A Case of the Tuedays

Yesterday I had a case of the Mondays. I had the day off and found myself stumbling over one mishap after another. Forgot my sneakers on my way to bootcamp. Accidently drove over a curb. Forgot my water bottle at the oil change place (those who are familiar with my relationship with my water bottle know that this is devastating). Car battery dead. But I didn’t have to work and the day had plenty of good moments- a good catch up lunch with a friend. Ice cream with another friend. Yummy dinner made by Chris. (note: all good things were food related)

Today I had a case of the Tuesdays. After three days off, I was back to the grind. I’m now seeing a full schedule- they had eased me back in, seeing a few patients a day, then half a case load and now I’m double booked at times.

Nothing extraordinary happened. No one asked how many kids I have. No one said I’m still young. No one brought her little baby for me to see. Today was just a day of typical midwifery, doing pap smears, measuring bellies, writing scripts for birth control, listening to fetal heart rates. I kept on time (mostly) despite the 24 patients on my schedule. But I just felt crummy. I was so very easily annoyed.

“We only care if you are having regular contractions. Having one here or there doesn’t mean anything.”

“Round ligament pain hurts. But there’s nothing to do about it.”

“I don’t have any recommendations for brittle nails.”

“The tdap vaccine is recommended every pregnancy. Babies can die from whooping cough.”

All these are true statements and appropriate care. But this is not the midwife I am…I mean, I was. I used to really sympathize when patients felt contractions or complained of the normal aches and pains of pregnancy. I was kinder in my words and intonation. I was softer.

I was afraid of this. People have suggested that my experience will make me more compassionate to people. They are right. I looked at the woman who had lost her first baby to congenital anomalies with so much awe and empathy. I cut her more slack. I called that patient with the miscarriage more readily than I would have in the “before.” But I’ve lost some compassion. I have less tolerance for the mundane. I find peoples complaints and ignorance grating. I have trouble finding empathy for them, when I would have been so grateful to be pregnant a day longer. Or have a day of pregnancy not wondering if I would be meeting my baby alive. These are unfair thoughts- everyone has her own struggles, I know. It’s just hard to remove my grief goggles and see things how they see them. I often want to scream at every woman I see “Pregnancy… Pregnancy with a healthy baby is a privilege!”

But I don’t.

I soldier on, finding less satisfaction in my work, pondering why life is so unfair.

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11 thoughts on “A Case of the Tuedays

    • thank you. i am trying. I struggle even though I have had the privilege of pregnancy. doesnt mean their complaints arent valid. it’s just hard for me to hear them.

  1. I am so impressed by your ability to go into work every day and do what you do. Give yourself a pat on the back for that. I think loss of empathy comes with the territory. Since I lost my son, I find it hard to relate to people when they complain about money or work or other ‘stuff’ that I now consider ridiculous. Grief changes you. Wishing you peace.

  2. I had similar experience, not in professional level though. I get annoyed about people complaining about little things. They never have experienced any big things in life… They are so ignorant and at the same time fortunate. But, it gets better. The little voices inside me speaks to me less about this later on. However, “Life is unfair” I definitely can resonant with. I continue to believe it but think things could be worse. There are more tragedy in life than we had experience. I had to look at the silver lining sometimes to forge on and live.

    • I’m hoping my voices quiet down. I think they will. Some days are worse that others- like the first day back at work after a couple days off. Forging on!

  3. It seems to be a matter of experience and understanding.

    I once stood in line at the grocery store, impatient and annoyed. Then it hit me that my aunt was on a G tube, unable to eat but what was inserted into her.

    My annoyance stopped then and my life changed. Eating, chewing, swallowing are privileges and honors, too.

    For what it’s worth, I had a hard time with my middle schoolers on complaints, too. They learned quickly that compassion and patience went a long way in my classroom.

    Hang in there. Those who know you are better for it, and those who don’t are, too.

    Peace

    • I keep trying to remind myself that we dont know the complicated lives of others, but it sometimes hard to take off my grief goggles. I find I have become so much more self centered! But by taking a step back hopefully I can remember the the other privileges in life too. here’s hoping that these days are fewer are farther between…

  4. Although I am not faced with a career that is so in sync with my new normal “intolerables” (and let me tell you, there are a LOT of new intolerables), I can relate. The everyday drudgery, the smaller concerns of those around me, has me grimacing every time I step out of my home. Truly, I can’t imagine doing what you do, after such tragedy. I don’t blink when you say it is less satisfying. When the happy ending that you work so hard to ensure 80-90% of your patients receive, is so violently taken from you when it’s your turn, I can’t imagine feeling any other way.

    Brittle nails. Seriously. My eyes are rolling back in my head in disgust.

    • thank you. It’s very validating to read this. I am constantly second guessing myself, because when I’m in the work world, it seems I should be able to do it all- separate myself and my experience from my patients- but I am human too. It’s part of the joy my job gives me, the human connection, so this part, reintegrating myself into the midwife world while keeping my emotional distance but preserving what gives me satisfaction. Reading your worlds just gives me validation that, yeah, this is hard- impossible at times! thank you

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