It's working for Laura Brown
District of Columbia
I felt a little guilty about being pregnant. My new boss probably knew I was pregnant before my own parents did!
Trust your own judgment and don’t be so hard on yourself. You will be a better mother if you give yourself a break and be present to the relationship that is developing between you and your baby rather than worrying about how to solve all the problems. As soon as you think you’ve figured out how to handle one phase, it will be over and you will be on to another new phase that you have to figure out. You will never catch up. It’s the Peter Principle at work!
I found out I was pregnant with my first child after I accepted a new job, but before I started work. I told my new boss immediately after my first sonogram, a few weeks into my job. I showed her the picture. My daughter looked like a little teddy bear. I was probably a little less than 3 mos pregnant. We were a small staff and I felt I owed it to her to tell her as soon as possible so that we could properly plan for my absence. I felt a little guilty about being pregnant. My new boss probably knew I was pregnant before my own parents did!
Breastfeeding while working was just easier than I thought it would be, and it ended up being a critical source of connection with my baby as a working mom. I may have been replaceable in some ways, but no one else could do that!
I took about 4 months off. I had two months’ paid leave. My back to work plan was pretty close to reality. I went back to work and my husband took a week off and then my mom was able to care for my daughter for a few weeks as I transitioned, so my daughter and I didn’t immediately have to be in a situation with a new, unknown childcare provider. I was back to working full time immediately.
My daughter was cared for by a nanny that we shared with another family in the neighborhood who had a similarly aged baby.
I don’t know that I had a “biggest” source of support. My co-workers were very supportive; my mom came and made meals for us; my husband was as supportive as he could be given that he was also making a transition. Probably the person I checked in with the most was the other mom in the nanny share. We both went back at the same time and were getting to know and work with the nanny and basically dealing with the same issues. Another major source of support was the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington, and the interactions I had with the other mothers there when I took classes.
Honestly, my biggest indulgence was sitting on the front porch drinking coffee with my daughter while everyone else went off to work! (It’s great to have a baby in the spring.) We took long walks around the neighborhood every day, too. The “indulgence” is really the privilege of being single minded. For the whole time I was on leave, my only job was to take care of the baby. It’s kind of like reading week, the week before you take exams – it is stressful and uncertain and sleep-deprived and you feel inadequate, but in the midst of that it is a gift to be able to retreat from the world for a moment and just focus on one thing.
I never expected leaving my child in someone else’s care would be so hard and continuing to breastfeed would be so much easier!