The Fruits of My Labor—by Jamie Levine
Today is Labor Day. Six years ago, this day marked the culmination of my dreams (and countless follicle stimulating hormones), when I received a phone call from my reproductive endocrinologist’s office informing me that I was pregnant. At the time, it seemed ironic that it was Labor Day—and yet it was clearly a sign of things to come, because I learned right from the beginning that motherhood is certainly a lot of work. And while I was fortunate to experience quite an uneventful pregnancy (I even worked out religiously up until the day before Jayda was born), my daughter has kept my on my toes from day one—arriving as the result of an emergency C-section.
Giving birth is a great event—and after nine months of waiting and worrying, preparing and panicking, most mothers are flooded with emotions and experiences that they’ll never forget. Nine months seems like a very long time when you’re stressing about your weight, anxiously waiting to feel the baby kicking, growing bigger and clumsier every day, and, if you’re like me, keeping your body free of alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, pesticide-tainted produce, and a myriad of other things you might normally consume. However, in some ways, the time also goes by in a blink. Before you know it, you have a helpless baby lying in your arms, and you’re consumed by the realization that you’re responsible for this kid for the rest of both of your lives. It’s frightening—and amazing—all at the same time.
This Wednesday marks the first day of my internship as a speech-language pathologist in an elementary school, and just a few days later—on Sunday—my graduate school classes begin again. But nine months later, I’ll be finished: I’ll be a graduate with an M.S. degree. And, following the completion of my nine-month fellowship, I’ll be a certified speech-language pathologist. The next nine months are going to be crazy for me. Between classes, my internships, my freelance work, full-time motherhood, and my possibly-insane-fantasies of having some semblance of a social life along the way, it’s going to be both a stressful time and a blur. Like pregnancy, there will be ups and downs, and time will move at a seemingly erratic rate, but at the end, I’ll have my baby: A new career that will be a part of me for the rest of my life. It’s going to be a lot of work. And it’s going to be very rewarding. And ultimately—just like Jayda—I suspect this degree will be the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and well worth all the work and worrying I invested.
Happy Labor Day, everyone! Whether we’re working mothers, or stay-at-home mothers, or simply hopeful-mothers-to-be, we all deserve praise for our amazing efforts, and we certainly deserve great rewards. Just as I did during my pregnancy, I know I can make it through the next nine months if I simply keep my eye on the prize. And when I get where I need to be and take a look back at my journey, these final nine months will be nothing but a distant memory, and nothing will matter but my present and my future—as both a successful SLP and a mom.