Anxiety.

I’m just going to warn anyone reading this post, but this blog is going to be one big TMI. 

So, I warned you.

It’s 4:45pm, and I am not at work. I am in the bathtub.  Yes, I am tailor-sitting (if you are pregnant you probably know what tailor sitting is and why I’m doing it) in the bathtub and using the ledge of the tub as a computer desk.  Told you this blog would be TMI.  

I woke up today, got on an 8am conference call, went to work, went to my 32 week OB checkup over my lunch break, worked until mid-afternoon, and then literally felt as if I was about to collapse.  I am exhausted.

Probably because I’m 8 months pregnant.

Probably because I didn’t sleep last night.

Probably because I’m extremely overwhelmed and anxious about nearly every category in my life.  I feel like one big ball of hormones and nerves and anxiety.  And I feel like a brat.  And I feel ungrateful.  Because at the end of all of the nerves and worries, I realize that I have absolutely NOTHING in my entire life to complain about.  Yet, I’m scared to death of becoming a mom, a working mom, expanding my duties as a wife, balancing my friends, etc. 

Anxiety Topic #1: I’m giving birth shortly.

I feel this is pretty self explanatory.  It’s a scary idea.  Forget that women were made to do this, it’s just a bit overwhelming.

Anxiety Topic #2: My marriage.

I love my marriage.  I’d change very little (if anything) about it.  And I guess I’m worried that Poppyseed will take away from what I have with my husband.  I LOVE being with my husband.  I LOVE cooking special dinners for him on a Wednesday just because.  I LOVE packing healthy salads for him to take to lunch.  I love doing little projects with him.  I worry that my marriage will go from a husband-focused-marriage to a child-focused-marriage.  I am afraid that we will forget that before baby, it was just US. 

Anxiety Topic #3: Where will we live?

I never in a million years imagined that choosing a zip code would be so difficult.  But take a drug rep who covers 200 miles (and who loves to be close to town and appreciates convenience), and a country boy who wants dozens of acres and solitude, and it’s really darn hard to find a logical stomping ground. 

Anxiety Topic #4: Is my baby going to be okay?

I am worried about things like preterm labor, or having a baby with some type of illness.  I’m sure this is normal.  Eh.

Anxiety Topic #5: Are those stretch marks on my back???

Self explanatory.

Anxiety Topic #6: Am I ever going to think about anything other than being pregnant and having a baby again?

Thank god for my job… because if not for that, I don’t think I’d think of anything other than being pregnant or having a child ever, ever, ever again.

Anxiety Topic #7: What if my boobs don’t work??

I am DEAD SET on breastfeeding.  If it doesn’t go well, I will die.  My boobs simply must work.  They have to. 

Anxiety Topic #8:  Becoming a working mom.

I think that at the forefront of everything is my concern with going back to work.  And let me clarify – at this point in my life, I WANT to go back to work.  I really do.  I love working.  I love my job, and even on the days where some of my work responsibilities are frustrating, I still love the idea of what I do.  I love the interactions that I have with people at work, the fact that I work for a company that makes great products, and my team.  I love the feeling of success when I do something right.  And, it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s lucrative and has excellent benefits (medical and otherwise).

But honestly, I have always just liked being employed.  I loved my first job in high school making minimum wage as a lifeguard.  I disobeyed my dad in college when he told me he’d rather me not work while taking a heavy class load, and got a part-time job anyway.  I just liked making the money, having the responsibility and having something to do other than school. 

I’ve had 4 jobs post-college with no gaps in employment between any of them.  I hated 2 of the 4 jobs, but I gained something from each one.  I LOVE my job now, and I also loved working as an event planner for 2.5 years. 

So I may only be 27, but I have had enough part time and full time jobs to know that I am a happier person when I am working.  But, now I have this sweet little human being in my belly.  I already feel torn that I am planning to go back to work.  And you know, honestly, I didn’t really feel AS torn until I started to hear other people’s opinions on it. 

“You’re going back to WORK?  With a newborn?  So you’re okay with just letting someone else take care of your tiny baby?”

“Oh wow… you’re going back to work?  What does Oatmeal think about THAT?”

“Working moms can in no way really give their kids the nurturing that they need.”

“So it doesn’t bother you to allow a stranger to raise your child?”

“I quit work when my babies were born and just went back when they were old enough for school.  That’s what women SHOULD do if they insist on working.”

“You’re pregnant, congrats!!!  Well I hope you are planning on quitting work.  I quit work for 3 years so I could breast feed my baby.  I breast fed him for 3 entire years.  Then he went to school at 4 years old and only then I returned to work.  You are planning to breastfeed, right?”

“Oh your mind will change when you have your baby.  You will realize that you need to quit your job and stay at home.”  (This comment makes me wonder…. “and what if I don’t?  What if I love being a mother but I still find my job to be fulfilling and choose to continue my career?  Will I be a horrible person?”)

Yes, these are all comments that have come out of people’s mouths and flown into my ears over the past 8 months.  And each one of them stings. 

[Side note:  The only thing that bothers me more than hearing these comments myself is wondering if at any time in my inexperienced lifetime I may have said something hurtful to one of you.  So, if I at any time in the past EVER said anything like this to ANY of you when you were having your babies, please know that if I could go back in time and SLAP MYSELF IN THE FACE on your behalf, I would do it.  Now I know how it feels.]

[Side note #2: The majority of these comments have been made by strangers or acquaintances, thank goodness.  So if you are a friend/family reading this, no, this is not about something that you said to me!  We’re cool!]

Now let me back up.  Truthfully, I never imagined before the past few years that I’d ever be anything BUT a stay at home mom.  I come from a long line of stay-homers.  My mom stayed at home with us.  My sister stayed at home with her tots (for the most part, with the exception of teaching school for a few semesters here and there).  My sister-in-laws are (for the most part) stay-at-homers.  Oatmeal’s mom stayed at home.  So for me to plan to return to work, well, it’s kind of new territory.  Outside of the family, however, I do have many friends who work.  Thank goodness for that.  The majority of my college friends have worked after their children were born.  Some of them worked for awhile and now are starting to slow down and shift to part-time or staying home now that they are on their 2nd or 3rd kid.  They are great examples for me so far.  Seeing them with their kids and also balancing careers is a very positive thing for me to see right now.

Remember when I said I’ve had 4 jobs since graduation?  Well, had I gotten pregnant during any of those other jobs, I’d have quit to be a stay-at-home mom.  2 of those 4 jobs I did not even LIKE.  Sure I may have liked them at times, or liked my coworkers, but truly I did not feel I had a future or a sense of belonging there.  It was simply a paycheck and a means to a living.  The event planning job was awesome and I did love it, but I’d have quit that one as well if I’d had that job when I had Poppyseed, only because (1) the hours are kind of nuts and I was at a point in my career where I was expected to work very long hours which would have taken too much time away from my kiddo, (2) at the time I worked there, the benefits were blurry and I’d have been concerned about maternity leave and such, and (3) the job was in Houston, which would have been a really nutty commute now that we live in the boonies.

But, I did not have jobs 1-3 when I got knocked up.  Nope, I had the job that I have now.  Which I love.  Which I look forward to.  Which I am finally starting to really understand and progress at.  Which is a good living, with a free car/gas, and awesome benefits.  And it’s not the kind of job/company where you can just quit for a few years, get your tot started in kindergarten and then simply get your old job back.  No, if you get this job, you hang on to it!  And that’s what I want to do.

But I feel guilty about it.  I wish I didn’t love my job.  I wish I wanted to be like so many of my relatives and friends and stay at home.  I think it’s awesome to be a stay-at-homer.  I am in no way under the impression that it’s easy.  I am in no way saying that it’s not the most important job in the world.  I am definitely not implying that I won’t some day be a stay at home mom.  A lot of things can change and I know that. 

I just know that right now, the thought of quitting my job makes me very, very, very unhappy and feel very unfulfilled and feel very unsettled and sad.  So I don’t plan to.  So I pray that God will show me when this baby is born that I can do it.  I pray that I can be an awesome mother AND a great employee.  I pray that the people at our day care will offer a stable environment that SUPPORTS what Oatmeal and I want for our child, while WE ULTIMATELY RAISE our child.  I pray that these hurtful comments stop, or at least stop bothering me.  I pray that my husband really means it when he whispers, “Honey, please calm down, I support you NO MATTER WHAT.” 

So, hormones or not, at 8 months pregnant, there’s just a lot going on in this head of mine.

I’m still in the bathtub, by the way.  🙂

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