May 17, 2013

262 Days

On August 27, 2012, I realized something was not right with my body, and the result of a home test confirmed exactly what I had suspected: I was pregnant. This little something growing inside me, no bigger than a sesame seed at this point, was capable of making me feel completely lousy. It was mindblowing - something so small could have so big an impact.

On August 27, I decided I was done with binge eating. I knew how much it hurt me to binge, not only emotionally but physically. It hurt everywhere. And if it could hurt someone as big as me, I didn't want to even imagine the impact it would have on the little sesame seed-sized baby inside me.

And the sesame seed grew to a lentil, the lentil to a blueberry, and so on - all the way up to the size of a small pumpkin.

And then, the pumpkin was born.

On May 6, 2013, I gave birth to my son, and for days after, I was in a euphoric state. Things were not perfect, but they felt as close as could be right now, and I was at peace with everything. I had my support system in place for reaching out to in case of postpartum depression, which my midwife strongly suggested given my mental health history. But really, everything had been going so smoothly - I was surprisingly well-rested for the mother of a newborn, and the most stressful things I had to deal with (overwhelmed by family, and Noah's bris ceremony) were all over before I knew it.

On May 10, I got an e-mail from the head of a search committee for a teaching position I had applied for, asking if I would be able to interview for the job. It was the first interview I'd been granted in nearly a year, and my heart soared. As happy as I am with so many aspects of my life, there is definitely a giant void where satisfaction with my career ought to be. I miss teaching. I miss using the French language skills I worked so hard for so long to perfect.

So, I researched the school. I researched their basic French program, and the faculty/staff I would be working with. I researched the city. And I refreshed myself on my own history, reviewing my curriculum vitae and thinking about how to answer possible interview questions in French, should they ask.

On May 16, I interviewed. It was via Skype, and I was incredibly nervous - first, because I hadn't had an interview in nearly a year; second, because I'd never done a Skype interview before; and third, because getting this position would change everything for us. The pressure was incredible.

Right now, Matt is on paternity leave for about four more weeks, and I'm out of work. We can't afford for me to stay home on just Matt's salary, but we can't afford a good daycare either. We're already using state aid for medical expenses; we should also qualify for food stamps, it's just a matter of getting down to the office and filling out the paperwork. I'm not ashamed to do what I have to for my family - I'm not too proud to ask for help. But still, my heart aches. I want to be able to give Noah everything he needs - a nice home, healthy food, clean clothes. I know how horrible kids can be, and I don't want anyone making fun of him for not having what some other kids might have.

I gave my all in the interview, and hung up feeling confident. This was it. And I tried not to get too excited or count any chickens before they hatched, but looking online at possible apartments felt so wonderful - a considerably bigger apartment that wouldn't be much more expensive than we pay now, and with the better salary and Matt able to be a stay-at-home dad, it would be a wonderful life.

I went to bed hopeful, kissing my sweet baby on the forehead and fantasizing about what life would be like without some of the financial/career worries that have kept me up at night since August 27.

On May 17, Matt left before sunrise to drive with his family down for his brother's college graduation. Starting at 10 a.m. (8 a.m. in the university's time zone), I began compulsively checking my e-mail. Every five or ten minutes, I'd push to refresh the page, waiting for the news I knew was coming. I tried distracting myself - Noah and I did laundry, we relaxed in the rocking chair, I nursed him and changed him, we took a nap. And nothing, all day.

Finally, around 4 p.m., a generic e-mail from the school arrived in my inbox:
Interview results have been reviewed carefully and after considerable deliberation, the number of candidates has been narrowed. Unfortunately, your application was not one selected for further consideration at this time.  We appreciate your interest in employment at University...
I clutched Noah to my chest and started sobbing. I cried and cried, then put him in his crib, went to the kitchen, and ate until I felt sick.

262 days binge-free, and this is how it ended.

All of a sudden, the urge for sick comfort came back, and I gave into it without thinking for even a second. The negative thoughts flooded back as well. You're a failure. You're not good enough. You can't provide for your family. You screwed up when you left California. You'll never get a great job again. Your son deserves better. Your boyfriend deserves better. You have absolutely nothing right now, you're fat and gross and unemployed and completely broke.

I stopped eating, and went back to get Noah out of his crib. If he is in my arms, then my hands are busy, and I am not eating. I laid down in bed with him, and contemplated admitting what I had done to Matt. I was so ashamed - not only was I afraid to tell him I didn't get the job and we were back at square one, but he was so proud of me for keeping the binges under control while I was pregnant ... I didn't want to let him down.

I told him. And he understood, and comforted me as best as he could while being out of state. When he gets home, we'll hold each other, and he'll let me cry as much as I need to in order to get the weight of all the feelings off my chest. And then we'll work on figuring out what our next step is.

I'm not going to hurt myself any more than I have with overeating. And I'm absolutely not going to hurt Noah, not in a million years. But right now, I'm aching very deeply. This isn't postpartum depression, I don't think - it's entirely situational. It still hurts, though, and with my hormones out of whack still, I'm sure I'm taking it much harder than usual.

I always have a hard time remembering that even though sometimes it feels impossible, in the end, it's all going to be okay.


Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Isn't it terrible? I'm so concerned with disappointing Charlie, like disappointing myself is the norm, but if he sees me as less then I've lost it all. I'm so sorry you didn't get the position, but just keep doing what you can and get whatever help you need. I know the stresses of not having enough and it will keep you awake at night. You are wealthy with the love of your family and you'll get by with everything else.

Angela @ Honey, I Shrunk the Mom said...

Oh. :( So sorry. Disappointment is just so hard to take sometimes. Keep your head up, though. Try to remember, God has a bigger plan for you than this. But I know, it's just so hard to wait sometimes. {{hugs}}

♥ Drazil ♥ said...

I'm sorry honey. Anyone would be upset by this so your feelings are completely valid...and I have to believe this is a stepping stone to a path God already has in store for you that you don't know yet. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Unknown said...

Oh heart aches for you. I'm so sorry to hear about the position though I am certain that this position was not the one you were meant to get. I'm also certain that this is only the beginning of more interview requests.

On another note, I can entirely relate to the postpartum emotional state and hope that you aren't beating yourself up over this binge. I'm glad Noah could be a reason to keep yourself and your hands busy also.

Taryn said...

Oh Mary...I know there's nothing I could say that would make not getting this job ok, but I am keeping you in my thoughts. I think that you are meant to get a job in the city you love. I know it's tough when you have your heart set on something, so please don't feel as though you are a failure for having a bad night and resorting to old habits. You are a beautiful person inside and out, a loving mom and girlfriend, a well spoken and eloquent writer, and one determined lady. Many people believe in and love you.

Sarah said...

I'm sorry, sweetie. Please don't beat yourself up, especially about leaving California. If you hadn't left, you wouldn't be living with Matt, and you certainly wouldn't have Noah. <3

Just a random thought: I have a friend who works from home doing translation services. Is that something that might work for you? I know your passion is teaching, but it might be something worth checking on.

I hope things get better for you soon. Everything was on such a high note - moving back to Chicago, moving in with Matt, having Noah - there just has to be some sunshine on the horizon. I know it's hard to believe right now, when things are stressful, but you and Matt are such good, kind people that there has to be something out there. I'll keep sending positive vibes your way. I wish I could do more. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

From reading what you have been writing, it seems to me that you are not sending out resumes in recent days and applying for jobs - mainly because you've just had a baby! So, it was nice to have this request from a potential employer to interview. It would be great to have your financial situation impacted favorably by a new job. However... you have a new baby. It's a lot to handle, that new addition to your life, and on top of that, moving into a new working situation? I'm thinking you are LUCKY you didn't get that job. A baby, a job ... they are stressors, even though joyful ones.

The binge eating... meh. It happened once. Doesn't mean it's going to happen again.

Amy said...

I truly believe everything happens for a reason - and one day you'll see why this job didn't happen even if it made the most sense right now. There is a bigger picture to the story and you will find the perfect situation for your family! Stay positive!! <3

Unknown said...

It's okay. It's a process. I started smoking when I was eight. I stopped when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I started again when I returned to work. I didn't smoke in the house. I didn't smoke in the car. I never smoked where the smoke could get him. But I still smoked and set a horrible example for him. I finally quit on May 25, 2010, when he was nine years old. And I still don't smoke. I still want to sometimes. It was my crutch. My one thing that no one could take away from me. Don't beat yourself up over a binge. While it's not the healthiest thing, there are things that are so much worse that you could be doing. Your little Noah is so beautiful, and you will be his everything for a long time. He wouldn't want you to beat yourself up over this. He would want you to pick yourself up and move on... and in the long run that is one of the best things you can teach him, because life will knock him down from time to time and he will need to know how to pick himself up and move on.

Unknown said...

so many changes in such a short time frame. The fear of the unknown, Mary. That fear takes hold and nearly chokes me to death sometimes. You needing relief any way you could get it is understandable by so many of us. Things will be okay. Look back on your blog as your reminder. Yes, you have that incredible, tiny miracle now and that does indeed make things different, but you are still the same, strong, tough woman I've grown to admire so much these last two years. Nothing but light and love being sent your way. xo

Jen Mitchell said...

I'm a relatively new reader and I wanted to express my sorrow over your disappointment. Please remember that your missteps do not define you, your successes do--including your new little bundle of joy.

timothy said...

mayhaps you should look into other fields until you can find the right position. getting out of the financial hole will help with the depression as being active does. good luck hun just hang in there. this too shall pass!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on being named one of the Top 100 Inspirational Weight Loss Bloggers!

You deserve it!

Unknown said...

Hey sounds like a tough night. Hang in there, we've beaten days like this before. We'll get there again.

XOXO - Cyn

uppercasek said...

Le Soleil se lève à tous les jours, même quand le ciel est couvert.

Un bonheur à la fois, ça va bien aller :)