OK, before I start I know I don’t really have anything to complain about in the grand scheme of things; I have a wonderful husband and an adorable son (and another one on the way). I have a lovely family and we are all healthy. We have a nice house and we earn enough to live comfortably… But that doesn’t mean that sometimes things can all just seem a bit, well, crap.
To start with this pregancy has been hard. It was hard enough last time when I was working full time but at least then I could come home and have a nap and be sure of a good night’s sleep. This time round I have Toby to look after too and even though he is two next month he still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night. And as helpful as Barry is, unfortunately for the last few months Toby will only settle if he wakes up in the night if I go to him – daddy just won’t do at 3am apparently! So I’ve been knackered for the entirety of this pregancy. There’s also been the fact that since the 20 week scan I’ve been dogged by a lingering sadness that it we aren’t having a girl (and it’s a disappointment I haven’t really felt I could talk about). On top of that has been the continuing worry about my low-lying placenta and as much as I try to remain positive about it I just don’t want to have a caesarean and it scares me that I might have no choice in the matter. And as the scan to find out if the placenta has moved gets nearer (next week!), I’m just getting more and more worried about it.
The lack of sleep and pregnancy hormones have really made it much harder for me to cope with anything over the last few months as well. I seem to burst into tears at the slightest thing, and I hate feeling like I’m so emotionally unstable. Added to which crying makes me wretch after a minute or two so it’s even less of a pleasant experience!
The other major source of crappiness at the moment is work. This year has been really really hard. I have been working full time at a school 45 minutes away, on a one year temporary contract. It’s not a great school and it’s in a deprived area. The behaviour of a lot of the kids is appalling and I’ve found it really hard to deal with at times. But I just kept thinking it’s only for a year and then I’ll be off with full maternity pay. Until a few weeks ago… The job I have been doing is going to become a permanent post for next year so I applied for the job. It took over a month for the school to arrange interviews. I thought I wasn’t really bothered if I got the job or not. I have no real desire to return after my maternity leave, and I was under the impression I would get full maternity either way, as was the case with my last pregnancy (albeit with a different council). And then a week before the interview the council told me if I didn’t get the permanent post I would only be entitled to statutory maternity pay and not the additional pay which would top it up to my full salary for the first 13 weeks of maternity leave. Suddenly the stakes were much higher.
I appreciate the school were in an awkward situation; if they gave me the permanent job they would also have to find someone else to cover my maternity leave. But equally, they couldn’t not give me the job just because I am pregnant. I thought I had fitted in well at the school and within the department, there haven’t been any issues with regards to my performance throughout the year as far as I am aware, so I thought I stood a good chance of being given the job. The interview on Friday morning seemed to go well but I got a phone call from the head teacher on Friday afternoon to tell me they were offering the job to someone else. I spent most of Friday evening crying. This feels much worse than applying for a job and not getting it. This feels like a judgement on everything I have done for the last year. It feel like the 50 mile commute every day, having other people look after my son for 9 hours a day (and paying half my salary for the privilege), the dealing with horrible, disrespectful kids day in day out, has all been a big waste of my time. I am still waiting for feedback from the head teacher about the interview and how they came to their decision. According to my head of faculty who was also on the interview panel the successful candidate ‘just had more to say’, which is no kind of reason at all. I am pretty convinced there are two main reasons why I wasn’t given the job; the first is that I’m pregnant and the second that I am at the top of the teacher pay scale. Of course they’ll never admit this and it’s going to be hard to prove but I’ll see what feedback I get and decide if I want to try and take it any further.
On a slightly more positive note, after carefully reading the document which sets out all the conditions related to teachers pay and employment conditions in Scotland it would seem I might be entitled to my full maternity pay after all. I have gone back to the council and I’m just waiting to see what they say. In my experience council HR departments are pretty useless and seem to rely on people just accepting what they say. My last employers found out that I’m not one of those people when I argued and argued until they eventually agreed to a £5000 redundancy payment after previously telling me they didn’t have a job for me and I wasn’t entitled to anything. I’ll see what this council has to say but I’m prepared for another fight if I need to be! As you can imagine though, any motivation I had to do my job has swiftly disappeared. Thankfully I only have two and half weeks to go until the start of the summer holidays and I am counting down the days!
Apologies for the brain dump, this probably should have been two separate posts but as you can see there has been a lot of crapness in my life lately and just getting it out of my brain has helped me feel a bit better about things. Hopefully in another couple of weeks things will start to look a bit more positive. I’ll be off work and I’m hoping I’ll get a bit of time to relax and catch up on some sleep. I’ll know one way or the other what is going to happen with baby boy’s birth and even if it is a caesarean I’ll know at least and be able to start preparing for it. And lastly, if I’ve read the policy correctly there should be some good news about my pay too.
And while I wait, I’ll try and remember this…