There’s a reason why I haven’t been writing much on this blog lately. It’s not just this blog. All of my blogs have been neglected. I’ve been feeling, to some degree, unwell for the past few months. First trimester pregnancy was difficult for me the first time around, and the trend repeated. Here I am, out of the first trimester and 15 weeks pregnant, and I still had to take a “sick” day today (for a work-at-home self-employed entrepreneur, this meant I did the bare minimum and tried to ignore my growing inbox while I vegged on the couch). Feeling unwell for months meant I needed to drop things, many things, so I could get done what I needed to do to survive. Blogging was one of those things.
I was a mostly-work-at-home employee for another company when I was pregnant two years ago. I remember waking up minutes before weekly morning video telecons, dressing in a good top, putting on make-up, slicking back my hair, and pretending I was just fine when I was really exhausted, sick, and struggling. Thankfully, I could lounge around the house and take naps during most days. I remember being so thankful I worked at home because I wasn’t sure if I could get through a standard 9-to-5 office job with pregnancy taking such a toll. I certainly wouldn’t be able to hide my pregnancy if I was in and out of an office bathroom several times a day every day. At home, I was grateful for privacy.
Pregnancy #2 finds me working at home on my own company and caring for an energetic little tornado – I mean toddler. I can’t take time off, but I can sleep in when she lets me and occasionally snooze during her naps. No matter how rotten I feel, I must get up every day and make sure my daughter is fed, cleaned, changed regularly, entertained, loved, and kept out of the mortal danger she continuously tries to put herself in. She’s usually displeased when I need to pause her needs to race off and be sick, but thankfully she’s independent enough to be alone for short times. Not that we have much choice.
Being an entrepreneur means working under my own expectations and deadlines (unless a client specifies otherwise), but it also means I’ve got ambitious plans and am constantly pushing myself to do more. I can work long hours of the day and night, even weekends, if I’m really into a project. I’m a night owl and work best in the late hours when my husband, toddler, and much of the United States are asleep. But during the first few months of pregnancy, I just couldn’t. I was exhausted all the time. I went to bed early (for me), slept in, and still craved naps. The extra time I usually had to be productive, those late night hours, were gone. I couldn’t physically work those hours anymore, even when I wanted to. I had to temporarily give up several productive hours of my day every day in order to allow my body to focus on growing a baby. Only last week did I find my ability to stay up late return again.
For me, morning sickness isn’t just about throwing up. I feel as if I’m going to vomit all day long, regardless if I was just sick. It’s a nearly daily occurrence every day of my first trimester, starting around the time I discover I’m pregnant. It lessens but doesn’t stop after my first trimester, either. Today I was sick in the late morning, then felt sick for the entire rest of the day, including now. Feeling constantly sick destroys my motivation and concentration. On days like today, when it’s really bad, I give up all hope of accomplishing anything important and instead feel satisfied with surviving. Tomorrow is another day.
An ambitious, driven career woman such as myself finds it very hard to accept less than what I’m capable of. I know how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it. But pregnancy is more than just my mind. My body and the body of another human being must be taken into account. There are physical changes that are beyond my control. The hardest part for me is accepting these physical changes and adjusting for them without guilt. Yes, I may need to work at a reduced productivity rate for a few months. Yes, it may take me a little longer to accomplish my goals. But I’m growing a human. Right now, I’m doing more important work within my womb than outside of it.