I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood and having a career (for obvious reasons) and struggling with my identity lately. I know this topic has been discussed and debated ad nauseam by women from all different backgrounds but it’s definitely one I never thought I would have to worry about.
My career has always been my priority and a big part of who I am. Marriage and children were never even a thought when it came to my future. While all my friends were getting married and having children, I was content building up my company and focusing on work which brought me a lot of satisfaction and happiness. Career first, all else came after.
And then I met my Husband and EVERYTHING changed.
We eloped in March and a month later I found out I was pregnant. This 4th pregnancy wasn’t planned at all. After my 3rd miscarriage, we decided to push pause on trying until we could figure out what was causing the losses. We were also planning on doing a lot of traveling this summer including going on our honeymoon. But life never goes as planned, does it?
When this pregnancy was confirmed by my OB, he sat me down and instructed me to take it as easy as possible and rest as much as I can due to the very high risk nature of my pregnancy. Fortunately, I wasn’t put on bed rest. Unfortunately, I was told to not push myself as I normally would.
Being a photographer is a very physically demanding job. We’re lugging heavy equipment around, we’re on our feet for hours at a time constantly moving, and when we’re shooting outdoors the weather isn’t always favorable. In other words, not the ideal job for someone with a very high risk pregnancy.
My first reaction was, ‘Ok, cool. I have a legit reason to take it easy and relax.’
And then it slowly sunk in and I realized what it really meant. It meant I had to start easing out of work way before I could even figure out when I would take a maternity leave. It meant instead of me working up until my due date (which I naively assumed I would do), I would need to turn clients away and certain shoots were off limits to me now.
I found myself asking the question I think every mother has asked herself many times: Motherhood or Career?
Well of course Motherhood. Right??
I mean, right. Yes. Of course. But is it really right?
Suddenly the career and business I had focused on for the past 7 years had to take a backseat. Instead of figuring out how I can work more and fit more shoots into my schedule, I was now having to refer them out to other photographers and figure out how to work less.
I started feeling…useless. And almost like a failure. Everything I had worked for for the last 7 years of my life felt like it was all slipping away from me. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but there have been several nights where I’ve broken down in tears just feeling lost and unsure of who I was anymore. Unsure of my purpose.
Please don’t get me wrong, along with meeting my Husband this Baby is the best thing to have happened to me. To us. And every single day Baby Boy and I survive together is cause for celebration. I’m excited to become a mom, to be this baby’s mom.
Perhaps I’m making a big deal over nothing. I don’t know. I mean, can you have both aspects of your life balanced equally without feeling like you’re sacrificing one for the other? I naively told myself that of course we can have both and succeed! Girl power! And then this all happened and I became very doubtful.
Maybe if we were going to have 24/7 help, I wouldn’t even need to worry about any of this. However, we don’t plan on hiring a nanny because we want to be completely hands on and involved in every second of our son’s life. Until he’s 40 (joking…kinda).
I don’t know if I’ll ever not have this internal debate with myself. I don’t know if I will ever be able to completely let go of the career aspect of my identity IF I ever needed to.
How did you do it? How do you do it? Is it possible to do it without feeling guilty or does guilt just come with the territory? And how has your career changed?
Seriously, is it even possible to have it all?