After the birth of my first child, I took five months off work, and when I returned, my job had turned upside down. Out of fear of anything else changing, I decided to only take three months off after my son’s birth. Under the Family Medical Leave Act, nothing could legally change about my employment status while I was gone.
Unfortunately, however, I was laid off in mid-June. I was just ten weeks away from my due date. After twelve years with the company, the news was incredible, shocking, extremely saddening, and horrifying all at the same time—not great feelings when you’re the size of a house and are having a rough pregnancy.
Everyone I knew assured me that this life-altering event was happening for a reason. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I wouldn’t have had to worry about a job in the first place.
In those last ten weeks of pregnancy, I reminding myself of that hopeful phrase, “everything happens for a reason.” I kept thinking that this was an opportunity to get a better job, with a better company, or to advance my career and earn more money. I was thinking the reason had something to do with my next career move. So I took those thoughts to bed with me at night, and tried to remain stress free and calm, heading into the home stretch.
Bodie’s birth did not go according to plan. During my scheduled C-section, he got stuck and was approaching the cut-off for his safety. The doctor and her assistant where both up on the operating table, both elbow deep in my abdomen trying to get him out. They tried a vacuum, more pulling me apart and ultimately a larger incision to extract him at the very end.
I was full of emotions, hearing the doctors grunts and groans during their efforts. The sounds scared me—I knew something was wrong. Your doctor probably shouldn’t sound like she’s throwing fifty pound dumb bells around a weight room while she is preforming your C-section. Scott remained incredibly calm but I could tell, based on the look on his face, and the fact that he was trying to keep me calm, that I had reason to be concerned.
But just in time, everyone’s hard work paid off and Bodie was officially born. He cried instantly: it was the most relieving sound in the world. The NICU nurses who had been called were free to go. Scott’s shoulders released from his up around his ears and I stopped crying tears of fear and instead cried tears of ultimate joy.
It was in that very moment that I heard his little screams that I realized that this had, in fact, happened for a reason: this was why I had lost my job. It wasn’t about the next job opportunity, and it wasn’t about the next big career move. Before I even laid eyes on my son, I knew I had lost my job because three months was not enough time to spend with this little guy before I went back to work. I needed more time with him, and I knew in my heart that he needed more time with me too.
I felt a little foolish thinking about work at the moment of his birth. But I have never been hit with such truth and certainly about anything in my entire life, and ultimately, this was for a far better reason then any position I’ll hold within a company: motherhood; plain and simple, difficult and fulfilling, hard and gratifying. It’s my full time job right now, and that’s the reason why life happened the way it did.