Why I Am Not Returning To Work in the Fall
I have stayed quiet about my career as a school psychologist for several reasons, but the main reason is I just wasn't ready to share about it because it's been a lot for me to process.
Since becoming a psychologist in the public sector I have watched myself give more than I have, lost faith in the systems that we call public education, special education, and social services and, when it boils down to it, I have experienced depersonalization, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout.
You see, I worked with some of the most brilliant people I know. I loved my students, my families, my support team, and psychology. I lit up when I got a classroom of five years old to pause to breath silently in unison, when a student drew me something as a token of their appreciation, or when a colleague and I had a really deep, solution-focused meeting on the well-being and action plan for our students. There was so much about the career that I loved.
While there were many joys, there was also constant stress, crisis, and not to mention some things going on in my personal life that added to the mix. When I got pregnant with baby #2 and found out that our due date would be in the fall, Perry and I discussed maternity leave. Specifically, we talked about what it would be like for me to leave and return again in the same school year, what it meant for my potential well-being and the daily struggle I face with my mental health.
It just didn't make sense to start the school year 33 weeks pregnant, work for 7 weeks and then take three months off (which much of it would be unpaid). I had the hardest time returning from maternity leave with Winter. It was when my depression and OCD hit me the hardest and the fear of that happening again is all too real.
It was a very huge leap of faith, but I decided that this year I will focus on being a mother, a wife and a healthy human while also working on some passion projects surrounding mindfulness and motherhood.
Giving up a significant portion of my family's income and completely having to rethink our retirement plan, student loan repayment plan and health insurance was not an easy decision.
But I am determined to thrive in the midst of the unknown, focus on my health and the well-being of my family and let the chips fall where they may. It has been crazy wrapping my head around what's next and I spend a lot of time thinking about my team, my students, my families and my school. But I also have faith that this is where I belong and I cannot wait to slow down when baby #2 gets here and take the time that has been graciously provided for me to connect and adjust in the most healthiest and joyful way possible.
Photography by Kyla Fear