I haven't yet entered the conversation about the best way to negotiate career ambitions and motherhood, given that I gave birth to my newborn just weeks ago. But the concern is there, and has been since early on in my pregnancy. But these days, my anxiety seems to be making its way into the front of my mind.
For all of my life, I've been a do-er, a dreamer, a go-getter. I've self-identified as independent, ambitious and successful for as long as I can remember. That is, until my pregnancy. I became so ill from the first six months of pregnancy that my life was basically put on hold. When I finally got over the constant nausea and vomiting of my first two trimesters, I was then met with crippling exhaustion and a total lack of mental clarity for the third.
Here's a quick story to show you just what I'm talking about. One day, as I picked up a fork in the kitchen, I turned to my husband and asked, "Wait, what is this that I'm holding in my hand?" I literally couldn't remember the word for "fork." I guess it goes without saying that I was far from able to pen good writing, or get any other meaningful work done.
So instead, I tried to fill my time with creative projects as best as I could. I got myself a Pinterest account and discovered DIY projects that would take up my time, even though I still felt antsy and inadequate, like I wasn't doing enough, and like I wanted to "do more."
Every birth professional I spoke with encouraged me to try and enjoy this downtime, explaining that I wouldn't have very much of it after the baby was born. All of my friends told me that the most important step in any woman's journey toward motherhood is surrender, the ability to just be. After all, that's all a baby wants and needs from his/her mother.
Now I know that my newborn doesn't care about career accolades or other accomplishments. She wants (and needs) love, affection, patience — and lots of it. But what does that mean for me, and for mothers everywhere? Who am I now, if I'm not working on multiple entrepreneurial endeavors and teaching yoga and practicing reiki? Who am I if I'm not working on that book I've talked about for over a decade? Who am I if I'm not pushing, striving, yearning for more?
My answer? I have no idea yet.
The best that I can do today as a new mother is set the intention to discover answers along the way. My husband says that we're about to go through intense on-the-job-training as we become parents. People constantly tell us our lives are going to change completely now that we're parents. But we don't know what to make of any of this advice.
So there you have it: I don't know what my career will look like now that I'm a mother. With the pervasiveness of social media, I know I will be tempted to compare myself to the people in my life who I admire and whose accomplishments I follow. But then again, they might be saying the same thing about me.
The bottom line is that I'm doing my best to accept that this is where I am right now. I am wrapping myself in the comforting truth that I simply don't have answers right now. I don't know how life will unfold next. I don't know if I'll have the same goals tomorrow as I do today.
But one thing that's true today and will continue to be is this: I know that I've already done the most creative thing I'll ever do in my lifetime — I've helped give life to a unique soul. And, maybe that's the most amazing "career" choice I'll have ever made.