Written By: Lauren Howard
I was two days from coming back from maternity leave.
I was basically staring into space with a mix of fear and exhaustion.
This kid had made her grand entrance eight weeks early and BREACH.
Not only was I adapting to being a mom of two, but I was recovering from an emergency C-Section and learning how to nurture a child who did. not. stop. screaming.
They give you an easy first baby to trick you into having the second. That one chooses violence starting in utero.
For the first time, I said to my best friend that I just wasn’t sure I could do it. I didn’t think I could go back. There was no way that another thing was going to fit onto this mental and emotional plate.
No sooner than the words came out of my mouth, I got a text from my boss.
“You have a few minutes?”
Oh god. We had talked a few times during my leave, but I had not kept up with things the way I had planned. My employer was so respectful during my entire leave and expected nothing out of me except recovering and adapting.
But the text stopped my heart a little.
Not only that, but I barely had the energy for a text message, much less a phone call.
“Sure,” I responded. I was absolutely lying.
He asked how things were, and I muttered something about surviving.
“Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk about. How about you take some extra time? You’re coming back to work on your actual due date. Take two more weeks. Take four. Whatever. I just think this all went by way too fast.”
I was speechless.
He sensed that, and he was not used to me being speechless.
“Wait, is that okay? You can come back if you want, but I just don’t want you to feel like you have to. This has all been a lot.”
Of course, it was okay. It was more than okay. Even just saying it out loud made everything seem so much more manageable.
I took some extra time, got my stuff back together, and went back to work (from home) with a baby basically strapped to me all the time.
We figured it out, but only because they supported me and what I needed the whole time. Not what anyone else might have needed in that situation. What I needed.
And I carry that lesson with me with every single employee.
A three-minute conversation kept me at that job for three more years.
Have the conversation. People first, always.
Founder & CEO at elletwo