On Tuesday I called in sick to work, feeling far too exhausted to get out of bed at my wake-up time of 7:30. In fact, I went back to sleep until about 10:30, then still felt a little too tired to do anything much in my first 30 minutes of wakefulness - including checking email, putting on a movie, reading a book, or procuring breakfast. No, all I was able to do before needing a rest was use the washroom, brush my teeth, and make my way downstairs to the couch.
This is no way to live.
I talked to my supervisor on Wednesday, finally confessing that I am 7 weeks pregnant and having a really hard time. She suggested reducing my hours until the end of the first trimester. At first, I felt guilty and selfish and nervous about doing so. Millions of women get through pregnancy without needing time off work, don't they? What's wrong with me? Why am I such a wimp? I need to suck it up. But the more I thought about it - and with some supportive advice from my best friend - I realized, it made sense. At least half of my work day is spent doing nothing, anyway - the workload isn't enough to fill forty hours a week. And hadn't I been commenting that I was finding it harder and harder to sit at my desk, doing nothing, with my body aching and my stomach churning and my head throbbing and every sinew in my being yearning for rest, real rest? Why continue to put myself through this?
The fact that my supervisor suggested it had a lot to do with me being able to put aside my stupid Protestant work ethic and let go of the guilt. If work was okay with me taking a rest, why couldn't I be okay with it? It's only temporary, after all - someday, although it's hard to believe right now, the first trimester *will* end. I *will* start to feel better.
By coincidence, I had an appointment with my naturopath this morning anyway, and I told her about the conversation with my supervisor. She thought it was an excellent idea and was happy to hear that work was so supportive of my health and well-being. She happily wrote the doctor's note I needed, and an hour later I was in my supervisor's office figuring out logistics. Starting tomorrow, and for the next four weeks, I'll be working 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. I'm still kind of stunned at how easy it was. I'm so grateful to my supervisor for suggesting this, and guiding me through it.
Yes, there is a price to pay. I'll be losing about $50/week of take-home pay, which will have an impact. Chris and I are already constantly worrying about money as it is, and I know this decision hasn't helped his state of mind. But I keep reminding myself - and him - it's only temporary.
It's a funny feeling, willingly taking time away from work. I've never in my life accepted - and then insisted - that I needed, or deserved, a rest. I feel a little disoriented, to be honest.
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