Sunday, August 2, 2009


Now that the stress and anxiety of the first trimester and all of the testing is behind us, I am finding that I am less obsessive about this pregnancy, and more able to focus on other things. Which is good, because work is getting crazy, and the job interview that I have in September requires a fair bit of prep. Well, it requires a fair bit of prep to go into it as I want to. It is nice to focus on other things. I feel more like myself.

Perhaps one of the oddest things about announcing my pregnancy has been the people who know me well who ask if I plan on returning to work. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't. I have spent years building a career that I love, and meaningful work is a fundamental part of who I am. Yes, I know that lots of people say that a baby changes everything, you don't know how it will be, blah, blah, blah. And it is true--I don't know how it will be, because I don't currently have a baby. On the other hand, I have spent nearly four decades being me, and I know very well what that's like. I am a multi-faceted person, and I don't expect that a baby is going to change that.

Speaking of which, I really don't like the people who croon, almost with gleeful anticipation, that a baby is going to "change my life," and that "nothing will be the same." I suppose that's both true, and not true. Yes, there will be differences. No, my universe isn't going to turn inside out. I feel like when people say this, what they really mean is that I'm not going to be able to be the successful professional that I've always been, that I won't be able to travel to exotic locales, that I won't be able to do the interesting things that feed my soul, which people with lesser imaginations have always seemed to resent. I just don't think that having a baby is mutually exclusive with having a life of your own. Being a parent certainly means that you make certain sacrifices, but I don't agree that it means giving up yourself entirely. I think the people who think that having a baby means losing yourself are probably the ones who are least satisified with their choices and their lives. And, those seem to be the very people who are eager to tell me that my world is going to end with this baby. Um, I don't think so. We all make choices, and this baby is going to have a mother who is both a great mother, and a happy person.

Incidentally, my supervisor, the one with the unexpectedly pleasant response to my pregnancy news? He returned to being an ass shortly thereafter. Although he'd promised me extra support for a big November project that I'm on when he merely thought I was having "health issues," now that he knows I am "merely" pregnant, he's refused to provide me with any backup help. As I explained to him, I don't know how I'll be feeling at 7.5 months pregnant, and I may not be able to do all of the things I can normally do. He doesn't care. He has staffed the project with one brand new person with no experience. I am so frustrated about it. I don't want the project to suffer because I am not up to dealing with it, and it is one of those situations where if backup help isn't planned NOW, there is no way someone else can step in at the last minute to help out, because there is so much preparation involved. The person on the project with me is very nice and very hard working, but somewhat afraid of the project--in other words, probably not someone that I can hand everything over to if I am not feeling up to it. Even worse, the "normal" schedule during such a project is to work 7 days a week and get 4-5 hours of sleep a night. It can sort of be expected that I might find it tough to keep up that kind of schedule for weeks on end, at that stage in my pregnancy. I'm completely incensed about the situation, and not sure what to do about it.

The two pregnancy-related things I have been doing of late are search for work-appropriate clothes, and search for a doula.

The clothing search is going relatively well, now that I've turned my attention primarily to e.Bay. I've checked out a ton of maternity websites, but I just can't stomach the prices--even the sale prices are high. But e.Bay is inexpensive maternity clothes paradise. I scored some brand new, still-in-the-package black work pants from Ann Taylor Loft for $15, including shipping. The are cut low, and have hidden stretchy panels. Paired with one of my existing black blazers, they should work quite well for a while. I also got a cute dress (Ga.p, used but in great condition--less than $10 with shipping), a shirt (Gap, brand new--about $15 with shipping), and some jeans (@5 pairs at about $9 a pair with shipping--one is brand new in the packaging, and the other three pairs are used). The only let-down was a skirt that I paid $19 for (the most of any of my purchases--e.Bay has some HUGE bargains on maternity clothes!). The fabric isn't as nice as I had expected. But I'll probably wear it, anyway, as it's otherwise rather cute. I am currently coveting some sexy designer maternity dresses that I really don't have anywhere to wear. It was so nice to finally find some attractive maternity clothes, though, and I continue to bid away. I went a little overboard on the jeans, but I figured that by buying a lot of them, I could try wearing a variety of panel/no panel/modified panel pants and see what I thought about them. It was an easy and inexpensive way to do it.

Finally, the doula. I decided early on in this pregnancy that I wanted to hire a doula. T. is amazing in a crisis, as long as it does not involve me (which I learned the hard way after the scuba diving incident in Hond.uras in December). I decided that it would put him at ease to have someone devoted to helping me birth that was there just to support me, and free him up to enjoy the experience, as well. I also feel like it will help me stay as calm and relaxed as possible through the experience. I really want to avoid a c-section, drugs, etc., and studies have shown that doulas speed up birth times and decrease interventions. The medical personnel at the hospital are obviously going to have other tasks they need to attend to. It just felt right for me to hire someone who could focus on supporting me.

I researched all of the doulas in my area, and found a decent number of them to choose from, a little more than a dozen. I've contacted about a half dozen of them, to check their availability for January and to ask some preliminary questions. Unfortunately, the doula who was at the top of my list isn't available. A second one is currently working with someone for my timeframe, but hasn't signed a contract yet (doulas only book one client at a time, typically). I'm still waiting to hear from a number of the others, since I only sent the emails out last night. It's going to be interesting to see what I think of them as we move forward with the process.


sadie607 said...

Love this post. I've actually been wanting to write a similar reflection about the people who assume that with children the things in life that make me, me go away. I haven't started my career yet, (I'm a grad. student in my last year) but I have been astounded at the number of people who have encouraged me drop out of my program, and the people who told me to take time off from pursuing a career after I graduate. I'm a little offended that the people around me are a little more forward thinking (because no one has suggested any of this to my husband).

Wow, sorry that got long. It's just a huge issue that I encountered while pregnant that continues.

And I'm glad you are finding some maternity clothes that work, haha especially after your earlier searches.

VA Blondie said...

How cool that you want to work with a doula. Good luck with your search! I considered a doula, but I do not think it will work out for me.

Kristen's Raw said...

Great post... I feel the same way when people say a baby will change my life - like it's a bad thing or they're unhappy because of their choices. My baby will enhance my life is how I see it. I might not go to as many movies as I do now, but that's fine... life evolves and I'm ready for that. Travel? No prob! I'll bring baby. :)

But... I need a baby first. We were close this month, but I'm expected to miscarry any day. :(

So glad you're hiring a doula. I found mine a year before getting pregnant - of course, I didn't know it'd take a year to get pregnant at the time, but she's been an amazing source of comfort over the year so I'm thrilled to have found her.

Congrats on your pregnancy and wishing you great health and success.


~Jess said...

Ditto Sadie's post: Yes, life will change, but if you lose who you are and your own're inevitably going to be miserable!

I'd love a doula, but cannot find one in my area.

Darla said...

Wow. Don't you love the completely unsolicited and completely biased advice on how you will/should/want to feel after giving birth? I have the desire to be like you, love my child and

Io said...

I worry about people who make their identity all about their children - my grandmother did that and when her youngest went to college it crushed her because she lost herself.

Sorry your supervisor went back to assholetude. Hopefully he'll do another 180 before then and you'll miraculously get a lot more help. (Optimism my friend! For three minutes a day I have it!)

Bluebird said...

What an exciting post! Things are moving right along, huh? :)