Putting Health Before Wealth

After nearly a year away from my job on maternity leave, I finally gave my notice in this week (Breathes out huge sigh of relief and pent up anxiety!).   I thought about this decision long and hard, it was not something I took lightly, and I can tell you that it kept me awake many nights worrying about what I would be throwing away.  After a particularly difficult Christmas and an equally bad start to January,  it dawned on me; there wasn’t really a “choice” at all. The answer was already in me, I wasn’t able to go back.

As much as I could have tried, could have pushed myself to try and be the old me; be competitive, work to targets, appear confident and concise in client meetings; the truth is I can’t do it.  The thought of trying to do it brings a tsunami of anxiety over me; as does facing all of those people in meetings who had merrily waved excited old me off on my maternity leave a year ago.  I fear I’d end up being continually signed off; unwell and taking a huge step back in my mental and physical wellness.  I’ve worked so hard to get myself back on track and navigate a new “normal” after losing Teddy; it’s taken every ounce of positivity and human spirit that I have; and selfishly I can’t let anything jeopardise that.

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Some days I can do it; I can get up, be an adult, do life, endure situations that are stressful and I don’t so much as flinch at any of it.  Other days; well other days I just about manage to take Boris on a walk.  Those days, the ones that grief engulfs your being and pulls you down from your usual “happy place”; those are the days that wouldn’t make doing my job possible.  How do you call your boss and say “Sorry, I can’t do life today.”? I couldn’t do that; it’s not fair on her, on me, or on the company I work for.  I don’t want to be that person.

I’ve always been so passionate about my work; so conscientious.  Hitting targets and deadlines always gave me a buzz.  After spending my entire career to date (that’s 16 years in case you’re wondering) in the Beauty and Spa industry; it’s all I’ve ever known.  I’ve held some brilliant positions in some fantastic organisations, and I feel very lucky to have done so (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really luck, I’ve worked bloody hard to get and to keep those jobs).  So to turn my back now, on this job, the one I’ve worked so hard for, and on the only career I’ve ever known; well, it feels like madness.  I feel as though I’m in mourning for my career; as if everything I have worked and stressed over didn’t even matter.  Of course, in comparison to losing Teddy, it doesn’t.  Everything that came before pales into insignificance when you face the pain of losing your child.

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Telling the company I work for that I wasn’t, that I couldn’t,  come back was very difficult indeed.  Trying so hard to articulate why, actually brought me to tears.  The truth is I will miss it, so many aspects of it; the team, the industry, the laughs, the ups (and the downs).  I’ll be honest, I won’t miss the hours (or getting stuck in hours of London traffic on my way to meetings); but even when I was doing it all, I was doing it with so much fire in my belly and passion for what I believed in.  I guess I just can’t believe in it anymore.

I know that many mothers would give anything not to go back to work after their maternity leave and that they don’t have a choice; and many can’t wait to get back into the swing of things.  I don’t know which category I quite fall into? “Would love to go back to my normal, old, trouble-free life and career; but I can’t because my son died.” ? We are very, very fortunate that my husband’s job enables us to live more than comfortably (Again, I must stress that’s not luck at all; that is down to him being one of the hardest working and focused people that I have ever had the privilege to meet, let alone marry.) Not having to go back makes me feel lucky, very lucky indeed; but the circumstances in which this decision has had to come about kind of takes the shine away from that, I must say.

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So what now? What am I? Am I a housewife? A blogger maybe? Well, the answer is I don’t really know.  If I really think about it; then I like to think of myself as a stay at home Mummy,  to a little boy who never got to come home. Just don’t tell Boris though, ok? He’s still convinced that I’ve jacked it all in for him…..

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Elle x

 


67 thoughts on “Putting Health Before Wealth

  1. Lovely post must have been difficult to write and to tell your bosses. Hopefully a little bit of weight off your shoulders that the decision has been made

    Love your instagram and blog

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so proud of how honest you have been to yourself.
    I wish I’d been so honest a year ago and stepped out of my career then.struggling on just impacts on your health and then just puts you further back in relation to healing from what ever the issue has been to make you feel the way do. x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well done on making what must have been such a tough decision, even though , deep down, you knew the answer all along.
    Nothing but nothing must ever come before your health and wellbeing.
    Lots of love and luck for the future, it’ll all turn out exactly right in the end xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That must feel like such a weight off your shoulders. Huge life changes sometimes need to happen to restore some sanity and enable us to lead the life we need to for who we are now Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An amazing post. Grieving for my own child that I lost and suffering a breakdown, I too had to end my career. I wasn’t and still am not the person I was and truth be told I will never be that person again! Absolutely agree… Health before wealth! I wish you all the luck in the world for your future… Whatever that may hold xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awww well done Elle. I wish you all the best as you move forward into yet another new chapter, you will find your new place in time but in the mean time keep entertaining and inspiring us all on instagram! XX

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wish I was as brave as you, or even able, to walk away from a job that is making me unwell! Even though I agree, health comes before wealth, being the main bread winner means that I cannot give up my job. Like you, I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am professionally, it saddens me that I’ve ended up feeling this way.
    Reading this blog has made me feel really happy that you’re able to free yourself from something, that you know is not right for you! Whatever you do from here, I wish you lots of happiness. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just started reading your blog. You are so honest and I admire how you are dealing with the loss of Teddy (fabulous name), and learning how to live your life in a different way to how you expected it to be. Having a glass of red on a Sunday evening and raising it to you, and your family. Can’t wait for the next post x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well done you. I struggled at work after my loss but my (ex) husband was not supportive. I was unproductive and it was a horrible time. Sometimes you need to just take time to grieve. Work can wait xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. After only recently following your instagram, and being a fellow pug owner. I really enjoy your insta stories. This is the first time I have read your blog and you are showing amazing bravery not returning to work. You have written such a heart felt post. Good luck with this new chapter xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You must do what is right for you, your health and your family. You are very fortunate to be able to step away from work. For some of us that cannot even be a consideration whatever the state of our mental health or our circumstances. You have that privilege so grab it with both hands. Take your time, be kind to yourself and try to find out who this new you is. I wish you every success on your journey xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, I’m emotional reading about it. Looking forward to seeing what comes in this next part of your ‘non working’ life. You are so funny I can’t help but laugh at your insta stories and the reality of things that goes on that you don’t necessarily get from pictures. When I finished my maternity leave I was so thankful my husband has a good enough job so I can stay at home and not return (although it wasn’t my dream job so wasn’t nearly as hard to quit)!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Elle what a beautifully written blog I have been following you for awhile now and really look forward to reading/hearing about your daily life . It made me realise that I too am putting everything into making my home my life as my darling identical twin sister recently died . I needed a focus a project so I downsized to give me a little financial breathing space and have spend the last 6months creating a new home . It saved my sanity !!
    Keep going life will good just different ! X

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  14. I can’t read any of your blogs that include Teddy without having to hold back tears. My son was in the NICU when he was born, only for a short time and I found that hard, so I can’t begin to imagine the feelings you must face every single day. I think you are doing an amazing job of ‘doing life’. Xxx

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  15. Really lovely article to read and so important that you are following what feels right for you. Since being introduced to your page and blog, I’ve found it one of my fave go-to’s so I am looking forward to following your journey, wherever it may lead you. Good luck with it all x

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  16. Hi. I really love your posts and honesty. Well done you for deciding work isn’t for you at the moment. It was one of the toughest desicions I made. But like you, in the end, I just couldn’t / wouldn’t.
    My son passed in July 2008. Noah was 3 months premature and spent 19 days in the NICU. So much of what you say, I could have written. From saying Teddy’s name out load, to painting everything in sight on my mat leave. Please keep up the blog. If I had had something like this all those years ago it would have been a massive help. All the best xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Elle, you are just so inspiring. Well done for making such a big decision. I truly believe you have made the right choice, as you say nothing is more important than our health.

    Last year I moved from London to Bristol with my OH and had to quit a job that I had worked so hard for in the process. It was literally the scariest decision I have EVER made!! However I did it, took some time out to re-evaluate and I honestly have never felt better. Sometimes stepping away is the right answer.

    I know you will find your next project in no time, you can do anything you put your mind too.

    Keep being fabulous.

    Love Jenni x

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have recently discovered your instagram and you are by far my favourite to listen to/watch on instagram stories! You are clearly such a lovely person with a huge heart! I don’t tend to read many blogs, but yours is so well written – reading this I had all sorts of emotions! Looking forward to reading/watching more. Xx

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  19. I have found your blog through instagram and just want to thank you for such a beautiful and honest blog. I agree totally with putting yourself first both physically and mentally. Reading about Teddy was emotional and inspiring at the same time. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Well done for making that decision lovely! It wasn’t an easy one – and even tho as you say you are lucky that you can stay home at the minute it still takes a lot of courage to do so – and learning how to put yourself and your mental health first ! 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Lovely Elle, you put that in to words so well and you’re so brave sharing such peronal heartbreak. I truly believe that this helps us heal when we connect with others who can take comfort from understanding what we have been through especially when it helps them to. Grief is an incredibly complex thing and it really does take time, I’m learning that myself and like you, have tried to find a way to channel it, to do something positive with my home and being creative.

    These types of things change us, how can they not? You are a different person and so what worked for you once might not work for you now. But now you can take the time to think about what next and write a different chapter

    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m not sure if ‘well done’ is the right phrase to use, but well done on making what must have been a hard decision. Your health is so much more important than wealth after all – these are words I wish my husband would’ve taken on board years ago. He worked on farms for years doing ridiculously long days; he’d get ill but not take time off or both going to the doctors. Anyway, a few years ago he managed to really damage his back and has not been able to work since. It’s difficult, but he has seen life in a new way and finally now realises that work is not everything!

    Jeeze – sorry for the long ramble, haha!

    I wish all the best for you and can’t wait to see what’s next on your blog (which is so well written by the way!).

    Melissa x

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Elle, my heart breaks for you, and although nothing like you losing Teddy, I too have just ended my career after being off for 14 months with breast cancer so I know the struggle.

    Although I’m clear now, like you, I just cannot face the day to day ‘normality’. I know it’s hard, but you have to put you first for a change. Health (inc mental) must always come first, and as someone who always puts others first I found that quite hard, I’m trying tho.

    Well done you and I wish you all the best in the world for your future.

    Love,

    Nikki x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi Elle, what a lovely post. I think its great you have listened to what YOU need instead of just trying to cope and do what others think you should do. I had 4 attempts at IVF and the fourth attempt worked but I too lost my little baby girl. I am now 53 so there is little chance of me having a child of my own but I so wish I had taken time out to deal with the effects all this instead i brush it away and carried on. You are doing a great thing. Loving your ig you bring a smile to my face most days.
    Love sindy x

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Love love this. I too know the pain and suffering of losing a son. We got to have our beautiful boy for 6 whole days. The heartache the grief all the different emotions really does takes its toll on you and everyone around you. It’s been almost 6 years since we lost him and I was lucky enough to have another little boy afterwards. It wasn’t easy it was an awful 9 months of would we get to bring this one home. I stayed at home for 5 years and have just gone back to part time work. You will get there you are strong and Teddy will be so proud of you! I wish you both all the best for future and have faith that you will get to bring a little Angel home one day! Love your posts xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Elle, I am full of admiration for you. Putting yourself first is hard but with everything you have gone through, you deserve to take this time to just breathe and focus on yourselves and be able to heal without the additional pressures that work can bring. x

    Liked by 1 person

  27. As someone who is also childless (but who also has fur babies), has worked since she was 16, who put herself through college, and who has a chronic illness (Multiple Sclerosis) that now forces me to listen to it, I completely get how you feel about leaving the work force. I’ve done so myself, my last day coming up next week, and it feels odd. My first hesitation was/is WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK OF ME, and my second is the worry over what my choice could do to us financially–meaning, what could we be doing with all that extra income I was making? I’m could-ing all over myself! Thank you for being so open with your story. Your courage in NOT returning to work has steeled me up this morning, and I thank you for giving me some firm courage that I’m doing the right thing. Yoga + dog walks + cooking our meals + caring for our home = work in a different way!

    Liked by 1 person

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