Being pregnant

Does welcoming Baby mean saying goodbye to myself?

As our pregnant blogger, Roma Kojima, approaches her maternity leave, she realizes she will miss her current life.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Roma Kojima is a soon-to-be mom of a tiny, wriggly girl. Aside from growing a human, she works in business development at Rogers Media, loves to travel and cook, and obsesses about leather purses she can’t afford. Follow along as she shares her pregnancy journey.

It’s my last week as a working professional before I go off on maternity leave. I’m honestly not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, being a student or a professional is all I’ve ever been—all I’ve ever known. On the other, I couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter of my life.

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Emotionally, I’m oscillating more and more wildly between enthusiasm and pure, unbridled panic. With the hormones going, each extreme brings about a physical sensation—which gets pretty damn exhausting when you combine it with the inability to sleep with any level of comfort. Add in the combination of childbirth-related nervousness, swollen ankles, nesting mania and having to go to the loo every 15 minutes, and this month has been a quagmire of suck.

Even so, most of physical discomforts can be explained and/or massaged into relative submission. What I can’t quite wrap my head around is this identity limbo that I suddenly find myself in. I’m taking an extended break from a major contributing factor to who I am—the professional—and haven’t quite started the other—the mom. I don’t even know what to expect since I’ve never been a mom before and have no frame of reference. Academically I can tell myself it’ll make me feel or do certain things, but realistically I have no clue. And I’m not sure what to do with myself.

Read more: Should I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom?>

Most moms I know tell me that suddenly something changes in your brain and you start to feel things at a level like never before. Love, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, the list goes on. Maybe it’ll just come to me the way it seems to for everyone else and as a by-product of giving birth I’ll just magically “get it.” Which, of course, brings about the other niggling little fear: What if I don’t? What if, like some of those stories relegated to dark corners of mommy forums, I never really get it? I can’t immediately bond with my baby or something is just missing? I rarely like people I’ve just met right away, but how does that apply to a person I created myself?

I also have to admit, I’m going to miss parts of my current life. My husband and I genuinely enjoy being DINKs (Double Income No Kids). We’ve been together more than four years and married more than two, and we take great pleasure in travelling, working hard, enjoying career accomplishments…even just being able to do little things like spontaneously go for a nice weeknight dinner. He likes holing himself up in the basement and playing video games for hours. I enjoy being able to stay up till 3 a.m., binge-watching Netflix when I can sleep in the next day, or spending an entire Saturday lazing about on the couch with a good book. Or taking a marathon three-hour nap. A few more days and I can pretty much kiss all of that goodbye for a long, long time.

Read more: Why I left a career in TV for my family>

I mentioned this to my husband the other day as we were having a quiet dinner at home (another thing we’ll be giving up for a while) and his immediate response was not unexpected, “Well, but you’ll be happy when the baby comes along. You’re excited, right?”

It’s not a binary thought for me. Yes, I’m excited for the baby. But I am also mourning the loss of my life as I know it. I don’t see why one would be independent of the other. It’s possible that the act of having the child will somehow change my brain and I suddenly won’t want to do the things I enjoy doing now—or maybe part of me will always miss it.

Ultimately, I know part of my anxiety around my changing identity also stems from a fear of the unknown. I’ve gotten pretty good at being this Roma. I have no idea what New Roma is going to be like, or if I’ll be remotely good at it. As someone who likes to make plans and take selected, calculated risks, this in-between space before motherhood feels like a chasm that I’m hurtling toward, with no clue whether there’ll be something soft to land on. I’m both excited and terrified to find out.