Recently, my husband and I went on a wonderful vacation. I took 7 days of PTO and had 11 days off in a row. It was the definition of glorious. Upon my return, I heard the typical “we’re glad you’re back” sentiments from my coworkers. Hearing those words brought me back to that first day back to work after Brady died.
I had 8 weeks of short-term disability from the emergency c-section, and Jeff and I decided together that I wouldn’t take any additional time off. Work had offered me more time off, but I knew that taking it would be a bad idea. I’ve heard so many people say that you shouldn’t go back until you’re “ready”. I don’t prescribe to those beliefs. If I waited until I was ready, I would still be on leave, more than 7 months later. I’d probably be sitting on my couch watching hour upon hour of TV, and I definitely wouldn’t be working full-time.
I heard it so many times over my first days and weeks back at work. “It’s good to see you!”, “I’m glad you’re back!”, and I had no idea what to say in return. I remember lying quite a few times and saying that is was good to be back, but it wasn’t. Saying those words left a bad taste in my mouth. I wasn’t glad I was back, and I wasn’t ready to be there.
When I think of my experiences over the past 8 months, I wasn’t ready for any of it. I wasn’t ready for Brady John to be born at nearly 27 weeks, and there is no way to ever be ready to say goodbye to your child. It seems ridiculous for me to start using readiness as a criteria for action now.
I have no doubt that facing things that I haven’t been ready for has helped me survive on this journey that no parent should have to take. I know that I am not the person I used to be, and I know that I never will be that person again. I can, however, see huge strides of progress that I have made. I celebrate the small everyday victories that bring me closer to living the life of a “normal” person, though I’ll never be “normal” again. I know I wouldn’t have made this progress without pushing forward before I was ready.