It's Working Project

"Right after that miscarriage, I got pregnant with my first living child who was born in January. I did not receive FMLA because I hadn't been at my new school for a year and I was a week short of receiving short term disability, so I returned back to work after a month so we would have insurance and money."

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

You are going to fight and it’s going to be hard. A friend said that she is only 70% there at work when her babies are little. Remember that your job hired you for the long haul and 70% is ok for a little while. They will have another 25 years for you to be at 90 or 100%. I really try to believe this.

FOR MOMS: If you breastfed, was there a place for you to pump that met your needs and was conducive to your success? If you breastfed, how did you decide to continue? FOR DADS: What, if any, adjustments did you (or your workplace) make to your schedule after having a baby? Was it specific to your manager or larger, whole work culture?

I wanted to breastfeed. My son was very jaundiced and had to have a bottle of formula ASAP, he had terrible terrible bruising. I was totally fine with him having a bottle or two of formula a day. He was supplemented until 3 months when he ended up just taking breastmilk. My daughter was 100% breastmilk because she didn’t take a bottle til 4 months despite frequent attempts. I would have gladly supplemented to make my life easier.

I pumped ALL the time. Including overnight for both.

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

1 month for my son- I had 20 sick days. I returned back on his one month birthday. For my daughter it was very close to 12 weeks. I did not want to go back. I was sad returning for my son but there was really no choice at all. For my daughter I just desperately wanted more baby time. I hadn’t needed to take any sick days because she was born in the summer and I’m a professor so I wish I had taken Aug-Oct off, but I didn’t think of that ’til it was too late.

How easy was it to put a childcare arrangement together and did it work for your family?

Is that not all daycares are created equal. There is subpar infant care around here, but once they turned 15 months they could attend the daycare at my school and they are just amazing. I feel no guilt dropping them off. The women are genuine, fun and inventive. I showed up the other day and my 15 month old daughter was painting a lizard with shaving cream to work on fine motor skills. Totally weird and awesome.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

I missed them horribly. Especially my son, I don’t feel like I know him as well as my daughter. My husband seems to have a stronger bond and I wonder if it’s because he was home with him for 17 months. This might not be fair because my son does seem to have more of my husband’s personality and my daughter more of mine. My husband and son are introverts and observers. My daughter and I are outgoing and into everything.