As an advanced warning, today’s post is going to be a moan about work. I really need to get all of this out of my system.
I posted before about how I had returned to work, but in an entirely new job. I spoke about how I was afraid to start a new job – primarily because nobody would know me. Nobody would know my story, nobody would understand why I might have bad days, nobody would understand why I might not be performing to my full potential.
Since my employment began, I have been quite honest with people in my office about Finley. I have a photo of him in the frame that I made on my desk. People seem to want to try and be compassionate, but they don’t know me well, and they didn’t know me when I was pregnant. They all say the wrong things.
I think I’ve been fairly strong in going back to work so soon. Dealing with the demands of learning a new job on top of trying to cope with my grief has been hard work.
I wrote before about how I’d gotten promoted on my third day in the office. Since then, I learned and performed large parts of that job role, and was excited for the opportunity. It was giving me something to work towards and focus on other than the fact that I am a childless mother. I was enthusiastic and had very positive feedback on the work I was completing. Despite me asking and being reassured about the
promotion and how it would take place, eventually I was told that somehow they were wrong in telling me that I could be promoted – that they needed to properly advertise and interview for the position, but that I should apply and that hopefully things would turn out how ‘we’ want them to. I was very upset by all of this, because I had put a lot of effort it, but I understood that this is normally how things work. In good faith I carried on performing parts of that job role and applied for the position. Despite having a fairly good interview and having already been learning the role – the position was given to an external applicant who had a second interview without my knowledge.
The company I work for is unlike anywhere I’ve ever worked before – there are so many changes that people can’t keep up with it all, some people have been in their jobs for so long that making and kind of positive changes in nearly impossible, and there are so many secrets that you wonder if you are going crazy for all the whispering and gossiping people do.
I don’t really know if I’ve been unlucky in that I work somewhere where there is a heavily pregnant woman and several women on maternity leave, but it seems that by being here, babies and pregnancy are more in my face than ever.
Last week, I was sitting at my desk working when my manager came through in a rush and shouted out loud “L is here and she’s brought the baby.” This is actually the woman whose position I was hired to cover. I had no idea that she would be bringing her baby into work, and I instantly felt ambushed. I couldn’t help breaking down and ended up having to leave the office while she was there. Her daughter would be nearly
the same age as Finley. As I’ve written before, this isn’t the first baby I’ve seen since Finley died, but I had no warning and could not prepare myself. That is a big no no for me. Afterwards, I was quite visibly upset, and my boss told me to “just get my work head back on.” I actually couldn’t believe that.
After that situation took place, my boss sat me down and said they were planning on having a baby shower for the pregnant woman. Her last day is to be this coming Friday and I was asked what I’d like to do. She said that they’d be having a presentation just before lunch for her, and I asked if I could take an early lunch to try and avoid the most of it. At this point she told me that they were also planning on decorating her desk, and basically making a day of it, and I was made to feel as though I should take the day off as holiday. I did this to try and spare myself the drama, but I don’t think it is fair. I know they are excited for this woman and I don’t have the right to put a damper on things for her, but I think a little compassion would help.
Today has been another story all together. The pregnant woman was having pains and left work to go see her midwife. She could be in labour. Everyone was walking around whispering about it as though to try and keep it from me, but I kept catching the pitying glances coming my way. My boss then came in with cakes for everybody because her new grand daughter was born. She shouted about it out loud, and then made a point of coming and telling me again. And THEN they came into the office with a massive gift for the pregnant woman, where they proceeded to happily chat about it all and spent time wrapping it.
I genuinely am at a loss about how I should react to all of this. I have one person in the office who has become a friend and I can speak to honestly about everything. But everybody else just sort of seems keen to keep the distance from the crazy bereaved lady and I feel like they look at me as though I’ve got 8 heads or something.
I did buy a card for the pregnant woman. There was a group one going around the office that everyone kept away from me, but I wanted to explain to her somehow that I'm not horrible. I'm sure having me in work has made it so awkward for her. I couldn't bring myself to buy a 'CONGRATULATIONS' card, so I bought this instead (it was the best I could manage, but wanted to make some sort of effort):
|The inside said "I just wanted you to know"|
I need to stick this job out realistically as we need the money for moving to Canada. I haven’t got much time left between Christmas and holiday days, but I just find that being here is doing the opposite of what it was originally intended – giving me something positive to focus on and a bit of a distraction.
I feel myself fantasizing about what things would be like if Finley were here and I were still on maternity leave. Oh how different everything would be.