The Wall Street Journal has a forum called The Juggle: On choices and tradeoffs people make as they juggle work and family. In a recent post, one woman who just entered her third trimester complains about the hardships of juggling work and frequent doctor appointments (once every two weeks… is that really so frequent?). Apparently her doctor told her that these visits are probably not necessary, “but rules were rules.”
In addition to having to take off time from work in middle of the day, she has to commute for an hour to get to the doctor’s office, “hauling my pregnant self through public transit,” and coordinate schedules with her “incredibly supportive husband” who accompanies her to all her appointments. She realizes that soon she’ll be leaving work for an extended period of time and just wants to be able to “focus on my job” while she still can.
What I found interesting, though, were all the comments (47 so far). I tend to agree with those who’s sympathy levels are low for this unfortunate mom to be. I mean really, if the “excitement and anticipation of welcoming a new person into the world is building,” as she claims, then what is she kvetching about? Doctors visits are part of the program and she should try to be grateful for the care she’s receiving. She should also be glad that her husband can and does keep her company at her doctor visits. She should be happy that she’s experiencing a healthy normal pregnancy.
Here’s a sampling of what other women have to say:
…life does not revolve around work. When you got pregnant, your life already changed and you already lost the right to focus on your job first. This is what life is all about so relish these moments of anticipation that you have!
…This is when it really helps to have the doctor’s office near work… Annoying though the appointments are, it is a good thing for the health team to be able to catch any issues early.
…I go to a mixed midwife-OBGyn practice and am seen by the midwife group… the midwives don’t take call (don’t deliver babies, don’t assist on procedures, don’t do anything outside the practice) on the days they have scheduled appointments. So far, that has meant no waiting, an office that runs efficiently and professionally.
…the theme I see is essentially denial that Everything Is Going to Change. It’s understandable to feel a little desperation to preserve your professional identity. But bending over backwards is a disservice to everyone in the workplace. We need to stop apologizing for having lives… By choosing the pregnancy, you have already made the decision to alter your work availability. Own the decision, and be grateful that you’re a) fertile and b) not on bedrest.
And the most compelling reason for a woman with a natural, normal pregnancy to stop whining and get on with life:
For those of you who got pregnant naturally and now whine about how hard your juggle now is, how about juggling the following:
-dozens of appointments, many of which cannot be scheduled in advance because your body determines the timing
-injections of drugs that must be kept refrigerated
-two whole-day absences (egg retrieval and retransfer) scheduled mere hours in advance which are non-negotiable regardless of what’s happening at work or at home
-after that, more blood tests and ultrasounds and continued injections for ten weeks
-Followed, in many cases, by failure
…Imagine going through all this… while suffering the disappointment of not being a mommy, while still having to pick up the slack for your colleagues with children… That is my juggle, repeat fertility treatments, miscarriages, etc. without letting anyone at work find out. I have extreme flexible hours and even so, it’s a challenge. I would DEARLY LOVE to have the problem outlined by the original poster.