The end is in sight, people. Don’t I look excited? Haha. That’s my “trying to hide the discomfort” smile.
Our wonderful families hosted a baby shower for me this weekend, and this is the dress that I wore (picked up on clearance at Kohl’s because I find spending money on maternity clothes gut-wrenching). With eight weeks left to go, I am so ready to get this show on the road. Thanks to all the fabulous gifts we received this weekend all of Jack’s basic needs would be taken care of if he showed up tomorrow. Of course I know he needs to stay in my belly a few more weeks, but it wouldn’t be so terrible if he decided to come just a little early, would it? Like maybe just a week or two? A girl can dream.
I have some very exciting news to share today. Nick and I sat down and crunched the numbers and talked about our hopes and dreams and decided, drumroll please, that I WILL BE TAKING THE WORLD’S LONGEST MATERNITY LEAVE. As in, indefinitely. It feels so weird to be announcing this to the world but I’ve got the biggest smile on my face right now. I’m going to stay home to focus not only on parenting Jack, but also pursuing a part-time career of blogging, freelance writing, and shop-tending. My undergrad degree is in English, so in a sense I’m returning to my roots. Once I get my sea legs under me with this whole parenting thing I’ll begin selling ad space in the sidebar of this little ‘ol blog and pursuing freelance writing gigs. If you’re interested in advertising or know of a writing opportunity that may be a good fit for me please let me know! You can email me by clicking the “contact” tab at the top of this page, or just email me the old fashioned way: email@example.com.
I’m not giving up social work entirely. My boss was very supportive and said that if I change my mind or would like to come back part time, even one day per week, that the door is always open. Plus, after three years of accruing hours in the field I am finally eligible to sit for my licensure exam as soon as I can get my paperwork in order. Being fully licensed (Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or LCSW, is the official title) will give me a lot more options to work part time or on a contractual basis since I won’t have to be supervised by anyone. So I’m keeping that open as a possibility, as well, and of course I do plan to return to work outside of the home after our family has gotten through the baby/toddler stage.
I always thought that I would work all the way up until my due date, just like I’ve seen several women I work with do in the last few years. But as I’ve mentioned before, pregnancy has been much more difficult for me than I expected. One of my aunts had some really comforting words to offer when I mentioned something along those lines at the shower on Saturday. She is one of the toughest ladies I know and I was shocked to hear her say that every pregnancy is different, and just because someone else was able to work harder or longer or do certain things that I’m not able to, doesn’t make me weak or incompetent. Thanks, Aunt Barbara. I really needed to hear that, because I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately. So I will be guilt-free when I start transitioning out of work a few weeks earlier than I initially expected. I probably will begin cutting back my hours at the end of this month, and likely will be done with work entirely by mid-June or so.
I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to do this. All of it. Despite the difficulty, I realize that being pregnant is a privilege not everyone gets. I know that many women who want to have babies suffer through years of infertility or miscarriage. And even though my pregnancy has been physically very uncomfortable and I, personally, have not been well for much of it, by all accounts Jack is healthy and perfect and at no risk of complications. I’m not on bedrest worried every day about preterm labor, as I know some other women are. And to be able to leave work a few weeks early, and to decide not to return, is such an incredible luxury that I cannot even wrap my head around how grateful I am to have a choice. Nick is really the one to thank for that part. It’s not like he has some incredible job–the economy tanked a year after we left college and he’s still in the same position, with the same pay, as he was when he first got what was supposed to be a starter job five years ago. But I’m grateful that he has a job, and thanks to his amazing money management skills we will be able to lose my income without suffering too greatly.
So the theme of the day is gratitude. And thanks to each of you, as well, for reading and commenting and always being so supportive and encouraging. I hope you’ll stick around as I try to turn this hobby of writing into something that can help support my family. If nothing else, stay for the gratuitous baby pictures, haha.