Today is my last day of work until next year! Though I’m 23 weeks, an early maternity leave is necessary. My husband and doctor have signed off on my sentiments and while my heart will always be with my students, it’s time that I devote my entire focus on the health and well-being of my child and myself.

I’ve been beyond conflicted with this decision as if there was much of a real choice for me.

I’ve pushed myself long enough because of the love I have for teaching and the bond I share with my students. They will be graduating elementary school and when I return, they would have gone on to middle school. Not being able to be with them until the end saddens me. It’s mostly their sorrowful responses to my departure news that breaks my heart the most. I’ve been showered with tons of heartfelt, handmade cards and beautiful, thoughtful gifts from their parents. I’ve been teaching my students about change and adaptability and while I am sad to leave them, I’m confident they’ll march on into success with my influence and teaching in mind.

As for me, mama can no longer be on her feet all day.

I need rest that doesn’t involve waking up at 5 AM every morning battling traffic, shortchanging my meals for meetings, and fighting the anxiety of COVID exposure. My ambitious heart no longer matches my pregnant body, and that is why my career must go on hold. My career will always be there to come back to. My dad always told me that my education, talent, and skill set can never be taken from me and I live by that. However, there has been life taken from me and if I have any control, I refuse to allow loss to happen to us again merely because I won’t rest.

Being pregnant after loss is a constant reminder of where my priority must lie.

It’s at home with my growing family. For this season, this is the part I must play. I am fortunate enough to have a hardworking husband who has given me the freedom to stay home to nurture our baby into this world. We do not house gender roles here but we are conscious of what’s needed and what roles we must take for a particular season or time so that we remain cohesive, balanced, and all the more, successful at bringing our baby into this world.

So, Motherhood, I fully embrace you and all the changes you’ve caused in my life thus far and the changes that are to come.

The woman I’ve known myself to be is no longer who I see when I look in the mirror. I know that she’s still deep in there but she has evolved and is still evolving to someone much stronger and wiser than she’s ever been; a mom. Forcing myself out of bed on days offs to get ahead and get extra work done was something I once deemed as strength. I hate the thought of laziness. Now, I find that same strength in forcing myself to stay in bed, turning down invitations and putting work aside. Strength is found in many different ways depending on the season of your life. When it comes to motherhood, I realize it’s not merely a season. It’s a lifetime. I may never be exactly who I was before, but I’m learning to love, accept and appreciate the woman I am growing into for the sake of our daughter.

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