It's Working Project

"It would have been a huge help to have more milk stored before I went back."

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

Get to know and love your breast pump early.  When I was first on maternity leave, I didn’t really need to pump and the whole concept was intimidating.  Pumping and keeping up a supply of milk has been one of the most stressful pieces of going back to work.  It would have been a huge help to have more milk stored before I went back.

What was your primary motivation for deciding to return (or not) to work? How early did you tell your employer?

My boss was a younger, male friend of mine.  I told him around 12 weeks because we hung out enough that it was hard to make excuses for not having a beer.  He was super sweet and excited but clearly not sure how to communicate about my pregnancy.  He made a big announcement in a PowerPoint to our department at a meeting, that was a little awkward but sweet.

How much leave did you take, and how comfortable were you taking it?

I took twelve weeks, six paid and six unpaid.  On my end, the back-to-work plan was pretty consistent.  I came back when I said I would.  However, a junior member of my team had left while I was gone and my boss left on maternity leave shortly after I got back.  So my job has been a little bit different since coming back.

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

The co-workers on my team (all male). They were incredibly patient with late arrivals as I struggled to find a convenient childcare option and never make me feel like I’m not contributing enough to the team.

Fill in the blanks: As a working parent, I never expected ____ would be so hard and ____ would be so much easier!

I never expected finding childcare would be so hard or that getting baby to sleep through the night would be so easy!