This year, a couple major life changes have happened: I started my own business and I got pregnant.
The welcoming of a child into our family is becoming more and more real. I can feel his kicks, his happy reactions, and I cry when I see the sweet ultrasounds or hear his heartbeats. I love seeing him thrash his tiny fists and get bigger each time we see the doctor. Our family is going to be so full with love, and even the animals are showing how attached they are to him already (Alice protects me even more now; MonkeyBaby keeps my tummy warm).
But there is another side to me, an important side that I refuse to diminish. A side I am extremely, fundamentally proud of and want to scream about from the rooftops. It’s the side that is thriving in spite of the physical and mental challenges my body is going through, and a side I desperately want to talk about more.
I am the president of my own company. I have become and independent contractor and been FT gainfully employed for the past 3 of 4 months – and am scheduled to in fact add clients to that roster, without losing the first, over the upcoming two months (one of which is PT permanent, from home, and at my full hourly rate). I am already looking toward expansion, and at minimum, an offsite personal workspace. I’ve navigated accountants and contracts and business licenses and pitches and invoicing. I have my own LLC, operating as an S-Corp, and I actually know what that means. I’m making more money than I ever have, and by a pretty large margin.
There is a terror inside of me that gainful employment won’t always come at the rate it is now. I expect a softer summer. There is a seasonality and a market trend to my industry, and I’m smart enough to know the pitfalls of being independent. Taxes are a sword in the heart. Figuring out healthcare isn’t easy, and I’ve now added the monthly cost of business insurance.
But the conversations I have about these things are few and far between. The fears and the proud moments and the strides in an unfathomably short period of time are falling by the wayside as every conversation turns to the responsibility I will add to my life in four months. My friends wonder why I’m not spending hours on Pinterest, browsing through costumes I’ll eventually dress the baby in for Halloween. It’s because I’m trying to welcome everything in its time. And right now, I’m excited about the incredible achievements I’ve made in my career… there’s still time to be similarly excited about this baby.
I love this baby, and I’m thrilled to be a mom. I’m terrified of what that will come with as well. I’m afraid of the expense, afraid of the sleeplessness, afraid of the selflessness. But I’m trying to do the thing I’ve never been good at and slow down to smell the roses around me. However long this lasts, my career is as good as it’s ever been right now. It may not be forever – and it may not be a choice forever. But it’s good right now, I’m busier than I ever have been with work, and I want to tell the world.
I love talking about the baby – all the weird things pregnancy brings, musing about the kind of person he’ll be, thinking about how we’ll spend holidays together as a family at home, melding traditions together. But I’m more than a vessel for a child, and in four months, I will be more than a mother. I will be a woman. A flawed, scared, sometimes selfish woman who’s balancing a shit-ton of stuff.
I will never be that mom who lives exclusively for her child. I want to raise him to be happy, thriving, independent, and self-sufficient. I want him to know that women are more than aides to men. I will never question my choice to continue working, as that’s a part of me I don’t want to lose. Trust me – I will never look down on a mom who chooses to make her whole life about raising a family, as that’s as noble a task as I can imagine and one of the most selfless choices a person can make. It’s just simply not mine.
I hope that after a couple years, I can start to once again have the conversations about the well-roundedness of life and how our child is now an important part of it (but not all of it). Because I’m fucking proud of myself right now, and I think that’s worth something. I just wish it was worth something to everyone else.