Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Tortoise

Over the last two semesters I have rather quietly been working on my Masters Degree in Public Health. Slowly. Like one class per semester. So... if you do the math that's two classes complete over the two semesters. Twelve classes left to go. Not exactly the Hare's pace...but it was the Tortoise that won the race in the end, right? Anyway, since I work at the University I am offered free classes and I have decided to take advantage of them. That was my plan anyway, until I was pregnant again. I just couldn't see how I could work full time, have a toddler and be pregnant while taking classes on the side. I thought I would take some time off, and maybe pick up where I left off when the new baby was a little bigger. Maybe.

I didn't register for anything when the schedule was opened in the spring. I was still so sure I would be pregnant, and wanted to see if I was more sick with this pregnancy than I was with Henry before I committed. And then, of course, it turned out that I was not pregnant. And there was nothing holding me back from continuing my slow and steady progress of continued education.

When I was wrapping up my bachelors degree I felt like I stood at a cross roads. To continue on with school now, or to walk away and find a job. To get a little more financially secure and to start our family. At that point I already knew I had stage four endometriosis. They had been honest with us, that time was important, that if we wanted kids, we needed to act and to do it soon. So I walked away from thoughts of medical school or the idea of becoming a PA. Not just for the hope of children, also because I was exhausted from school and ready to start life. But the endo, the fear of losing my chance at what I felt was post important to me, it weighted huge on my final decision.

And now here I am. So thankful for the feeling of urgency then. So thankful to have not thought it was worth the risk to wait. Because it feels now like there was a world of difference in my infertility from the time of Henry to the time of the failed cycles this year. That had I gone on to graduate school then, waiting the 2-4 years that I needed to complete my studies, that I might have been too late. That I truly would have chosen my career over any potential pregnancy. And that is interesting to look back on now. That 2-4 years made a world of difference for my body. Those years made a world of difference on the entire course of my life.

But now that is done. The fight is over and I am left thinking of what I walked away from. The classes I took the last two semesters were enjoyable, but I wasn't really confident in ever completing a degree for them. But now, I am thinking differently. Last night I attended my first class for this semester. I sat and listened as my fellow students discussed their passions, what they planned to do with these degrees they were seeking. When it came to my turn I was honest. I said I had no idea, but that I was happy to be there.

The more I have thought about it I have realized that little by little, one course at a time, I can make the same decision. Do I want to stay in the environmental field? Do I want to work in research for reproductive health or maybe cancer? Would I be interested in genetics and the statistics behind them? As each person talked about what they planned to pursue, I thought "Well that sounds interesting!". And it hit me that I could choose that too. I could choose anything, even to complete my masters and stay right here, moving into a head position within my lab. I don't know what I want. Being the tortoise has it's advantages because I have lots of time to decide. But for now it's nice to be back in school. More fully back than I was these last two semesters. To be back and thinking now that I have everything I ever wanted with Nick and Henry, What do I want to do next. One course at a time, I am going to find out.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny how we put things off when we're trying to get pregnant? When I was trying (for two years), I put off a lot of things, thinking "Oh I won't have time to do that when I'm pregnant or after I have a child." Now that I'm not pregnant and trying to adopt, I've decided to live as if I'm never going to have a child. That means I've registered for yoga teacher training, I'm diving into work full force and traveling as much as possible around the area with Hubbs. I could have been doing these things all along ... a good lesson about living in the moment for me. Thanks for sharing! Makes me feel like I'm not the only one out there with these same exact feelings.