- Unpack my old work clothes and figure out what still fits
- Figure out when I’m going to get to the gym
- Get my hair cut
- Get my oil changed
- Enroll my husband into my health plan
- Clean this house like there’s no tomorrow
- Sleep (what is that?)
- Find my breast pump
- Resign myself to the fact that I have to go back to work
I’m about to go back to work and I’m truly bummed about it. This was my last pregnancy, and having the time home with the baby this time around, I feel so calm and at peace with my world. Sure, bringing a new life into this world is an exercise in controlled chaos, but it’s something I know I can survive and so it’s not so bad.
I have no idea what work will be like when I return. I know that my stress levels have been crazy and I’m so worked up about figuring out a new routine. I wish I had more time. Twelve weeks flew by so fast.
The last three months have been the best of my life so far. While it hasn’t been easy, I’m at peace with the way my family feels whole now and I have so much love in my heart. I’m less stressed than I thought I would be, thanks in part to the prozac, and also to the added support of my husband’s inexplicable job loss. I’m so sad to see it go.
In addition to the adjustment of having a new baby, and growing our family of three into a family of four, we have had to brace ourselves for another twist in the road, wherein my husband’s job is being eliminated less than two months after the baby was born. While my job will also be in jeopardy, likely in the next year, this development has a sense of real urgency. His income was the reason we could have a family, as it afforded us the ability to pay for daycare. Not only that, his work-from-home/travel schedule gave us the flexibility to make our lives with a child (now children) more workable. Beyond that, he outearned me by nearly double, and reducing our income to my paycheck alone was simply not going to cut it, no matter how hard we tried to save.
As my due date came and went, my husband was scrambling for interviews for jobs in his field. Many would require relocation, too few offered the salary we’d need to justify it, and the idea of having to move was stressing me out more than I could handle. There were two other options available to my husband at this juncture: go into insurance agency or go into business for himself. The prior would require a huge cash outlay on his part, and probably meant operating in the red for a good year or two, if and until things worked out for him as a franchisee. The latter, though seemingly more terrifying on paper, would be riskier, but also give him the flexibility we’d had previously, although having to front some upfront costs. The independent route meant he’d be in the driver’s seat in terms of doing business.
My husband assured me he wouldn’t take anything without me being on board. But I was so unsure about all of the ideas that were being thrown out, without really loving any of them enough. Not to mention the emotional toll that my postpartum depression and anxiety was taking on my mind, and the chaos with the new baby, I didn’t trust my own brain to make any solid decision. I spent nearly a day straight in tears, overwhelmed by stress and fear and exhaustion. Luckily, after a few days, my meds began to kick in.
So, after a few tearful and long nights, mulling the options in my mind, and trying to reconcile what makes sense in this sea of chaos and turmoil, I finally cast my vote. I told him that I thought he’d be better off seeking his own fortunes, and not working for anyone just yet. His agency option would be good for two years, after all, and all the positions he’d been interviewing for in this distant markets would probably still be there in a year. I asked for that, not only because I needed it, but because I felt like this was the right call for us.
Having come to a decision put the world in a bit of ease for us. Hardly an easy road for sure, but given the choices, nothing else really is either. Still, the opportunity to capitalize on the network he’s been building here shouldn’t be wasted. I’m cautiously optimistic, figuring that we can do this for a year, and if nothing else, we’ve got some money in savings to float us until something else works out. I need to feel like we’re standing on solid ground, before I lose my mind in the new chaos.
It’s no secret that I hate my job. The so-called adult humans I work with are a rare collection of sociopathic, narcissistic jerkfaces who somehow have not yet committed a grievous enough offense to be put into a cage with their ilk, remaining instead like the paycheck drawing chair moisteners that our hospital has a penchant for collecting. And, while I should be more upset about this than I am, what I feel instead is resigned disappointment that I didn’t see it coming.
The incident I refer to in this post is a phone call I overheard between a coworker and a customer. To say I overheard the phone call is to emphasize that the caller spoke so loudly that I actually heard both sides of the insidious conversation, instead of just my coworker’s half. The caller in question had previously been to our office, peeking through my office door (which I keep mostly closed, out of avoidance of said assholes, and also because I keep my heater on as I’m always cold). She’s also screamed “HEY PREGNANT GIRL” at me across the parking lot once rumor got out and baby bump became noticeable. To say she lacks tact is an understatement.
So, when I overheard her asking my sworn enemy if she’d hoped I wouldn’t return from maternity leave, I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear my coworker cackle loudly how it would be “the best thing ever” if I didn’t. Ah, confirmation, within earshot, of how much I’m disliked. Nice. So very, very nice. Believe me, I’d love to be independently wealthy, and not need this job or to inconvenience others with my presence. I’d certainly love it if my husband wasn’t losing his job right after our child will be born, so that I could focus on being a stay at home mom, or at least work for less money so that I wouldn’t be here. But such things aren’t in the cards, sadly.
Truly, it would be pretty awesome if I didn’t come back from maternity leave, but I guarantee our reasons for thinking so are very different. She could go back to being the only person in this role, and I could never have to see her stupid face ever again. Being pregnant this time around, I have the benefit of realizing what my limitations are going to be, and if working this job means I can afford to provide a better life for my kids, you better believe I’m gonna suck it up and be here, even if it is an inconvenience for her.
I can’t seriously believe I had to utter them, but today the words “Please don’t pet my belly” actually came out of my mouth. To someone I really thought would know better. I just give up on humanity. Can we please, all of us, work on educating the people in our lives on proper pregnant lady codes of conduct?
Step 1: Do NOT identify the pregnant lady as such until she does so herself.
Step 2: Do NOT touch the pregnant lady unless she specifically invites you to do so.
Step 3: Do NOT make comments about her appearance. You can inquire how she’s feeling, but ONLY if you actually want the answer to the question. If you don’t want to hear about her symptoms (and believe me, she’s got them!), don’t ask.
Step 4: Speak to pregnant lady like you would any other adult human being not carrying a fetus at the moment. You’ll find that she’s got a lot to say about many topics, and will direct the conversation back to the status of being pregnant if she wants to discuss it.
Key phrases like, “It’s great to see you” and “I’d love to hear all about it, if you want to talk” are great ways to open the door to baby-related conversations, without expectation or presumption.
The entire body/mind/life shift that a pregnant lady is undergoing isn’t really anyone’s business. There’s not much anyone can really do or say to alleviate any of the symptoms, but continuing to be a good friend and respecting personal boundaries and remembering your friend is still in that swelling mass of gestation goes a long way to making this nearly year long process more tolerable. Please, don’t be a dick. Thank you.
I’m at that phase of my pregnancy where I’m really showing. The news of the gestation has travelled at my job. I work for one of the largest companies in my state, so there’s lots of people who sort of know me. And they’re all coming out of the woodwork at the moment.
I should say, I don’t mind genuine well wishers. People who are happy for me, and want to come by and give their congratulations are fine and welcome. What I don’t appreciate are the pregnancy tourists. I had a group of women from another department come by my office suite while I was on the phone. All of them stood outside my door trying to get a peek at my growing baby bump.
I don’t understand this behavior, honestly. It’s dehumanizing, realizing people only see you as a fetus-holder. And gaping for a glimpse of a baby bump like children at the zoo just makes me angry. Ultimately, they didn’t get the opportunity to see anything because I was doing my job and on the phone at the time. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try again.
These are the same folks telling me that I should grin and enjoy this blessed occasion. For them, I can see why. They aren’t the ones going through it. They don’t wake up in pain and discomfort every day. They aren’t the ones who have dwindling comfortable clothing. They have no fear of stretch marks and the need for a cesarean delivery. They just want to watch the sideshow and gawk at the life I’m about to produce.
Pregnancy casts a shadow of ignorance on people. I’m not sure if it’s due to the hormonal shift, or the way women are perceived in society, or just the fact that people have no common decency. This morning, I’m into my 15th week of gestation, (that’s second trimester, if you’re keeping track at home), and I’ve gained about 12 pounds. Most of that gain, I thought, was in my chest and belly. I went up to almost an E cup in this short amount of time, and even my fat pants are difficult and uncomfortable to button. (Technically, I can, but that part of my body is rather sensitive so I’m more comfortable not.) I’ve taken to wearing more flowy blouses and dresses to give my changing body a little more room to move. Still, although my maternity clothes from before still hang in my closet, I’ve not really felt the need to wear them just yet. Maybe I’m in a bit of denial.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my clothes were all between size 8 and 10, but since I had him, and worked out consistently, I’d dropped down to a size 2-4. It’s a big change, and even though my gains have been small, this morning, all my confidence was shattered when three of my colleagues decided today was the day they would “let me know.” I’m fat, you see. They tried to explain it kindly, but that’s really the message. One told me she could see the gain particularly in my face, a place I hadn’t really noticed much change at all. Another informed me that my bump was very prominent and no point in hiding it. A third told me that although she’d noticed for ‘some time now,’ she’d ‘bitten her tongue’ in her smug way, as though this makes me feel better. It doesn’t.
The fact that anyone besides me is paying this much attention to my body is unsettling. I found it particularly unnerving that they felt the need to tell me as a group, as though I’m not already aware of what’s going on. After all, I am the one dressing myself every day. You’d think I’d have figured it out by now. Still, as visibly uncomfortable as I was, and regardless of how many times I say, “Yeah, I’m aware” to each of their newly discovered changes to a body that’s definitely not theirs, they were unrelenting. Finally, I feigned morning sickness and left the discussion, one of the upshots of being a gestational american, I suppose.
Still, of these women who told me these things, one has children and grandchildren of her own, another is a doula and worked in an OB’s office for many years. Oh, and even fat and pregnant, I was still the thinnest person there by at least 20 pounds, so who were they to criticize. Beyond that, pregnancy is a time of weight gain and changes to one’s body. It should be obvious that these things will happen and, my goodness, even be noticeable at some point. To be honest, the gains in my chest are far more than those in my belly, but no one felt the need to point out my rockin’ tits. I guess that wasn’t as fun for them. No, let’s point out to the one person who’s been able to drop weight and stay fit, that she’s getting fatter. That’ll feel great!
Things are weird at my job right now. Not that there’s such a thing as a normal day, mind you. But, it started off like any other day, and went into this weird zone of rudeness, yelling and subsequent awkwardness that I can’t quite understand.
Anyway, here’s the facts: I got an email from someone asking a question. I emailed back an answer to this question. They emailed me back with some work, that upon review would require me to send to my coworker as it fell under her responsibilities, which I did. Her decision was to respond back to me with a rude comment how I should have sent the question to her first, and carbon copied our boss at 4:30 on a Friday. I read the message first thing Monday, give it a heavy dose of eye rolling, but decide against responding.
Later that day she’s gone from the office and the boss comes down to tell me I need to be at a meeting I normally don’t attend because this coworker is going to be out of the office that day. How I was supposed to know that she needed me to cover, I don’t know, since she didn’t ask me, which I say to the boss. He told me I should have asked him, again, not clear how I should know this, but okay, fine. Then he says that the email was “the most childish thing he’d ever read between two coworkers, ever” and that we’d have a meeting to discuss “BOTH” of our behavior in it later that day.
I do my best to remain calm, because I didn’t do anything wrong. And I’m pissed because I’m getting yelled at for her nonsense, and have to cover her meeting, and I’m somehow coming out the asshole here.
Anyway, the rest of the day goes by and no meeting takes place. So, I just sit quietly in my office until it’s time for me to go. I sleep like garbage, figuring the next morning will be a further ambush and character assassination. But, nothing is said. I have no idea if we’re going to get this lecture and all my carefully prepared quips are going unsnapped. Sad face.
Two days later, boss man decides I need to write a policy for him. It should only take you two seconds, he says. Oh, the topic in question is only something we’d been working on crafting for the last 7 years, and never got ourselves anywhere close to a consensus. But sure lemme just pull that out of my ass.
Later that afternoon, he’d go on to forget a standard practice we’ve had in the office, one he’d written himself, and gaslight me into thinking I’m completely crazy. Now, I’m sure I’ve made my share of mistakes, but this one we’d had in place a long time, and was actually published in writing on our website. I toy with the idea of whether I want to poke this bear again, given how cranky he’s been this week already. But if I don’t, and this change of heart on this policy becomes known, we’ll have a lot of confusion to deal with later.
So, I send a link to the document he wrote where we have this cited in black and white, phrasing as delicately as possible that we’d need to revisit this as well, if he wants to make that standard from now on. The next day, he says nothing about his previous (read: WRONG!) stance. Instead, he asks me to do my coworkers job since she’s out on vacation. Oh and that two second policy I wrote is all kinds of wrong, so we need a meeting next week to fix it.
So Friday rolls out to a completion, and I walk out the door feeling like this week has aged me twenty years. I know I won’t get a thank you for covering for my coworker, only a complaint I’m certain, that I’ve somehow caused some grievous offense by following the boss’ instructions. The policy I wrote, I realize, was actually assigned to the boss, so for it not to be exactly has he’d dreamed it up in his mind and forcing him to review and give it more than “2 seconds” attention, makes me the asshole. I really need a new job.
It’s been well over a year since I posted about my friends illness. And, much to everyone’s surprise, she lasted a lot longer than anyone thought, even her doctors. Still, cancer is so often a matter of how much time you have left before it inevitably takes you, which for my friend, happened last week. This post isn’t about her, though, or what an amazingly kind and generous and thoughtful person she was. This isn’t about the light she brought to the world, and how much she will be missed. This post is about the assholes who make her passing all about them.
We got the news that she was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Her cancer was back, and it was bad. She was here until they could procure a place in hospice, having her pain managed as best they could. Immediately after the announcement email went out, my colleagues when running out the door to go over to the private room where this woman and her family were. I imagine them fighting for attention, slapping at each other like Cinderella’s step sisters.
When we got the news that she finally passed, it came the heels of more bad news. The mother of another coworker from the same department had a massive aneurysm and passed away unexpectedly. Not long after, our resident grief tourist announced they’d need the afternoon off to attend this funeral too. A funeral for a woman they’d never met, but who was the mother of a casual work acquaintance, somehow warranted their presence. I marveled at the arrogance that must’ve gone into that rational. I imagine the look of bewilderment on the poor daughter’s face as she had to deal with these relative strangers coopting her family’s fresh grief, choking back tears and confusion to be marginally polite to these people.
As I posted before, we’ve had…difficulty with our office fridges. I decided to roll the dice and put my leftovers in the fridge anyway. My colleague boxed them up for me, since I was handling some of the other clean up, so she forgot to mark the box with my name. It was just a bunch of meatballs in sauce, no big deal, right?
Well, I like my meatballs with spaghetti, and I ran out of time to order some from the pizza shop across the street. So I got something else yesterday and made some pasta at home to bring into work today.
So I got to put my plate together to warm up to find that someone had eaten my damn meatballs. Because they weren’t labelled with my name on them, they were fair game to everyone. And now they’re gone. And I’m left with sauceless spaghetti and the hatred like the fire of a thousand suns.