After nearly a year away from my job on maternity leave, I finally gave my notice in this week (Breathes out huge sigh of relief and pent up anxiety!). I thought about this decision long and hard, it was not something I took lightly, and I can tell you that it kept me awake many nights worrying about what I would be throwing away. After a particularly difficult Christmas and an equally bad start to January, it dawned on me; there wasn’t really a “choice” at all. The answer was already in me, I wasn’t able to go back.
As much as I could have tried, could have pushed myself to try and be the old me; be competitive, work to targets, appear confident and concise in client meetings; the truth is I can’t do it. The thought of trying to do it brings a tsunami of anxiety over me; as does facing all of those people in meetings who had merrily waved excited old me off on my maternity leave a year ago. I fear I’d end up being continually signed off; unwell and taking a huge step back in my mental and physical wellness. I’ve worked so hard to get myself back on track and navigate a new “normal” after losing Teddy; it’s taken every ounce of positivity and human spirit that I have; and selfishly I can’t let anything jeopardise that.
Some days I can do it; I can get up, be an adult, do life, endure situations that are stressful and I don’t so much as flinch at any of it. Other days; well other days I just about manage to take Boris on a walk. Those days, the ones that grief engulfs your being and pulls you down from your usual “happy place”; those are the days that wouldn’t make doing my job possible. How do you call your boss and say “Sorry, I can’t do life today.”? I couldn’t do that; it’s not fair on her, on me, or on the company I work for. I don’t want to be that person.
I’ve always been so passionate about my work; so conscientious. Hitting targets and deadlines always gave me a buzz. After spending my entire career to date (that’s 16 years in case you’re wondering) in the Beauty and Spa industry; it’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve held some brilliant positions in some fantastic organisations, and I feel very lucky to have done so (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really luck, I’ve worked bloody hard to get and to keep those jobs). So to turn my back now, on this job, the one I’ve worked so hard for, and on the only career I’ve ever known; well, it feels like madness. I feel as though I’m in mourning for my career; as if everything I have worked and stressed over didn’t even matter. Of course, in comparison to losing Teddy, it doesn’t. Everything that came before pales into insignificance when you face the pain of losing your child.
Telling the company I work for that I wasn’t, that I couldn’t, come back was very difficult indeed. Trying so hard to articulate why, actually brought me to tears. The truth is I will miss it, so many aspects of it; the team, the industry, the laughs, the ups (and the downs). I’ll be honest, I won’t miss the hours (or getting stuck in hours of London traffic on my way to meetings); but even when I was doing it all, I was doing it with so much fire in my belly and passion for what I believed in. I guess I just can’t believe in it anymore.
I know that many mothers would give anything not to go back to work after their maternity leave and that they don’t have a choice; and many can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. I don’t know which category I quite fall into? “Would love to go back to my normal, old, trouble-free life and career; but I can’t because my son died.” ? We are very, very fortunate that my husband’s job enables us to live more than comfortably (Again, I must stress that’s not luck at all; that is down to him being one of the hardest working and focused people that I have ever had the privilege to meet, let alone marry.) Not having to go back makes me feel lucky, very lucky indeed; but the circumstances in which this decision has had to come about kind of takes the shine away from that, I must say.
So what now? What am I? Am I a housewife? A blogger maybe? Well, the answer is I don’t really know. If I really think about it; then I like to think of myself as a stay at home Mummy, to a little boy who never got to come home. Just don’t tell Boris though, ok? He’s still convinced that I’ve jacked it all in for him…..