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A Reflection on Motherhood, Security and the Pandemic

06April2020

The gush of feelings that one experiences upon finding out about their pregnancy for the first time is something totally inexplicable. The awe and excitement is so overwhelming. The day I found I was pregnant was by far the most satisfying day in a long, long time. It took some while for the excitement to contain and reality did kick in inevitably. What followed was a sincere feeling of gratitude for what life had offered my husband and I. Motherhood is the most exciting phase of a woman’s life and something most look forward to experiencing. To give birth to a new life is a sheer bliss. Having said that, pregnancy and motherhood do come with their own strings attached and set of challenges, especially if you are an expecting mother early on in your career.

As luck would have it, I too became an expecting mother in late 2019. At the age of 24, and just a couple of years into my career as a recruitment consultant, things have been more than just shaky at times. During the collective uncertainty we as society face, I would like to share my experience and pass on some counselling to young females wanting to start a family soon.

I’m not lying when I say that the decision of starting a family is a serious one that needs a lot of introspection with your partner, since it will transform your life, both in the short and long term. However, I would be lying if I said that pregnant women are treated the same as their counterparts in the local job market. Therefore, it is imperative that any major career-related decisions are made at least one year before or one year after the birth of the child.

Sufficient finances, having the means or ability to work from home, or living close to your workplace are few things expecting working mothers must consider. It becomes all the more important to strike the right work-life balance. Here are some of the things you and your partner should think about during these new and unexpected times!

  • Planning your finances well in advance would go a long way in securing your financial stability during the maternity period. Things such as maternity benefits or compensation or paid leave from your employer may ease some of the financial burden of pregnancy. It is essential to find out your eligibility before-hand to avoid last minute heartaches.
  • It is also advisable to understand if your current employer is supportive of you planning for a family. Maternity leave schedule and post-maternity working hours flexibility are something that should be openly discussed with your superiors, co-workers, subordinates, and clients. This will allow the organization to have the correct contingencies in time to fill up the gap while you are away.
  • I cannot stress enough on how crucial a role the working environment and culture plays on an expecting mother's health and character. Hostile working conditions may be disastrous for the mother and child’s health and mental stability. Workplaces that encourage positivity and focus on developing a good support system for their people will just not help you push through your maternity days but may also tend to increase the overall productivity and your happiness level. Paying attention towards general health and safety is something many companies have taken up as part of their HR initiative (as is evident by the recent pandemic induced Work from Home situation), this not only keeps their workforce in best of spirits but also creates a sense of belongingness towards the leadership and the organization as a whole.
  • For few, returning back after maternity might pose the biggest challenge. A few things to consider for new mothers would be - finding an appropriate companion or a nanny for the baby, making a list of potential nurseries or daycare centers near the workplace, making your office space is conducive to your needs as a young mother.

Although the whole journey to motherhood may look like a stressful and uncertain one, being transparent with people around you will help a long way in sailing through this patch of life. You’re about to begin a new and exciting journey and life will always be kind to you ;)

Written by Sarah Hunaid

Edited by Kirk Lobo

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