It's Working Project

"[Pumping] was a bit of a challenge, but I made it work and developed a schedule for myself. It was definitely easier for me as a salaried white collar employee."

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

Planning for leave should start WELL in advance. My son’s birth at 30 weeks made my exit far more hasty than I would have liked.

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?

My son was born 10 weeks early, so breastmilk was very important. However, he never got the hang of nursing so I exclusively pumped for 9 months or so. After that, he had formula.

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

I was out for 12 weeks. I was able to take 8 weeks paid with my company’s short term disability insurance and then extend it to 12 weeks with concurrent FMLA. I would have liked to extend that time since I was only home with our son for 4 weeks (he spent the first 8 in the NICU). I realize now that I probably could have arranged that only because I have many years of service and built up goodwill within my organization.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

I struggle with work/life balance. I worried that people would think less of me and think that I wasn’t interested in projects or after-work events because I had a family now.

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

How people would assume things about me now that I’m a mom.