In 2017 Tech Returners was born after our founder Beckie Taylor found a lack of support and loss of confidence upon returning to her own tech career. Ever since we've been passionate about supporting individuals into tech careers after a career break and recognising that every returner experience is different.
In April 2019 Beckie welcomed a daughter and in turn we welcomed a new (very small and cute) member to our team. Here Beckie shares her experience of returning to work this time around in this personal blog.
After a very long struggle I fell pregnant last summer just at the time our business was going from strength to strength and we had decided to scale!
For the people that know me this is normal nothing ever comes easy for me and I do like to take on a challenge so in true Beckie style I decided to work my pregnancy right until the end and decided not to take maternity leave, yes I’m mad or am I ?!
Following the birth of my son 5 years ago I took maternity leave well I still did bits and bobs like doing payroll the day after he was born but I didn’t go into the office for 9 months. I really underestimated how this affected me until I went back and realised how much confidence I had lost and reflected on how I was during those 9 months (that’s another blog in itself) however, I vowed that if I was lucky enough to get pregnant again I would do it all differently - do what I wanted to do and what felt right to me rather than conform to the "norm" and what I though I should do!
So, when I fell pregnant I made the plan to do just that and I worked right up until the week before my daughter was born. Reflecting on this now the last month was a bit too manic with 4 speaking opportunities, workshops, events and just general day to day business, but I did feel good right until the last week!
I finished on the Friday and thought I had two weeks to prepare, and everything was in control, but how wrong was I! Even at my baby shower on the Saturday I laughed saying I hadn’t even packed a bag and yes you guessed it I didn’t end up having the two weeks, I went in for a routine appointment on the Monday to be told you have high blood pressure and signs of pre eclampsia- your not going home until you have had the baby. In sheer panic I begged them to let me out until the following morning just to get some things straight at home and also pack a bag!
Without going into too much detail things didn’t go to plan and I was in all week and then I had to have a emergency c section which I hadn’t even considered into my plan .
The loss of control and pain threw me and during the following two/three weeks I had very dark days but my precious daughter, son, family and friends kept me going, and I came out the other side of the pain!
Stepping into that work zone even after a very short period away felt weird, the feelings of low confidence, guilt and I can’t do this crept in, all of which I had to manage and talk through with people I trust.
Whilst I did an action learning session my mum was pushing a pram round Manchester hoping she wouldn’t wake and want feeding as the “milk machine” (as my son calls me) wasn’t there! But I did it and all went to plan phew!!
So, going into the next session the following day didn’t seem so bad .... but it was I hadn’t timed it right and while I was delivering the opening for that session my daughter was screaming outside the office as she hadn’t fed enough. The feelings of guilt both on the cohort and my daughter was overwhelming, but they didn’t notice and my daughter was fine but had the first feeling of can I do this!
This crept into the following week and over bank holiday and I lost it emotionally but as I do I let it out, talk it through and dust myself off and focus on what I can control. What I had been doing was trying to do everything and not involving my daughter which on reflection is against everything I believe in so I took a different tack and started to bring her to meetings with me. I didn’t ask or apologise it was just my "norm" even when I had to feed which has raised a few beads of sweat for some !
8 weeks in and I’ve had a number of business calls either pacing the house with her in my arms, in the car with her asleep in the back, or her being lay in my lap and rather than trying to keep her quite I am totally open with the people I meet and so far the majority of people have been supportive (apart from one LinkedIn comment!)
What have we achieved? we have recorded 3 podcasts (and one I had to even start to feed during - which raised a few smiles and laughs afters!) We have had a number of team meetings as I have an amazing team that have worked flexibly with me, I have developed business relationships to support our growth and worked on a exciting project to be launched very soon! and I have spent some amazing time with my little family!
even when things may not go right and I leak through my top, have a explosive nappy while in the office or have a tearful emotional moment I embrace these and learn and reflect.
The most important thing I have learnt is that at first when people said "you back already?" I used to lie and say yes the joys of the self employed but now I tell the truth this is what I want to do and I am proud of my decision whether it works or not I am so glad I’ve tried it as it is what is right for me and as they say "happy mum, happy baby" and as one person messaged me on LinkedIn I’m not nuts well not yet :)
To be continued ........