Face to Face and Back to School

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Walking into a room of 300 hundred people and having to scan the place for the handful of familiar faces you know is an anxiety inducing task.  It’s irrational and childish, to be worried about standing up at the door feeling like a fool as you stare into a crowd searching for your table, but it lingers, none the less. No one notices you standing there, but you anticipate sweaty palms, dry mouth, wondering, where are my people? Am I the only one here? Where do I go? Is everyone staring at me? Of course they’re not, but try telling your mind that.

I pondered this as I pulled up outside the school, mentally trying to prepare myself for a day of lectures and power points, engaging us in this year’s divisional goal. I grabbed my iced chai and stepped out onto the sidewalk, thinking, oh, God, I hope I see someone I know.

I did. The coworker. 

There she was, the very first person I saw upon my return to work. She stood, beaming, glowing, and hugely pregnant, appearing even further along than her 7 months.

I smiled, waved. She did the same.

I plodded along behind her. Striding smoothly, no baby to weigh me down.

She adjusted her coat, pulled tight around her belly. I ran my hand over my flat (ish) stomach.

As we approached the school, others flocked to her, rubbing her baby bump, smiling and gushing over her pregnancy. I slipped past, unnoticed. Unpregnant.

Suddenly, that anxiety of wandering into a crowded room melted away.  This moment, this sucker punch to the heart, this gut wrenching mirror image of who I am not and what I don’t have is the hardest thing I’ll face today.

And it’s done. Another hurdle overcome.

I walked in to the room without a pause and stumbled about through pushed back chairs and groups of coworkers, flipping through pages, their heads swiveling throughout the room. I wiggled my way through the clutter and din. Found my table. Plastered on a smile. Got back to work.

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10 Responses to Face to Face and Back to School

  1. Kate says:

    So hard, ugh! But, I’m sure it feels good to have that over with! Hopefully your work will give you a little distraction. It ended up being really helpful for me. Good luck in your new year!

  2. wombwarrior says:

    That must have been so hard, but you handled it well and now the hard part is over. Thinking of you.

  3. C: my two co-workers came in this week to show off their 3 month old babies and I broke down. I was scared to even see them, I tried to avoid, dipping in and out of sight. And then out of nowhere, the two moms and two babies were eye to eye with me. I turned white and ran. I HAD seen a ghost. Tears and more followed. I know how you feel Hun. I think it’s the unexpected feelings that come over us that are so scary. I honestly don’t even know if I was prepared to see them if I would have done any better. It’s just hard and that’s it.
    Hang in there dear friend. Falls on the way and it will soothe our souls.

  4. Fluffy says:

    The way you wrote that you walked along ‘unpregnant’. I feel like that all the time, every time I see a bump. It touched me. Great writing 🙂
    Stay strong!

  5. abridesblog says:

    Thank you for finding my blog and posting such a heartfelt message. Reading yours, I no longer feel so alone. I also teach and returned to work yesterday, where everyone was gushing over the Summer babies that colleagues have had, but the worst part was when one of my closest co-workers made a (long-standing) joke that it won’t be long until I have children, when I feel like the goalposts have moved further away. But I don’t feel like I’m allowed to feel aggrieved, having only been a few weeks pregnant and as it was wholly unplanned; I feel like a fraud for even calling myself pregnant. That is why it’s so comforting to read the sentiments of others when they so closely echo mine.
    I will follow you with interest and send you all the love and luck in the world.

    • CGsaysstuff says:

      I can understand the sentiment of feeling like a fraud, but know that there are many women out here who understand and would feel your pregnancy as 100% valid, you have suffered a loss, and you deserve to grieve, though I know it’s hard when it’s a secret.
      Thank you so much for reading, stop by anytime 🙂

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