Being Pregnant in a Professional World: 5 things I've learned
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
I am by no means the first woman to become pregnant while attempting to build her career. There have been thousands of women before me and there will be many more to come after. Although I know that to be true, I am also aware of how very little we, as a society, talk about this transition. As I have learned and experienced my own version of this change, I’ve decided to document a few of the things I’ve learned about combining my career with motherhood, as well as some basic pregnancy-related revelations.
I never knew how scary it would be to be planning for a baby while attempting to balance my work life in the mix. I’ve worked very hard for my career (and spent way too much money) to fall behind. It’s scary to care so much about two things, knowing that at least in the beginning, I’ll have to put my professional world to the side. I will need time to be a new mom and adjust to the new life that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am SO excited for this change, but sometimes the reality of my career being affected hits me. I have a plan, but plans don’t always go accordingly. I’ve had to accept that… and yeah, it’s scary.
Some People Don’t Get It
Countless people have asked about my plan post-delivery. They’ve asked questions about my maternity leave, which by itself isn’t unreasonable…it’s what follows. My “plan” is to take a few weeks to be completely off work- not seeing any clients and then slowly begin seeing small numbers through phone/video sessions. I will take my time, only do what feels right, but I DO want to get back to work. I want to see a small number and then begin face-to-face sessions again after a few months. That is what my husband and I have talked about and decided on- for now.
When people hear this, I often get a shocked reaction: “That’s not enough time!” or “You think you will do that, but just wait until you hold him. I doubt you’ll even go back to work.” Sure, some of the comments are a bit annoying, but honestly… most are hurtful. It has caused me to question my “mother’s intuition.” I’ve asked myself if it’s wrong of me to care so much about work too… and felt guilty for it. I’ve had to learn that some people just don’t get it. They don’t understand what it is like to be trying to balance my new mom life with my professional life- and no, I’m not going to give one of them up.
Everyone Has an Opinion/Advice:
I want to be clear here- I absolutely appreciate the mommas who have come before me who share their experiences and wisdom when it comes to all things related to childbirth and raising babies. Unfortunately, not everyone I’ve encountered since I’ve been pregnant has had the kindest intentions when sharing their thoughts. Because of this, not only did I learn that everyone has an opinion and will feel the need to share it, but I don't have to follow it.
I’ve realized that the opinions of others don’t need to hold as much weight as they may think they do and it is completely okay for my husband and I to make decisions on our own- for what we believe is best for our family… not Marsha at the grocery store who strongly believes the only way to raise a child is to give him gluten-free, organic, raw, sugar-free food.
More than ever, I’ve learned the importance of keeping judgments to ourselves. More specifically, I think people would benefit from asking themselves the question: “What is my intention?” If the answer is to judge, criticize, or shame… I think it’s best to keep that statement or question locked behind closed lips. If the answer is to inform, share, or support… by all means, I am all ears to listen and learn. There is a HUGE difference between sharing and shaming- the entire world would do well to learn it.
Embrace the Bump
Even though the bump symbolizes this beautiful, wonderful miracle that is about to enter our world, it’s also the evidence that things are about to be a WHOLE lot different than they used to be…and as mentioned before, that can be a bit scary. This pregnancy, I’ve learned that regardless of the fears, worries, insecurities, etc. I don’t want to miss out on all of this pregnancy amazingness- every kick, roll, punch, and belly bump growth is absolutely perfect. I have found the need to take time to appreciate these small moments. I won’t get to keep this forever, so regardless of the stressors and irritants, I have learned that I need and want this part to be big, so I need to make it big. When our son is being particularly active one moment, I want to just sit with him and feel every movement. When I realize my leggings are a bit tighter this week, I want to appreciate that I’ve been given the opportunity to be his safe housing space for all of these weeks and this is one more week that he gets to grow and get stronger. I am blessed to have this bump… I hope every child-bearing mom gets to feel this way.
Support is Everything
The months of my pregnancy have been so far off from what I expected. My immediate and extended family has experienced so many losses and changes, it’s been unreal. Because of all the chaos, I’ve needed “my people” more than ever. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have those people by your side when times get a bit rough- especially during a pregnancy. I learned who I can count on, who will lift me up, and who will sit with me when I fall. Those are the people who can make a difference. When experiencing something as amazing, emotional, beautiful, and exhausting as pregnancy, I’ve learned to let people help. Their support and love for me and my little family help push me forward and create a strength in me that I wasn’t aware existed. Their value is priceless.
Transitions in life can teach us so many lessons. These are just a few valuable ones I’ve learned in these last 7 months of my pregnancy. Some transitions can be difficult to navigate, so if you are experiencing a similar change or a completely different one that you would like professional help with, I’d be happy to meet with you for individual or couples counseling. You can book your appointment here!