I wrote the following a couple of years ago, during our adoption journey:
So I was having one of those precious days, where I thought I might actually get to sit down and eat lunch. It was 12:15 and there was just one patient left. A “routine” OB at about 20 weeks. She’s one of my favorite patients. I had delivered her little girl a few years earlier and now she was having a boy. Boisterously, I entered the room, but seeing her tear stained eyes, I quickly changed my tone.
I listened as she described the frustration that was her current life. She could barely handle her 2 year old and wasn’t sure she was ready for another. Also, her husband wasn’t overly supportive. What she wanted, more than anything, was a career. She had been taking premed courses before getting pregnant with baby number two unexpectedly. As she asked my opinion about her likelihood of making through medical school, I tried to be supportive, but also give her a realistic picture of what that entailed. More than anything I just listened. Letting her cry and talk for most of my lunch hour. Holding her hand. Passing her tissues.
The irony, of course, is that I would give anything to trade places with HER. Not that I am ready to give up my career (Neither is she unhappy about baby #2), but my heart aches for another child. I coveted her fertility, much as she coveted my job. Genuinely I felt compassion for her, but to be honest , there was some amount of jealously as she lived out her own version of the American dream : a healthy boy and girl 2.5 years apart.
By the end of the visit my eyes welled with tears as I hugged her neck and said goodbye. She thought the tears were for her… but that was only partially true.