Well, I've had my last day at work*. I am now officially "between jobs". I worked the last shift alongside a colleague who has been wonderful to me all year. She's taken up slack for me, covered and swapped shifts for me, she even came in on her Sunday off to help me out for two hours during the pre-beta crisis of our most recent FET.

But here's the thing. She did all this without knowing. She may have suspected that something was up, but she never asked questions or demanded explanations. If she saw I needed help, she gave it. And she never once acted like I owed her one. I am, and will forever remain, thoroughly grateful for her.

I guess I felt she had earned a right to know. So before we said those last goodbyes, I told her. Just a brief outline - nothing detailed, nothing heavy. She said she was amazed at how well I'd held it together, and I laughed drily and said it was comforting to know she hadn't been spying on me closely. And she wished me luck, and she said she hoped I found happiness in the end.

And then she paused, looking worried. "I just never realised it was so common to have trouble," she said. One of our colleagues has just given birth to an IVF baby, and another has been advised to start treatment, and is weighing her decision. Three other workmates have lost unborn children in the last twelve months. We are only a small business.

"And you know how I feel about kids," she continued. She feels ambivalent, and more inclined towards her career at this stage. "My mother and sister conceived fairly easily, though," she added, looking sideways at me.

I shook my head firmly. "My mother has three children," I replied, "and never spent longer than two months trying to conceive any of us. You're not your sister, neither are you married to her husband."

And there was a pause, whilst I considered what to say next. But in the end I felt I had to.

"It's more common than you think," I told her, "and you have less time than you're expecting. You're already in your thirties - your fertility, and that of your husband, will start to decline significantly in a few years' time, and dramatically once you reach forty. Don't assume. Don't wait til you're ready, or finished with your career. Above all, don't wake up on your forty-first birthday with a sudden and burning desire to procreate and not enough time for Plan B."

In the silence that followed, she played absently with her ear lobe and stared at her lap with a troubled expression on her face. I waited. When at last she looked up, she promised to give it some serious thought, and I felt I had done my duty, so returning part of the enormous favour she'd done me.

She'll probably be fucking pregnant by March.

*Actually, they've asked me to do a couple of casual shifts next week, and like a fool who thinks time will just expand to allow me to get everything I need to done and then some, and is having many moments of anxiety over how we're going to pay for this lifestyle we've agreed to follow, I accepted.


Carly said...

I LOL at the last sentence!!
It probably is true!!
Good on you for opening her eyes a bit to the fertility decline.
1 in 6 couples they say!! I can't get my head around it.
My Mum thinks it must have something to do with the modern way of living - junk food, electronic devices etc.
But I think it's just that these days there is something you can do rather than just sit back & be the "aunty with 7 cats".

Jules said...

I can't believe, it's happening. It only seemed like yesterday, that you & Mr Bea, were even discussing it.

I hope your friend listens to your advice. Are there bets going to see how long it will take her? You say March, I say December. ..well you know how these people are. They wait to finish their career, travel the world, then at 39, they decide to have kids. They stop the pill, then BAM, they're pregnant.

Fuck, why can't that happen to me?

Lut C. said...

Well, if she is, you won't be around to see it, right?

I have a lot of single girl-friends, educating them a bit on IF seems so cruel in a way. Everybody else is probably telling them to hurry up and get a man already. But I would be lying if I said they had all the time in the world. I have told one or two what clinic they should go to, if they ever want to go for it on their own. Too many clinics turn away single women, stalling them with psych evaluations.

You did the right thing by telling her.

StellaNova said...

I think you have just done a great social service. My doc wants to come and speak to the girls at my school about preserving their fertility and time frames in the future. I'm not sure the school will actually go for it, but I wish someone had really drummed it in for me all those years ago. Good on you.

beagle said...

Someone did give me that advice when I was 30, but I wasn't even married. Then I married at 34 and now we have MF infertility.

Go figure.

lola said...

my friends all know about my situation and I know that they will all be off the pill and trying to get pregnant now the minute they get married because of it. Which just means that all of them will be pregnant in 15 seconds. great.

I hope your friend takes some of your good advice and I also hope you are already gone by the time she announces her news if she does get pregnant right away!!!

Kir said...

bravo, bravo!!! If you could see me you'd see the standing ovation I am giving you.Sometimes I think that people just need a little kick, a little "talking to" to make them aware of others. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Serenity said...

That last sentence got me too. Because I thought the SAME THING just before I read it. :)

But I think it needed to be said - good for you for saying it.

I try and tell my friends that, but coworkers? Beyond what I can handle.

Well done!

Unknown said...

I tell everyone. I mean, I'm not an overly sensitive person, so I don't mind the questions and such. Seems like my entire office knew about this last cycle. A few girls commented it got them thinking. One decided not to wait until after completing her Master's to start trying. She started worrying she'd miss out if they waited too long!

And I agree. Everyone else seems to get pregnant at the drop of a hat or has IF problems like us. Where's the damn gray area anymore?!?!?

ColourYourWorld said...

Well done on telling her. I have been coaching a young girl I used to work with, I told her straight also. Just don't waist any time ok.

Since it's Melbourne Cup day, I will place my bet and say she will be pregnant by January.

Good luck with shuffling work and preparing for the big move. When will it be happening ?

Bea said...

Vee - the move is happening on the 17th (next Friday).


Rachel Inbar said...

I had a co-worker tell me just brfore she left work. I was in total shock as it was a small company and everyone knew my kids were IVF (&IVF-FET). I had never even suspected.

Thanks for your comment on my blog :-)

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