The last few weeks have been…”eventful”. Not in the traditional definition of that word. It’s not as if much is happening. Here I sit, 31-ish weeks, increasingly uncomfortable. I’ve begun referring to this as the doldrums of pregnancy. Still afloat, but not able to go much of anywhere in a hurry. By eventful I’m referring to the quiet death of Hope and Fake Budgets. Long ago mentioned, never followed up on, for precisely this reason. Yet, it stuck around for a long time. Long enough to look promising, really, really promising even. Bright and shiny and looming on horizons. Before snuffing out rather unceremoniously. But, that wasn’t even the event. The event was everything that came after.
Lingering hope is a dangerous thing. Lingering hope with the implications of being pregnant, a deadly combination. One can’t help but plan. That’s what this whole pregnant pause is about, isn’t it? Planning, preparing, readying yourself for a major life change. Until recently, we just happened to think ours was going to be two-fold. Now that it’s not, well… we aren’t exactly back to the drawing board. But, a big section just got erased. The events in all this? My reactions. The complete surprise at myself for how much hope I’d pinned, without really knowing it, and what the removal of that hope meant/means to me and my baby reality.
Corporate Servitude? Probably not going anywhere.
I’m going to let that stand on its own. I can look at those words now, without bursting into tears or a long string of cursing. And that’s progress. There’s still a chance things could change. There’s always a chance things could change. Barring that, some sort of life altering event, the unforeseen, not-looming kind, after a healthy time away I’ll join the ranks of working mothers. This is not what I wanted. It’s not that I am opposed to work. I always thought I would do that is some fashion or another. I rather hoped that the fashion would be of my choosing. Potentially involving more time here with you, with my baby, with my garden, with my dogs, and my chickens. Of a part-time, lower income nature. Less required so we can even survive variety. Corporate Servitude knows no end. Not for layoffs. Not for career changes. Not for babies.
So, what am I doing? I’m adjusting. Quick like. As quickly as anything can be done when your center of gravity has relocated to parts unknown. For a second there, things were sort of bleak. Like the initial return to Corporate Servitude bleak. This thing, this thing as it turns out I never really had but was nursing along in its compromised, imaginary state, it up and went poof on me. Turned to dust. Blew away. I didn’t really have it to begin with. As it turns out, that doesn’t make the pain of its loss any less acute. For me it’s a life different. Almost in my grasp, brushing it with fingertips. Taken away. Again. A little bit of devastation ensued. Rightfully so, if you ask me.
But, this is about the adjustment. We can wallow. And we should. Grieve. Lament. Curse your lot in life. Do it. It’s fruitful. Or it can be. As long as you move on. Mothers work outside the home. Lots of them. Worlds don’t end. Babies survive. It’s maybe not the way I think it should be, but it is the way it is. My baby will have a parent at home, which makes them luckier than many. It just won’t be me. Ouch. Ok, that still stings. Adjusting, adjusting. It’s not about me. That makes it ok, right? Yes. And no.
The useful part about all this has really been the fake budgets. High savings rates. Money hoarded. Living below our means. All that means options now. An extended and largely self-funded maternity leave. During which I’ll get to know my kid, provide them the best possible start in life, putter through the summer in a sleep deprived haze and hopefully establish some sort of routine. That’s a gift we’re giving ourselves. A pretty damn luxurious one at that. In this country. In this day and age. Not everyone has that option. Random people keep asking me if I’m still working. I find this question confusing and hilarious. As if I, we, most of us have any choice in the matter. If you are of the persuasion where money still has to be made (like me), that doesn’t actually stop with a swollen gut. In fact, it gets slightly more acute.
And after? After baby, after leave, after this is all actually my life-life, not my future-life, what will I do then? I’ll manufacture my own brand of hope. Primarily employing that fake budget exercise. I’ll wait it out a little. And I’ll have to take some risks. Use that stagnant, big fat emergency fund to further my lot in life. But mostly, I’ll make the best of it. I’ll adjust. We all will, really. This adjustment we know about. The 10,562+ others will probably be completely unanticipated.