Baby Aquitaine is imminent.

I was set and determined to work up until my due date—I don't have good work-life balance and did not want pregnancy to slow me down and don't like relinquishing control of my job to another person. There are a number of women I know who worked up until the day they gave birth, so I figured I should be able to as well.

Except this pregnancy has slowed me down. The baby is healthy, and I don't have any risk factors, but I am struggling. The week starts out well because I've had some time to rest and catch up, but each day gets more and more difficult. My back is killing me. I'm constantly burping/nauseous. Braxton hicks contractions every day. I can't sleep for more than an hour or so at a time without waking up, and when I do wake up I'm wracked with anxiety about getting stuff done at work.

Advertisement

My mom and husband have been lecturing me to start my leave now, at 39 weeks, instead of leaving on my due date. The idea of resting and not having to be on my feet all day every day is appealing, but I have so much guilt about it. I feel like a failure for not making it to my due date before going on leave. It makes me feel irresponsible, or selfish. All the women I know who worked until the day before they went into labor keep popping into my mind—if they did it, why can't I? It's not like there's anything wrong with the baby or wrong with me (beyond how uncomfortable/miserable I feel) to justify going out early.

Intellectually, I know feeling miserable and uncomfortable is justification enough for ending now. Intellectually, I know I have the tendency to elevate work above all other things in my life. Intellectually, I know that there aren't any prizes if I make it another week before leaving. Intellectually, I know that in part I've been groomed to feel this way by a society which values one's ability to contribute to the economic machine more than it values self-care.

But my brain keeps nagging me that OTHER WOMEN COULD and I MUST BE SOME KIND OF WEAK WHINER not to keep on going. It keeps whispering "How bad is it really?" My doctor says I've done enough and it's okay to stop working, but my brain just raises its eyebrows at him.

How far into your pregnancy did you work? What do I dooooooooo?