It's working for Heather Shore, Founder & Designer, Nourish Collection
" I designed Nourish styles to address the daily time suck that was picking out clothing for my postpartum body. I needed versatile clothes that didn't look like nursingwear, but that I could pump in without having to take my dress or top off while I pumped."
My motivation for going back to work was to support our family – it was purely a financial decision for me. Leaving my 3-month old daughter to return to my corporate job was excruciating. I had planned, saved for and banked hours for my maternity leave, and I was still so unprepared for how jarring leaving her for the day would be. It was like detaching an appendage, and just walking around, giving presentations, doing work, with an arm suddenly missing.
I felt very lucky because the company I was employed with at the time had just set up three cubicles in a converted meeting room to serve as a dedicated “Mother’s Room”. It had lockers, a sink, a refrigerator, chairs and tables for pumping. At that time (2011), it was relatively rare to have dedicated places to pump. Having a place to be at peace, away from the hustle of work (even when I was on my smart phone answering emails while pumping), was critical to my success. And honestly, even then it was really hard. I was grateful and remain grateful that the company had made the right choice to provide it to their staff, but often think about the moms (and trans dads) who have to pump without this kind of support at work. It’s such a vulnerable time, and without support it’s even more so.
I took the maximum amount of time allowed at my company, which, combining FMLA, banked sick days, vacation days, and out of pocket, meant 3 months. Even before my daughter arrived, I felt it wasn’t enough time with her. But in terms of how comfortable I was taking leave from the perspective of my job security, again I felt pretty lucky. I wasn’t pressured to come back early, and made it very clear that I would be taking the full 3 months to be with my baby. But, I was privileged to be able to do and say that.
High quality, affordable childcare was so limited and it took a while to find somewhere we felt comfortable with, so my husband watched our little one when I went back to work before we settled on a place. It was not ideal, though.
Probably only in the last few months (and my child is 5). We’ve lived in three different cities since she was born, and are just now settling in to a “normal” routine.
The logistics were so challenging. Packing up for the day, getting her ready, picking out what to wear depending on what I needed to do that day with what amount of time, dropping her off at daycare, hauling my pump and parts to the Mothers Room, fitting 2-3 pumping sessions in between scheduled and unscheduled meetings, feeling an overwhelming maternal pull to be with my child, packing up and picking her up, breastfeeding throughout the evening, washing the pump parts for the next day, breastfeeding her at night and repeating that day in and day out.
In fact, this challenge led me to create Nourish. I designed Nourish styles to address the daily time suck that was picking out clothing for my postpartum body. I needed versatile clothes that didn’t look like nursingwear, but that I could pump in without having to take my dress or top off while I pumped.
We lived on the east coast when Lexi was born, while my dear friends who were going through the same challenges with their babies and young children were back in my home town. I cherished their support from afar.
As a working parent, I never expected motherhood would be so hard and motherhood would be so much easier!
As a working parent, a good day is when I remember to breathe and a bad day is when the circus takes over.