Friday, 23 November 2012

The missing piece

I left my professional career for a few reasons. The main ones were because a) I felt like it was sucking the life out of me, b) I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and c) I was convinced that I needed only some time and (ewww, I hate to admit this),  a little less stress to figure things out a.k.a. solve our infertility problem, become pregnant, give birth and live happily ever after, the end.

What started as a one-year leave of absence from my employment turned into a resignation and four years gone by.   I’ve cherished a lot of the time that I’ve had.  And I've been through some pretty rough stuff too, including coming this.close to losing my sister to a massive stroke and helping her rehabilitate.  I’ve been able to do some things and learn about myself in a way that I don’t think I could have, had I remained in the rat-race.  At my job I was work-alcoholic fueled by coffee, anxiety, and positive reinforcement.  It wasn’t a pretty combination.

I spent a portion the last four years going back to school.  It started as something to do and a strategy to keep my grey-matter from becoming mush.   A few courses turned into a few more, and the next thing I knew I had signed up for a full year of classes to complete a degree.  I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity to learn just for the sake of learning.  I think it might just be one of the greatest luxuries in the world.  I love learning.  I just wish more of it stayed in my head!

One of the first courses I completed was also one of the most valuable and fascinating. It was a class in positive psychology.  We studied questions such as “what makes a happy life?”  The professor taught us that this question is probably the wrong one.  And eudaimonic wellbeing is really what we should be talking about. 

A person could think of it as happiness = pleasure, and eudaimonia = human flourishing.   Eudaimonia is arguably made up of several things.  One of which is having meaning in your life.  

(This website provides a detailed explanation if you are so inclined.  It’s a bit of a read, but it is definitely faster than taking a course in positive psychology!

I often question why I want to be a parent.  Sometimes I think that maybe it is just a biological need, and can’t be explained?  I wonder, if I am just trying to fill this “meaning-void” with a little one when it could be filled with something else? Like maybe a different career?  I wonder if parenting is going to live up to my expectations? I wonder about my marriage. Parenting can be stressful. Will D and I get along as well as we do now, or will we grow closer in our new roles?

D and I agree that our search for parenthood is tied closely with our search for meaning in this life. I strongly desire the full-circle life experience that only parenting is able to provide.  I want to grow in my view of the world by seeing it through the eyes of a child.  Sometimes when the IF road becomes really rough, I wonder if I could instead find meaning in another life pursuit to compensate for a life that is childfree?  If all of the time, effort and money were spent somewhere else, would I have a better sense of wellbeing?

As we debate important decisions about OE or DE in our upcoming journey, I can’t help but wonder if it is silly for us (personally) to be chasing a genetic connection to a child?  Is it going to change the amount of meaning we get from being parents?  Nope.  Will it bring us less pleasure? Doubt it.  

Maybe for us DE is a better choice, as it has a higher probability of making us parents (and sooner)?


  1. Juggling IVF and a career have been difficult for me. I am at the point where I feel like leaving my profession would be better for everyone involved since I am not doing everything effectively. I'm a teacher, so missing work for RE appointments can be super difficult. We've completed 3 rounds in the past 7 months and they have been draining. Combine that with having to prepare sub plans for 160 students and stay on top of all the other demands teaching asks of you, and I am wiped out. I also wonder about being consumed by becoming a parent and my motivation. I think a part of me sees it as a way to bring something good and wonderful into the world and make the world better. Does that have to be my own biological child? I'm working through that now.

  2. My sister is a teacher, and I always tell her I think that it is one of the most challenging jobs there is. Especially if you are trying to do it well. I look forward to checking out your blog. Thanks for the note.


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