from working girl to working mom

Marissa Hoffman Blog

As I gear up for my maternity leave and reflect on the past nine months, I realize what a unique experience pregnancy is in the workplace. I wanted to take some time to share a few tricks I’ve learned along the way. Here are my top 10 tips for a productive pregnancy and smooth transition into maternity leave:

  1. In today’s age of social media, be thoughtful about when and how you make the announcement to family, friends and colleagues. The last thing you want is for the office, and especially your boss, to find out your exciting news by reading it online. Out of respect for those in the workplace, use discretion and think through how and when to make the announcement.
  2. Be conscious of the impact on your energy level. I found that maintaining my exercise regimen was not only a great way to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but it dramatically helped to keep me going throughout the workday. If you feel the all-too-common symptom of fatigue coming on, go for a quick walk during your lunch break.
  3. Be strategic about your doctor visits. Sometimes it may feel like keeping up with all of the medical appointments and tests is a full-time job of its own. Your doctor will be a key partner for you during this journey, so find an office that has flexible hours and is willing to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. By scheduling the first appointment in the mornings, the doctor is less likely to be running behind. You can also use the time in the waiting room to check emails and focus on light work.
  4. Remember to take care of yourself. In the midst of deadlines and client work, it can be easy to forget that you also have a responsibility to your health. If you need support from colleagues at times, ask for it! They would much prefer helping you out now than having you suffer from any serious medical concerns and needing to take extended time out of the office.
  5. Copy, copy, copy! In the weeks leading up to your maternity leave, make sure all relevant team members are copied on every email you send out. As much as we try to plan ahead, the baby’s arrival may come at an unexpected time. Make sure that no item goes unseen and unfulfilled simply because you were the only one in the office aware of it.
  6. As your maternity leave draws near, be realistic about the number of projects you can finish and spend the remainder of your time planning closely with your team members to ensure a smooth transition. Your team will appreciate that unfinished work does not have to be handed off, and you won’t be rushing to finish items at the last minute.
  7. Prepare a maternity leave handbook for your team members to reference while you’re away. I created a document containing all of my client and internal responsibilities, and provided background, recommended next steps and any other necessary information for each. Not only will this make the transition into my maternity leave easier on my teammates, but it also was a good way for me to keep organized and think through all of the information I needed to share prior to my departure.
  8. Plan ahead for your time away and your return. There may be times that the office needs to ask for information while you’re on maternity leave. Discuss upfront how they should communicate with you during this time so that they can receive a timely response. Also discuss what the arrangements will look like when you return to work. This will help alleviate any stress you may feel as your leave winds down, and will set you up to be as productive as possible for the team as you ramp back up.
  9. Remember that while this may be a hectic time for you…the business world stops for no woman (or baby). While this doesn’t mean that your colleagues and clients aren’t excited for you, it’s not fair to them to have to pick up your slack if you let your personal adjustments interfere with your work performance.
  10. Most importantly…don’t forget to say “thank you!” Many women, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of enjoying maternity leave. For those fortunate few of us, remember that this special time with your family is a generous gift, and others in the workplace are making sacrifices and taking on extra work so that you can benefit from it. Be gracious as you go out on maternity leave, and make a gracious return by reminding the team how appreciative you are of their support. A simple word of thanks can go a long way!
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