Back to Work

7-30-13

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.

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5 thoughts on “Back to Work

  1. I love you, friend, and I am covering you in prayer today! Thank you for sharing and being open and being vulnerable. It’s beautiful. “Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid. The Lord goes with you were ever you go.: Joshua 1:9

  2. Even as a guy, I found that part terribly difficult. People were used to being excited around me, and then faced with this. It does take people time on this. In my case, we had class together, so people were kind of stuck with me, and our profs were excellent and working with me.

    In terms of teaching, that’s the most natural thing I do. Crashing right after class was pretty much a given, but the teaching part was the easiest. Obviously, that may or may not even be relevant, because your life is different, and you have more contact hours with your students than I usually have with my frightened freshmen. Who knows what will happen with that?

    Odds are that it could be a mixed bag for a while, but that’s normal. If there’s ever anything my wife and I can do, say the word! We’ll definitely be praying. For one thing, it can’t be worse than what you’ve already seen, which may sound completely messed up. So, I should stop writing there. 🙂

  3. I agree completely. I also feel like I am walking around with a giant cloud over my head. People are afraid to look me in the eyes. But what is even worse is when they don’t mention my pregnancy or my son at all. I was in my last semester of my BA when I lost Caleb. I felt like everyone should have known that he was gone, that he was ever here. I started to wonder if people even noticed I was ever pregnant (when of course they did-I was 31 weeks when I lost him.) I wanted to stand up in the middle of the quiet class and scream at the top of my lungs. How could we all sit and listen to a lecture when my baby was dead?! Perhaps you will find some people who have been through a similar loss and you will develop a friendship that you may not have had otherwise. I hope your job ends up being a great motivation and a place of healing.

  4. I definitely relate to most of what you’ve mentioned feeling and the interactions you encounter. As I’ve mentioned to you previously, I start back at my job this Monday. I’m worried about what my days will be like, how people will treat me… and I also feel upset that I will be returning without pictures and stories to share… that I won’t be able to tell people about my beautiful baby without feeling sad… in any case, my heart goes out to you. I understand how you feel 100%.

  5. I feel the same way about returning to work as well. The confidence I used to have isn’t there anymore. I worry that I won’t be as good of a teacher as I used to be, less patient, less concerned, less organized or on the ball. I too have a new first-year teaching partner who is counting on me to show her the ropes and be her mentor. I also have the constant headache of being PD chair which requires meetings, planning, budget, etc. I just want this year to be over. If it wasn’t for the $4000 cost to get out of my contract, I probably wouldn’t be teaching this year. I too, don’t want to make many life changing decisions, and am really hopeful that being back with kids who are caring and need me will help me heal. The hard part is that a teacher next to me had a healthy baby boy a month later than my Jacob and she will be sharing pictures and stories, things I wish I could share with everyone. I will continue to pray for you starting a new year. We will survive, together.

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