meeting with me to ask if I'm happy at work and I was caught off-guard. He and I are really not personal so I kept it very high level saying I've been going through something very difficult in my personal life and it's affected my work life as well but I've gotten help and I feel like myself again and am ready to get back to how I was before and am excited about upcoming projects, etc.

Then, I came home and cried and cried. Why is it that just when I feel like everything is ok, infertility comes back to bite me? I feel like infertility is bad enough with this deep sadness, and then it just kicks me even more because it's affected my work performance. It's not fair.

I've always tried to keep the lines between personal and professional separate. Heck, I'm HR - that's what I do. But I also know the human side to HR and that's exactly what this was. And somehow, I froze.

When I told my husband all of this, he thinks that maybe I should have given my boss a bit more context and said that I've gone through 3 miscarriages and a surgery in the last year, with the last miscarriage being over Thanksgiving and then explain how I'm just explaining that for context on the sadness I've had to experience which may be why I haven't been myself even at work. And that maybe even if I am going through something like this in the future to let him know in case I need understanding that I'm not operating at 100%. I definitely don't want his sympathy but simply want to provide context...

But it's not just the miscarriages. And this issue is complicated. And I'm not sure how to talk about it at a high level with someone who I respect and like but where we don't talk much about our personal lives. The reason I've been sad is because of infertility in general but maybe just stating the miscarriages is enough for him to understand? Potentially more tangible and 'understandable' in mainstream life rather than infertility, which people really don't understand at all?

Anyway, if anyone has advice on how to talk at a high-level with someone who isn't very personal (though he's by no means a monster...), please let me know. Maybe what I said is enough? Or is having a follow-up with him a good idea to provide just a tiny bit more context?


  1. Praying for you as you decide what to tell him! I probably shared too much with people, sometimes, but in a work situation it's especially hard. Lots of prayers & hugs!

  2. So sorry, infertility totally sucks! I'd say its a very personal decision talking to your boss about it, definitely depends on the situation and your relationship. My boss knows pretty much everything, but she herself has been through it so I felt comfortable going to her with it. As your husband said though it may not hurt to give him some context, but really think about it, because once you do share there is no taking it back. Will be thinking of you & wishing you strength as you decide which route to go. Lots of love to you ((hugs))

  3. I wish that I could offer you words of wisdom. In my case my direct boss knows everything. She has become a close personal friend and is very understanding and supportive about my situation. She helps with the "handling" of my GM, explaining my absences etc. Do you have anyone that you feel comfortable with that may be able to act as a third party mediator? Jen (my direct boss) has taken the uncomfortable issue to my gm and has explained that it is a very sensitive issue with me that I would rather not discuss it at work but she thought he should know what is going on if I am acting strange.

    It may sound so second grade telling someone to tell someone else but it has allowed me the professional distance with still having my gm know and understand without the awkward questions.

  4. I've had the same thing happen this year, with it resulting in a write up for the first time in my life!! I have been very, very open with my boss about everything going on in my life and the reason for my "excessive" absences (although I take less time than anyone in my office I got written up for this - um, surgery, hello laws??). So whether you have this conversation with him/her it may not make a difference. Just make sure, as you well know from being in HR like me, that you document the medical issues. Because although the emotional aspect of these are THE most difficult, the physical difficulties are what the workplace will protect and honor.

    It totally blows to be kicked down again :( Hugs and prayers.

  5. I wish I had some inspired advice, but I don't. I have attempted to keep the fine line between infertility and work completely finite and dark. Of course when that fails and the tears come its hard to do so.

    I hope that you're able to figure out the way that best works for you.


  6. My advise is to be careful...depending on the size of your company and the procedures your boss might have to report anything medical to your health department. As a boss myself I hate when people tell me about their medical issues. There is a fine line between letting your boss know and reporting it to the company to go on file. I am probable reading too much into this...forgive me...

  7. I'm so sorry. You are right, infertility bites. I have been pretty open with my employer(s) (small law offices). When I first got my diagnosis I went ahead and told my boss (a total jerk and no longer my boss) since I had some out of town doctor's appts. Lo and behold, he and his wife dealt with infertility too, so he was fairly understanding. Every situation is different but I have found it easier knowing that my employer knows why I might be a bit emotional and why I have doctor's appts week after week. Maybe give it a little more time and pray about it to see if you really feel like you need to share with him. Even just a general comment like "I'm struggling with infertility" could be enough - details may not be necessary, unless you feel compelled.