The day I told my boss I was pregnant was a strange one. I’d landed my dream job as editor of Cosmo magazine just three months earlier and my feet were barely under the desk when I weed on the stick and saw two lines.
Blink. Blink blink.
Two lines. OK. Right. This is happening. Now. Shit.
It took some time to process. How could something so enormous as having an entire baby with all the seismic aftershocks that would reverberate through my life be reduced to some wee on a stick?
I didn’t tell my boss until the 12 week mark and by then, I’d had some time to work out my approach to the upcoming collision of work and a baby. It was this: ignore it. Not the pregnancy, I was down with that and quite enjoyed it actually but I saw no reason why it would affect any other aspect of my life or personality. Motherhood wouldn’t change my career path, I’d simply do both. Business as usual.
Some may describe this as denial but it wasn’t. To deny something you have to know what it is and before you have your first child, you have no clue what’s ahead. It’s a heady mix of naivity and foolhardy optimism.
Your first pregnancy is when women and men make confident assertions like this:
“I think a baby should fit in with your life not the other way around”
“We’re not going to become like those baby-obsessed couples who can’t talk about anything else”
“We’re going to just put the baby in a sling and travel. How hard can it be?”
[INSERT LOLZ HERE]
I probably said all of those things when I was pregnant with my son but none so laughable as the maternity leave plan I presented to my boss immediately after telling her I was pregnant. “I don’t really need any,” I announced as she tried to keep a straight face. “I’ll work right up to the end and then take a few weeks off but I’ll come into the office during that time and I’ll be available every day from home. You won’t even know I’m gone!”
I truly believed this. Why wouldn’t I? I was not clucky. I knew I wanted kids one day in theory but I’d spent no time with babies and I didn’t exactly delight in the company of children. They irritated me frankly. I had no nieces or nephews. No god children. No clue.
What I did delight in was my job. My career. The office. I’d been in love with magazines since I was 12 years old and now I was an editor and in my element.
What the hell would I do at home with a baby?
[INSERT LOLZ HERE TOO]
Almost 20 years later, I found myself on the other end of this absurd conversation. My close friend, Mamamia’s Editor In Chief Jamila Rizvi, had her own unexpected wee stick moment and our circumstances were spookily familiar. She also knew she wanted kids ONE DAY but she was newly engaged and madly in love with her job and her new fiancé. Even more than me, Jamila’s career has always been at the centre of her life. At times it’s been so all-consuming it left little room for anything else and she’s always been fine with that. Where she lived, when she took holidays (like me, she didn’t enjoy holidays much because they took her away from work)…..Jamila’s job dictated everything; it was the axis around which her life spun.