At 6 months pregnant with my first child, I got a job. A full-time, balls-to-the-wall job leaping me back into the frenetic world of TV/Digital Media production after spending the past year pursuing part-time freelance work.
Many of my friends who are media executives kindly told me that neither they nor anyone else would hire a pregnant worker (even though it’s illegal), and that I should just sit back and enjoy the time off waiting for baby to arrive.
But what I don’t enjoy is fretting over ways to sustain the relatively modest yet comfortable lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to living. Yes, I want to shop at Whole Foods and enroll my child in a great preschool, which ain’t cheap in Los Angeles. And I want to alleviate some of the financial burden off my husband.
It’s hard for a self-made career chica to take an extended break. I will admit, I’ve learned to draw much of my self-esteem from the professional identity I’ve created. By continuing to develop and diversify my skills within the marketplace, it’ll help me feel creatively and professionally fulfilled.
So, I powered on, got a job that surprisingly dropped into my lap and now I’ve got my first tinge of mama guilt. The question, “Who’s going to take care of my child when I work?” was echoed from loved ones and strangers alike. Then there was the subtle, “Did you know that your child develops more in the first three years than any other time in her life?” Gee, thanks for the reminder. Another favorite was, “Too bad you didn’t have the baby while you had the time off.”
Fortunately, there are a significant number of working mom trailblazers who have paved the path before me. I looked to many of them for support and one said something to me that finally eased my guilt and nerves, “What’s best for you is ultimately best for baby because if you’re happy, she’ll be happy.”