A Day Of Self-Doubt: Questioning the Decision to Stop Working
Today, I am doubting my decision not to be working. And so, I sit here questioning myself.
I know what we want (healthy pregnancy), and I know why we’ve made the decision for me to stop working in order to promote a healthy pregnancy by removing myself form a very unhealthy, high stress, long hour job).
But yet, doubt exists. Doubt is ever present. Doubt it at the forefront of my thoughts.
I stopped working on March 3, when we found out we’d be going through another miscarriage. For the first time in my life, I had to say “I cannot do it” and I will be unable to work (narcotic pain medication actually necessitated that I make this decision). The miscarriage was considered completed on 29 days later, and I actually tried resigning by my company refused to accept it and instead I went onto short term disability. And, once that was rejected, I formally resigned in late May. (Feel free to read more on my decision to leave work here and here). The decision was based on medical advice to take time to recover both physically and emotionally from 4 miscarriage. But, in my mind, I saw it purely as a means to an ends:
Leave work = reduce stress = get pregnant = healthy pregnancy (hopefully).
So, here I am now, nearly 4 months since I stopped working and just over a month into my self-imposed unemployment, with nothing other then a biochemical pregnancy to show for it.
My husband continues to support this decision, but I’m losing faith.
I’m losing faith in the no-work decision for a number of reason:
- This week we bought ourselves a fun summer project and are actually driving nearly 1000km to pick it up this weekend (more on that later, I’m sure). The very next day, we discovered a leak in one of our showers, so we now have to do a major bathroom renovation. My husband’s car needs some work done on it. And my Subaru does as well. So, while none of these things are incredibly expensive on their own, all the sudden we are aware of the costs adding up. When I was working, none of this would have mattered. We wouldn’t have thought too much about it. And while we know we can make it all work, I really miss not having to think about our income and what we are buying or doing. This might sound really pretentious, but honestly, we’ve worked hard to get where we are and me not working has a big impact on our income and our lifestyle. I want it back.
- I still have no word from the government regarding my illness related EI claim. So, this amplifies the money worry. And, my guilt about not contributing to our income.
- I did not win that project with my mentor. I’m not really upset about it, other than to say, I would have enjoyed having something relatively low-stress to work on part-time.
- We are not pregnant! I know my doctors wanted time for physical and emotional recovery, but I never saw it that way. I saw this as being all about getting pregnant one more time without stress. In my mind, its one thing to be not working to help with a pregnancy, but it’s now been 3 months and we aren’t pregnant. The biochemical pregnancy was just that, so if I count that, then it means not working hasn’t helped sustain a pregnancy. I know, anyone struggling with trying to get pregnant likely won’t understand this, but we have never waited more than 4 months to get pregnant. Ultimately, I have no desire to just be sitting at home without a purpose. And without a pregnancy, it feels like there isn’t a purpose.
- I need more in my daily life then waking up, walking the dog, writing and reading blog posts, mowing the lawn, making meals, doing laundry, etc. I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, and somehow now I find myself being a stay-at-home wife doing the household chores. This is not my idea of fun.
- I’m not good with boredom, and here I am getting bored. Our summer project may fix that slightly, but it won’t solve it long term.
So, here I am, contemplating what I should do.
I know, I absolutely know, that I need to stay out of work to avoid stress because in 20 years if we don’t end up with biological child, I need to know we tried everything. This is our last straw. We need this, and this is just one of those things that I, as the women, have to do for the team. So, knowing this, I have my answer. But….
But, somehow, even so, this just doesn’t feel like enough for me right now. I want it all! I want a healthy pregnancy and a baby; I want my professional income; I want my stress free life; I want my career back. I want it all!
Ultimately, I actually think, more then anything my struggle right now, is that I want to feel like I’m succeeding. I’m used to being successful, I’m used to making an impact, and I’m used to doing great things. And right now, I don’t feel successful and I am definitely not doing great things! It’s not that I feel like a failure either (I actually don’t blame myself for our lost babies at all). And now that for 2 years the focus of our lives has been on each miscarriage and surviving each loss, I just feel average at best. And I’ve never been average, nor do I want to be just average. Nothing in the last 2 years has even acknowledged my personal successes like wining new clients at work and therefore securing new work; achieving another professional certificate that took 4 years to get at an out-of province university; being asked to guest lecture at a university undergraduate course; etc. Rather our life has focused solely on loss, tragedy and the continued struggle. And, by not working, I feel even further away from my career successes because well, without work, there can be no work successes! I thrive on being successful, so I think this is actually the crux of the doubt I’m feeling right now.
So, knowing that we are trying one more time, how do I balance my desire to feel like I’m contributing and succeeding with not being involved in my profession? How do I stop associating my personal success with my career after defining myself that way for years? How do I find success in the mundane, daily life of being at home?
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