"Effective immediately you are no longer employed with "this company". Your last official date of employment will be tomorrow. Do you have health insurance with the company? You may want to call and make any appointments that you can by tomorrow because your benefits will be terminated as well. "
Confusion Held My Mind Hostage
I was in my third trimester and my entire family was covered under my health insurance plan. Complete shock cloaked my mental space. After all, it was a Monday afternoon at a company I truly believed valued my performance and cared about my well being. Cupcakes and rice crispy treats were sitting on my desk (out for colleagues to grab). This was the first time I had ever brought any sweets into the office but my daughters first birthday was fast approaching and I needed input for recipes. The day was a normal day minus the snacks and the request to walk downstairs (by the recruiter) for a quick chat with HR, at the end of the day. As I got up from my desk and while walking down, I talked myself out of the immediate fear I felt and thought, "you could be getting a promotion". NOPE, it was actually a meeting spelling out my terms of release from the company. My thoughts were clouded. This news was the biggest surprise since I was called in for a brief discussion about the 10K raise I earned, just one year prior. Tears flooded my eyes, my spirit was broken and my mind was racing. "How could I have been chosen? What did I do wrong? How is it possible to throw someone out of your office knowing that they are weeks away from Maternity Leave? Is this legal? What will my family do for health coverage? How am I going to pay for my delivery? What is happening right now?" As you can imagine, I was a wreck but had to keep this pain inside and invisible from my daughter to my best ability. My poor husband must have felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. After all, we were planning for our daughters fast approaching birthday party as well as the delivery of our son.
This Is Not About Me
The mental anguish from this experience was one of the biggest challenges I have ever been through. Not only was I forced to accept that I no longer had a salary, it felt as if I was thrown out like a piece of trash. My career was ripped away from me and my belly was growing bigger by the second. At this point in my pregnancy I was tired and in pain. I was getting ready to take a break and enjoy my new baby. My husband and I decided that we would keep my daughter in daycare while I searched for jobs but that quickly ended as there was no justification to continue to pay the outrageous cost of child care, while I was home without pay. Recognizing that I had a child growing inside me and at this point would be drastically affected by my sudden swing in emotion, I had to move on. There would be no more feeling sorry for myself, there would be no more wallowing in the sadness. The self doubt had to stop. My daughter needed smiles and my complete serenity. My son needed a safe environment to thrive and I could not let my emotion deprive him of that. At this point it was clear, this was no longer about me and probably never was. Being let go, in this way had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the failing company. I could no longer dwell on the affect this choice had on my family. It was time to move forward and look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Brush Your Shoulders Off
After two weeks I turned off all negative emotion and killed the loop of questions that replayed in my mind. Although it was extremely disheartening to come to terms with the lack of maternity support existing for women today. This unfortunate event allowed me an extended period of time with my first born that I would not have had otherwise. Each day spent with my little girl (prior to giving birth to my son) was truly a blessing. Once I completely let go of the frustration, sadness, anger and disbelief felt for being laid off, I actually became a much happier person. My step felt lighter and my smile grew brighter. My main focus could finally be placed where it belonged all along, at home with my growing family. I would be lying if I said it was easy to get back up and brush my shoulders off but ultimately it was a non negotiable. As the weeks passed, I could feel the stress sloughing off. I put my faith in the good ole saying, "everything happens for a reason" and that was that.
I can honestly say that I am thankful for this blessing in disguise. Overall being let go, taught me a huge lesson in "letting go". It is never easy to release unwanted thoughts or feelings but the quicker you can move forward without them, the quicker you set yourself up to accept the light waiting to shine through the darkness. With the sweetest little babies anyone could hope for I know that only the brightest moments are yet to come.