I’ve had a weird spring. This pregnancy coincided with a move to full-time freelance work, with “full-time” being quite a euphemistic way of putting it. Though I’ve planned all along to be a stay-at-home-mom, I hadn’t really planned on being a stay-at-home-pregnant-lady.
When we first started trying to get pregnant, and I still thought it was going to be pretty easy, I saw it as a nice exit strategy from a job I wasn’t crazy about. As soon I got pregnant, I thought, I would know that I was nine months from walking away. I knew even as I was thinking it that it was probably a terrible psychological trap, but once the idea came into my head, I couldn’t get it out. And then, it took us 20 months to get pregnant and my good exit strategy turned, as they often do, into a quagmire.
I occasionally did some job searching during that time, but never quite hit on what it was I wanted to be doing. Because, of course, what I wanted to be doing was having a baby. My career ambitions, always vague, got increasingly blurry over those years, and now that I’m just six weeks from motherhood, it’s even harder for me to think through.
In some ways, the fact that circumstances conspired to turn me into a freelancer/housewife for the last six months of the pregnancy has been a blessing. What luck that we’re financially stable enough that I can work on the baby’s room and write and take long walks and read and research.
But it’s also a little scary. Turns out, like most of my peers, my sense of my own success has always been tied to school and work. Now that I’m not working in a very coherent way, I’ve felt kind of adrift and a little bad about myelf. On the other hand, working in a series of jobs I wasn’t very satisfied with didn’t feel great, either.
Perhaps being a mom is the career I’ve been looking for all along.
Or perhaps it isn’t. I have no idea what being a mom is going to feel like. It’s something I’m going to have to experience and experiment with and find my way through. Which reminds me of another favorite quote, one we used in our wedding ceremony:
What you alone think it ought to be, it is not going to be. where you alone think you want it to go, it is not going to go. It is going where the two of you—and marriage, time, life, history, and the world—will take it. You do not know the road; you have committed your life to a way. You have committed yourself with the faith that by staying, and only by staying, we will learn something of the truth, that the truth is good to know, and that it is always both different and larger than we thought.
(from Poetry and Marriage by Wendell Berry)