36 weeks! One more week left to cook and you’re pretty much ready to go. Hard to believe we’ve come this far. While you’re causing me some pretty unpleasant hip pain these days (I pop Tylenol on the regular now!), I’m still trying to get my steps in to make sure you’re getting whatever activity I can give you.
So, little baby, my lesson for you this week is all about identity, and it’s something I’m experiencing as we speak. This week was my final week at work. While I’ve been getting more and more uncomfortable and I look forward to daytime naps, what I wasn’t prepared for was the extreme sadness I felt on my last week of work.
I tried dissecting why it was that I felt so sad. Was it that I was going to miss my coworkers? Partly, but I know I’ll keep in touch with them and see them regularly. Instead, I found that it had more to do with how much of my identity is wrapped up in the work that I do. Every organization has insane processes that can make your job frustrating, but at the core of it, I do love what I do. I get to work with members of the community to support their programs and enhance education and social services. It’s not a bad job, not in the least, and it’s become such a big part of who I have been these past four and a half years with the company.
At a time when there are layoffs across my city and across the country, I’ve seen the negative effects for those who are so tied up with their jobs, not just from a financial standpoint. You lose a part of you. I mean, we work these jobs 40+ hours a week when you factor in commutes and the time we talk/think about them outside of office hours. We spend more time at work than with our partners, our friends, or traveling the world.
I seriously worried about what finishing work was going to do to my sense of self.
Then I realized, and I’m still working through it, that your identity is an ever-evolving being. I’m not one thing. I write. I travel. I’m about to be a mother, which is huge. There are times in your life when certain aspects will be the most critical part of your identity, purely based on timing.
Once upon a time I was a synchronized swimmer. Then I was the fat kid. I had the bad grades, then I had the good grades. I was the girl that lost 70 lbs. The girl that worked in Scotland. I was the woman in a long-distance relationship. The intern. The daughter. The friend. The girl who wrote a book. The girl who took a leave of absence to travel. The wife. The girl whose parents were getting divorced. The pregnant gal.
Each of these stages has been critical to my identity and has shaped me differently. Not for better or for worse, but for who I’m supposed to be. Will life temporarily be different without this job? Sure. But it’s not all of who I am. The one piece of my identity that is about to be permanent, unlike the others, is the role of mother. Yes, it will change from you being totally dependent on me to you going out into the big wide world, but I’ll always be your mother. There’s something really special and terrifying about that.
There will be other jobs. It might be the same one with new people around me, or it might be something new entirely, but it’s not all of who I am.
I encourage you, little one, to remember that your identity will evolve. Everything has its time and its place. Every new experience shapes you. Every relationship leaves a mark. So, when you’re scared, as I am and have been, remember that you are more than just one thing at any point in time. And remember that you do have some control in shaping your identity. If there’s a part of your life that you don’t like, work on it. Not everything can be fixed, but if it’s a case of behaviors, attitudes, etc., you can some control in how you live your life.
Be bold. Be brave. Be you.
- You’re the size of a honeydew melon
- You’re no longer breech, which means you press on my bladder all day long.
- At Birth and Babies this week Mommy learned ALL about the good drugs on offer when I go into labour. What to choose…
- I might have had a meltdown this week. I think I freaked your Dad out as I burst into silent tears with fear over how painful labour is going to be. I’m told this freakout is totally normal, even for women who have had multiple kids.
- You’re almost here!