Congratulations! You’re growing a small human – you are incredible. So here is your permission to be gentle with yourself. Starting early with boundary setting will get you into the habit for when your little one is here. Whether this is your first, second or beyond, exploring what you need and putting it into place is about looking after yourself.
1. Firstly – you don’t have to work like you’re not pregnant. Pregnancy is a wonderful but HUGE toll on us physically and mentally. There is no award for working even harder to prove you are valuable because you will be off work soon. So, what are you telling yourself about what you ‘should be doing’ and what do you really need?
2. Break down what you need by trimester. Hopefully you’re having a regular pregnancy risk assessment review with your line manager but don’t wait for those monthly meetings as things can change so quickly. Try and be as open and honest about how you’re doing physically and emotionally. Of course, every pregnancy is different, which is why communicating your needs is key.
3. The mental load is often talked about when your baby is born but I believe it starts as soon as you’re pregnant. It’s like having another full-time job; managing appointments, the practical planning and buying, looking after yourself, getting yourself as prepared as possible, thinking about maternity leave, thinking about what work will look like when you return – how will you manage, what will you want/need at work etc.
It’s a lot, so….
Is there anyone at work who you could buddy up with who’s recently returned from maternity leave?
Would your employer support in you having some maternity coaching?
Would journaling help to get some of it it out of your mind?
- Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity dedicated to ending the motherhood penalty, supporting tens of thousands of women each year, and successfully campaigning for change. Here are a few facts from research they have done:
- 60% of professional women leave their organisation within a year of returning to the workplace after maternity leave. Every year 54,000 new mums feel they have no choice but to leave their job, costing employers £1.65 billion per year in replacement costs
- 1 in 3 HR professionals admit they don’t know what the right conversions are to have with women before or after maternity leave
“Pregnancy and motherhood can be one of the most all-consuming and life-changing events we go through and often we’re encouraged to play it down because it’s ‘normal’ and ‘lots of women have babies – you’re no different’ and it’s time we reclaim our right to experience our pregnancy in a way that feels real for us, not for how others expect us to experience it.”
This article was written by Deanne Logan, a maternity and wellbeing coach, advocate for mental health, and L&D consultant. You can get in touch with Deanne at www.careeringintomotherhood.com.
January 31, 2023