So first. Word is that I won't be teaching Uni classes next year because I'll be absent from November to February. Understandable. However, I'm going to start training the professors who need to give their classes in English, so that'll take the place, more or less. It's the exact same pay. A tiny fraction of the work. Sign me up!
Also, Mini-School has been moving along but there are obviously some bad vibes floating around the office that I won't be able to teach it starting in October for the same reason that I won't be able to take Uni classes that start in September -- I'm going to miss four solid months of the school year.
If I may speak frankly. I just can't be bothered to care, for the most part. This is my job -- it is not my entire life and my sole reason for living. These are jobs that will be there when I finish my maternity leave and go back to work. My baby is something that will be here (hopefully) every day for the rest of my life. Which, in the long run, is more important? So no, I can't be bothered to be concerned that "you have to replace me for one year" -- what i'm doing is much more important in the long run.
Rewind to being at work yesterday when I was talking to somebody that I was sure was my ally in all of this. And her snarky, surprising comment -- "Well Amber, are you surprised? Would you hire yourself in this position?"
My other boss was so happy for me that she jumped out of her seat, hugged me, and assured me that everything would be okay and we'd find a solution (which we did). This boss though.. Total disappointment. Thank God i've got a permanent contract because they are laying off all of the staff members on temporary contracts once their contracts come to a close. Even if they wanted to fire me for this and hire somebody else, they couldn't.
Watch as my jaw hits the floor, in shock. I'm not sick -- I'm not disabled -- I'm not mentally incapacitated -- I'm just pregnant. It's not like this is a permanent condition that's affecting my ability to be an effective teacher or has somehow, miraculously weakened all of my skills and therefore I am incapable of doing my job. Okay, so i'm getting a little fat, I have to go to the bathroom a bit more often and eat more often, but the last time I checked none of the above would be reason for my work to suffer.
Quite the contrary -- we've got a house to think about paying for now; I have to work twice as hard to finish up all these additional projects i've taken on. I'll be working non-stop until mid-October, or beginning of November, if they let me go that far.
So on the topic of being pregnant (and I'm sorry, I know I promised this wouldn't turn into a pregnancy blog but I had to get this stuff off my chest) I hate how other people suddenly feel like they have the right to tell me what they think about my life decisions. I hate how other people can stay snarky things like "well why didn't you decide to wait a little bit longer?" or "even though you decided not to wait..." And what? Wait for what? What difference does it make if I have a baby when i'm 24 or when i'm 26? In all honestly, what difference would two years make? I'll tell you -- two more years would put us two years closer to a transfer and uncertainty about where we'll be living. Two more years could put us in another foreign country where I may not speak the language. Two more years could mean that (heaven forbid) my parents or my grandparents get sick, or something happens in my family, or in Jeremie's family -- two years is two more years of uncertainty that the loved ones in our lives don't get to know our baby. I'm healthy now, we've got a good hold on life, so why not do it now while i'm young and low risk? I watched as one of my very dear friends grappled with the idea of having a disabled baby. I was there for the testing and the anticipation and the waiting, and the ultimate relief when everything came back perfectly normal. But I know that I don't want to have to go through that and put that on my relationship because tests don't always come back negative. If I can have kids easier now than later, then good. And my support system in Lille never ceases to amaze me. My friends with kids have pulled together clothes and books and have made suggestions about hospitals and nurseries. Friends who are also awaiting a future with children have promised to be there for me like i'll be there for them when their time comes. Agniezska even made a joke that she'll have to pass her driving license test by November in case Jeremie is travelling when the baby decides to come and she has to take me to the hospital. My colleague Mandy invited me out to meet her "mommy friends" who are all anglophones that have given birth in France twice. It was a great relief to just meet people who have come out on the other end perfectly sane and making do with what they've got (i.e. their families are far away too and they haven't gone crazy yet. The "hair falling out" thing does scare me a little bit.) But Mandy is just getting to know me and still she was able to do something great for me.
Screw the rest of them. They aren't happy for me, fine. They think i'm "too young" or I'm "making a mistake" but I can assure you that this baby will be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and it will be the greatest gift that anybody has ever given Jeremie.