Being Painfully Honest with Myself

A few weeks back I found myself in quite a funk. It had been brewing on and off for quite a while. Everyone kept telling me it was just hormones, but I know it wasn’t. It really pisses me off when people just brush off a pregnant woman’s feelings as “hormones.”  At any rate I was sitting there in tears, feeling the loss of who I was, and all the things I wanted to do and be now that I’m expecting a baby.

It’s not that I don’t want the baby. I guess I just figured my goals, my life, would have been more complete by now. I guess I always figured I had more time. Of course, in reality, because I’m not some ultra-rich celebrity, at 35, I’m running out of time. I understand this, but I still feel crappy.

When I graduated from University, with one of the most useless degrees ever, I wanted to get into the workforce for a year or two and take a break from all that college learnin’.  So I got the only job that would take someone who graduated Summa cum Laude with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Special Education. I worked in child care.
I hated working in child care. It had nothing to do with the children, really. I actually liked being with them, bodily fluids and all. Kids are easy to please and thy have relatively easy needs to fulfill. It’s adults who get complicated. At any rate, after nearly 2 years of child care work, I finally landed a nice cushy office job at the University. Nearly 5  years there as an office administrator for the Child Psychiatry Division and I moved on the be the  executive assistant to the CEO of a local television station.

Here’s what I learned in the 7 years I spent in the workforce that was only supposed to be 2:

  • I always had a reason (mostly too busy & forgetting) to not go back and get my master’s degree so I could have the career I always wanted.
  • The best years of my life were actually between when I graduated from University and when I met my husband. All three of them. I had lost 160 pounds, I was living on my own, working and single. I really got to know who I was during those 3 years.  (Dating is incredibly bad for my waistline, then add to it a miserable job and an emotional eater & you understand a fraction of why it was only 3 years of great. Coincidentally, I met my husband two months after starting the job that made me so miserable that I gained 50+ pounds.)
  • I cannot ever be a personal assistant again. When someone emails me to put something on their calendar I immediately think ” In the time it took you to email me you could have done it yourself.”
  • Working in child care made me realize if I ever had a child I never wanted to put my child in child care. For one, it’s not cost-effective. I would be working to afford child care, so that I could work. Also, I saw so many first smiles, first steps, first discoveries. I felt bad lying to parents about them missing these things. I didn’t want to miss them. So I decided that if I couldn’t afford to stay at home, I just wouldn’t have kids.
  • Every day at work was torture, because I knew what I wanted to do, and I felt like everyone and everything was in my way (although it was really just me.)
  • I would never pursue my hopes & dreams unless I was forced. It will always be my impulse to do the responsible thing, no matter how miserable it makes me.

So one day, I was crying about how much I hated my job, how I had hated my jobs pretty much since I graduated and how I really just wanted to get my master’s degree. Then I could finally work in the field that I wanted to work in, rather than just taking jobs that, while I was really good at them, were not good for me. My husband said: go ahead. I explained that I would have to quit my job to pursue this and despite my income being meager, it was still something adding to the family income. (Why was I fighting this? I should have just selfishly said OK.) And my husband says, we’ll be OK, you do this.
So I quit my job, put in my notice. I enrolled in some classes at the community college. It was the most exciting and terrifying experience. I’d been employed solidly for 20 years. What the hell was I getting myself into?

A few weeks later I woke up so tired I could barely move. I was nauseous beyond belief. Coffee, my life force of the morning, was repulsive to me. After a week of this, I performed intense yogic manipulations to pee on a little stick without peeing on my own hand or outside of the bowl. I didn’t even have to wait the three minutes. Before I could lay the stick on the bathroom counter before that little word appeared: Pregnant. I ran upstairs, turned on the light & shook my husband (who could sleep through a nuclear blast but says my little fan keeps him awake.) I showed him the stick. He kissed me, smiled, and asked if he could go back to sleep.

I was excited, scared, every emotion at once. I called my doctor as soon as I could to get confirmation. Time went on. My first trimester left me eating solid foods maybe once a week, and never something in the house. I was also sleeping about 16 hours a day, which for an insomniac is amazing. But it was interfering with my classes. About once a week I couldn’t even get out of bed and would miss class. Finally, I dropped out because I just couldn’t do it.
So now I was home all day, pregnant, and I never had the energy to do anything around the house. So I started feeling useless.  And I started thinking about my master’s degree again. Would I ever get it now? Once again I had to put my dreams on hold for something else. Saying it, writing it, feels selfish and bitchy but it doesn’t stop me from feeling this way. My husband wanted kids. I suppose so did I, but like I said, I always thought I’d have more time later to have them. Honestly, I never really thought about having kids. I was never one of those women who felt that it was my destiny, that it was something I needed. I did, however, feel that way about my master’s degree, it was something I’d always dreamed about, something I needed in my life. Part of me feels like I lost the game somehow.

I find myself saddened at the opportunity I feel I’ve lost. I can’t express this to people because I get crap from people about feeling this way. I should just be so overjoyed that I’m pregnant. It such a moving experience and it will be so enriching that I won’t even mind not getting my master’s degree, etc. I’m just so lucky! I don’t feel lucky. I feel like every time I take a step toward achieving a goal something gets in the way. Yes, I’m a selfish bitch because having a baby is an imposition on my life.
And it is, anyone who doesn’t see it is delusional, in my opinion. A baby changes everything. Some doors just close once you have a baby. Hell, a lot of them close just from being pregnant.  Part of the stress comes from the unknown. After all, I can’t be sure I’ll never get my master’s degree, but it sure as hell feels like there’s so much I’ll never do. At least not while I’m young and vibrant. We’ll never go on another trip without a child. I’ll never get to have a honeymoon, we’ll never be able to replace the mismatched furniture we have that still looks like we live in a dorm. I’ll never get my master’s degree blah blah blah. I don’t want sympathy. I’m not writing this to get the “poor me” vote ala so many Facebook status updates. I just want to be painfully and publicly honest that there is a mourning period that comes with expecting or having a child. Life is a balance, for every joyous event, there is one in the opposite direction to balance it.  And it’s OK to be happy about expecting a child while simultaneously mourning the loss of a life you may have envisioned differently.  It’s OK.

And after all, mommy really only wanted a back rub.


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