Of all things I would without a doubt say my best quality is my work ethic. Through years of skipping school, procrastinating, avoiding certain things in relationships – work is the one thing I have always put 110% in.
So what happens when I’m new to this career path and we decide to get pregnant.
Let’s start with yesterday…
Yesterday at 4pm my (newish) manager walked in and handed me an envelope. It was a $50 gift card and a really thoughtful card praising my efforts and reiterating how excited the team is to see my growth in this role. It was completely unexpected and actually almost made me feel emotional.
Then last night one of the husband’s closest friends let him know that he and his wife are expecting in April. I am beyond thrilled for them because they have been trying for over a year, had some issues and some serious disappointments. He called to let me in on the news and ended the call with, “yay, we’re next, get some pre-natal vitamins”. (Yes, he actually said “yay”.)
Do I focus on my career? Spend the next year or maybe more working hard, getting more experience and taking my exam?
Or do we decide on trying to start a family early next year? I’d like to wait until January to try – with everything we have going on the rest of the year and selfishly because having a baby towards the end of the year would mean I could still take 4 weeks 2014 vacation, use 8 weeks medical leave, and then use my 2015 4 weeks – for about 13 weeks off total. But if we do that, am I losing my credibility at work? Have I made enough of an impact that to leave and come back, I would still have my place? Would they start replacing me as soon as they heard I was pregnant?
Deep down, I know what’s more important to me. A family.
Deep down I also know that the one amazing thing that I think defines myself, and my identity, is my work and my career. I’m the bread-winner. I have worked hard to get to where I am in this cutthroat corporate environment. I’ve succeeded while I’ve watched countless people get fired. So if that gets taken away, I’m really scared. I’m scared that I will lose myself, and lose the one part of me I am confident in, that no one has ever taken away.
And of course, there’s the part of me that says, I can do it all! I can take on all new projects, study hours each night for an exam, all the while be pregnant, buy a house, and prepare as we go. Probably not the most realistic option. And yet, probably the option I’ll keep pretending will work…