Back To Work — Chapter 4

IMG_3467Now the pressure was on. I had no income, but I had a job. I could go back to the job whenever I “wanted,” so Bob was constantly explaining how much money we were wasting with me not back at work. He saw no value in me staying home with the girls. He knew that we could pay someone a fraction of what I made in order for me to go back to work.

I was not going back while I was still wholly breastfeeding. I completely ignored the baby books on this one. There is a lot of pressure to start feeding cereals and formula to babies. It comes at you from all directions. One of the ways that mothers are persuaded to feed cereal is with the promise of the baby sleeping through the night. Formula is marketed as a way that dad can help out. Even he can sit and hold a bottle to a baby’s mouth!! If someone was going to actually help, wouldn’t it be nicer to have them do some of the more unpleasant jobs like changing diapers or doing laundry?

I decided that the information from our society had been so wrong about birth that it was probably wrong about how to feed a baby as well. When I look around now and see how many children and adults are afflicted with food allergies, I have to wonder how much of this is created by the way we are taught to take care of our babies. So I decided that we were probably designed perfectly. I would breast feed completely, until the baby was able to pick up food and put it into her mouth herself.

This worked quite well for me. Not only did I never sit and spoon goop into a child’s mouth, but I was putting her in complete control of what she ate, what went into her mouth and when it went in. I had been given a baby grinder from some friends so I would mush up whatever we were eating into particles that were not smooth but were too small to choke the baby.

These are the sort of details that you cannot control if you go back to work. I can feel the anger as I write this because this was very important to me and I had to fight with Bob about it. None of my children have any chronic diseases or allergies at all. This may have just been luck, but I did my best to ensure that they received the best care that was available.

By nine months, he had me worn down. They placed me in a slaughter plant that was in another city 60 miles or 100 kilometers from where I lived, driving into a large city. Every time it snowed, the highway would slow to a crawl or a complete stop. It was relentless. We had more single snow falls that winter than I ever remember. One day it took me over three hours to get into work.

I was beside myself. I almost ditched the car on the way to work one morning because I had to leave before the plows were on the highway. I was miserable. My entire life seemed to be fighting traffic to get to a job in a slaughter plant. I started to apply to other jobs within the government that were closer to where I lived.

I got screened into a job that was in a town 18 miles (30 km) from where I lived. I had an interview set up. It was a job interview that required a lot of studying. It was a program that I did not know and the way that the interview was conducted was more like an oral exam. I sat on my breaks at work and studied for this exam. The person organizing the interviews explained that I would receive a document before the exam and I was to read it and to be able to comment on it for the interview.

It was arranged that the document would be faxed to the house. We did not have a fax machine, but Bob’s computer could receive faxes electronically and then they could be printed out or read on the computer screen. The fax never came.

I went into the interview knowing that if they had not sent the fax, it was their oversight and that once I explained that then something would be worked out. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the fourth time that Bob had actively interfered with my career. He had “lost” the fax and was amazed that he had actually received it. He apologized. Everyone can make a mistake right? As I said, individually these all seemed like unfortunate accidents. It was not until hindsight that I realized that they were part of a larger pattern of sabotage.

The universe was still protecting me though. I made a decision one morning while fighting traffic that I would rather be unemployed. I would face Bob and just tell him that there was more to life than driving all day to a job that I didn’t like. I knew that I would be the target of his anger and his need to control me. I knew that it would make things tense at home. I knew that he would be verbally abusive and would let me know how useless I was, but it was my life and I wasn’t going to spend it this way.

I had three children under six at home and I intended to be there. I made the decision to quit. Before I had the opportunity to discuss this with Bob, something strange happened. The slaughter plant that I was hired to work in decided to close permanently. This interesting fact meant that I was “surplussed”. Surplussed is one of my favourite words.

As a government employee there are all kinds of regulations about job loss. If there is a job available, it has to go to someone that is already employed. So, by being surplussed, it meant that if any job became available it was mine. It also meant that I was eligible for a cash-out. How convenient. They would pay me the equivalent of sixty percent of a single year’s income to just walk away from my job. Done.

Keep Reading:  My Sister Vicki

Read the entire book.
Read the entire book.
The Narcissist Survival Guide now available

Baby Number Two — Chapter 4

IMG_0219Our new home had what could only be described as a professionally decorated nursery. The room had a soft pale beige, almost white, carpet with an oversized under padding. It had this luxurious feel when you walked across it and the added benefit of concealing any squeaky boards or any sound whatsoever.

There were two windows that both had metal horizontal pale blue blinds. This meant that you could essentially make the room completely dark by closing them. There were also decorative valences over the windows that were a peach colour. These colours were all found on the wallpaper, which was mainly white but was a high quality; think easily cleaned, paper that had a baby motif. This paper was accented by a border that was hung stylishly a foot or so down from the ceiling. The baseboards and all of the trim had been painted in a glossy white paint that just pulled the whole room together.

I already owned a white crib and a change table that had been leant to me by a professor that I did research for. The change table had been a laboratory bench at the University of Toronto and when they took out the old equipment, this man’s mother had acquired one of the benches. The bench had been fitted with a piece of foam and a plastic covering and was sturdy and ideal for a change table. There was a spot where the chair would have gone, where the diaper pail sat and a drawer and a cabinet on the other side. It had been painted white and looked like it was meant to match the room.

The room had obviously been decorated before the sex of the baby had been determined. It was fantastic to have such a nice room all ready for my baby. The only thing now that I needed was the baby!

Labour began while I was in a Dancefit class on a Friday morning. I remember having the feeling of joy wash over me. My due date had been for that weekend, so from my point of view, I was right on time. Early contractions do not demand much of your attention so it was easy to smile as I felt a contraction and then keep dancing. I felt like dancing anyhow.

The labour was strong and regular so I called the midwife to let her know. As an experienced mother I could tell her that her presence was not needed right away so she told me that she would come over in the morning, unless I needed her that night. This was fine by me.

Then a funny thing happened. I laid down to go to bed and the contractions stopped completely. This is a devastating feeling, but I let it go. I checked-in on the baby and all was well. When the midwife arrived the next day she confirmed that I was indeed in labour and had started to progress. In simple terms, you open up and then push the baby out. I was in the process of opening up. The contractions had begun again in the morning, so I was still progressing. I told her about them stopping and she did not seem too concerned about it.

After she left, they stopped again. Bob and I had read all of the ways that you are supposed to help to bring on labour, which I’m certain has nothing to do with actually starting labour, it is just that enough people try these things at the end of their pregnancies and so even though the nine months of pregnancy should get credit for the beginning of labour, many other things do.

With this in mind, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which was, quite frankly, exhausting and uncomfortable. My labour started up again but not in earnest. I was having good, strong contractions but they were several minutes apart and simply not getting closer and closer together as I had expected. Then it stopped again.

In tears, I called the primary midwife that I had for my first birth. I had more of a connection with this woman and my current midwife had done nothing to allay my fears about this starting and stopping. She told me that I had a very large baby. She said that the body knows that it is going to have to do extra work to get the baby out so it takes a rest. The reason that I was unfamiliar with this fact was that in modern medicine, if your labour does not progress, they induce you.

So, I was instructed to get a lot of rest, eat well and be patient. Speaking with this woman helped a lot but I had no idea that it would take another two days! My second daughter was born on the Tuesday morning after four days of off and on labour and yes she was large—an even 10 pounds.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Rainbows and Sunrises

www.wendypowell.ca

Baby Number Two — Chapter 4

IMG_0219Our new home had what could only be described as a professionally decorated nursery. The room had a soft pale beige, almost white, carpet with an oversized under padding. It had this luxurious feel when you walked across it and the added benefit of concealing any squeaky boards or any sound whatsoever.

There were two windows that both had metal horizontal pale blue blinds. This meant that you could essentially make the room completely dark by closing them. There were also decorative valences over the windows that were a peach colour. These colours were all found on the wallpaper, which was mainly white but was a high quality; think easily cleaned, paper that had a baby motif. This paper was accented by a border that was hung stylishly a foot or so down from the ceiling. The baseboards and all of the trim had been painted in a glossy white paint that just pulled the whole room together.

I already owned a white crib and a change table that had been leant to me by a professor that I did research for. The change table had been a laboratory bench at the University of Toronto and when they took out the old equipment, this man’s mother had acquired one of the benches. The bench had been fitted with a piece of foam and a plastic covering and was sturdy and ideal for a change table. There was a spot where the chair would have gone, where the diaper pail sat and a drawer and a cabinet on the other side. It had been painted white and looked like it was meant to match the room.

The room had obviously been decorated before the sex of the baby had been determined. It was fantastic to have such a nice room all ready for my baby. The only thing now that I needed was the baby!

Labour began while I was in a Dancefit class on a Friday morning. I remember having the feeling of joy wash over me. My due date had been for that weekend, so from my point of view, I was right on time. Early contractions do not demand much of your attention so it was easy to smile as I felt a contraction and then keep dancing. I felt like dancing anyhow.

The labour was strong and regular so I called the midwife to let her know. As an experienced mother I could tell her that her presence was not needed right away so she told me that she would come over in the morning, unless I needed her that night. This was fine by me.

Then a funny thing happened. I laid down to go to bed and the contractions stopped completely. This is a devastating feeling, but I let it go. I checked-in on the baby and all was well. When the midwife arrived the next day she confirmed that I was indeed in labour and had started to progress. In simple terms, you open up and then push the baby out. I was in the process of opening up. The contractions had begun again in the morning, so I was still progressing. I told her about them stopping and she did not seem too concerned about it.

After she left, they stopped again. Bob and I had read all of the ways that you are supposed to help to bring on labour, which I’m certain has nothing to do with actually starting labour, it is just that enough people try these things at the end of their pregnancies and so even though the nine months of pregnancy should get credit for the beginning of labour, many other things do.

With this in mind, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which was, quite frankly, exhausting and uncomfortable. My labour started up again but not in earnest. I was having good, strong contractions but they were several minutes apart and simply not getting closer and closer together as I had expected. Then it stopped again.

In tears, I called the primary midwife that I had for my first birth. I had more of a connection with this woman and my current midwife had done nothing to allay my fears about this starting and stopping. She told me that I had a very large baby. She said that the body knows that it is going to have to do extra work to get the baby out so it takes a rest. The reason that I was unfamiliar with this fact was that in modern medicine, if your labour does not progress, they induce you.

So, I was instructed to get a lot of rest, eat well and be patient. Speaking with this woman helped a lot but I had no idea that it would take another two days! My second daughter was born on the Tuesday morning after four days of off and on labour and yes she was large—an even 10 pounds.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Rainbows and Sunrises

www.wendypowell.ca