So most of you probably know by now that I’m expecting a baby. Soon. I’ve written about how, er, challenging it was to work through some of the woes of pregnancy, and I’ve also written about how we’re going to have to find a new workspace for me at home once the baby gets here and kicks me out of my home office.
As I’ve worked on projects that need to be completed before Baby Brother arrives and I take a short break, I’ve been remembering what it was like last time I was at this stage in pregnancy. I was working as a reporter at a daily newspaper, and I was feverishly trying to finish up a major enterprise project on the state of gifted-and-talented education in California in the era of No Child Left Behind. I was devoted to that project. I conceived it (pun intended, since, hey, we’ve been talking about pregnancy anyway), I expanded it, and I tirelessly worked on it for weeks. I interviewed dozens of people: students, teachers, parents, experts and so on. I read books about gifted education. I even attended a weekend conference for the California Association for the Gifted to learn about the latest research and to find more sources to cultivate. I was bound-and-determined to make sure that project was DONE before I went into labor because I didn’t want it to die while I was out of the office on maternity leave. I wanted my editors to love it as much as I did and give it excellent play on A1. I wanted people to read it and sit up and say, “Wow, we really are short-changing these bright kids! We need to really think about this and do something!”
Well, long story short, I did finish the project before taking maternity leave. It was a grind to get it all done, but I did it. Unfortunately, the editors did not run the story before I left the office and could do some final tweaking on it. About seven weeks or so into maternity leave, one of the news editors with whom I didn’t work very often took the project on. He called me at home, told me he had been put in charge of the project, and he wanted to go over some details with me. Eventually the package of stories did run, but they were shortened (well, that happens all the time). It didn’t look as glorious as I’d originally envisioned, but it still ran. And it still represented all that hard work that I did while lugging around an extra 25, then 30, then 35 pounds, and trying to plan for a baby. I was still proud of it. It was still (you knew this was coming) my baby.
Right now, I’m not working on anything that has that kind of emotional effect on me. Ironically (or perhaps not), my research on that project in 2006 ended up having some personal relevance to my own life as it has developed; I have my own officially gifted kid at home now–and I have his future education to fret about and plans for my very own membership in the Tennessee Association for the Gifted. As for work, I’m mostly working on freelance projects that I enjoy but am not consumed with, which perhaps is healthier for me anyway at this point. I like what I’m doing, but I’m not waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about those projects. (At least not yet! I still have a few more weeks, after all.)
Another thing that is different about this point in time: I’m already a freelancer. Last time, I had no idea that eventually I would choose not to return to the full-time newspaper reporter life. I had to establish a freelance career from scratch at that point. This time, I’ve already done that. My biggest challenge will be convincing my clients to let me take a short break after the baby’s born and keep me on their go-to roster of freelancers. I’ve pretty much given up on soliciting new jobs at this point, but hopefully at some point, I’ll be able to get back to doing that, too. It’s not as intimidating as it was the first time around, thankfully.
So I guess I’ll get back to work now. My ex-utero child is napping, hurray, and my in-utero child is behaving himself for now, too. Back to work…