Sunday, February 13, 2011

Having a down day...

Actually, until a few hours ago it was a pretty great day. Husband, LittleOne and I went for a long walk to a nearby nature reserve that I hadn't yet found the time to visit. It will be so pretty in the spring/summer/fall... right now, it was mostly wet, muddy and bare, but was still a nice change from the same 3 streets of our small town that I see on a daily basis.

Right now I'm super tired and should be in bed (though it's not even 10pm yet, nice huh?), but somehow I can't get myself to turn off the computer and go. I hate that feeling when you're exhausted but you know it's useless to go to bed cause you won't sleep anyway. At least that's what I've been doing for the past few nights. Husband was feeling crappy and went to bed a while ago so I also don't want to disturb him tossing and turning.

A friend from the lab in PhDLand just defended her PhD and is starting to apply for postdocs. She asked me if I still had copies of the emails I sent to apply to labs so I just fired up the old computer, dug them up and read the whole series... damn it, I was good once. People wanted to pay for me to come visit. They used words like "impressed" and "excited" when talking about when we had met at conferences and about me coming to visit their labs. Did I make a huge mistake canceling my visits to all of them? They were all a very long way away... and my doctor asked me not to go because they were planned for the same time frame when I miscarried before. Her logic was that if something happened again while I was away, I would blame myself and that trip forever. I think she was right. Fortunately, nothing did go wrong and LittleOne was born about 6 months after my scheduled postdoc interviews. I could have rescheduled once it became clear that the pregnancy was progressing, but I had a hard time imagining interviewing with a belly, and trying to come up with starting dates and the thought of making a huge international move while apartment hunting, insurance obtaining, daycare searching, and writing funding applications with a newborn made my head spin. I chose to withdraw my applications until further notice and take advantage of the maternity leave I had available to me in PhDLand, while waiting for Husband's job search to come up with something in the mean time... and ended up here in NewCountry (incidentally, NOT home to a single one of the labs I had applied to). Unemployed with with a career break of 16 months and counting on my CV, and no prospects of a job (or a daycare spot) anytime remotely soon.

I don't regret having LittleOne for an instant, and I'm so fortunate that I was able to spend the time in his early life focused solely on him, but I'm pretty pissed about my life some days. I feel like such a loser. I'm almost 31 and have zero years of professional work experience. 31. And nobody wants to hire me now, not even the academic lab job I applied for. Even the grocery stores in town wouldn't hire me because I don't speak NewLanguage well enough to interact with customers. How the hell did my life end up like this? What did I do wrong? Was wanting to be a mom so bad it hurt really such an awful thing? I used to be "impressive". Now, I'm just feeling pathetic.

OK, this was definitely not the most positive, uplifting post ever, but it does feel better to write it out somehow. I feel like I can't talk to Husband about these feelings very easily, because, let's face it, he's 36 and in the same position (except that he found academic postdoc #2 after 16 or so months of unemployment) so whenever I complain about me, he takes it as I'm bashing him. And the stupid thing is, I'm not, in any way. I think he's amazing. I love that he likes the work he's doing now. Sure, we both realize that our finances haven't been in this much peril since our double grad student days nearly a decade ago (and even then it wasn't so bad...) and the future alternates between being a big black hole sucking us closer and closer in and that heady feeling of approaching the end of a long long climb up a mountain where you don't know what's on the other side, but you know for sure there will be some kind of an awesome view that was worth the effort to get there. But in those moments when I can get past that and just enjoy the day, today, for what it is, give LittleOne an extra big squeeze or a energetic tickle and drink up that laugh for all it's worth, stop to listen to the wind in the tree tops or see the birds bobbing in the water at the lake shore, then Life as I know it doesn't look so bad after all...


  1. Are you involved in a mom's group or anything? It might help to talk to other moms, especially if they're on maternity leave or have stopped working. Maybe you could volunteer or something too? Hang in there. It's such a huge life change, having a child, but adding moving to a new country I can see how you'd feel a bit lost!

  2. A mom's group could also help you learn the new language... (I've been here for 5 years now and still don't speak proper Spanish, it is quite embarrassing)

    Sorry about the job situation. It sounds hard. Hoping you'll find some new options soon.