Yeah okay so it’s a bit dramatic. I know. Bear with me.  When I am brave enough to express my authentic feelings about the shift I am facing in my career, inevitably I am faced with someone comforting me about all the possibilities that are still accessible to me as a working mother. That I can still accomplish so much, I’m still going to be able to do many/most/all the things I could do before. It’ll just look different with a kid… That’s great. And they’re not wrong. It’s just that, that this reply does no service to what I’m feeling in this moment. To honour the loss that has occurred.  Here’s the thing. I had real, solid, ambitious, and extremely specific goals. Many of which I didn’t achieve. And all of which were meant to be achieved BEFORE I had children. Many of which I hoped to achieve before I even got married…  So here I am. 8 months pregnant. And the time has come and gone. I did not achieve my goals in the way I set out to. I did not succeed. I did not realize my dreams. I have failed. Legit. There’s a big part of me that feels stupid… stupid that I believed in myself so faithfully and unshakeably. Stupid that I didn’t consider the possibility of failure. Stupid that I didn’t catch on sooner… that I didn’t work harder, try harder, do more…  It makes me wonder if I would be stupid to continue to believe in myself. I spent the better part of a decade with unshakeable faith in myself and did not even approach many of my goals – would it be stupid for me to spend another decade in the same mindset?  No matter how amazing, supportive, and compassionate my husband is; and I wish not to negate the shifts that he too will experience when our infant arrives (look, see! I’m evolving from calling it a creature. One day at a time here…). It’s really hard for me not to feel like this is happening to ME. It’s my body that’s currently serving as incubator, it’s my body that will undergo vast change and trauma, and continue to be on high-demand after the baby has arrived. It really feels like I’m making the larger sacrifice with my life, body, and career here. And it sucks.  My husband’s career doesn’t get affected by this. There’s not one thing he has to change. He doesn’t have to re-evaluate his ambition level. If anything, it’ll be higher, and he’ll be achieving more greatly now and in coming years. He can continue to accomplish and level up – and he will be admired for his success. There won’t be a looming audience questioning how he balances it all, or if he’s being neglectful of his obligations at home.  I feel like I’m surrendering part of my identify. That I’m donating who I am for this cause. And everyone who has children will tell you that it’s worth it; I know they aren’t lying – but at this point it’s so challenging for me to comprehend.  I’m fuelled so deeply and passionately by my pursuits, accomplishments, and the challenges and goals that I set for myself. When I’m slowed down by a demanding milk-monster, a lack of sleep, or the mundane obligations of day-to-day survival and up-keep… am I going to be able to continue to strive and push forward in the same focused and intent way? Unlikely. And while I can appreciate that this is an opportunity to be introduced to new aspects of who I am, and perhaps become even more than I have ever was before… it feels important to me that I’m given this opportunity, space, and validation to experience this loss. The loss of my dreams, the loss of who I was/am.  The most helpful conversation I had about this was with my auntie. She asked me a couple months ago how I was doing and I was in the thick of this emotion. She heard me, she let me cry – and the most important thing she did for me was put a name to what I was experiencing:  “You’re grieving. This is a loss, a process… it’s okay that you feel this way.”  She was the first person I mentioned this to that didn’t try to make me feel better. That didn’t comfort me by telling me all the things I could do after I had the baby. And that word… Grieving. I couldn’t figure out why I was so sad all the time. Why I couldn’t talk about this subject without crying (yeah, probably hormones too). That word was so important for me to actually be able to digest this experience and integrate it into a more peaceful space. Rest in Peace… here lies my dreams, my career goals, the first phase of my life…  Guys. I’m a smart chick. I am well aware that my brain and priorities will shift when this baby comes. That things that once mattered, won’t anymore. I realize that there are things I won’t even care about anymore… but that’s exactly what I’m scared of. Did my career get enough of my time as my number-one focus? Did I fail myself? The questions that run through my mind are not precisely regarding what I can or can’t do afterwards – but more-so if I simply let myself down in this initial phase of life.  And yes, I get to move forward, create new goals. I get to plan for new and different kinds of success. I will discover my own way to balance my life, home, family, ambition, and monetary goals. I will be bigger because of it. I’ll expand into a new, and probably even better and more capable person. Perhaps my new found appreciation for time, and the full comprehension of its scarcity will be incredibly motivating. Perhaps the shift in dynamic in my life, relationships, and heart will be inspiring. Perhaps there are doors that I’ve never even known were there because they only show up when a major life-shift brings about their existence.   I haven’t lost hope. I haven’t even lost motivation. But it’s so important to me to honour that I did lose something. And it’s that exact something that I imagined, hoped for, prayed for, believed in, sought after, lived for, for over a decade… that having that, in the way I wanted, IS gone. And it’s okay for me to feel, absorb, and grieve that loss. Thank you Auntie Michaela for holding space for this loss for me, and helping me understand this. Life shifts are scary. Closing a door to something you still love – walking through a long, empty hallway to open a new mystery door… it feels incredibly intimidating, and brave.  So here I go, I’m closing the door behind me… and faithfully walking towards one of which I cannot even begin to comprehend what’s behind it. Goodbye old friend. Wish me luck…