I am a mother, and I am about to become a mother all over again. How can this be? In the distraught days of my IVF treatments and bouncing between doctors, I had to finally accept that it might not just happen for us. The world is not fair. The very best of people may not be able to have children; the very worst of people often do. Life is a lottery – some of us are born into happy families, some not; some of us come into poverty, violence and tragedy, some of us are blessed with happy childhoods filled with good family, friends, green spaces and backyard pools. Some arrive in perfect health, others struggle from the very beginning against great odds.
I knew all this intellectually pre-Lola – we all do! But her presence in this world has helped me deal with my own small struggles with greater grace and optimism and courage. She helps me feel that things are going to be ok in the end. Because one sniff of her deliciousness, one brush of her perfect cheek, one giggle from her – these are all magic remedies. I am going to make things ok, for her sake, and for our sake.
I once wrote here that getting pregnant was the worst career move I ever made – getting pregnant a second time hasn’t really helped either. But I am no longer in that place of panic and fear that I was when she was about to be born. I only just confessed this second pregnancy to my bosses a week ago. A lawyer had advised me to keep it under my hat for as long as I needed to… but I am now 26 weeks pregnant and I was feeling stressed with so much uncertainty. I had arrived in a place where I just thought, “Damn it, if they sack me, they sack me, I just want to know where I stand”.
So the upshot appears to be a change in my contract – moving from a retainer plus expenses/benefits and expenses to a fully freelance basis, with a view to me returning to a full staff position again post-baby, depending on what jobs come up, and where. I will retain full health benefits and the retainer till after the birth. So it’s a six-month financial hit, depending on whether a job really does come up, and how long I take off with the baby.
This will be a blow, but I do feel they are committed to me coming back. And I will get to stay at home with the new baby with a flexible work arrangement in the meantime. So I think that’s a pretty good result in the end. And all those months of worrying led me to think about alternatives as well, so perhaps I will get that restaurant blog off the ground, or end up taking a new career path.
These small troubles of mine have forced me to think about my own value in the workplace, to whether I attached too much importance and too much of my self-worth to my company, and to what I really want in life. We resist change sometimes because it’s scary. I am not risk-averse, but I do not like feeling like the ground is shifting beneath me. But good things can come out of a period of turmoil – this time, Lola and her brother (AKA Bruce Lee, Dirty Harry, or simply X – we are no closer in the great name hunt). That is a dream come true, and that is where I am aiming to keep my focus.