Self-pity, my old friend

The walls that have comforted me these last months have now become too snug, and I find myself wallowing in self-pity today. I will have to fight and claw to get out of it.

The walls surrounding my pit are full of reminders of two big things I don’t have, with plenty of outside light poking in on them that reinforce these gaps in my life. Naturally, this inspires me to feel jealous of my friends, and like a failure.

I was supposed to be pregnant at Christmas. And, the Virgo that I am, had marvellous fantasies and visions of what this year’s holiday season would be like. I was supposed to have a big, round belly. Christmas chatter was supposed to be about the exciting impending birth of my son, with treats and surprises waiting for him under the tree. Dinner would have consisted of a sly sip of wine, followed by a giggle that I was getting my baby drunk.

The beautiful falling snow outside my window is a painful reminder that I can drink as much wine as I want this year, that my regular winter coat will fit me just fine, and that there will be no presents under the tree for Henry, who was supposed to be born a month after Christmas.

My attempt at motherhood is a failure. Something I have wanted for a very, very long time.

Image courtesy of

Add to this my unemployed status. I’m a writer and editor, and I really enjoy working in communications. But all the jobs I see available in my town right now are for administrative positions. Which is fine. But I’ve become a snob. I selfishly want to be employed in the field that I worked hard to be in.

I’m in professional limbo. I feel somewhat ready to re-join the workforce, but I’m worried that I’ll be sloppy and have a wandering mind. I’m very capable of being professional and to not mix emotions and home life with work. But I’ve never had to incorporate the death of a child into my psyche before and put it in a safe place to look at once I’m back home for the day. What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not ready, and forging headlong into it will be professional suicide? Where can I fit in?

I see my friends working every day. Happy, or at least content. Innocent from the tragedy that I’ve experienced, and all I feel able to do is stare at my own belly button and let the world close in around me, welcoming the laughing, pointing finger that highlights two big holes in my life.

Self-pity isn’t a stranger to me. He announced himself this morning, laughing while hurling me in to my wallowing pit. He mocks me in a loud, confidant, booming, all-too-familiar voice that the two things that have always meant a lot to me aren’t a part of my life, even though they’re just out of reach. He points out that that’s exactly it – I’m not a mother to a living child, and the degrees hanging on my wall are just pieces of paper. All this work – nurturing a child who didn’t live, and earning an education that has not landed me a stable job. It has been for nothing. You can have this day, self-pity, but you can’t stay.



Crying on the phone to government agents (a rant)

My baby is dead. I’m unemployed, and now, I owe the Canadian government over $2,000 because of a mistake they made on my file for receiving employment insurance (EI)… MY money that I earned while I was employed. I’m cut off because, lo and behold, I was entitled to benefits from the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan this whole time. I hope they accept monopoly money…

But why would they bother to inform me of this when I first signed up for EI, when Henry had just died, back in September, and I was in too much emotional distress to find this stuff out for myself? No, nononono, it’s much better to let me collect benefits, then send me a letter (that I received today), mid-November, saying that I was eternally ineligible to receive disability on EI, and, woopsie-doodle, can we please have our money that we mistakenly gave you this while time? Yeeah, that’d be great, thanks.

What is with this week? Seriously??????? Why? What the bleeding fuck?

The good news is that I’ll be receiving more from QPIP than I had been from EI, and it’s retroactive, so that’ll soften the blow from my fish-face-slapping debt to the EI folks. Had I known this – just like my conversations this week with Dumdum the idiot-face receptionist at the OBGYN, I would have freaking DONE that in the FIRST place had I known!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why does someone like me have to jump through these firey hoops? I’m not normally one to yell or cry on the phone, but these employees at Service Canada (who process the employment insurance claims) have each assured me, every time I’ve spoken to one of them (I’m going on five different agents in the last two months alone), that going on disability was THE thing to do in my case. Hearing about being eligible for QPIP is brand new news to me. And they’re making my life absolutely miserable. Aren’t they there to serve us? Help us? Am I just being naive? Oh wait, I forgot – we don’t have a government that supports systems that actually help people.

Thankfully, I was able to speak with a Service Canada supervisor today to file a complaint (yes, another one…. *sigh), and SHE even agreed that something went wrong on her end. I have no idea what will come of this. Maybe they’re just used to slugs who try to take advantage of the system (whatever, I’m not judging anyone, that’s just an assumption), but I’m someone who actually needs assistance right now. So, you know, like, try to recognize that, or whatever.

I can’t even talk to these people without breaking down in tears because each time, I end up needing to explain my situation (put notes on someone’s file? pffftttt.. who does that???!!!), and then I end up getting very stressed out, which turns into me being very bitchy to them on the phone. I try to be apologetic when I really lose my temper, which is often these days. I know they’re not out to “get me,” but I’m seriously starting to wonder if it’s in their training manual to make sure that they make claimant’s lives as absolutely difficult as possible.