May I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support – each comment touches me deeply and it’s both comforting and sad to hear of people in the same situation.
It will be 9 weeks tomorrow that Freddie was born sleeping. Right now I would be 34 weeks pregnant. Yesterday when I was on the cross trainer at the gym, it suddenly hit me – ‘I should be 34 weeks pregnant right now’, and the place where my stomach should be filling is filled by air. It was as if my stomach was there, and then suddenly it wasn’t, and it took my breath away and made me feel dizzy. This is what happens a lot – you go about your business, with little more than the feeling of anxiety I have described before, and then suddenly it hits you – you remember what your life should be, and what you have lost, and it comes around a corner with no warning, so fast and so audaciously that it takes your breath away.
I have said before that I am very conscious this time of not going back to work too soon. I have recently discovered that I will have to go back in September because of financial pressure. At the moment, I don’t feel too worried, but I know that the closer it gets to going back, the more pressure I will feel, and that things may well take a turn for the worst. There are things that I wanted to have done before I went back – I want to have lost weight, so at least I look a little more like the old me, if not quite pre-pregnancy me, at least the me who doesn’t struggle to feel ok with the way I look. But I still weigh exactly the same as I did 9 weeks ago. I can’t explain how infuriating it is to be so lacking in control of your very own body, particularly when it is my body which has caused all of these problems in the first place. Before I ever got pregnant, I could lose 4 pounds in a week without even exercising. I was 9 stone when I first got pregnant, and my body ballooned immediately. It then took me 5 months so lose half a stone, despite doing lots of work at the gym and eating very carefully. This time, at least I knew what to expect, and I’m not killing myself trying so hard, when it makes no difference anyway, but it’s still exasperating and upsetting. I often feel as though I have literally lost myself. I don’t look like me, my body is not mine. I cannot do the thing that women are born to do.
The thing is, teaching is not the sort of job where you can just slink in, unnoticed and sit behind a desk in an office, getting on with your job. Teaching is 50% performance. You are on stage in front of 30 kids who expect you to perform, to teach, to help them learn. As a teacher, there are literally hundreds of people who will witness my return, knowing what has happened to me, watching to see what happens when I come back. Perhaps my paranoia doesn’t help – I’m sure lots of people will barely notice my return, and lots of teenagers don’t have time to care about what their teachers have been up to, but it doesn’t stop me from agonizing about it. And, a lot of kids notice everything from the colour of my nails to the inner of my shoes (honestly – I have a pair of boots with a pink inner and the kids commented for days on how nice they were…) and for me, it’s part of the ‘performance’ – you have to look the part to play it properly. It’s also difficult to perform if you don’t feel like it – it’s not the sort of thing you can do successfully with your sail at half-mast. I would also like to be pregnant before I go back to work. I worry that if I’m not pregnant before I go back, that the stress will make it more difficult to get pregnant (which is partly what I think happened last time) and it will take longer. Then I worry about the fact that I’m worrying, and I think, if I’m worrying about the fact that worrying won’t help me get pregnant, then I DEFINITELY won’t be pregnant before I go back! (You see how tangled my mind gets?)
I also found out on Friday that someone very close to me is pregnant (hence my last post). It’s awful to know that you are responsible for someone not being able to take as much pleasure as they should, in what ought to be one of the most joyous things in the world. She had to work herself up to phoning me, knowing that her news would be devastating. No one should have to put a lid on their happiness about having a baby. It’s just another thing that makes me feel dreadful. It also adds another level of pressure – of course I want to get pregnant again as soon as possible anyway, but I know that until I do, I will not be able to feel happy that someone very special to me is having a baby, and she is so, so special to me. I want so badly to feel happy about their pregnancy and to share the experience. But I know that I will not be able to, because it is too painful. This also happened to me the last time, when my sister-in-law was about 6 weeks behind me with her pregnancy, and so a few weeks after my baby girl should have been born, my sister-in-law had her baby girl. I could not see her when she was pregnant, and I did not see the baby until Christmas, when she was 7 weeks old. The poor woman didn’t know where to put herself, and it made me feel dreadful that someone felt uncomfortable about her baby because of me. I still cannot look at or think of baby Maisy without thinking of the baby girl I should have had, and I don’t think that will ever change – when Maisy goes to school, it will be a reminder that my daughter would be going to school at the same time, when she gets married I will think of my daughter and so on throughout all of the stages of her life.
So, at the moment, I’m trying hard not to think about September, but I know that relatively soon, I will have to think about preparing for my return, and I can only hope that I am successful soon in achieving at least some of the things that I would like to have done, before I go back.