Friday, February 20, 2009

A friend's pain

My friend B of No Regrets just got a negative beta on her final IVF cycle.  I've been there, and I know how much comfort the kind words of others gave to me during that time.  Please go over and give her some love. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thanks for nothing

TO: My Boss
FROM: Your infertile employee who has worked her ass off for you for the last 10 years
RE: Denial of paid leave

I just wanted to say thank you for your recent letter denying my request for paid adoption leave.

Thank you for pointing out that I will not be giving birth, which means I won't be "sick," which explains why you won't allow me to use any of my 110 sick days when I bring our child home, unlike every employee who has a child the "natural" way. I appreciate your archaic point of view that a woman who gives birth is disabled and needs to take 8 weeks of sick days to recover, as opposed to you granting her paid time to take care of and bond with her child.  I personally know of several women who were out running errands within a week of leaving the hospital, but I guess they were still "disabled."  

I will try to remember that I am not pregnant so I will have no morning sickness, no fear of fifth disease, no doctor to "write me out." I will also have no labor from which to recover. I will be transitioning a child into our home who has experienced trauma, but that is not the same as pregnancy or childbirth and certainly not worthy of the same amount of paid time off. . .or any paid time off.  Thank you for reminding me that building your family through pregnancy and adoption are completely unrelated and that one is clearly less than the other.

Thank you for informing me that DH and I had better start figuring out how we're going to live on one income for a few months. I appreciate you adding in financial stress to all the other stress that adoption brings with it.  Did you know that less than 1% of all employees will need adoption leave? It's not like it's going to break you. By the way, how much did it cost for those team-building sweatshirts that you gave everyone at the start of the year? I bet it's less than it would cost you for my substitute. If I get people to dig them out from the back of their closets and give them back, will you let me have a few sick days?

Thank you for making me feel even more isolated and resentful because of my lack of fertility. I will try to not to think about how much paid time several women with whom I work have taken off  due to their pregnancies alone.  And I'm not talking reasonable time off, I'm talking milking it for all it's worth and leaving others to pick up the slack.  I will try not to point out that, in addition to using an extraordinary number of sick days during pregnancy, each of those women also took her full 40 sick day allotment after the baby was born.  I will try to refrain from calculating how much all that time has cost the district in comparison to my simple request. 

Thank your for making me feel like I'm an idiot by requesting that you to use the discretion that I know is at your disposal to grant me some sick days.  I understand your desire to ignore that discretion and stick to the letter of the contract. In the same way, I am sure you will understand when I use my discretion to stick to the contract in the future. I'm not talking about in my classroom because I will never compromise there. But all the extra time I've spent making life easier for the administration suddenly seems like an exercise in masochism.  What a fool I was to think that going above and beyond would count for something!  I have accumulated 11o sick days because I often came to school when I felt unwell.  When I had my ovary removed, I came back at the earliest possible time even though I felt like crap.  I didn't take whole days for any of my IUIs.  I didn't stay home after ER or ET.  Thank you for teaching me a lesson about what you really value.  Now I know.

Thanks for everything.  Thanks for nothing.

Respectfully yours,