So many of us worry that having children will limit opportunity, but these amazing mamas are examples of just the opposite. They clicked with their careers in big ways after having children, in each case dialing it up. Check out their stories as inspiration for the possibilities what’s next for you as a new working mom.

4 Mamas Who Found Their Career Groove with Babies

Go West, Young Woman

Jenny Donnelly didn’t have a computer science degree but she quickly parlayed her math background from college into web development, system networking and coding when she headed to California in the 1990s. She eventually landed a role at Yahoo, where she has been for 10 years and is now an engineering director managing 26 people. After her first baby she found herself stretched pretty thin so she devised a way to re-prioritize and focus on important pieces — and with each of her two kids came a promotion.

A Promotion with Each Baby for Yahoo’s Jenny Donnelly

An Unplanned Pregnancy that Fueled Success

Layla Kajer had just accepted a new job across the country where she was planning to double down on her career for the next three to five years. So when she found out she was pregnant — unexpectedly and unplanned — it was a bit of a shock. She continued to double down during her pregnancy. And then on maternity leave discovered a new self, which led to changes she may never have imagined, and the search for a company that would support those changes.

With Baby — An Expansion, Not Death, of a Career Woman

A Road Warrior With New Tricks

Jackie Hanselmann Sergi, a recruiter and executive coach based in Portland, experienced the five stages of grieving her old work self after returning to work from maternity leave. She was depleted and feeling like she was letting everyone down — work, spouse and baby — until her boss and mentor shared some words that gave her the space to grieve and move forward to embrace her new role — one she finds is just as effective and boasts a few more tricks.

Missing the Me Before the Mom

 

Stepping It Up for Baby

Stephanie Kumar of Pinterest felt pressure to be a strong role model for the little girl she held in her arms everyday, so she decided to “lean in” and search for a job that would better propel her career, all while on maternity leave.

Pinterest’s Stephanie Kumar Propels Her Career Post Baby

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