February 26, 2013


It's been so long since I've written. First my computer broke, then we moved and didn't have any internet access for a week or so. I've been desperately trying to catch up on blog reading, and apologize for my lack of commenting. It's been absolutely hectic around here, and the end feels nowhere in sight.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my midwife, and per usual, I completed my depression screening while they checked my weight and blood pressure. If I mark even one have-you-felt-X sentence as "sometimes," it warrants a talking-to, and I had two "sometimes" sentences marked off. They were the usual, feelings of depression and sadness, as well as feelings of failure and feeling as if I let myself/my family down. Of course, I assured them that I have no intention of hurting myself or the baby, that it is mostly situational, and they remind me that the clinic has therapists available if I ever want someone to talk to.

It's interesting how my outlook has shifted lately. I've somehow managed to let go of the body image related depression - I have accepted my body and its current state, and will worry about repair when the time is right. I still have tough days, days when I get a bit sad that I really, really don't look pregnant - the number of comments I get about it is incredible. Even when I wasn't pregnant, I never wanted to have a celebrity body - but the inundation of media coverage on every pregnant actress or singer and her "bump" is overwhelming sometimes. It matters more to me that I don't look like any of my pregnant family, or real-life friends, or any bloggers even. I don't have a very prominent bump. I just look big. Still, I'm trying to focus on the numbers that matter - like my baby's size, which is absolutely perfect and right in line with where we should be at 31 weeks. I may not look pregnant, but laying in bed with my hands on my belly, feeling him move around ... it's reassuring.

That said, though, I've still had a few stressed and depressed thoughts. About a week or so ago, I had a pretty bad meltdown around 3 a.m. - I woke up in a state of complete panic about a million different things, and couldn't fall back asleep until nearly 8 a.m. As always, I am exceptionally grateful for Katie and for her friendship, for her reaching out to me after seeing me falling apart on Twitter, and for always knowing what to say to make me calm down and realize that, yes, I can do this. She has always offered so much love and support with running, with weight loss, with binge eating. This time, my panic was mainly related to parenting, particularly with regards to my job and our financial situation, and her experience-based wisdom, once again,  brought me back down to a calm state and helped me relax enough to sleep.

The day before, I'd met with the Human Resources guy at work to check how many hours I'd worked so far. The number was good for a part-timer (they weren't hiring full-time when I started), but still, I won't accrue enough hours by the time my due date rolls around to qualify for time off.

That was very tough to hear. I don't even qualify for unpaid time off.

It's exasperating. I'm not even looking for time to spend with my baby, just enough time to heal, and they don't even need to pay me. Still, I can't get that. I'm not sure if this means I will be terminated or what will happen, but in any case, it's stressful.

It's frustrating, also, because right now, the company is doing a huge donation drive for their favorite cause, a program that gives small loans to women in developing countries so they can grow their businesses and become financially independent. And we had to watch a slideshow on it, and it was difficult to sit there and read about a woman who, thanks to this small loan, now owns her own clothing store and "can make her own schedule to spend time with her children," because the same company won't let me have a few unpaid weeks with mine.

So I came home, cried myself to sleep, and then woke up in the middle of the night, panicked.

Every evening before falling asleep, and every morning before rising, I lay in bed with my hands on my belly, and I have a good talk with my son. I tell him everything: from how much everyone can't wait to meet him, to what I think he will look like, to the story from the Bible/Torah about the man for whom he will be named. (It's an interesting story, one I've found a lot of meaning in lately, and I'll share it as soon as he's born, since we're not sharing the name beforehand.)

Most important, though: every day, I tell him that Mommy loves him, and Daddy loves him, and that we're not perfect but we're trying our best, and that we promise that things will be alright. Because I know that as hard as this all is, as difficult as it feels most days ... it's temporary. It may not feel like it right now, and it will likely get more difficult before it gets better, but bigger picture, things will be okay. The job stuff will work itself out - hopefully, I'll hear back from a teaching position soon, and we won't have to worry too much about what will happen with my current job as far as maternity leave is concerned. For now, we are happy, we are healthy, and we have enough to survive - food, water, shelter, and a few small extras. It could certainly be much worse than it is, without a doubt.


Unknown said...

big hugs!

Bailey @ Onederland or Bust! said...

I always look forward to reading your posts. They're always so honest and inspiring. I'm glad you could reach out to someone like Katie who can help you through the rough times.
I guess we Canadians should be grateful for our Maternity Leave options that are offered to us. We're able to take an entire year off with pay (it may not be much, but still) and these are things we definitely take for granted.
Things will all come together for you guys and you both will be great parents!

Serena Michelle said...

"...it was difficult to sit there and read about a woman who, thanks to this small loan, now owns her own clothing store and "can make her own schedule to spend time with her children," because the same company won't let me have a few unpaid weeks with mine."

Very, very well said. Is there any way you would consider voicing this thought with your employer?

I know it may be rocking the boat a little - but sometimes it actually helps to point out such an injustice as this! They may just be willing to give you the unpaid leave, despite not being eligible for it.

Sarah said...

I think your company is shitty. You can tell them I said so. :) Hugs, girl!


Anonymous said...

I am hoping and wishing nothing but the best for you, Matt, and your son.

I am appalled that you have to work a certain number of hours before you qualify for unpaid time off. That is beyond ridiculous. And a shame for that company to look to the interest of others before taking care of its own people.

I will be hoping, praying, and wishing for a teaching position to open up to you in a timely manner.


Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I don't know how you feel about the WIC program and all of the services available for people in a bind, but I hope you consider them. These programs are made for women exactly in your situation that need a hand. They could get you through your leave until you get set up with a new job. Please, please consider them. When my dad was in between jobs at one point, he still had to feed 7 kids, so we were on food stamps for a short while. It will help set your mind at ease so you can focus on enjoying your newborn Nugget!!!

Jen said...

You are so incredibly strong, even though you may not always feel like it. I've been following your blog for quite some time, and admire your strength and perseverance. Things may get harder before they get easier, but just know in your heart that you are on the path you are meant to be on. Love yourself always! You ARE an incredible woman who has achieved great things - and will continue to do so into the future!

Rae said...

Ive read your blog for a few months and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. As an HR related professional I had to comment. Your workplace may still grant a leave of abscence, many do. A written letter a few weeks closer to your date with a return to work estimate is almost always granted in my organization. And if not, God surely has a plan for you and your new family even if you aren't sure of it, its there. Hope you have a great week!

Poison said...

Oh hon, I know the feeling all too well of desperately longing for that perfect baby bump that so many other mothers actually get to enjoy. This last pregnancy was a lot more noticeable from the start after losing so much, but my first was definitely not. I just looked huge well in to my 8th month and it wasnt until about month 9 that the public started to take notice and that was only if i was wearing a maternity shirt that made it look a lot more noticeable. Though plenty still just assumed I was a total whale and even days before I delivered I got bumped in to and shoved over by some old man in a scooter at walmart telling me "get out of my way fatass". It's one of the more prominent memories I have of my first pregnancy and I hate that other people can leave such a negative impression on me. I'm also sorry you are not getting the time off from work that you deserve. I was worried about not getting time off from my job during that first pregnancy almost the whole time because i knew I hadnt been there long enough to get those kinds of benefits. The joke was on me though because I didnt even make it to month 9 before they fired me around 8 months pregnant leaving me no other choice than to leave my apt and move home with my parents as I was a single pregnant girl back then. Unfortunately for me I live in such a small area and have had a horrendous time trying to find a job here that can afford me childcare and enough money to move out so I am still here almost 5 years later now. I'm no longer single though and my fiance has also had financial struggles since moving to Texas but we are slowly figuring things out and will hopefully be on our own before this year is over. The difference between our situation and yours though is that you are well educated and have a college degree so you are about 100 times more likely to find another job soon if it becomes absolutely necessary. We dont and I have been turned down from so many jobs because of it. I tried to go back to school instead and was told sorry you have government loans and can't go back to school until you start paying them off so I'm kinda screwed in that department for now. Ugh sorry this is such a long winded rant of sorts but tldr version - i love you and know just how you feel. you are never alone.

smermom said...

I feel for you. I did not technically qualify for FMLA for my second son either. I was almost in tears in my boss' office when she told me, we worked together with HR to get personal leave granted after I ran out of vacation time (like a week). I was lucky to have my boss in my corner she made it a little easier.
I wish I could post a picture of me on your blog. I never had a big baby bump, my chest was always bigger than my belly. The first time I had a stranger ask when I was due was 2 weeks before I delivered. It is crazy what the word "should" can do to us, especially when we are pregnant.

Sarah said...

I agree with Frickin'. I'm not familiar with Illinois, but I know Michigan has all kinds of plans to help out mothers and children. We have WIC like everyone else, and we also have MIChild, which is a health insurance program. Maybe Illinois has something like that to help out in the interim? WIC can help fill the grocery gap if you don't qualify for food stamps.

Good luck with all of it. You and Matt will be wonderful parents, and Nugget is very lucky to have you. I know it's hard, but please, please try not to worry. Enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy and Nugget's arrival. I'm so excited to "meet" him. :)

Anonymous said...

Big hugs! Take a deep breath and (try to) relax. Your intentions are all in the right place, and while other things in your life may not be, having the determination and drive for change is what counts right now.
You and Matt will be wonderful parents, I'm sure.

The Paris Chronicles said...

The charity drive your company sets up is uniquely for the PR it garners for your company, nothing more. They don't get much PR by letting you take "unpaid leave" so it is of no interest to them.

It's a sad state of affairs but that is the reality in American. Self-interest comes before anything else, even the essential bond of mother and child.