I am in the lucky position that, at the moment, I do not need to work. This has come about due to being mortgage free and having enough savings to live off for a bit. Just to clarify/explain so that you know this is due to hard work rather than a Lottery win: I am from a “poor” family, grew up on a council estate, had free school meals, wore hand-me-downs and second-hand clothes from charity shops, holidayed at my mother’s friends rather than abroad, had a part time job from 14 to pay for my own (new) clothes etc…. However, due to making some sacrifices and saving a lot, plus a bit of luck buying a place when I was 21 with a low deposit and low repayments, I have been lucky enough to get a tiny house mortgage free in my mid 30’s (I beat my brother by 10 years, just saying). This means that my outgoings are small. In fact, my biggest expense, at the moment, is getting to and from work.
So, I am working and this is a choice. I have always worked since I was 14 so to have the option not to work is one that has taken some time to get used to and is one that I have so far ignored. I have chosen to work mostly because I feel I should be working and, as I have never not worked, I am a bit unsure what to do with my time. In my job I’m not doing something that I find particularly interesting, it’s not well paid (living wage which is a nice term for low wages) and it takes 2 hours out of my day to commute each way. I am up at 6am each day to get in on time and, by the time I have eaten, it’s normally 8:30pm before I have time to do anything in the evening (hence the gap in blogs of late). Although m pregnancy has been ok, I have now started to suffer from nosebleeds, swollen legs, headaches, dizziness, lethargy, more round ligament pain, twitchy legs, bad back and bad hip – some of which has bene brought about by sitting down all day and some of which has come on due to be tired and some of which is plain old pregnancy related. I ended up at the doctors last week, then had to see the midwife and all of at advice has been that I should be resting. This sounds stupid, but I was a bit annoyed to be told this as I consider myself fit and healthy and I consider resting to be, well, unnecessary. However, my body has been giving me rather clear signs that I need to slow down and I have not been listening.
Yesterday I had a bit of a light bulb moment and realised that I was working from habit rather than need and working from guilt rather than pride. I felt I should be working rather than working because I have to or need to or, really, want to if truth be told, but I am also scared of having so much time off. Work gives structure, it gives a reason to get up out of bed, it gives social contact etc etc etc, but on the flip side it’s also making me so tired that all I am doing is working and now I am having a physical reaction to all this. It’s not just the physical exhaustion, there’s the mental exhaustion as well. The seemingly never ending constant battle of unsolicited pregnancy advice (I work on a team of women).
My employer knew I was pregnant before taking me on as I told them. I considered it to be a kindness that they took me on, but since I have got there I have felt like I am being watched more than other staff members and I am being treated differently. I have been advised that I am not allowed to lift anything (literally anything), that a risk assessment will be done on me as I am pregnant and that if I need extra breaks I am to take them, but every time I go to the loo the manager appears to be clock watching. I absolutely understand that pregnancy can be difficult for some women, some women have complications and heavy lifting is not recommended, but I feel under pressure being there. However, I was happy to play ball and do as they say – they are just trying to protect themselves under the guise of protecting me after all.
The people I work with (mainly women) make comments every single day about my pregnancy and what I should and should not be doing. How big or how small my bump is. How big or small it “should” be. The fact that I look tired (I look tired if I do not wear makeup thanks to my father passing on his dark under eye circles). I also apparently look hot if it’s a hot day……………………. I have hip pain due to an injury I got when I was 14 and then it resurfacing when I was training for the ultra and is now being exacerbated by me sitting all day, but apparently it’s resurfaced due to me being pregnant.
I have realised that I am putting myself into a situation that I do not need to be in and so I am going to quit.
I am scared. Scared of the months in-front of me with nothing ti structure my time. Scared of losing value in myself. Scared of my mental health declining, but mostly I am excited. For the first time in almost 20 years I don’t HAVE to do anything. I can watch movies all day and crochet if I want to. I can go for a long walk, a run or a swim in the sea. I can meet people for coffee. I can go and explore the new area I live in.
Most importantly I can rest. I can look after the baby and I can train for the birth. Maybe that’s my new ultra?