Baby or career? That choice was made for me.

July 28, 2020

Last year I went for a promotion that I didn’t get. I was devastated, but determined to progress even if that meant having to leave a company I loved working for. But that didn’t happen either, and it’s only now that I look back and realise that everything that happened last year happened for a reason.

I spent most of 2019 so down and in tears every day because of my career. I’d worked so hard since leaving university, getting pay rises year on year or new and better positions, and my career was the thing I was most proud of. But that stopped when I got to a certain level and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d hit a wall and that I wasn’t going to get any further no matter how hard I tried.

I lost count of the amount of hours I put into updating my CV to fit different job descriptions, prepping for phone interviews, doing online tests, prepping for and attending face to face interviews, and doing multiple writing tasks. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically.

It was always down to ‘just me and another candidate’, or the company then decided they weren’t sure what role they actually needed, but I never got an offer. No one once had the respect to say that I maybe wasn’t qualified enough, or didn’t have the right experience, and that’s what made it worse. All the feedback I got was so good, but no one gave me the chance to prove myself. Was it because they could see I was married and thought that I’d likely have children soon? I’ll never know, but cant help but think this must have had something to do with it, because the feedback was just so poor and ambiguous. No one would tell me where I was going wrong.

On top of feeling so low, I couldn’t help but worry if I was just taking thing things a bit too personally, was I overreacting? People go through much worse than just struggling with their career, and I felt selfish for feeling so low, and somewhat ungrateful, especially when people close to me were going through things much more life changing and painful. But I’ve realised now that you’re allowed to be down for whatever reason, you’re allowed to struggle with what’s going on in your life whilst still having empathy for and supporting those who are also going through a bad time. It’s not a competition who’s life is worse, or who’s going through a worse situation.

I’d said to myself that if I couldn’t get another job by the time we went to America for our big dream holiday, that I would give up and admit defeat. So that’s what I did, and looking back now it was the best decision. After suffering all year with being the lowest I had ever been in my entire life, something clicked on that holiday. I turned 30 and I just decided to stop caring so much about my career, and to focus on the things that make me happy.

Fast forward 6 months and I’m almost 20 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and I couldn’t be happier. Looking back now, I think that I didn’t get a new job or a promotion because this is where I was supposed to be. If I had, we wouldn’t have started trying for a baby.

I’m really lucky that my company closed our offices before lockdown, and I can work from home just as I would have in the office. This helped me hide my pregnancy, stay safe at home and meant I was able to keep my job exactly as it was. With so many people being made redundant or having to take a wage cut on furlough, I was so grateful that I’d had no choice but to stay at my current company. My company also offers a great maternity and return to work package, so it’s really worked out for the best that I stayed. If I’d have left and got a new job, who knows what situation I’d have been in right now.

Part of me will always be a little bit gutted that I didn’t get to where I wanted to be before I had a baby, and I don’t think that I ever will as last year has completely shattered any confidence I ever had in myself professionally. But I’m over it already, because being a mama is now the most important thing to me. It took me a while to get here, but now I am it just feels so right. This is exactly where I’m meant to be in my life and I wouldn’t change it now for the world.

If you’re going through a bad time, even if it’s been months or years, keep going. Because there will become a point where you look back and learn from what you experienced. The good times, more often than not, do outweigh the bad overall. And sometimes, when decisions are made for you, they put you on a better path that you’d planned, but you don’t realise until afterwards.

Love Mrs E

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