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.