Today, I told my boss that I was having a baby. She was happy for me, and offered advice and support. Despite all of this, however, I still felt like I was giving two weeks’ notice to a job I love and have dreamed about, without any safety net for the future, even though taking maternity leave is definitely not the same thing as yelling “I quit!” and leaving your job for good.
So why do I feel like it is?
I have never really dreamt of becoming a mom. For a long time, I was sure that I never even wanted to be one. However, I have always had dreams and aspirations when it came to my career. I’d never factored in maternity leave benefits before applying to/accepting a job, and when these benefits were mentioned to me, I never cared to pay attention, because I really didn’t know if I would ever need them.
Now hear me out, because I know this next part isn’t true, but I also feel like I’m leaving my job to go do nothing for a year. I AM WELL-AWARE that raising a child is the furthest thing from “nothing,” but it feels strange to leave a job I love for anything other than an even better job I’ve always wanted, especially since I’d never even considered motherhood until a few years ago—and it was always something I might do “later.”
There also is no on-boarding for motherhood, so I feel like I’m venturing into the great unknown, while leaving behind something that I absolutely know how to do—and am very much good at.
Sometimes I think it boils down to me just being afraid of being a shitty mom. I have gone through years of schooling, internships, and many a job to prepare myself to do what I do now, and I’m proud of all the progress, the stumbles, and the success that I’ve had thus far. However, I will have virtually little to no experience under my belt before a whole-ass human is handed to me, and I am expected to not only care for it, but raise it to be decent and kind and not a total dickhead. That just doesn’t compute, as far as what I’ve been told about how to become qualified (and good at) doing something, especially if it’s something you want to do for the rest of your life.
Fortunately for me, I have a few months to get over this mental and emotional hurdle. I’m also sure I’m not the first person to feel the way, which has to give me some sort of comfort, right?
Also, I haven’t actually given birth yet, and based on what I’ve heard, I’m probably going to be all too happy about maternity leave once I’ve experienced the “joys” of childbirth.