35 Weeks Today
Maybe I don’t need to go off work for physical strains, but the mental strains are getting pretty significant. Today I had a whole hour (and then some) of crying. Got up, after I thought I was done, then went back to bed to cry some more. Yesterday was better than today. I saw my host sister, from my high school exchange to Brazil, whom I haven’t seen in twenty years. But today, I’m feeling pretty much the opposite of yesterday’s high.
Sometimes I feel guilty for just wishing I could have a break, even just a two hour break, from feeling totally consumed, full, uncomfortable and like I’m missing pretty major things that used to be so taken-for-granted. I want to lie on my stomach. I want to sleep through the night. I want a glass of wine. I want to not feel shame for whining about things like this when so many people have trouble conceiving, period.
I want to dance. Tie my shoes without huffing and puffing. Feel strong and capable. Do my own heavy lifting. Not feel like I have to bow out of things I want to do, because I don’t think I’ll be able to follow through. I want to not have an anxious thought every day because the same symptoms that make me feel like I’m having the pre-anxiety that can sometimes lead to a panic attack… are the same ones I feel pretty much all the time now. I want to not throw up in my mouth a few times a day due to acid reflux and heartburn.
I want not to feel stressed out when I swallow a feather that escaped my duvet during my sleep because if the worst case scenario turns out to be true, and I do get aspiration pneumonia, I won’t have to worry that it could hurt the baby.
All of this is to say “I’m getting about ready for this little guy to be OUT of me.” I read that this might happen. That true last month is all about wanting it to be over. I am feeling big. I still have great days and great moments of days, but TOday was tough. Worse than usual. I feel like I get nothing done.
I’m relieved that I was able to make the choice and get support in taking two extra weeks off from work (so that I’ll leave at 38 weeks rather than working right until my due date. I hear lots of women lamenting this choice – asking, when should I go? For some it’s a financial decision; I wish for me that it was not. I’d love to be off work now, to take care of myself (and take many mental health days). But I do love going to work; I’m good at my job. It brings me joy and keeps my mind off things.
TAKING THE EXTRA TWO WEEKS
As a teacher, it was pretty straightforward – moreso than I would have imagined. I’m due Oct. 21. I work in a school with no AC, on my feet for most of the 8 hours, with blistering classroom temperatures, full boob-sweat and swampy feelings are a daily reality. I was scheduled to work right until my due date, but I got a great tip from a coworker. If you only take ’10 business days’ (your sick day equivalent) you don’t need to get all the extensive medical paper work required to document a Long or Short Term disability leave.
I was able to count backwards from the due date and get my doctor to write a note that simply says “X will not be returning to work after X day” due to her pregnancy. Signed by your doctor. My board said, “thanks for letting us know,” and I got in touch with the people who are pre-arranged to take my mat leave and they’ll simply be taking over early. That gives me an extra two weeks prior to my due date to get things in order and gives a bit of relief, given that I’m feeling massive, tired and sore. Though I LOVE my job, the stress of leaving at a moment’s notice makes me even more worried, both for me and for the kids (I want them to have continuity and a smooth transition). If you are considering taking a leave prior to your official mat leave, talk to your union and coworkers who have taken mat leave to see what your work’s policy is!
Yesterday I would have said, “Five more weeks? Bring it?” Today… I’m making friends with the couch and considering whether a second banana muffin is in order. (At least I was still able to make a batch of muffins, so really, who can complain??)