The Professor and I are neck-deep in a shit storm of epic proportions. The Professor had two job interviews during the first and second weeks of February, each at his top employment choices. It seemed too good to be true. Like idiots we gleefully planned for when he received offers from both and how I would coach him to negotiate for better salary and/or benefits at his top choice. We started looking at housing options in the areas, found some great deals on modest mid-century homes and started day dreaming about the renovations we would tackle.
Our luck, we said, was finally changing. Not only were we finally pregnant, but he would finally have a job he was proud of and that would provide for his family. Things were looking up.
Today is March 4, a month after his first interview and three weeks after the second and still no offers. His current employment contract is up in May and he has chosen to not reapply for reasons I won’t delve into. Suffice to say, I fully support this choice. I also fully expected a job offer by now.
His contract is up in May.
Our baby is due at the end of June.
I only have unpaid maternity leave.
We can’t do any planning for our baby since we have absolutely no idea where we will be when he or she is born. Will we use cloth diapers or disposables? Well, that depends on if we live in NYC. On our income NYC means no washer and dryer. Do we want to splurge on that sweet bike trailer? Well, that depends on if we live somewhere like northern California where I know I’ll bike regularly. What color will we paint our nursery? Well, that depends on if we rent or buy. It depends on if the baby’s room is the size of a shoebox or not.
Baby shower invites go out tomorrow. With so much left up in the air still, I’m going to have to cull out our already minimal registry. No need to register for cloth diapers and supplies at this point. We’ll just take that full size crib off because we have no idea where we’ll be and when we’ll be there. That rocking chair I keep day dreaming about sitting in with my baby? Why bother – there is nowhere to put it in our current house and even if there was, what if there is nowhere to put it in our next home.
And then there is the nasty looming possibility of there being no job at the end of all of this searching. The Professor sent out just shy of 100 applications for tenure track and post doc positions. He had two face to face interviews. If there is no job come May we’ll have two really unattractive options – we stay in Lexington and I will provide for the house hold while he stays home with the baby, who I fought so damn hard for, and goes back to school (don’t even get me started on having to go BACK to school after finishing a Ph.D. over 13 years). We’ll have to live a very meager lifestyle since my salary is, um, lacking. Or, we move to a college town in Arizona where we can live in a trailer in the country on a piece of land his parents own and he can adjunct for exactly 1/3 what we currently make. This town is so small that an exhaustive online job search turned up ONE marketing job that was an hour away, part-time and paid $10 an hour.
Let me be clear: I love my husband. I know several of our mutual friends read this blog and I am in no way trying to put you in a foul place. I’m not bashing him (although I could vent plenty about things that drive me crazy!) but I am starting to freak out. This is not the life I had planned when I gave up my career to get married and have a family. I did not plan to end up in a trailer on his parents land living on 1/3 of what we live on today. When I fought through month after agonizing month of infertility treatments I did not intend to go back to work just a few weeks after having my baby and miss all those wonderful, amazing moments and milestones.
Those who have already experienced pregnancy after infertility and/or loss know how hard it can be to bond with your baby in utero. You know it takes a daily focused effort to bond, love and accept your pregnancy. Add in not being able to plan for the life you will have after birth and you have a damn near impossible situation.
The Professor says he will start applying to industry jobs, but I’m not feeling particularly optimistic. His area of expertise is not exactly high in demand. It could also take him a year to find an industry job, during which time I’ll have a baby and then return to work promptly so we’ll be able to make ends meet.
I’m starting to feel like I’m suffocating under all this weight and I’m having a hard time seeing my silver lining.