As a co-director of a small business I have to say the maternity package
is pretty dismal. Even lying in my hospital bed I was having emails read
out to me and being asked to brain storm some new blend ideas –
needless to say I wasn’t very creative that day....apart from the language
I used on Gareth.
So I never felt very removed from work shall we say. In all seriousness I
mostly wanted to be kept up to date with what was happening - I still
felt a part of the ride and that I was a useful, integral member of the
Feeling valued as a person instead of purely as a mother was very
important to me. Being asked for my professional opinion kept me out of
the quagmire that can be the newborn stage and dragged my brain out
of the fog.
When my stretch marks and I decided to venture back to the workshop I
wasn’t overly worried. I felt that Gareth’s attempts to keep me informed
had vaguely trickled in and that all would be well.
However what I hadn’t considered was the disappearance of my
confidence. Somewhere in that time away I had lost belief in myself. I
knew the answers to queries but somehow my mouth wouldn’t form the
words. Instead I would find myself hesitating, deferring to others and
second-guessing myself. Despite being very prepared to go back to work
I felt vulnerable in the workplace and unsure of my role.
And if I felt this in my own company surrounded by kind people then
how must so many women be feeling having to re-enter faceless, cut-
throat corporations. That time away can be highly destructive of our
self-esteem and it is so important that we are nurtured and encouraged
when we make it back.
Because what is the alternative? Women’s confidence diminishes further
and they convince themselves they should leave - then all that talent
walks out the door. We need to be given room to breathe and slowly get
back into the rhythm of working life. We need to be given flexibility to
deal with illness, doctor appointments and drop offs etc. When we are
given that space we will rebuild ourselves and give back to the company