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The Blame Game

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.

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Irresponsible Mothers

On the 10th January, I took Elvis to a birthday party and the next day I was informed that someone at the party now had chicken pox. About 19 days later, Elvis got them and about 17 days after that so did Robin. From my understanding you’re contagious the few days before spots come and maybe whilst you have the spots. So for those 19 and then 17 days neither child was contagious until maybe day 16 and 13.

How was I supposed to know that?

The moment Elvis came into contact with pox, should I have kept him at home just in case?

Should I have kept him at home for those 19 days and then a further ten for the spots to clear? Should I have taken a month off work?

Just in case he had it and could pass it on at nursery?

Should I then have not allowed Robin out of the house, just in case, and despite medical professionals telling me she’s was protected against it?

Was I irresponsible in both cases?

I rang the nursery immediately to tell them. I cancelled all plans for both of them in the week they each got pox. I rang/contacted everyone that had visited/seen Robin.

Was that irresponsible?

Yet I then get told by a friend that a bunch of work colleagues were unhappy that I was joining them for a lunch. Because of Robin and her pox. Uhhh, except I’d already cancelled. Despite how she probably wouldn’t be contagious by that point, I’d already cancelled.

Was that irresponsible of me?

It’s really upset me. Mainly because I was already upset that I’d let people, babies, come into contact with Robin at her contagious times. I feel awful about it. We’re not talking the toddlers at nursery, we’re talking babies – some under a month old. And I feel awful that I could be responsible for making those babies ill. I really don’t need someone making me feel worse.

Especially not a mother so irresponsible that they can make another mother feel so awful.

It’s made me paranoid that the group I went to, allowing Robin to potentially infect other babies, will never allow me back because of my irresponsibility. That they will make me feel awful and unwanted, too.

The mother in question might just simply have been worried about her own child but perhaps she should have spoken directly to me rather than make me feel like crap and irresponsible.

~ P

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VBAC Agreement

I had my final VBAC midwife appointment and had the consultant sign off my plans – c-section at term +12 if I haven’t already had a baby of course!

And I just feel so tired. Physically, mentally. I have no fight left even though I haven’t had to fight any medical people. Yet (I worry that I will as I reach term). Somehow I still feel like I’m too tired to fight. Maybe I’m too tired to keep juggling everything – work, pregnancy, mother to a toddler, being a person. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m finally succumbing to the awful cold that has plagued my house. Being pregnant, doing what’s right for my health, Elvis and Robin is draining.

Maybe I just want February to hurry up and get here.

I physically ache. One hour of shopping leads to agony. A night of recuperative sleep is no longer a fix all remedy to my aches and pains. Sometimes I feel like becoming a mum has cost me so much. Sometimes I feel like being pregnant this time has cost me so much.

Other than at work, I don’t socialise. I don’t let Elvis socialise (he does get it at nursery of course). This pregnancy is so much harder than my first. I spend a huge chunk of my night, my time, sitting on a gym ball. It makes me unproductive. It makes me unsociable.

I wonder if anything will change when Robin arrives. The exhaustion and pain makes me snappy, makes me lazy and I fear for my parenting. It makes me fear if I can recover from this laziness once Robin’s here. Will the newborn exhaustion stop me being a good parent still?

Then I question my social life. I enjoyed my year with Elvis. The new friends I made and saw all the time who all slipped away when I went back to work because of my juggling acts – a ball had to drop. The existing people in my life who were also a ball too many. Will I be able to pick up a ball in a few months?

And will there be any point when a year later I’ll go back to work and potentially have to drop one again (although will I have the pregnant ball again? Doubtful). I guess I’m just feeling really down and know that I still have 3 weeks until I reach term and then another 5 until it will be over. 8 weeks of back pain, of pelvic discomfort so bad it’s physically draining.

And then a new period of exhaustion and pain.

~ P x

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Can I give up Now?

For anyone’s information, this entire blog is now censored and amended to no longer be accurate to my thoughts and feelings for the sake of everyone else in the world as I am not deemed important enough to have feelings. So feel free to simply laugh at the post below.

The pains and aches are too much. It hurts to walk, not my pelvis anymore, my lower back. And my upper back aches when I try and relax my lower back. My bump has just got harder, like, overnight and it’s uncomfortable to lean forward. I’m tired all the time. 15 months ago, I was yearning for a time that Elvis would have an actual bedtime and when I would get a bit of time after he was asleep before I would go to bed. Now? Now, I would happily go to bed before him.

I can’t get a straight answer out of my bosses about my annual leave and I’m really worried that I’m going to lose a whole load of leave or be refused it. Meanwhile I’m trying to cling on until Christmas holidays. I’m beginning to doubt myself and the ability to last that long. I’ve already brought forward my help me date — I can’t deal with the 80 minutes of solid walking and hubby is happy to take his lunch ferrying Elvis and I around. I was hoping to not take advantage of his lunch hour, but now am hoping to at least the end of November before giving up.

Meanwhile, after a few pay cock-ups and a house move, money has become tight. We’re still paying the mortgage and bills at an old address, but no bills at the new house yet. We need to finish and sell the old house. I need that mortgage money to pay the nursery — especially with my impending maternity pay. I have never felt money be this tight and at least last time I had savings to help me out. Until we sell our old house, I do not have that financial security. But there’s nothing I can do to speed that up. I can’t shift the few boxes remaining. I can’t drive there and back, emptying the house. And I can’t paint the one damn wall that needs painting!

And I would really like all of these things sorted before Robin comes along (obviously the pain and feeling uncomfortable will).

I would really like to fast forward time!

~ P x

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Who’s a Big Boy Now?

It’s almost September, do you know what that means?

That means that my son, my little baby, my toddler with only 4 teeth and barely any hair whatsoever, my boy who has only been in nursery for two months is moving up a class!

His nursery (I’m not sure if it’s a standard practice), keep their toddlers in rooms based upon their school years after their first year. So, because he will be turning 2 in the upcoming school year (huh, 2? When did that number come in to play? He’s only 15 months old!) he gets to move up into their Big baby room.

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Lonely Parenting

For the first 9 months, minus the first 2 maybe, my life was filled with baby groups and chatting with the other mummies, mummies whose babies are all the same age. But then, the 9 month mark hits and mummies have to start going back to work. I made it to Elvis’ 13 month birthday, but for those last 4 months, life became more lonely.
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School Girl Mentality

Only a few times over the past year have I felt awkward at baby groups or around baby mummies. It’s only been a few times where I’ve felt as if I’m back at school with the popular girls picking on the not so popular, cliques forming all around me and opinions being voiced without being thought through.  On even fewer occasions it has brought me to tears.

The question is though, is it them acting like school girls or is me and how I interpret others’ actions?

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Baby Envy: The Next Chapter

After the bump envies. Who’s is bigger, smaller, more bump-like, more fat-like.

After the childbirth envies. Who’s was easiest, who managed to do it without drugs, who had the most/least complications.

After the newborn raising envies. Who needed to bedshare to survive, who found breastfeeding difficult and a struggle, who opted straight for formula.

After the baby in general envies. Who’s baby started sleeping through after three weeks, who’s baby hit all of their milestones early or bang on time, who’s baby was the first to say Mama.

Now comes, first birthday envies!

 

Strangely I never noticed it at Christmas, but I’m starting to wonder if the first birthday envies are more common than first Christmas envies. Is it now when everyone starts taking notes from other mummies’ parties, the presents bought and how the day is spent, to make their own child’s the best.

 

Does the envy ever end? Or do those that care anyway never stop, and those that never feel the green little fingers of envy, never even consider it? Is it all the same as when you were at school, those that cared a little too much what people thought, still do. Those that spent their time trying to make their own parties be the best, compared them constantly to those they attended before their own. Do those people that never compare, never consider other people in that way, have an easier, more relaxed life? Personally, I compare. I worry a lot that people judge me, that people consider and criticise how I do things. I spent months believing that bed-sharing was wrong and bad, that I was a failure for doing it and everyone was judging me on it. Until I discovered other mums doing it.

 

It was then that I realised that I bedshared to survive those first two months. I did what was best for me and my family. Elvis’ first birthday, his party, his presents, everything associated with it, will be better than anyone else’s because I’ll do what’s best and right for him and our family. Just as all of his baby friends will have the best birthdays. For them.

 

Who needs to be envious of everyone’s perfection?

~ P

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Graduating!

I finally have a date when I graduate.

June 25th.

Okay.

3 months.

It’s such a relief to finally have that date. I’ve been waiting on tenerhooks for the date for almost 3 months and it was starting to feel like my life was on hold until I knew. Maybe it was a reason behind my insomnia, too.

Now, to find out if we can agree on hours!

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Finding the Old Me

I’ve been having some sociable problems recently. I’ve been upset at baby groups that I love, considering stopping attending to try and feel better. I’ve been struggling with doing too much with hubby back at work and with simply missing him (not missing his help or him giving me a break, actually missing him) and I’ve started to want to hide away at home.

Okay the storms probably aren’t helping.

But I seem to have lost my confidence.

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