Letter From The Editor: Decided

Dear APW,

Today is a big day (for me). Today, I’m officially back from maternity leave (though other than the month after giving birth I’ve been working behind the scenes way too much). But now my newborn is all grown up to a mature, smiling, giggling, toy grabbing three-month-old. He’s off to “school” (as his daycare aunties call it), and I’m back to work. It feels momentous, happy, and sad all at once. The brand-new person bubble is really and truly burst, and regular life has resumed. It’s regular life with lots of additional joy (and some tiredness) added, but forward we go. Now with a baby!

Which means this month’s theme is a perfect fit with my life: Decided. We live in a culture that talks a lot about setting goals. About deciding to do something and going for it. But more and more I find myself wondering what happens after we’ve decided? What happens when the brass ring is grabbed? What does the other side look like? What happens when we’ve gotten engaged, had the wedding, added the baby to the family, decided not to add a baby to the family, run the marathon, gotten the job, written the book? Once we’ve decided, drawn our line in the sand, and built our foundation (hopefully not on the sand), what does life look like?

This month, as I end maternity leave, I’m struck by human beings’ essential resilience. Just over three months ago, I was about as pregnant as a person can be, and worn down from being in on-and-off labor for weeks. Since then I’ve had two surgeries (long story), multiple hospital stays, become a mother, learned about breast feeding, colic, nighttime diapers, and my child’s joyful little personality, for starters. I’ve had my life shaken up in profound ways both emotionally and physically, and yet three months later, life looks about the same (not without complications, but with extra richness). I’m reminded of human resilience on the most simple physical level every day. Over the course of the last three months, I’ve had major surgery, minor surgery, slept very little, been in a lot of pain, swollen up with meds, and shed a ton of weight, and I am astounded by my body’s ability to heal. For me it’s a testament to what we can survive and how we can bounce back, after the decisions are made. In the process of deciding we often worry about the limits of what we can do, and in living with a decision we learn we contain multitudes and can do much. We’re stronger and wiser than we can possibly imagine.

So this month we’ll be discussing the stages of having decided. There’s the grappling, the thrill of having made a decision, and then living with what’s next. We’ll be discussing engagements and weddings (of course) and following up on last year’s Kid/No Kid week with stories of people that made that decision (one way or another) and are now living it out.

Which is fitting, as I dive headfirst back into work, now as a mother. Here is to the other side!


P.S. Next month’s theme is “The Good.” As anyone who’s ever Googled “headache” knows, the internet is full of doom and gloom, and stories convincing you that you’re probably going to die in the next five minutes. Somehow, we forget to collect all the good stories of our life and put them online. Next month, to celebrate spring, we’re sharing those stories of joy and complicated richness. Stories of wedding planning, relationships, and life gone… actually pretty damn good. Next month is APW’s happy trombone.

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  • Meg! It is so good to have you back!
    I didn’t realize how much I missed your voice until reading this just now! :)

  • Shiri

    Welcome back, Meg! Wonderful to have you and your words back! And, of course, many thanks to Maddie for filling in while you were away!

  • Welcome back Meg :)

    Ohhh… The Good should be awesome. Perhaps I should get around to writing up a follow-up to last years money post, and talk about how Awesome our married travel was, and what followed on (which is interesting, all things considered).

  • Welcome back (even though you kind of never went anywhere). Still. Welcome.

  • KB

    Yay!!! Welcome back! And The Good sounds like an AWESOME theme, I’m excited to read what comes up!

  • Letters from the Editor are some of my absolute favorite posts.

  • Amanda

    Oh, The Good. It sounds so wonderful!! In a world full of doom-and-gloom news stories, economy downturn, disease and death, where I’m afraid to mention how happy I am in a moment for fear of “jinxing it”, I am thrilled to have a month dedicated to celebrating the big and small joys in life. Because we are surrounded by them, and yet I (unintentionally) let them be masked by The Bad all too often.

    I plan on stocking up on tissues.

    • Amanda

      And PS. Welcome back Meg! You didn’t mention rest in the activities of the last three months (you did say you slept very little), but I hope there was some rest – physically and emotionally.

      • meg

        I wouldn’t say I slept very little. I’d say I slept less than usual. But really, it’s not so bad. As Alyssa told me before I had the baby: you can be tired, or you can be tired and mad about it. Better to just be tired.

        And yes, there was some rest for sure. One must heal!

    • meg

      I also often find that you can’t mention good things online because you get yelled at, “It’s not good for everyone!” people say. Which is weird and counterproductive. Because it’s not bad for everyone either, and god knows only focusing on the bad CAN’T be healthy.

      And this from a dyed in the wool pessimist.

  • Yay, welcome back!!

  • Class of 1980

    Oh no, not the colic. Also didn’t know you’d been in and out of the hospital other than the birth. Girl, you’ve been to hell and back … and lived to tell about it.

    • meg

      You know what? After my pregnancy, it all felt mostly ok. Well, except the second time I ended up in OR. To be honest, I was pretty pissed about that.

  • Welcome back, Meg! Although I was very suspicious of your maternity leave after you replied very quickly to an email I sent, claiming you were taking a “quick break” from maternity leave :-)

    • meg

      Yeahhhh. I should write a follow up post on my mat leave. I took the month after the baby was born TOTALLY off, there was dust all over my office. I mean, I had to. Also, APW was closed half of that month if we’re honest. And I probably worked 20 hours a week most of the rest of the time, though largely voluntarily.

      • Anne

        Welcome back! I would love to hear more about the decisions you and your husband made about leave. Especially as a small business owner, I wonder how to juggle babies and work. I’d love to hear more about your experience, if you feel comfortable sharing it.

        • meg

          I will. But short answer: day care. I can’t run this business without it, though there is this lovely myth of the self employed worker with the baby in the office. It can be done, but not on my 40-50 hour a week schedule, with a similarly employed husband.

  • Yay! You’re back! I admit, I missed you. Everyone else did an amazing job, but I missed your voice. I’m so sorry to hear about the surgeries. I’m dying to pry but this is not the place. I just hope you are as glad to be back as we are to have you back!

    • meg

      Well, the first was just an emergency c-section. The second was some bullshit cleanup they don’t mention can happen. OH PREGNANCY.

      • Crazy! Pregnancy did not treat you well. But it’s over! Hooray! And you have a little lovely one now! Yay!

  • The Lost Kate

    Welcome back! And thank you for the happy trombone. Just what I needed. It will get played a lot in our household in the next few days…

  • April

    Welcome back, lady.