Choices Around Work

 This is the column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Marcia Clark

Marcia Clark, Life and Legacy Coach

Q: I am 40 and pregnant with my first child who is due in March. I am having a hard time determining how much time to take off of work when baby comes. I love my work and am eligible for 3 months off. Being away from work for that long has both its pros and cons. How should I go about considering this important decision?

Our Expert who responded is Marcia Clark is a Legacy and Life Coach based in Austin, Texas and a Board Member of the Nonprofit Advanced Maternal Age Project.

A: First of all, congratulations! What a wonderful time in your life. Enjoy each moment!

How fortunate for you that you have a job you love. But I also know just because you love it doesn’t make the decision any easier…and possibly harder. Often times until we are faced with a situation it is difficult to know how we will react or what we really want. Some questions I have for you to consider are as follows:

  1. What are you most afraid of?
  2. What are you most excited about?
  3. When do you have to make the decision?
  4. What flexibility do you have, if any?
  5. What would it do for you to wait until the baby comes to make the final decision?
  6. How might you look at it differently after the baby comes?
  7. If you could create the ideal situation, what would it look like?

One of the tools I use with my clients is the Pain Gain Chart from where I received my coaches training, IPEC. It is a very helpful tool when trying to decide between two choices. I call it the dimensional “T” chart as it can offer much deeper insights. You can also continue to use it to “drill down” with each decision you make.

Here is how it works:

  1. On a piece of paper write across the top Pain and Gain.
  2. Then along the side write the two choices you are faced with. In your case, “Return to Work” and “Don’t Return to Work.” This will create four quadrants.
  3. Now begin within each quadrant and record the first thoughts that come to mind WITHOUT much reflection. i.e. the Pain of Returning to work in the top left quadrant, the Pain of Not Returning to Work in the lower left quadrant, continue with the Gain Sections.

See what enfolds for you. Often times you will discover things you had not thought of, one quadrant may emerge dominant, a clear decision may emerge, or a totally different solution may come to you.

Sometimes what blocks us is the pressure that we are making a decision that will have to last forever. Allow yourself the freedom to revisit your decision in the future. Life is about choice and endless possibilities. Whatever choice you make will be the right one for you! And that is what matters. Wishing you all the best!

Marcia Clark offers a complementary session in person or by phone to those who are interested in receiving life coaching and creating plans for their legacy. Contact her at

Thankful for a Choice and Creating Your Own Legacy


Marcia Clark

Marcia Clark, Legacy Coach

By Marcia Clark

My mom had my baby sister when she was 41.  Back in the 1960s this was amazing and uncommon. Was she scared and did the doctors put fear in her of all the things that could go wrong? Did they suggest that she should end the pregnancy?  For sure!  But my Mom and Dad decided to go forward. And what a gift my little sister was and perfectly healthy. My mom had crippling arthritis prior to that point and it went into remission and never returned due to that pregnancy.

When my sister was born I was 12, my brother was 15, and my older sister was 18. We

Marcia with Her Parents and Siblings as Adults

Marcia with Her Parents and Siblings as Adults

had our very own living “doll” to play with.  And that is not an exaggeration. We loved having her around.  We adored her.  My brother carried her around the halls of the high school showing her off, she was the mascot for my cheerleading squad, and my older sister would get asked if she was her daughter. It all felt so special. Our family had a unique story. So I know firsthand what a joy a child can be at an older age…from a sister’s perspective.  I am so incredibly thankful for the choice my parents made.

My “little” sister is now 46 and I can still remember it all like it was yesterday.  The legacy created by my parent’s choice lives on in each day of my life. And will continue long after I am gone in the stories, the memories, our children, and their children.


What does Legacy mean to you?  Are you living your legacy now? Will it last into the future?

Most people I have talked to think Legacy it is what we leave behind after we are gone.  I would like to suggest that you consider creating and building your Living Legacy now…..AND have it continue as a Lasting Legacy. We each have the opportunity to create our unique Legacy. 

Legacy Living includes how you structure your life personally and professionally to create and capture memories, pass on your values and traditions, put documentation and financial planning in place, etc.  This creation will flow into your Lasting Legacy has it has many of the same pieces. It is a process that ebbs and flows with life’s transitions.

Life’s many possible transitions have a way of impacting our choices.  When we get married, a child is born, kids go off to college, when we are empty nesters, get divorced, illness strikes, retirement, or if we are planning for when we are no longer here. Each phase has unique qualities and challenges to consider.  Each event can make us stop and think about who we are, what our life is all about, and what will our legacy be.

One of the biggest transitions we make is when deciding to start a family, either through birth or by adoption. 

Bringing a child into one’s life is truly a life-changing event in ways beyond what they could have imagined.  And for those who make this choice later in life it can bring up some unique challenges and opportunities.

While your finances may be more stable at this stage of life, and your experience and wisdom are vast, how will having a baby impact your life?  There are many considerations:

  1. What about your career?
  2. How will your personal life be impacted?
  3. What sacrifices will either of these choices entail?
  4. What about the choice of timing and the “biological clock?”

You may have a shorter time with your children so what advanced planning do I need to do?   So often times planning for the future can take on an even deeper meaning and can be more time sensitive.

Here are just a few things to consider while you are creating and building your Living and Lasting Legacy:

  1. What values, traditions, thoughts, and moments do you want to pass along?
  2. How do you want to capture all of them?
  3. What skills do you want to share?
  4. What parts of you do you want to be remembered?
  5. Who do you want to have an influence on?
  6. What documentation will you need to secure your legacy? A Will, Guardianship, Power of Attorneys, Directive to Physicians are some examples.
  7. How will you structure your financial picture?

PlanSome considerations:

Do you need a college fund, want to create a charity, build a wing on a hospital, pass on your business? How will you be taken care of through life’s transitions? The possibilities and options are unique to your family.

All of this thoughtfulness and planning lays the foundation for turning your Living Legacy into a Lasting Legacy bringing you peace of mind, contentment, and joy knowing you have planned for your family now and into the future.

What footprint do you want to leave on your family, your community, your world?   

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” 
Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

Marcia Clark is a Legacy and Life Coach based in Austin, Texas and a Board Member of the Nonprofit Advanced Maternal Age Project. She offers a complementary session in person or by phone to those who are interested in creating plans for their own legacy.