The Cliff Edge
Probably like a lot of ladies out there, the better part of my life has been spent in training or education to do a job and then actually doing that job. My job is part of who I am. In many ways, it’s the main part of who I am – I define myself by what I do, how well I do it, whether other people respect how I do it, how much I enjoy it and yes, the status I gain from doing a job, this job, my job.
So as I pass 30 weeks of pregnancy there is a looming cliff edge coming up that I am becoming horribly aware of. The cliff edge that is maternity leave. And what that will mean to me, and my definition of me.
I’m lucky, my employers will pay me for a full six months of maternity leave and they’ll hold my job open for me. And I’m fully aware that maternity leave isn’t about putting your feet up and having a cup of tea while watching shocking daytime telly, it’s going to be pretty tough at times and pretty amazing at others. But the notion of six months (or longer) of not ‘going to work’ is fundamentally different to the my current definition of me.
So this definition of me is going to have to change, or adapt or be ripped up and started again. I will have to take off the mask of me as worker, career lady even simply paid employee to a degree. And wear different, unfamiliar masks – mother, dependant, housewife, homemaker. All of which appear to be true but are not quite the me I thought I knew.