I am not going to lie. It has been tough to be at work.
I know New Pregnant Coworker is sensible. She did not come to share her news with me. Instead, she asked my Dear Colleague to do that. Little did she know that Dear Colleague had already done so. So New Pregnant Coworker knew that her news would affect me somehow.
New Pregnant Coworker expressed concerns to Dear Colleague that she didn’t know how to break the news to a former coworker, one with whom she remains very good friends. I don’t know the details of this former coworker’s fertility journey. I went to her wedding about seven years ago. I know that she was doing a home study for adoption a few months ago. I am quite sure she is infertile. My Dear Colleague, being friends with me for so long and having learned a thing or two about etiquette from me, told her that protocol is to send an email so that the infertile friend could process the news at her own pace before she responds. New Pregnant Coworker remained skeptical about this method of announcement as it seems less than sincere. Fertile people probably think that it is more courteous or sincere to share pregnancy news on the phone or in person. I can’t speak for others. For me, I really need my space to mourn and grieve or to do whatever I need to do in private before I react. I hope New Pregnant Coworker takes the advice seriously.
A couple of days ago, New Pregnant Coworker pulled into the driveway at work right in front of me. I parked my car and stayed in there for a little while before I fled so that I wouldn’t have to see her face-to-face. I guess I was still not ready to face her. Yesterday morning on my way to work, I prayed for God to help me change my heart so that I could face her and make conversation like usual. Well, let me say that I had plenty of opportunities seeing her, but it was awkward. I bumped into her first thing in the morning in the kitchen. She was waiting for me to finish filling water in the hot water heater. I didn’t even finish filling the whole pot before I stopped doing that. I made a little small talk, nothing about her pregnancy. Then I fled. For lunch time, I have been eating in my office because I could hear New Pregnant Coworker’s voice and people making exclamation about something. In the afternoon, I went to pick up some printouts from the copier. Both Original Pregnant Coworker and New Pregnant Coworker were there chatting about something pregnancy related. They were laughing and saying things that I did not want to have anything to do with. I called it the Pregnancy Women Club. A place that I not yet belong to. I practically ran in there and ran out. I fled again. Later on, I walked by someone’s office and heard New Pregnant Coworker’s voice telling that she had “some exciting news to share”.
I try not to overanalyze it. So my reaction is very visceral. It’s like fight or flight. I feel threatened and that there is danger ahead. I retreat to my refuge: my office. My office door is my fortress. I feel particularly vulnerable these days because of my own situation: being in the process of choosing a donor and waiting to be matched with one, and the seeming inability of us to get pregnant with my own eggs. My vulnerability and sense of helplessness are accentuated by these ladies’ bliss and ease of getting pregnant and staying so.
But if history is any assurance, I know I will get over this. I pray daily for strength and peace, and to continue to be free from jealousy and annoyance. I have been there before. I got over it many many times with everyone around me who had gotten pregnant and given birth in the last 3.5 years. With every new challenge, I know I will be able to get past my own initial negative emotions. I just need time. And I learned to protect myself to give myself time and space.
But it still doesn’t make going to work easy.