I have to go back to work tomorrow and I am scared. The last time I was there, I was 9 months pregnant and so excited and happy. I had spent the whole school year talking about my baby’s progress with my coworkers. When the time of maternity leave came, I wrapped things up and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I started leave 3 weeks before my due date because I had plenty of sick time saved up and I wanted those last few weeks to finish preparations and to rest. I only got 2 weeks before we lost him. But they were a great 2 weeks. Before I left my classroom, I packed my personal belongings because I was planning on probably not returning. I had been working on the requirements for a Speech Language Pathology Assistant license (60 credit hours and 100 practicum hours) for the last year and a half and I completed it the Friday before Luke was born. My hope was to not take accept my teaching contract this year and to start doing speech therapy with kids at their homes instead, through the department of disabilities. I had an interview in April with a company in Phoenix and was in talks with them about pay rates. This would allow me work less hours and make my own schedule so that I could be home with Luke more. I did not want to have him and go back to work full time, but we need my income. Then the whole world turned upside down. I eventually decided to return to my same job because I read not to make big life changes during the first year of grieving and also because we would need the health insurance so we could try again. I also thought it would be comforting to be around people who saw me go through this whole thing.
So, here I am, about to start year 12 of teaching special education. It is a hard job with lots of demands and often high stress. I have had kids overturn their desks, throw chairs, throw scissors at me, and much more. I have had parents yell at me and administrators who don’t understand a lot of things about special education or what it’s like to actually be in the classroom daily. I used to love teaching, but it has been getting harder for me. I was feeling ready for a change. I was so excited to be a mom and to have new purpose in life. Instead, I am going to back to the same old, same old, except nothing feels the same anymore.
Josh and I went to the school yesterday to pick up my keys and drop off some of the boxes of things I had moved out. I was apprehensive about facing the school secretaries (as I can be with anyone I haven’t seen since this happened), but figured I could just be quickly in and out. But of course lots of other people were there too, setting up their classrooms, and I had to have several of those hard conversations just between the office and my classroom. I also had to meet 3 new people and had a parent of a new student already ask me in the hallway about having a meeting before school starts.
It is hard to face being there and remembering how I was last time I was there. I miss my big belly and my kicking baby. I miss everyone being excited for me. Now when someone sees me, their face falls and they look at me sadly. This is appropriate, but it is hard too. I feel like I have a big black mark on me—the bearer of sadness. I feel awkward and scared of what people might say or what they might be thinking. I worry that people may wonder what is wrong with me that my baby did not live. I so wish that I was returning with a new joy, funny stories of getting peed on, and cute pictures of my Luke to share instead.
I am also scared about just being able to do a good job, about even being able to care about all the nitty gritty that I have to handle. It seems insignificant and tedious. I am worried about being able to be patient and kind and about being able to manage four classroom aides (two of the new to me) and their many questions and concerns. It is a place of constant interruptions, intense conversations and issues to address. I hope I can do it. I don’t feel like I want to do it. Please pray for me on this. I will try to remember to do the job as if I am doing it for God and not the people around me who can be unappreciative. I will have to repeat in my head to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” The pastor told us on Sunday that 90% of what you worry about will not come true. I need to work on that.