Going Back to Work

It happened a couple of weeks ago.  I realized that I had shifted from feeling “unable to work” to “not wanting to work”.  I knew that it must be time to return.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been so fortunate to have the sick benefits to allow me to be off all this time and to still get most of my pay.  But I don’t want to go back to my job… for so many reasons.

1. I just don’t give a flying fuck any more.  Work seems trivial now.  It’s a means to an end.  It pays me, so I can pay for fertility treatments… and the benefits cover my IVF drugs.  I love what I do, so I’m hoping that being there again may bring back a bit of spark.  But mostly I’m afraid that I’ll just be going through the motions (like I am with so much of the other activities in my life right now).

2.  I’m pissed off beyond measure at the people I work with.  They didn’t even send me a card.  Whenever anyone else has had a loss (parent, brother, whatever), we have sent a card and chipped in for a plant or something.  Apparently dead babies that didn’t have life outside their mother’s bodies don’t count.  We completely ignore that and pretend it didn’t happen.  A co-worker sent me a text the other day (the first contact in 8 weeks) and I told her how upset I was (she is the only person I work with that has known everything — the infertility, the IVF, and about the pregnancy from the very beginning).  She said it was her doing to not have the team send a card because she thought I would think it was insincere.  What?  I don’t even know what that means.  I told her that what it did was invalidate my loss… that somehow our daughter didn’t matter because she didn’t live outside of me.  It’s made me realize two things: this is just the beginning of what will be a trend in people not understanding the magnitude of our loss.  Abby was not a mass of cells that I passed into the toilet (although that would be just as hard to deal with, in my opinion), she was a teeny, tiny, perfect piece of my heart and soul.  A real little person that my body gave birth to — a body that we cremated.  The other thing I realized, is that I work for one fucked up place.  You’d think working with a bunch of social workers would be a source of support in this situation — but nothing could be further from the truth.

3.  I work in a building with other healthcare providers from other agencies.  A lot of those people knew about my pregnancy.  I wonder what it will be like to see them again.  What it will be like to see the looks of pity on their faces.. or worse, if they don’t acknowledge my loss either.  I’m afraid to lose my shit at work either way.  Guess it’s good that I’m easing back in and that tomorrow is only 4 hours of email and discharge summaries.

4.  What am I going to do with the first meth/crack/oxy addict who comes into my office with her bulbous, pregnant belly?  It’s been really hard to deal with in the past 3 years… is it going to be even worse now?

5.  Finally, work is one of my “what ifs”.  When I had my first big bleed, I was taken off work for a week of modified bed rest.  I was offered two by the fertility nurse but I went back after one because things seemed to be getting better and because I have a job where I mostly sit on my ass all day.  But during that second week back at work, the bleeding increased a bit.  Maybe the outcome would have been the same either way, but what if I hadn’t gave such a damn about work and stayed off another week?

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


12 responses to “Going Back to Work

  • ScrappyJen

    I will be thinking of you and praying all day tomorrow. That is awful to hear about your co-workers. Lean on the people who care and know that you are not alone in this struggle.

  • Heather

    Not that I’m one to comment on your work peeps, but that is crazy, and makes me so angry! How completely uncaring they are for the profession they are in. Unreal. Have they been in it too long to realize what real pain and suffering is for someone they actually know?! Good grief.

    I do wish you well tomorrow though – I’m sure it won’t be easy; know you can text me if you need to ‘chat’… I’ll be around.

  • SB

    Will be thinking of you tomorrow! It’s a big step and not an easy one. I know it’s not nearly the same magnitude or intensity as your loss, but when I lost my mom it was really strange and scary to see people at first…..back to school, friends, church, etc. I felt like I was in a bubble and just pretending for a while. Sometimes (12 years later) it still bothers me that I’m supposed to be be “over it” and act like it wasn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. For me, it really was and is. So, I hear you, even if I don’t really know what’s it’s like to be you. Also, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry I didn’t send you a card. The thought has crossed my mind several times and I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe I just didn’t know the words to say that would be right, because I guess I feel like there aren’t any right words and I don’t want to say the wrong thing because the last thing I would want to do it cause you more pain…you’ve had enough. Your blog has been truly insightful though, and I am so grateful to you for sharing your journey. Peace and Shalom for tomorrow and the days ahead.

  • Daryl

    That does sound like a hard situation to go back to. Any one of those reasons would be enough to not want to (I can’t believe they didn’t even send a card). I hope tomorrow is tolerable, at the very least. I think your plan to ease back in is a good one. Go easy on yourself.

  • Cristy

    I’m so sorry to hear your co-workers fucked up. I’d have a really hard time with it too. Abby is your daughter and you have been grieving losing her. To have them tell you they didn’t want to be insincere shows how clueless they are regarding miscarriage and pregnancy. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with them.

    Regarding dealing with pregnant patients/cases: is there a way that your office can screen them and direct them to another social worker? Because right now, the last thing you need is to be dealing with someone like this. And frankly, your co-workers owe you.

    I’m thinking of you daily and sending you lots of love. May this first week back go by quickly and be low-drama.

  • Kate

    Hi from ICLW. I am a social worker on an indefinite hiatus, and I cannot believe that your coworkers have responded… or not responded… to you (and your loss) in this way! That is just shameful.
    I do admire your strength around returning to work- especially emotionally demanding work!! I agree that you should ease back into it, do what feels right for you, and do not hesitate to remind people (if you need and/or choose to) that you are grieving a loss as real and as devestating as any other, if not more so! I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you tomorrow.

  • Life

    I’m thinking of you when you have to go back to work.
    I’m still at home, very grateful I have this time off.
    I know what you mean when you say work is trivial. I so also have that feeling! There are so many other thing so much more important than work….
    thinking of you. hugs

  • marwil

    Acknowledgement is so important and I’m so sorry you didn’t get that from your co-workers. I hope the first day and weeks back at work is gentle on you. It’s hard knowing and seeing life around you keeping going on while everything has changed for yourself.

  • smonster

    I hope your first day back goes by quickly at the very least. I’m sorry to hear about your co-workers. Not surprised since from what other things you’ve said about them, but disappointed nonetheless. Hang in there M.

  • psychsarah

    Thinking of you today and every day.

  • Anna

    Good luck. I can’t believe they didn’t even send a card at work. That seems very insensitive!

  • Alissa

    I could have written this post when I went back to work. People didn’t ask why I was gone (who I didn’t have to alert) and went about things as usual. Nevermind that my lovely 20 week twin belly was gone and I looked like the walking dead. I get it, I do. But why do people think that by ignoring things, it will go away or get better?

    I came back to work after 1.5 weeks mostly because I was going crazy around the house and ran out of vacation time, but I haven’t cared a wit about work ever since. Like you said, it’s a way to make money to pay my medical bills.

    The two coworkers who were pregnant the same time as me have given birth…of course the infertile women was the one to come back empty handed (not that anyone should).

    And lastly, I too have a ‘what if’ surrounding work. I bled at 12 weeks and only took one day for bed rest. They didn’t tell me to take more, but I should have. Now I wonder if that is what aggrivated my hematoma.

    All your feelings are so real and understandable. I wish none of us had to go through this kind of loss. I can only hope that with time we will find wisdom and peace.

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