I am so hopelessly behind with my work it’s laughable.
Most pregnant women have to make a decision about when to quit work, and unless we have the luxury of being able to quit our jobs altogether, we tend to lean towards working as long as possible before the birth so we can maximise the time we have our babies afterwards.
That was exactly what I planned to do. But it is very hard – especially for first-timers – to know what shape they’ll be in by the end.
I am lucky enough to work from home, and to have the kind of work that’s flexible – when I am not out talking to people, it really doesn’t matter if I am at home with my feet up in my pajamas, as long as I am producing.
This gives me a great advantage over so many other women, who are stuck trying to accommodate rigid office timetables, or commuting (my friend B has fainted twice on the London Underground during her pregnancy), or on their feet all day in retail or hospitality.
But even with all that flexibility, life can ambush you.
In my case, it’s an evil boss. So dastardly he’s worthy of a role in a Mexican soap opera. Work has been soooooooo awful and I became soooooo distraught (maybe the hormones made it worse, so hard to know), that I decided it would be best to leave off two weeks before the due date, to cultivate a happy positive state of mind, and avoid pickling our fetus in rage.
Even that plan changed again late in the game when I was offered a lucrative freelance job, and I thought, “What the hell? Why not use two weeks of holiday owing to me to squirrel away a bit more cash”.
This seemed perfectly do-able until I was broadsided by a bizarre medical complication which basically rendered me useless for most of my allotted freelance project time.
And now here I am, writing about this instead of doing my project. Which brings me to my other small hurdle… pregnancy brain! I think I have it to some degree now. All I want to do is faff about in the nursery, daydream about what she’ll look like, and disappear into this new world I’ve been waiting to enter for so long.
So for anyone out there trying to decide when they should stop working, I would recommend under-estimating what you’re capable of. Maybe you’ll still be powering along like the superwoman you always have been, but maybe not. And of all the moments in your life, this is not a bad one to be gentle on yourself. If there’s any possible way you can afford to take time off a month before your due date, it’s not a bad idea.
And now I am going to work on this project. I am. Really.