Meet Kayla: A 20 year something-year-old female. Momma to a sweet one year old boy named Cameron. Kayla shares her tips on returning to work after Maternity leave. Be sure to visit her blog as she shares her passion for fitness, healthy lifestyles, saving money, marketing, fashion, make-up and of course being a Mommy to a tiny human.
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In June 2017 I returned to work after having a baby and being off work for over a year. I remember dreadfully counting down the number of days we had left together before I had to go back to my 9-5 office job. The first 3 weeks were the toughest. I was exhausted, struggling with what to cook for dinner, battling the traffic to and from work and being away from my son for 10 hours a day.
Here are my tips for returning to work after maternity leave and what worked for me and our family.
1) Get organized the night before, for you and your baby.
Not only do I pick out my son’s clothes for daycare, I also pick out my own clothes, pack my gym bag (for the gym at lunch), meal prep my lunch and snacks, get the coffee ready and set a timer, shower and straighten my hair the night before.
2) Wake up early and even earlier in the winter
I give myself a full hour in the morning to get ready and out the door on time. The Canadian winters can be harsh and unpredictable. Snowy winter days means you’ll have to sweep off the car and let it run for 15 minutes to warm up. I give myself and extra 10 minutes in the winter months to get boots, coats, hat, gloves etc. on and into the car.
3) Bring photos of you baby to work
I was so excited to print out photos of my sons first birthday and decorate my office with them, I would look at a photo of him smiling, covered in cake and it instantly brought a smile to my face
4) See the value and take pride in your work
As amazing as maternity leave was and how much I valued this time with my son, it is nice to know you are good at something aside from parenting. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood is the best job in the world and I would not change it for anything. Getting back to the digital marketing and e-commerce world felt great.
6 months later, we’ve all adjusted and settled into our new normal. We look forward to the weekends, stat holidays and vacation days. Most importantly, we value and cherish the time we have together.
I remember a few years ago, I scheduled an appointment with my director. My intent was to inform her I was pregnant. My mindset was I wanted to be transparent and have a plan ready for my Maternity Leave. My Personal Choice was to wait until I was in my 2nd trimester. Sitting down in her office; we shared small talk.
Then the time came:
My director immediately jumped up from her chair, broke into a huge smile. Engulfed me in the BIGGEST Hug; saying
I exhaled a breath, I didn’t know I was holding. My director made this moment special. I knew in that moment: working while pregnant would be fine.
Unfortunately , not everyone has this experience.
Therefore I have created:
6 Helpful Tips for Telling Your Boss : You are Pregnant
My hope is your experience is peaceful, easy, and supportive.
(1) When to Tell Your Boss
It is your choice when you decided to tell your leadership team you are pregnant. A lot of women wait until the second trimester. However, it is a personal choice and whenever you decide is the right time. I would advise you not to wait until your are 40 weeks and having labor pains 🙂
(3) Speak with Human Resources(HR)
It is important that you speak with your Human Resource Department (HR) to know how much time you are eligible to have off for your Maternity Leave. If you are not understanding what HR is saying: ask questions and take notes. It is a lot of information to process. Also,be mindful of paperwork that will need to be completed and deadlines to turn in that paperwork. Take time to review The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Read more about FMLA here: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
(3) Tell Your Leadership before you tell your Colleagues
Your co-workers may be your best friends. However, out of respect and professionalism- it is important your boss knows first.
(4) Schedule an Appointment with your Boss
I recommend you schedule an appointment with your boss. The last thing you want to do is meet with your leadership team while they are rushing and do not have time to listen or be engaged in the conversation.
You also DO NOT WANT TO RUSH BY THE YOUR BOSS’S OFFICE SAYING:
“HEY, I’M PREGNANT!” and run off.
Also, do not e-mail or write a note. Make the appointment face to face. You always want to be courteous, respectful and professional.
(5) Have a Plan
When you meet with your Boss, be prepared with a plan. You want your plan to include how you will continue to work during pregnancy, train your replacement, and when you plan on starting Maternity Leave. Also, have an idea and be sure to express your plan to return to work when you have completed your Maternity Leave.
Things happen and rarely go according to plan. However, if you have a plan in place it will help with the transition. Especially if you have to start Maternity Leave earlier than anticipated.
This is a happy time in your life. Do not feel pressure, scared or intimidated. You are entitled to a Maternity Leave.
Pregnancy, especially with your first baby comes with more than growing a human. Everything can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of factors to consider: work, home, family to name a few. Deciding on when and how to tell your Boss can add to that stress.
Have a Plan
Follow the 6 Tips above
This will help you tell your Boss, You are Pregnant and keep you stress free, happy and calm during your pregnancy.
Have you told your Boss you are pregnant? Do you have any stories or ideas you want to share with other moms and moms to be?
Written by: Mary Echols,RN,BSN, MSN
Wife/Mother/Nurse/ ” Champion of All Pregnant Women”
Be sure to contact me with questions, thoughts, concerns. I would love to connect and get to know you better.
Working while extremely tired, nauseated, bloated, vomiting, back aching, legs heavy, urinating every 10 minutes, performing on your job at 100% can be difficult while growing an entire human. This can be an emotional and physically challenging task as you carry and prepare for the birth of your baby. However, it can be done and be manageable.
My hope is that your journey while working and pregnant is stress free, manageable, positive and comfortable.
When writing this post from a Working Mom and RegisteredNurse Point of view-I wanted to create the perfect formula.
If you do this + Do this + Eat this The result will = working while pregnant a smooth/fun experience!
The truth is there is not 1 easy formula. Every pregnancy, woman, job, situation is different.
There will be days when the snooze button wins- and you are rushing to work and a few minutes late. There will be days when there is an 8:00am meeting and at 7:58-you have to vomit then urinate then vomit again – not necessarily in that order.
There will be days, when all you want to do is sleep. There will be days when the snooze button will win and you may be a few minutes late for work. There will be days when you are in the bathroom urinating more than data inputting. If you are in healthcare, there will be days when you are 38 weeks pregnant, wearing a maternity belt and still pushing, pulling, turning patients. There will be days when the smell of the morning coffee makes you run to the bathroom to vomit again.
There will be times when you want to be that pre-pregnant woman who is top of her game- The truth is at this moment in time- you are not her. You are doing a full-time job of growing a Human- and it’s okay to have these moments.
Don’t lose hope yet, because I can tell you; there will be times (especially in the second trimester) when you are winning. There will be times when you are on time, your tasks are completed, your team is ahead of schedule, and your in-box is complete.
I can also tell you that You can do this.
As long as there is not a health reason and your doctor approves- you can work until your delivery day. There will be challenges but there are ways to make it easier for you and your little one.
The main goals are:
To say healthy
Keep Baby healthy
Stay Productive at work
Remain Stress free and enjoy this pregnancy
My desire is your pregnancy journey while you work is stress free, manageable and convenient.
I have 10 RN tips that will make your work experience a little easier; everything from telling your manager to managing your pregnancy symptoms while on the clock.
1.Telling your Boss/Manager/Supervisor
Depending on your work environment and the relationship you have with your superiors, it can be intimidating to speak with our Supervisor; much less to inform them of major life changes.
Most women wait until their 2nd trimester to announce their pregnancy; and wait even longer before telling their co-workers. You are in your right to tell your news when you are comfortable.
I would advise telling your Supervisor first- even before your closest colleague.
More on How to tell your Supervisor and colleagues in another blog post (Stay tuned for another post in the coming week)
2.Nausea and Vomiting
“Morning Sickness” which can last all day is hard to manage when working. If your vomiting becomes severe –please notify your doctor.
If you are able to tolerate it; eat something in the morning. You are less nauseated when your stomach is not completely empty.
Bring snacks to work. Try to nibble on crackers at work and other bland foods. Sucking on peppermint helps as well
Try to develop a consistent night routine that allows you to get a full 8 hours sleep. This can be difficult if you have little ones at home with added discomforts of pregnancy. However, if you can accomplish this- it will help you during the day.
Water! Water! Water! Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated will help. Keep a BPA free water bottle at your desk- to sip on throughout the day. The American College of Obstetrics
Don’t skip meals
It is important to eat healthy while you are pregnant. It’s a great idea to meal prep healthy meals and snacks to take with you. Meal prepping will help you reach your caloric intake goals and avoid the sugary tempting vendor & cafeteria meals available.
Also, meal prepping ahead of time- will save you time to rest later in the week. Pack 3 days worth of refrigerated meals at a time -pop in fridge and grab as you go.
5.Maximizing your Breaks
Take advantage of the breaks you have during your work day. I would advise not working through your breaks or working on your personal to-do-list. Take time to eat a healthy snack-put your feet up and if you can catch a few zzzzzz’s; a power nap works wonder).
6.Organization is Key
“Placenta Brain/Baby Brain”, may not be a technical term , but mother’s can contest-there are times when you are pregnant – details and recalling information can be a tad bit “fuzzy”.
Try to keep you work task organized. Making list, prioritizing, setting reminders. It will help you stay on point, and your team members will be appreciative.
Its nice when you have a co-worker that have traveled this journey before you. Or someone who understands what you are going through and offers help. You can accept the help- it doesn’t mean you are lazy or not capable. Remember, you are carrying an entire human- and that’s hard work.
8.Listen to your Body
If your body is saying : you have arrived at the point in your pregnancy where you cannot work, or work at the capacity that you were previously; it is okay. Especially towards the end of your pregnancy ; you may feel more fatigue and more pregnancy symptoms such as pressure, Braxton hicks contractions, fatigue. Do not feel guilty or ashamed. Have a plan, speak with your supervisors and Doctor.
Some jobs require tasks that are safe in pregnancy. Being around chemicals , lifting heavy items, repetitive bending twisting pulling pushing. Speak with your human resource department and Doctor. Your doctor may be able to write you a letter stating what you can do and not do while working and pregnant.
Preparation is key to having a smooth transition to exit the work place for maternity leave. Speak with Human Resource to confirm your Family Medical Leave is covered. Ask specific questions regarding how much time off you can take off with your baby, will you be paid during your time off. Speak with your doctor and supervisor to determine your estimated date you will start Maternity leave.
Your main goal is Healthy Mom/Healthy Pregnancy. You want to be safe and keep your baby safe while enjoying this Amazing journey you are on. If you are a working mom (mom-to-be)- listen to your body, trust your instincts while working and growing a human. It may not be easy, but it can done.
Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby
Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN
Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women
(Featured Mommy-to-Be: Traschelle Williams- mother of 2,working full time in her 2nd trimester & Looking FAB and managing 40 hours a week!)