Motherhood/ Pregnancy & Birth

Guilty as Charged, Entering the Job Market at 26 Weeks Pregnant

At 6 months pregnant with my first child, I got a job. A full-time, balls-to-the-wall job leaping me back into the frenetic world of TV/Digital Media production after spending the past year pursuing part-time freelance work.

Many of my friends who are media executives kindly told me that neither they nor anyone else would hire a pregnant worker (even though it’s illegal), and that I should just sit back and enjoy the time off waiting for baby to arrive.

But what I don’t enjoy is fretting over ways to sustain the relatively modest yet comfortable lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to living. Yes, I want to shop at Whole Foods and enroll my child in a great preschool, which ain’t cheap in Los Angeles. And I want to alleviate some of the financial burden off my husband.

It’s hard for a self-made career chica to take an extended break. I will admit, I’ve learned to draw much of my self-esteem from the  professional identity I’ve created. By continuing to develop and diversify my skills within the marketplace, it’ll help me feel creatively and professionally fulfilled.

So, I powered on, got a job that surprisingly dropped into my lap and now I’ve got my first tinge of mama guilt. The question, “Who’s going to take care of my child when I work?” was echoed from loved ones and strangers alike. Then there was the subtle, “Did you know that your child develops more in the first three years than any other time in her life?” Gee, thanks for the reminder. Another favorite was, “Too bad you didn’t have the baby while you had the time off.”

Guilty as Charged, Entering the Job Market at 26 Weeks Pregnant

Fortunately, there are a significant number of working mom trailblazers who have paved the path before me. I looked to many of them for support and one said something to me that finally eased my guilt and nerves, “What’s best for you is ultimately best for baby because if you’re happy, she’ll be happy.”

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  • Elizabeth
    September 12, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    LOVE this post!!! Thank you for articulating this viewpoint so well for working women who truly enjoy having both a mommy identity and successful career identity!

    • Becky Levitt
      September 12, 2012 at 4:28 AM

      Your welcome Elizabeth! I’m on week 2 at the new gig and feel great about my decision. If only the bathroom was closer to my office. : )

  • Cassandra
    September 12, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I think it’s important to recognize that socioeconomic status directly influences how a woman feels about being a working mother. Society only makes you feel guilty for being a working mother when it’s considered a choice rather than a necessity. At least you’ll have other career women cheering you on, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone patting a mom on the back for choosing to stay home while struggling financially, despite the fact that both choices are commonly considered selfish. There’s more commentary in there about feminism and valuing homemakers, but I’ll leave it out.

    • Becky Levitt
      September 12, 2012 at 4:24 AM

      This topic could branch out into so many different directions. I actually know many moms who are praised for choosing to stay at home when it may not be the most financially viable option. I wrote this post because I allowed a few of them, including members of my family, to make me feel somewhat guilty for my decision. All moms needs to be supported no matter what path they choose. Cassandra, maybe you should write a post from your point of view.

      • Cassandra
        September 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        I was just pointing out that you’re only made to feel guilty because people think you’re making a choice to not be with your child, a choice you would not otherwise need to make because of financial burdens. They undervalue the complexities of your life and the ways in which, for you, it isn’t really a choice, totally separate of financial standing. Money is on a different value scale from happiness and wellbeing. If you already have money, you’re supposed to just be happy with what you have. If you don’t have money, you’re not allowed to be happy until you get money. You should count it a blessing that there are lots of women in your place who will understand and support, even if they’re not close friends and relatives.

        Haley already did a great job of covering the opposite side on her personal blog: There’s No Paycheck for Motherhood: Finding Value in the Home

  • Merry
    September 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I worked for government the entire time my children were babies and growing up, which meant returning to the office when they were six weeks old. Most of my friends were stay at home mom’s who couldn’t understand my desire/need to work. My three girls grew up happy, contented and well adjusted. They know there is nothing they cannot do, if they choose to. Two of them are working mom’s with professional jobs. Their children are happy contented and know their mom’s are happy. It’s hard to ignore other people’s opinion on how to live YOUR life and raise YOUR children, but do it. Hire someone to do the heavy lifting/cleaning at your home, so you have the time to play with your family instead of working to death on the weekends. Find the best day care person available that you can trust with your precious little ones. Then enjoy your job, family and life. I did.

  • Stephanie
    September 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I am so impressed! And honestly that you are working not only your full time job but that you are still going to do part time work for MBL. I was a mess when I was pregnant and could hardly focus and stay awake. All I could do is work (and I had a pretty easy job), then come home and nap and relax. I could do nothing extra! And then when Penelope was born, my plan was to take off 8 weeks and then go back to work part time but work from home and then transition into going into the office but bringing her with me. BUT all that got shot to shit when she couldn’t nurse. I spent all my extra time pumping, couldn’t do anything else. I really enjoyed being around Penelope so much when she was a baby, but it was very difficult not doing anything else other than baby care and being so strapped financially. Now, working full time, but from home and being able to make my own schedule has made such a big difference in my quality of life. I am much, much happier now.

  • Lisa Waszkiewicz / Franny Bolsa
    September 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    I’ve always worked full time. Financially it was the best option for my family of 2. I have definitely felt guilty when asked by other Mamma’s if I don’t worry about my kiddo being with strangers all day. And here’s what I’ve learned for myself. I like to work. I wish worked look different and am moving towards something that fits my personality better. My daughter has not been raised by strangers. She had a tribe of her own by the time she was a year old. She has been loved and celebrated and nurtured by a whole community. And she has been able to watch me doing work I love. Win. Win. For me. Working. Child raising. Such personal choices. Make yours and go forth and be awesome.

  • Celia
    September 17, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Thank you for this. I’m 31 weeks pregnant and a new job just fell into my lap. It has been hard not working and not contributing financially and I feel that working, even for a handful of weeks, will help me feel a little more at ease. I constantly feel nervous about this work because this is the time when mamas-to-be are planning their leave and I’m just jumping in! Well, like your friend said, whatever makes us happy with make baby happy and that’s all I could ask for.