I felt on top of the world.
I had just transitioned from a great job to another that was even better for me and my family, and let me focus on the things I love in a much more significant way. Plus, I was working closer to home, for a company whose purpose and vision moved me to tears. I felt grateful and energized.
And then, six weeks after I started my new job, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child. Not exactly part of the plan.
Once I got over my shock and the news finally sunk in, I felt a huge pang of guilt.
It had taken me months to transition from my previous job to my new one. All the while, my new employer patiently waited for me, with total understanding and support. So there I was, just getting into the groove of my new role and in seven months I would have to push pause to have another baby.
While I knew I wanted to have another child, I felt like the timing was such that I was letting my new company down, and taking some wind out of my sails.
When I hit the 12 week mark, I sheepishly told my boss my news, but before I could finish she practically jumped out of her seat with excitement, expressing sincere joy for my pregnancy. I quickly started to tell her that it wasn’t planned, and I was sorry, and she stopped me mid-sentence. She reminded me what she told me when she recruited me — that this was a company that supported working parents — that I would be taken care of during my maternity leave and my job would be here waiting for me when I got back.
While deep down I knew this would be her response, I realized that I was pre-programed and conditioned by previous work experiences (and by our country’s backwards stance on family leave policies) to feel guilty about having a baby. Her response was not only refreshing, but reaffirming that there are companies that value working mothers — that our value doesn’t go down in the eyes of our colleagues because we have children, and that life moments like this are to be genuinely celebrated.
So here I am, halfway through my pregnancy, feeling totally supported by my colleagues and my company. And I know when I come back, I know I will be supported as I balance work and family. For a working mom, this is invaluable, and something I’m deeply grateful to have found.
This post was written by Bria Martin, Senior Director, Organizational Strategy and Development at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
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