“So I see you’re expecting.”
I never lost the baby weight. My stomach is still protruded. Despite months of strict diet and faithful exercise, I couldn’t lose a pound, couldn’t lose a dress size. I am a perpetual 6-month-pregnant blimp. I was never a “big” pregnant woman, but what I was is how I’ve remained post-baby.
And so I get these questions and comments. They hurt because they remind me I have had babies inside of me before, but not now, and I have nothing to show for the 55 pounds I gained. It’s like the weight is holding on, still anticipating a baby before it lets go.
I think I was most irked by this woman’s comment because I felt like she should know better. I guess the priest who had arranged for us to stay with her while we were in town for Palm Sunday services didn’t warn her. I guess she didn’t put two and two together when, a little panicked, the priest called her while we met with him to inquire if her pregnant daughter and 2-year-old had moved out yet–they had just moved that day, thankfully. He had forgotten that that would be intensely difficult for us. I guess she didn’t wonder at all that he asked about that, and her first comment when we met was to congratulate me on my pregnancy.
I always want to talk about my son, but I don’t want to have to talk about him like that. “Oh no, not pregnant, just still fat after a depressing year+ of losing babies.”
It would be easy to say that maybe others shouldn’t jump to pregnancy conclusions, but among Orthodox women, it’s usually true, so I can’t really blame her for that.
I started working at the CPA firm on Wednesday. (Why, oh why, did they have me start two weeks before taxes are due?!?! It’s beyond insane there!)
My first assignment was to travel four hours from home to the regional office (which is further away than the national headquarters, sadly), and that terrified me. I don’t really drive anymore, and the job promised no travel. Thankfully, a friend was on spring break and said she’d be up for a road trip. So we made the trek through dust storms (our state is experiencing a drought thanks to no snow this winter) and hail.
I learned right away that working for a private company is so. much. different than working for the government–essentially my only background. They handed me a stack of gift cards, a polo shirt with the company name, a water bottle with the company logo, a backpack/laptop case (again, imprinted with the company name), and a laptop. The laptop is technically my CPU but is also portable, so I eyed it in hopes that it means I will at some point be allowed to take my work home once in a while.
My new employer is proud of being a family-friendly company. That was something that attracted me to them. For folks who work more than 75 nights away from home, they can take their spouse with them (on company money). They offer short-term disability insurance for 12 weeks, and that covers maternity leave. If your normal childcare is unavailable, they have back-up childcare for you. You can get a bonus for adopting a child.
All of this is really great, and really encouraging in our own plans to try to have a baby again whenever feasible, but then there’s the issue that I didn’t really think through in a family-friendly company: everyone has kids and everyone wants to talk about them. I have already had to tell about ten people that my son died last year, and I know in time I will need to tell everyone. I need to guard myself for triggers and remember that people don’t understand if I’m distant or uninterested in someone’s new baby. I must be careful to be approachable while still being able to take care of myself. It’s a hard balance.
So I am glad I am where I am, and I am encouraged that if we do succeed in having a baby in the next year like we hope to that the company provides resources much better than FMLA. In the mean time, life is still going to be really hard, even with the much-needed change.