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WORTH REPEATING: Life After Birth

 

STEVE VOLK: I’m back at work. Really? How did this happen? And how can I process so many conflciting emotions? Leaving that morning, I felt guilty, like I was abandoning Lisa and the boys. I also felt relief, to be liberated from living life in the 150-minute increments of the newborn. And I felt lost. Why lost? Well, over the last couple of weeks, my life shrank down to a very small, specific set of concerns: Keep the babies warm, fed and comfortable. Ease my wife’s pains. Then I felt the rest of the world tugging at me, eager to collect its due. As the last couple of days of my leave wound down, I started wrestling with ugly questions: I’m 43. My oldest brother died at 36, and my brother-in-law died at 46. How old will the boys be when I die? Can I usher them, solidly, into their 30s, their 40s? I know how much I need my own father now. Will I be there when, if, they have kids of their own? What about work? I love doing journalism. But the entire industry is crashing down around my ears. It has been for almost a decade now. Can I make my career pay, to the degree I need it to, for the years I need it to, in order to support these kids? What about those dark moments I already had, when I wondered if I could keep going? Right now, these boys are somewhat oblivious. But within a few months they will sense every shadow that crosses my face. MORE

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