The Third Trimester—by Jamie Levine
I’m finally entering my third trimester. No, I’m not pregnant. I’m a single mother of one—and am planning to keep things that way. But back in September, when I realized I had about nine months of graduate school left, I likened the journey to a pregnancy. I knew that just like my pregnancy, this time in my life would be filled with ups and downs, and would pass by in a blur, but at the end, I’d have my baby: A new career that would be a part of me for the rest of my life. I’m almost there: Graduation is May 19th, and as long as I pass my certification exams, I’ll have my M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology the day after my daughter turns six years old.
Throughout the third trimester of my pregnancy, I was anxious to give birth and be finished with being pregnant, but at the same time, I was extremely nervous about facing the reality of being a mother. I feel the same way now. I can hardly wait to be finished with school; I cannot focus on all the studying I still need to do and am making the least effort I possibly can to finish my schoolwork. On the other hand, I’m frightened about entering a field in which I’m so inexperienced. When I went back to school for a degree in speech-language pathology, I left an industry I’d been working in for over a decade; I knew what I was doing at my former job and I knew I was good at it. As I embark on a new career, I don’t have the same confidence I had in the past because I’m starting from scratch again. And, as a 43-year-old who needs to work to support herself and her child, that’s a scary notion .
Of course, there are things I am excited about, too. Now that I’ve left the corporate world, I have no desire to go back, and while I am anxious to be a professional again, I’m looking forward to having many opportunities to do rewarding work, and to ideally have a flexible schedule that will give me plenty of time to spend with my daughter. I know Jayda is anxious for me to start a new job, too—she can’t wait to spend Sundays with me again, and loves “playing speech” with me (I’ve been teaching her to properly say the “th” sound instead of “f” in words like “bathroom” and “three”). She also loves hearing about “my kids”—the children I worked with when I was student teaching—and constantly asks when she can come to work with me.
When I was pregnant with Jayda, people used to tell me that a woman is pregnant for nine moths to give her ample time to adjust to being a mother. And while my final nine months of graduate school have been stressful, and at times I’ve willed them to pass by faster, I suppose I’m thankful for them, too. I’ve learned a lot in my externships and am slowly feeling prepared to take the plunge and start my new career. I can only hope it’s as amazing and rewarding as being a mother to Jayda has been.