I was reading Vicki from Honestmum’s recent post “Pregnant Then Screwed’s March of the Mummies”. And, it really struck a chord with me. I feel so strongly about working and raising my baby. It’s only really since becoming a mum myself that I’ve become aware of the issue of cultural and institutional discrimination against mothers.
I want to share my story, because there are many women who might be going through the same thing. It took some time to heal and finding the courage to share my experience of cultural and institutional discrimination that I suffered after I returned from my maternity leave.
Having a baby has both brought me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I went from being an in-control person to wiping poop and neverending food or other stains on my clothes.
My mum always said to me: “You can have a career. Or you can have a baby”.
But really, I have come to realise that you do need both to be fulfilled. One, to me, goes hand in hand with the other.
A few weeks into my mat leave, my work told me that my job was being made redundant. My whole world came down crumbling. I was so shocked. It was hard enough going through the recovery after birth and living life with a little baby without having to worry about my job.
The uncertainty of the whole situation was the most upsetting part. When was it going to happen and where would I go after this. The harsh reality for me was how quickly I was forgotten in the office after I left. The thought of not being able to provide for my daughter sent me down the route of post natal anxiety.
The baby had changed me.
I didn’t look the same, I didn’t feel the same, and soon enough I wouldn’t have a job to come back to. When I ultimately returned to work, I spent the time I had left looking for a new job.
I scrambled what was left of my baby brain together, put my smart clothes on and on the outside I was a professional. On the inside, I was crumbling.
4 months later, I accepted a job offer for all the wrong reasons. People there had no love lost for mothers. And, quickly I realised that I had taken this position not from a place of love, but from a place of fear.
I was unhappy, as I only saw my daughter half an hour before she had to go to bed every day. The new job wasn’t what I expected. But, the thought of my family and my new baby gave me the strength to persevere. I wanted my daughter to know the value of hard work. I wanted to be a role model for her. Women can be mums AND have a career.
It was my daughter who gave me the strength to let go.
After a particularly difficult meeting, I decided it was time to embrace the uncertainty. In that moment, I thanked my employer for everything and I made the decision to walk away.
All these months wondering if I was still the same person, if I still had the grit. Could I still prove that I can do it.
In the end, the love for my baby daughter is what saved me from myself. I had let myself go down a path of destruction and I put an end to it. Walking away from my “career job” was the best thing I ever did. I embraced the uncertainty that had cause me so much anxiety the past months. I started writing fabulousmummy.com – something I always wanted to do but never thought I was brave enough.
Now, my life has changed for the better. I no longer am shaking with anxiety, I no longer forget to eat and I started sleeping through the night again. Do I want another career job? Maybe, who knows. At this point, I am embracing the uncertainty.
I wanted to share my story to tell other women that this decision wasn’t easy. I want to show my daughter that sometimes, being strong means to walk away. It took some courage from other blogging mums, like my friend Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives to realise that I’m not alone in this.
We CAN be mums AND have a fulfilling career.
Discrimination against mothers is never ok. And, we need to keep this conversation going.
Did you ever have to make a difficult decision in your career or your life? What helped you decide? Comment below or tweet me