23 Nov A Holiday Message from Nikki
By Nikki James Zellner, Senior Marketing Coach
Maternity leave. It’s scary, exciting and invaluable.
In May 2016, my husband and I found out we were expecting our second child – finding out about the second only 10 months having the first is an experience I’m still wrapping my head around, as I was told having children would be “complicated.” The scarier thought: this meant my husband would be deployed when the second arrived (and while I tried my best to learn how to be a mom to my first).
Flash forward to now, roughly a month before the second one makes his arrival. I have made all the necessary moves to de-stress and stay healthy during my husband’s deployment: I have relocated temporarily to have help with my toddler and have support during delivery, and have worked hard in my career life to be as open and honest with my company about what life holds now, what it will likely hold in the interim, and a look ahead to when I return. I’m excited about the future post-maternity leave, because I’ve been involved in the process and had candid discussions about it vs. watching managers and HR having closed-door, low-voiced meetings I wasn’t invited to.
The key to making this all work: being vulnerable and communicating honestly – with all parties involved. My boss. My husband. My children.
Being vulnerable isn’t easy. In a series of events, I’ve been forced to become this – because honestly, there’s nothing else I can be at this point. But when you have a little guy tugging at your pant leg, another one tugging at his “womb service” cord, and a husband you can only reach via email random days of the week, you’re thankful to have any descriptive title for yourself aside from “train wreck.”
Maternity leave is a time to embrace the vulnerability. You’re bringing life into the world. You’re prepping your mind and body for the most precious gift of life and all that brings. And after the baby arrives, it’s your chance to heal, connect and be an exclusive provider of love and attention to your family. The changes that happen those 8 to 12 weeks or so post-pregnancy have you reeling, and maternity leave is a necessary time to gather yourself, your emotions and your physical body. “Work” can wait. And it should. And it will.
I am so thankful for the circumstances surrounding this time in my life and the ability to take this time off. So thankful for the supportive team I work with and for at Germono Advertising Company, thankful for the short time left before my husband returns home from overseas to meet the newest member of his family (and see the tremendous changes in the lives of the existing members), and thankful for this gift called life.
So, to you all, as I start my leave this week, I wish you the happiest of holidays and a successful start to 2017. May you be blessed in all that you do both personally and professionally. See you in early 2017!