I’m so over Facebook. It’s so clearly a space for self-promotion and exposing yourself to being marketed to by the businesses you “like” that it’s lost any and all appeal. (Well, really, it lost all appeal to me a long time ago when my dad joined.) So I just don’t post on there very frequently, and when I do, I try to keep it general – I’m not there to share much in the way of my personal life. Especially my personal life involving My Better Half, as he chooses not to have a presence on Facebook and the like, so I do my best to keep him out of it. So when I got pregnant last fall, since I didn’t use Facebook much anyway, I thought it would be weird to say “Hey! I’m having a baby!” and never really figured out any appropriate way to share the news there “publicly” with my “friends.” Nevertheless, once my girl was born, it was natural to post photos of her so that everyone can see what a cute-ass baby we had made. I kept getting responses like “OMG! I didn’t know you were pregnant!” I’m not sure exactly how/when I should have made that announcement, given my “meh” feelings about Facebook.
I am now almost one month away from my due date – July 4! So apologies for a totally unoriginal post about how the waiting is killing me, but…the waiting is KILLING me.
I go to work but it’s just a matter of going through the motions to get through each day. My attention span is that of a gnat. Even if I could follow all the jargon and get up to speed on everything I need to know at my new job, I can’t. So I just try my best to pull a George Costanza and look busy. My boss has been taking me off projects that were assigned to me, and with good reason. Not only can I not concentrate but “you could be gone on maternity leave any minute now!” True. So I go to project meetings to follow along, but I don’t have anything to contribute because my mind is elsewhere. I make lists of what still needs to be done before Baby arrives (assemble crib, install car seat, wash onesies…) to look like I’m following along and taking notes. When I’m left to my own devices, I scurry back to my cube where I stare off into space as I note kick counts or read my weekly update from the pregnancy countdown websites. It’s hard to devote any attention to work when so much of my mind space is taken up with the much bigger matter of giving birth and taking care of a tiny little Baby soon.
I just can’t focus.
I knew starting a new job always entailed a learning curve, and that’s especially the case now that I’m starting a whole new industry and career trajectory, but I can’t even muster a single original thought about that at this moment. Trying to learn a whole new field while I’m pregnant…and this close to giving birth in particular…is just a whole different level of difficulty. It’s impossible it is to divide my focus between such a monumental life event and such huge changes to my work at the same time. I have had a TON of changes with work over the past 6 months – going from working full-time in my chosen profession to being laid off, unemployed, marginally employed in a low-skilled position, to working full-time in a totally new field – and I don’t think I’ve been given the chance to process that with everything happening so fast.
So I try to keep up and pick up what I can at my new job, but realistically, I’m going to have a secondary learning curve – the real one – after my maternity leave because right now, I just can’t think about anything besides Baby. Everything that I learn seeps out of my brain simultaneously.
Two words: air conditioning.
Now I will be the first to admit that my pregnancy weight gain hasn’t exactly made me a hot-air balloon…yet, but then again, I could have stood to lose some weight to begin with. But I’ve really tried my hardest to clean up my bad eating habits while pregnant – I didn’t want gestational diabetes on my hands, the mere thought terrified me, in fact. And becoming pregnant seemed to be just what I needed to snap me out of my sh*tty eating habits, even if only temporarily – that baby didn’t need cheez-its, it needed vegetables. It didn’t need diet coke, it needed water. And it didn’t need ice cream. Oh wait, yeah it still needed that. But that you must forgive me for. It is F*cking hotter than hell here year-round after all. And when you’re pregnant? Even if you don’t live in Phoenix, it is hotter than hell everywhere you go. Even in the over air conditioned indoors.
That’s one thing I really hate about living here. It seems like almost anywhere you go here, people WAY overcompensate for the heat outdoors by leaving their air conditioning at frigid temps. Just because it’s 120 outside doesn’t mean I need it to be 68 inside…
Well, usually anyway. But these days? Feels GREAT. Case in point: my cubicle at my new job is right under the air-conditioning vent, and every last one of my coworkers complains about how they are FREEEEZING all the time. And I’m thinking “yeah, isn’t it AWESOME?!” When I wander away from my cube, I feel like I’m right back in the Tennessee humidity & heat in July as I sweat through whatever I’m wearing in a matter of seconds. One of my biggest worries about starting a new job this pregnant was how I’d be able to sit still for 9 hours a day – due to not only the physical discomforts that accompany sitting but also my mind being almost completely distracted by getting ready for Baby! Luckily, I find that it’s easy to sit under this arctic blast all day while I work mentally prep for Baby.
Starting my new job has been an exercise in juxtapositions. I feel really good about having been chosen for a good job, nevermind having been chosen when I was 7 months pregnant. And I came in with the usual first-day jitters, but I wasn’t as nervous as I was for my last (very recent) new job because I felt so much more secure knowing that my boss (and her boss, and HR, etc.) all knew from the outset that I was very pregnant and that my maternity leave was all arranged before I even set foot in the door.
But I also found that my coworkers were not informed of my condition. And when I think about it, why should they have been? So, we have a new person starting today and the top thing you should know about her is that she’s almost a mom. Nope, can’t see that email getting sent. But I guess that’s along the lines of what I expected because my new coworker’s question designed to confirm that I was, in fact, as pregnant as I appeared, threw me off balance. As did the glances my new coworkers stole at my belly when we were introduced (as well as the outright stares). Hey, my eyes are up here. So in some ways, I was totally at ease about starting a new job and meeting new people – those who already knew about the Baby. And in other ways, starting my new job was way more awkward than I expected.
I mean, they don’t feel comfortable asking me about it when we get introduced (and I don’t blame them! I wouldn’t know how to broach that subject) but I’m also feeling super uncomfortable and self-conscious that people are so obviously caught off guard for their new coworker to be so very, very pregnant. I don’t know how to transition from “tell me about what you do here” to “…so I’m due July 4!”
Once again, I find myself forced to revisit the notion of how to tell people. In this instance, it’s telling people with whom I have no relationship (yet). I mean, was I supposed to arrive with a sandwich board that said “Hey! Thanks for the job! Taking bets – boy or girl?!” In some ways I think that would have been easier.
But it also makes me to reflect on “telling” people I don’t give 2 sh*ts about. An example? My boss from the museum that laid me off last fall (who did nothing to save me from the axe) found out I was pregnant. Evidently, she overheard someone talking about my baby shower and chimed in with, “Oh! Whew! Cuz I saw her when I was driving around a couple weeks ago and thought, um, she looks a little…uh….ok, so it all makes sense now. I’m so happy for her!!” I really do appreciate the good wishes – it is sweet how a Baby who hasn’t even been born yet brings out the well wishes, and they are genuine and heartfelt. But I have no personal relationship with my former boss. But a better example of how I grapple with this would be summed up in one word. Okay, two.
Doing a pregnancy announcement via a status update seems so self-absorbed, and more importantly, inauthentic to how I want to tell people, which is in person. The “hey everyone, look over here! I’m a have me a BABY!” announcement is just such an impersonal call for attention. Try as I might, I can’t come up with a way to phrase this announcement in a way that is genuine to me wanting to share my good fortune to those who might care without sounding like a shameless self-promotion. And that’s just not my style. Because if there’s anything I have loads of, it’s shame, people! The only ways I can think of to phrase it that don’t strike me as shameless self-promotion might be too subtle. I hate vaguebooking status updates so I don’t want to post something that people have to guess at. And if I’m anything, it’s not cutesy, so changing my profile pic to a pacifier, booties, or a stork just seem gimmicky. As a result, I’ve come down on the side of: not saying anything on Facebook for now. Especially since I’m not terribly active on Facebook. I often go weeks (months?) between status updates so it seems particularly egocentric to pop on only to give such a major announcement in order to gather my laurels and dash off into the ether again. I have friends on there who are really only ‘friends’…or, more accurately, acquaintances made long ago, and I could care less if they are up-to-date on my life. For real friends? If they’re local, I do get the great pleasure of telling them in person & seeing the look on their faces & getting hugs & all manner of well wishes.
For folks who I adore but who aren’t local? I guess email and/or skype will have to do. And for those I adore but who don’t keep up well via email (on their part – I am a GREAT emailer, people), it seems terrible to send a “Hey! Haven’t talked to you in months / years, but guess what?!” note. So I go back to: I guess I will have to post something on Facebook. I just don’t know what the hell that will be.
Update: A month after this post, I posted a picture of my pregnant self on Facebook for all to see. Folks started rushing in with all kinds of love. Except for the folks who hadn’t gotten a personal announcement (either in person or via email/skype/phone). They expressed shock before expressing good will: I had NO IDEA! WHA?!?! etc. So I go back to my good old-fashioned uncertain unsteady, self-conscious self. Um. How was I supposed to handle this? I didn’t realize there was a protocol for those of us who aren’t super heavy FB addicts who post all personal declarations and self-absorbed crap. Can someone direct me to it?
Okay, then. I rest my case. I drew the line as best I could: those who needed to know knew before it went up on Facebook.
Maybe it’s because Phoenix is hotter than the surface of the sun. Or maybe it’s just that it’s the yummiest stuff ever, but I LOVE ice cream in the summer. I haven’t had any crazy pregnancy cravings, but I could really go for some fudge ripple ice cream. So I went out to get some, and…Lost. my. mind.
OMG. They do not make fudge ripple anymore. WTF, people?!
I just started my new job a few days ago, and unlike at the interview, now I am obviously showing. I’ve made the switch to maternity clothes and I definitely look pregnant. My new coworkers seem to be really quiet and maybe even shy, so I’ve been keeping to myself, using my lunch hour for a walk since it seems like everyone here just kind of eats at their desks by themselves. Today, one of my coworkers approached me and said, “So….when are you….uh….” and then made a motion of ‘pregnant’ across her belly. And when I said “I’m due July 4” she said that she’d be winning the office pool, then. Because that doesn’t make the I-just-started-a-new-job-six-months-pregnant-lady feel awkward. At all.
So a bit of advice to those of you working with a pregnant lady, whether she’s a new coworker or not:
- Do not have a behind-her-back office pool about when she’s due (or if she’s even pregnant).
- Do not eat fish at your desk. Or cheeseburgers. Or anything with onions. In fact, stick to foods that produce no odor, or EAT IN THE KITCHEN or GO OUT TO EAT.
- Do not act jealous when your new coworker’s upcoming maternity leave is announced. That six weeks that sounds like “vaca” to you, moron? That’s for her to recover from squeezing a baby out her hoo-ha, and bonding with the little baby. And btw, she might feel bad that she’s not getting the 12 weeks that other new moms get at ‘real’ jobs under FMLA.
- Under no circumstances should you ask “Are you sure you’re not having twins hahaha?”
I’ll post more as they come up, but that’s a good starting point.
I started my new job today, 29 weeks pregnant. Last I saw them, I was not obviously pregnant. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but at the final interview, I was still fitting into my regular clothes without any problem. Now that I’m fully third-trimester, I’ve all of sudden had to replace my wardrobe overnight. I had to rush out over the weekend & get one workweek’s worth of maternity clothes – 2 dresses, 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, and one pair of jeans. There’s no doubt now that I’ve got a rather fashionable bump (thanks, Old Navy!).
Once again, I was nervous about the awkwardness of starting a new job while very pregnant, but two things were working in my favor: (1) I just started a (different) new job 2 weeks ago so that experience is still pretty fresh and (2) my new boss knows from the outset that I’m very, very pregnant (unlike my last job). As a result, I’m feeling quite warmly welcomed to my new job – they chose me even knowing that I will soon be gone for maternity leave – and now that the awkwardness of getting through my second first day on the job in just two weeks is over with, I am relieved.
Until my new coworker approaches me and asks “so when are you, uh…” and then makes a motion of rubbing her own belly in lieu of finishing the question. I smile and say “July 4” she responds with an overly loud “I KNEW it! I told them you had to be about 30 weeks pregnant!”
Um, thank you, I guess, for your uncertainty about whether I’m just locally fat, but seriously? You guys couldn’t just, well, ask? Is there some sort of betting pool?! Scratch that welcome feeling. Now I just feel self-conscious as I waddle out to my car to go home.
Two weeks into my new job, I got offered another job. Note that I don’t say a better job, because I’m actually a little surprised to find that I really am enjoying what I’m doing now. But the new job is offering me way more money AND guaranteeing me at least 6 weeks of maternity leave. Unpaid, but that would be the case anywhere. And, with the unknown of my current job giving me “leave” having yet to be determined, a guaranteed maternity leave of any sort is a deal-maker.
So I start my new new job in 2 days!
Having just landed a new job, and having started it (and it’s actually a half-decent job at that), I just got offered another job. I won’t say that it’s better, except that it is. It pays way better, it’s closer to my house, it’s less structured, and I really like the people I’d be working for. So when I told them, I’m, uh, 6 months pregnant and will need some time off this summer, they were all, “ok, no problem. How much time will you need?”
So I guess I start a *new* new job in a week!