At the start of our IVF cycle, I was instructed to refrain from lifting anything heavy and to avoid stairs as much as possible. Try this at home? Sure, no problem. Do this at work? That’s another story entirely.
My job requires that I do some heavy lifting. When you make multiple one-hundred-pound batches of bread every day, you can imagine the ingredients we use are not measured in cups or tablespoons. I’m no stranger to hefting 50-pound bags of flour and sugar; working in the business long enough, you quickly learn the right and wrong way to lift and carry these heavy loads. Never once have I injured myself, and I’m going head-to-head with male coworkers twice my size, one of whom, incidentally, has actually injured his back at work.
So, when I was instructed to not lift anything during our IVF cycle, everyone at work knew something was up. I went from carrying just about anything around the bakery by myself, to having to ask those same male coworkers to do the heavy lifting for me. Some of my coworkers were polite enough to notice but not ask any questions. I’m sure they made their own assumptions based on my growing, bloated belly (hello, orange-sized ovaries). Others actually had the nerve to ask if I was pregnant. Annoyingly, I was forced to feign some sort of back injury as a response.
I hate asking others to lift and move things for me; I feel helpless. Everyone has been really nice and accommodating of helping me out while I’m in my “delicate condition.” But I can’t help but think that they think less of me, or my ability to do my job, now that my work capabilities have been reduced. I fear there has been a shift in their thinking, that I’ve gone from a strong, independent woman to someone who, in their minds, may be pregnant and is therefore weaker and a lesser employee.
The reality is, I’m following my doctor’s orders and wisely protecting my body during such an important time. If only I could tell them the truth so they’d understand my situation better. I suppose directing them to the blog would be a little too much workplace TMI. For now, I have to find comfort in knowing that I’m doing the right things for my body, ensuring what will hopefully be the best possible outcome for our egg retrieval and embryo transfer.