At Transitioning Well we always say it is a privilege to work in the space of supporting new parents during what is one of the most special as well as challenging times in one’s life. Having a baby is arguably one of the toughest transitions one will face and returning to work as a new mum comes with its own sets of challenges and opportunities.
About a year ago we began supporting a new mum in a very supportive workplace. She had returned to work full time after parental leave but was struggling with her load and the immense pressure she felt at having to juggle it all. She felt her only way out was a resignation. We were called in at this point to start the parental leave transition coaching process. She was mentally and physically exhausted and clearly in need of psychological support. In this case her health meant she actually could not continue to be at work.
Her organisation did not accept her resignation rather insisted she take a leave of absence. She took another period of time off and focussed on her health and well being. She spent time with her baby and sought the help she so desperately needed. She returned to work a couple of weeks ago and we met with her to recommence the coaching program. We almost didn’t recognise her. She looks healthy and happy. She has returned part time and will be ramping up slowly. We discussed the importance of having clear boundaries and non-negotiables so that she can show up in both work and life.
It’s a good news story with a positive outcome on all fronts. But the good news story in this case is uncommon. Not the story itself but the fact she has returned to the same workplace. What we see in a far more common form is women leaving, taking time off and if they return at all it’s to another company. There are very few companies that actually realise that although the parental transition is challenging, it is also just that- a transition. And transition when supported will be quicker and with positive outcomes for all. The bottom line for business is that everyone wins when you have support procedures in place.
Written by Justine Alter & Sarah Cotton
Justine and Sarah are both registered Psychologists and are the ladies behind Transitioning Well specialising in supporting management and employees to navigate Parental-Leave, Work-Life and Mature-Age transitions.