And how to get over it?
With only a few weeks before my return to work, I think I’ve realised why I really don’t want to go back. Rewind almost three years ago to when my maternity leave with Elvis was almost up and work errors meant I didn’t get paid. Then I got paid too much. Then they took back my overpayment leaving me with nothing that month. No warnings, no explanations until I questioned, no communication at all and still no real explanation as to why I was penalised for their error.
I was given assurances that it wouldn’t happen this time.
Rewind to a year ago when I recieved a letter telling me you’ll be surprised to learn that you’re not entitled to maternity pay. Replace surprised with fucking fuming.
Rewind to the beginning of this tax year when, 4 months into it, I discover that someone hit a reset switch at work and started paying me. I never realised. I didn’t get payslips. I told them, the payments stopped and I heard nothing else from them. So I owe them money. A lot. I have no idea how much. And I was technically claiming benefits because I knew I’d have to pay back the overpay. (And the benefits are because I wasn’t entitled to maternity pay, which they could have told me before I went on maternity leave, but didn’t because they’re incompetent).
So I fully expect to either not be paid this month or to receive a huge bill. And if they don’t pay me, will my nursery fees be paid? Nope.
And I blame work. I blame work for every second of stress the pay issues have ever caused me. I blame work for not being able to pay my mortgage when I returned. Most of all, I blame work for how my daughter was born.
The letter about my pay, or lack thereof, came 14 hours before my waters broke and over a week into my maternity leave. 36 hours later I had the choice of induction or emergency surgery. I spent two nights away from son. Two whole days and Robin was born only about 36 hours before my planned surgery in which I might not have visibly been away from home at all due to nursery.
I could have gone in to labour at any inconvenient time but that’s out of everyone’s hands. That’s nature.
Instead I seem to firmly believe that the waters going was from the surprise at not being entitled to pay. I was fuming. I was so angry at their incompetence, not to mention the fact that I had no idea if we could afford no income from me after about 6 weeks. I blame them for not having figured this all out earlier, giving me extra time to fill in the paperwork and find my payslips. As it was, I filled it all in, had a baby and had to redo the forms because the forms were invalid. If we hadn’t have changed management, I might have been told earlier. I might have been calmer. And I blame them for all of that pain, for sobbing on the second night away that I just wanted to see my son. I blame them for rushing home to see my son and having a longer recovery.
The drugs played a part in me sobbing hysterically to just get my baby out because I wanted to go home to see my son. The hormones, lack of sleep and pain definitely played a part when I was alone in the hospital so Daddy could put Elvis to bed and sobbed every time I heard a newborn cry because I wanted my son. But the reason, I believe, in my irrational head, is that my waters only went because I was stressed by the fear and anger that letter provoked within me and if the waters hadn’t have gone, would contractions have even started? Because the doctors only made me stay in due to potential issues with my scar tissue.
Perhaps I can take ownership of some of it, but not all of it. Their incompetence caused so much stress and so much pain. It is their fault that I had emergency surgery and their fault that I spent so long away from my son. I blame them for the stress of trying to fill in paperwork within days of my daughter being born. I hate them for having the nerve to call me twice in the week after I gave birth, the first time less than 24 hours later, to discuss my complaint. And management knew I’d had my baby as I’d had a congratulations from them, an email promising that we’d discuss my complaint, but to forget it for a while to focus on my family. Well, the other guy who was ringing me, clearly didn’t want me to focus on my family.
Meanwhile, no one has kept in any form of contact. None of the admin people even still work there. I randomly bump into people and hear about the redundancies, hear about who’s walked out, moved to another school. I used to work in a team of 12, now I think we might be about 10, maybe 11, but I only really know 3, maybe 4. I think it is compounded by the fact that I was only back for a short time in between maternities. I think I made about 5 months. My job is pretty physically active. I’m on my feet all the time, rushing from lab to lab to prepare things, lifting and carrying things constantly whether they’re heavy or not. I couldn’t do that during my 5 months back. I couldn’t even sit in the usual work room due to the chairs being too high. So, really, I’ve spent over 3 years not doing my job and I don’t know what to do to. Because of all of the departmental changes (we became an academy during my first maternity leave), I don’t think I even know the people I work with.
So, I don’t know how to do my job, I’m the new person walking in to a department almost, I probably won’t get paid properly for a good half year and, yeah, I’m anxious, desperately trying to put the steps I’ve learnt in therapy into use to not completely lose it.
And I don’t know how I’m supposed to walk into work and not hate everything and everyone I see. I hate the very thought of it.
And I truly don’t know how to let that go.