As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m on the board of directors for a local non-profit organization that I adore. I’ve been volunteering with this organization for 10 years in some capacity or another, and I’ve really enjoyed my time on the board, although it’s also been a much bigger time commitment than I realized when I signed up. The board term at this organization is two years, which I will be at in May. Given circumstances, I let folks know I’d likely be ending my term a little early, when the baby came. Everyone was, of course, super supportive.
This weekend, the annual board/staff retreat for the organization is scheduled. A few weeks ago, when I got the high BP reading, I sent out e-mails to a lot of folks who I work with (and am close to) letting them know that I may have to readjust my workload on various projects. It might have been jumping the gun, but I work with my friends and people I value, and I wanted to be as transparent as possible. Of course, now my blood pressure is back to normal (or was at last check) so that particular concern is off the table. But, I got an e-mail from another board member offering me an ‘out’ for this weekend – it’s a fair distance away, at a higher altitude, and a full two day commitment – including sleeping away from home.
And I feel really, really torn. On the one hand, his specific concerns (about my BP) aren’t valid anymore. On the other, this past weekend I set the not-usually-lofty goal of cleaning the house (not deep cleaning, just the usual picking up/sweeping/dusting/bathrooms stuff) and ended up collapsing in tears at some point because I just couldn’t do it. (I want to clarify, as well, that this was an Al + La project, so I was only doing half of the listed tasks) I was exhausted, and my back hurt, and it was just really beyond my capacity. Even my usual sitting down and thinking heavy job is starting to become more tiring again.
Compounding my already complex feelings of guilt/need, is that another board member (one who I have quietly judged for her lack of commitment – seriously, she’s about 4 monthly meetings since she joined a year ago) sent out an e-mail this morning saying she wouldn’t be at the retreat because she needed to study for the LSAT. So, now I feel like my absence will have an even greater impact than it would have before. Not because I am so super important, but because it’s a small board and tiny staff.
So what do I do, y’all? I really try and see my commitment’s through . . .and I feel like I won’t be present in the way I want to be at the retreat. And I feel like an asshole for bailing. And . . .and . .and . . .
It’s been a hard realization for me that my ability to do shit just isn’t what it used to be, and that my ability to do shit is going to change quite a bit when I am parenting a baby. I know this is inevitable – a part of the process of rearranging life as a parent – but it’s still hard. I also balked at the changes that came with partnership – although I was (and am!) deeply in love and so very smitten with La, I loved (love!) my independence, and renegotiating it was hard. Eventually, I found a good spot for myself – a balance of asking for what I needed, showing up in places I wasn’t used to, and enjoying sharing my life. I’m sure this will happen again, but the transition is no less difficult because of this eventuality. My fear of shrinking into mommy-nothingness is real right now, my deep desire to hang on to the parts of me that are distinct is fierce. All of that AND also . . .oh! how I’ve longed to be a parent! Competing realities are hard.
Speaking of which . . .I feel like I was just remarking about how time is just flying by . . .and I just re-wrote my 60 day dry-erase calendar at work and (thanks mostly to February’s brevity) I was able to fit from today through our due date which was weird . . .and yet, things are also beginning to feel like they are at a standstill. Seriously, this morning I thought: how am I only 29 weeks pregnant? I feel like I’ve been 29 weeks pregnant for a month now. There really is no part of this that is rational, is there? This weird waiting to have a baby worm hole . . .
Here’s 29 + 4, since I guess this is now when I take my bump selfies: