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Diapers to Desk: Tales of Balancing Motherhood and Work

Contributed by Nicole Ferguson



I remember when I found out that I was pregnant like it was yesterday. My job at the time was close to home, so I decided to take an adventure on my lunch break. I bought my food, bought a test, and went home. Little did I know, my life was about to change forever.

When I got home, I ignored the growing panic at the back of my mind, turned on the TV, sat down, and had my rice and chicken. After I ate, I took the test, left it, and went back to finish watching the show I had on. Because, well, what am I worried about, right? Haha! My anxiety won the fight that day, and I just had to cut the show short. I felt like I ran to see what the results were.

When I saw the two lines staring back at me, my mind immersed deep in thought. I had questions. “Is this a bogus test?” “Am I really pregnant?” “Who do I tell?” “Do I tell anyone now?” “Will I still be able to do my job?” "Can I be a good mom?" I sat down and I remember telling two of my closest friends and taking a few more tests (the expensive ones too, just to be sure) and thinking to myself, "Wow, Nicole, you really are pregnant!!"

Nine months later, I didn’t get the boy that I wanted, but I got better - an amazing gift of a baby girl. I could literally want it no other way. My three months of being home with my daughter were a tidal wave of emotions. I had never taken care of an infant before, so I was winging a lot of things. At times, I felt alone, exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious. But at the same time, I felt an indescribable amount of joy and love for this little human I had brought into the world. Her smile literally lit up every room and still does. It's amazing how much love you can have for someone you just met.

It was almost time to be back at work, and I was calculating my expenses to see if I really needed the job. Did I really have to leave my baby!? Yes, yes, I did. Going back to the office was like starting a new job all over again, but with the added pressure of being a new mom. And let's be real, having a baby is like having a second job! I remember sitting in meetings, trying not to fall asleep while my boobs were leaking like a broken faucet. And the smell! Oh my goodness, the smell was different. I was not excited about any of it. It was tough, tough, tough! But it had to be done.

Each morning, I had to talk myself into leaving her in the hands of daycare "aunties." I stayed calling throughout the day to make that sure she was okay, but really, I was checking if she was alive. In addition to adjusting mentally, my body also had to adjust. I was still hearing random cries throughout the day that haunted my poor leaking breasts. I pumped 1-2 times each day, getting about 8 and at times 12 ounces for her to take to daycare the following day. Little girl was only on breastmilk, so the pressure was all the way on, but I weathered the storm with my electric pump daily. I mastered the art of using both hands to pump while using my phone to relax me and answer work calls so it’s not said that I’ve neglected my work.

If I’m being honest, it was a challenge to balance work and motherhood. There were days when I felt like I was failing at both, but somehow, each day ended and it seemed like I was managing. Reports were still due, customer demands still had to be fulfilled, targets still had to be met and because money was involved, my baby had to take up less of my brain space. There are times when you just can’t overthink it, you do it because it needs to be done, and that was what took me through the hardest parts.

One of the many lessons I’ve learnt on this journey is that I may not have it all together, but who does? If you're a new mom facing the same challenges, my advice to you is to take it one day at a time. Surround yourself with supportive people, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the ride. Who knows, maybe your little one will surprise you and make you fall in love with all the things you never thought you'd love.


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