My son was born 8/3. I am rather anemic from the birth and he is colicky, but mostly we are both doing well, BFing going well after a bit of a rough start.
I was supposed to go back to my job as a middle school English teacher in a poor, minority neighborhood last week. However, as the date approached I found myself depressed and weepy. I called HR and was told I could take up to a year of family leave per my contract, but that my specific position at my school wouldn't be protected beyond FMLA leave in mid-November. I filled out my paperwork to extend my leave until January, and told my principal. I cited reasons of my health and my son's health. I am asthmatic and often get very sick all winter when teaching. I just don't feel willing to do that now.
He was not thrilled, to say the least. The sub I had didn't want to stay so he had to find someone else. He wouldn't guarantee that he would hold my job for me. I am pretty hurt by this, I worked at that school for four years and poured my heart and soul into it, got thousands of dollars of books, tech, and field trips donated, etc. Really all I was asking is for him to hold my job for six weeks between when FMLA runs out and Winter break, and I'm pretty miffed that he couldn't commit to that. They would have to offer me another position in the district if one was available, but as you can imagine, a post that is available midyear is probably the roughest school, the most difficult assignment that someone else left, so I won't do that. If my job is gone, I will wait and see what contract they offer me in the fall.
At the same time, I'm wondering if I even want to go back at all. I am burnt out on teaching. Last year was terrible, besides being pregnant I was just unhappy at work all the time. I'm sure I don't need to list the woes of public school teaching here but they are numerous and worsening.
Financially, we are right on the cusp of being able to afford surviving on one income, which makes it even more difficult of a decision. We would have to find a way to bring in a few more hundred dollars each month to really be stable, but not much. I would look into online teaching or tutoring in the evenings, DH is working on getting a raise at work. But we have no real savings and would be in a bad situation if a financial crisis came up.
Really, I have loved staying home with my son. I am sick of teaching. But I am scared to make this leap. I am also scared of losing a good reference when I want to return to the workforce.
I don't know if it's just my fear of working and trying to take care of my son holding me back, or if I am truly done teaching (for now, I guess) I have a masters and I really feel like it's too late to switch professions, but I don't know if classroom teaching is for me anymore. When I think about the stress and all the work outside school hours, plus trying to pump enough for my son, I just get depressed and angry.
I am feeling like I'll be calling my principal soon and trying to suss out whether he is keeping my job open for January. But even if it's there, I don't know if I want to go back. I'm having so many identity issues with this, it's making me feel pretty alone. I don't know anyone who made the decision to stay home after their child was born, I feel like most people either decide when pregnant or just go back to work. If we had known earlier we could have saved money and made this easier.