Is anyone considering or already taking time off from work early due to a difficult pregnancy or just to take care of yourself and your growing baby? I'm facing a major dilemma right now and it's overwhelming me... bear with me while I sound very anxious and worked up. The vent will follow...
I'm at 21 weeks and the baby is great, everything about the pregnancy itself has been going as it should be. But the effects of pregnancy on me mentally and physically have been so difficult, I'm at the point where I'm having a nervous breakdown. I pushed through the panic attacks, depression, and difficulty eating in my first trimester, continually being told things would get better in my second. I missed work a handful of days. I tried keeping my chin up. Then my second trimester came and I actually did feel better. I felt great actually for about 4 weeks. Then everything went downhill just as quickly as it had gone up. The panic attacks have come back. The depression has set in. I'm not getting quality sleep. And the worst is that I'm having trouble moving around now due to bad pelvic/pubic pain. My midwife suspects I have pubic symphysis. I've been through a lot of things in my life, but being unable to simply sit or lay without having pubic pain is so overwhelming... If I roll over, the pain shoots up. I can barely bend over a tiny bit. I'm told that if this is pubic symphysis, then it's likely to just keep getting worse as the baby grows and adds more pressure down there. I'm only halfway through the pregnancy! I'm terrified of what lies ahead.
My husband has been wonderful in rubbing my back and giving me a shoulder to cry on since I'm in tears every day. I have support from my midwife, therapist, and chiropractor. My friends have been there to listen to me. But the hardest thing is that I don't have my family supporting me like a family normally would in a situation like this... They live an hour away and they're self-absorbed most of the time. I try talking to my mom sometimes when I'm having a rough time in need of support while my husband is at work (he works nights) and she is so invalidating and can't seem to get off the phone quick enough. She tells me to work things out with my midwife or my therapist, go see a psychiatrist, etc etc. Rather than give me some emotional support in the moment, I'm told to talk to professionals (as if I don't already do that, DUH!). It just makes me feel even more worthless and helpless.
So now I missed work yesterday and took a half day today. I'm considering taking my maternity leave now because I burst into tears and panic every morning before work. Just the thought of trying to sit there at a desk all day (I do accounting) and concentrate when I'm uncomfortable, dizzy, stressed out... ugh I can't take it anymore! I hate that so many people just can't wrap their heads around what I'm going through and so say things to me like, "Just try to make it through the next few months!" and, "Well don't do anything irrational and just quit your job," as if I'm stupid or something. I reduced my schedule from 40 hours/week to 32 hours/week during the past 5 months. If I felt at this point that going down to work part time would salvage my sanity, then I would've done it and gotten a note from my midwife. I suppose I will still ask if I can do any work from home, even though I doubt they'll let me, nor do I feel mentally able at this point. But honestly, do people not understand how difficult it is to concentrate on work when you're this uncomfortable, sleep-deprived, and in pain? Just because I do accounting at a computer doesn't mean that it's the easiest freakin' job on the planet for a pregnancy woman and I should be able to push through everything and focus. If anything, it's a lot harder of a job to focus on than most while having a difficult pregnancy because my brain has to be focused for hours straight while I'm doing difficult calculations and analyses and trying to retrieve info from my nearly non-existent memory now.
Anybody else deal with any of this stuff and/or take short-term disability early? I think my husband and I will have to dip into savings for a while if I'm not working and I'm worried about that. But I have to weigh the lesser of two evils here I guess...... As much as I know I should put my health first way above my job as a priority, my insecurities and the invalidation from some people (ahem *my mother*) make me question myself and my decision-making abilities while I'm in this state.
Anyway, thanks for listening. This gave me a break from my nightly cry session for a little bit.
I have not been in quite the same position as you so I can't help you with the short term disability situation. however, I have pubic bone problems as well. No clear reason but this time it's much worse because during my last birth, my pubic bone cracked and we're not sure if it ever really healed properly or if it's just weak. I understand the pain and I also understand the depression to a degree. I have had some depression this pregnancy, more so than my last two, I suppose from anxiety and guilt over the anxiety. It has helped me to take supplements that support stable mood: fish oils, iron with B vitamins, etc... Also, I wonder what your plans are after the baby is born? Do you plan to go back to work? Is there room for this plan to change? With the cost of child care, gas, work clothes, etc...It may save you money to stay home? I don't know for sure. When we had our first, it was always our plan so we just lived on one income to start with, even though I did work at a school for the first several months. I just didn't go back after summer. If you can do it, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to quit and give yourself that relief and focus on your baby for a while, growing within you and after birth. That always has helped me with the depression to. Focus on things other than myself. I am so sorry you are going through this! I would recommend since you are battling with it during pregnancy, to encapsulate your placenta and take those post birth to help with postpartum depression. I had that with my first and I wish I had done that with my placenta. I kept my second one but never needed it! Hope you feel encouraged! Other people are there or have been and can offer a great support unit!
I'm sorry you are having such a tough time. I did take medical leave and short term disability. I was a teacher and I stopped working mid-March. School was out the end of May. So I took two full months. I took the leave for hyperemesis. I was very sick. However, I'm not sure how it would have gone even without HG. I have three kids here and dp works out of town during the week. He is only home Friday night through Sunday afternoon. I probably would have felt completely overwhelmed. He will still be doing this schedule when the baby is born, which is one of the main reasons I resigned from my job.
Anyway, everyone's situation is different, but you can only handle what you can handle. If you can take disability and still get paid, do it. If not, maybe do it anyway. You have to do what is best for you and your baby. And you shouldn't feel bad about it.
As for depression and anxiety, sometimes therapy isn't enough. I take an antidepressant. I feel that the effects of this are less than the effects of me being depressed and anxious. I would suggest thinking about this.
Also, I struggle with the pubic and pelvic pain, as well. A few things have helped me... there is a thread here somewhere about it. I sit on my birth ball a lot, try to avoid lifting, don't walk excessively, am careful how I sit, etc. I've found some stuff that works primarily through trial an error. Certain things make it worse. Try to pay attention and see if you can figure out some triggers and get some relief. Also, look for a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy. I've been told that is the best thing for the pain.
Good luck. Please feel free to post here whenever you need to. We are here to support you!
Amanda, mom to dsd (16), dd (11), dd (8), and ds (born 11/12/11).
jkseawell - I am for sure going to have my placenta encapsulated. My midwife and doulas I've spoken to have raved about how much it can help with postpartum depression. I'm a prime candidate so I really hope it helps! As for what I'm going to do after the baby is born as far as working goes, I have no idea yet... I can't make a decision for the life of me. With the mood swings, anxiety, and sleep issues making me feel completely bipolar, I wake up one day feeling like I could handle being a working mom and then the next moment I'll be a total mess and feeling the complete opposite. I've wanted to be a SAHM for as long as I can remember, so maybe I need to just follow my gut and do it. It is so important to me and my husband to be the primary influences in our baby's life and not have a stranger take care of her. (Unfortunately we don't have family nearby to help in any way.) I don't feel childcare is negative by any means, but I personally want to be there with my children around the clock for at least the first few years of their lives. Especially since I want to breastfeed for a long time and I'm not too good at juggling work stresses with any other stresses... I see myself falling apart while trying to be a working mom. Financially, I'd probably have to work part time still. I'm planning to talk to my boss next week and see if they'd entertain the idea of me working part time, flexible hours, possibly at home, etc. Wish me luck. I wish I could be like so many other women I know who are so stable all the time and can juggle a million things at once. I don't even remember what that feels like! Washing the dang dishes is enough to overwhelm me at times, LOL.
TalkToMeNow - That sounds rough that your husband is gone so frequently. My husband works 12- to 13-hour night shifts and has to sleep during the day, so I understand what it's like having a spouse unavailable a lot of the time. It's not easy! Kudos to you for being supermom to *almost* four kids! I'm adamant about not taking any psych meds while pregnant, but I'm glad that they're helping you! I've taken the whole spectrum of antidepressants and anxiolytics in the past, and I've had a lot of side effects from most of them, a few that became permanent... so I try to stay away from them for that reason as well as for my baby. I am doing everything as naturally as possible for as long as I can. But thanks for the suggestion! Oh, and I did start seeing a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy. Hopefully she can help some. I learned the hard way not to step in and out of clothing while having this pubic pain. Omg I almost screamed this morning when I put on some pants for work..... Now I know to sit on the dang bed first before pulling them on! What is a birth ball exactly? I'm new to this.
Thank goodness it's the weekend! I can breathe a little easier.
So I needed to post an update because I'm so frustrated right now and need to vent!
My healthcare providers agree that I need to take an early leave because I just can't function at work anymore with everything going on. But my HR manager has been slow to get paperwork in order and to answer questions I have about my health insurance continuation, possibility of needing to pay back premiums if for some reason I don't go back to work after my leave, etc. She started out being so supportive but now she's just acting irritated with me and like I'm a complete inconvenience for her. She has never in her 20+ years in her position had a situation like this to deal with, so she needs to do a little extra research. Okay well DON'T take it out on me! Jeez. I almost snapped on her on the phone today when she was talking with a rude tone of voice and treating me like crap. But I had to compose myself because I don't want to make things more difficult while I'm still getting things in order.
Then one of my heathcare providers has sat on the paperwork for various reasons, so I told her I'll have someone else fill it out. But I can't get in to see this other person until next week, and meanwhile I'm getting more and more stressed out over this never ending... It feels like I'm being judged all the time, especially since my midwife hasn't dealt with issues like this before and my work hasn't had any employees who didn't work up until their maternity leave. It makes me almost wish I had physical disabilities so maybe people would actually understand me more. But since my problems are internal, it feels like people scrutinize me more and maybe don't believe me. I'm sorry that I don't want to respond to everyone's question of, "How are you doing?" with "I feel like complete sh**, how are you?" I'm not that type of person, nor do I think anyone really would be. It's just not proper "etiquette" to walk around moping 24/7. Nobody wants a negative person in their presence all the time! So if I'm not constantly divulging all of my personal issues to everyone and would rather cry to myself than in front of people, I guess that means I'm not genuinely dealing with anything, right?
Ugh. Thanks for listening...... I just needed to get that out....... I really hope I can get everything taken care of next week. I'm tired of this being drawn out and stressing me out so much. I'm tired of worrying about how this is affecting my baby.