Much like our flight to Australia, our flight back to the US was filled with nervous-excitement. If I had to take the world’s longest flight while 10 weeks pregnant, at least it was in business class. Boarding the flight I had a sense of deja vu, we were on our way to move to a city we had never even visited before. For a second time in three years we were moving across the world to a new job and city sight-unseen.

We arrived in our new city in the new year and my husband and I were looking forward to starting the new jobs. I wanted to hit the ground running and make a good impression and huge impact as quickly as possible since I would be taking maternity leave about seven months after starting the new job. My new job involved production forecasting, reserves, and production reporting duties. Since I’d had experience in reserves in my previous job, I didn’t need much time to get up to speed and fully productive in my new role.

I really liked my new job! It was fast paced, detail oriented, and interesting. We worked in a very small group and I was given a lot of independence. I wasn’t being micro-managed and I was trusted to do my role. I was thriving in this work environment.

My pregnancy was progressing well. I remained active throughout the pregnancy and loved seeing my growing belly. I didn’t show until about 16 weeks or more and could easily hide the pregnancy with my clothing. I wanted to make a good impression, get to know my co-workers, and let everyone see I what kind of worker I was before I announced my pregnancy, so no one would question my commitment and dedication once they found out I was pregnant. I announced my pregnancy at 20 weeks, and was pleased with how well the news was received by my colleagues and supervisor, and to hear about the great benefits my company had to offer for maternity leave.

I still hadn’t decided if I wanted to stay home with my son or come back to work (and if so, full or part-time). The great thing about the company’s maternity leave policy was I didn’t have to decide right away. It didn’t require I return to work in order to get the benefits of the paid time off.

Living in Australia opened my eyes to how short US maternity leave times are typically compared to the rest of the world. I felt lucky to be offered 12 weeks paid leave here in the US, but friends abroad were shocked at how little time I was receiving.

I prepared for the baby at home by getting a room ready with a crib, changing table and cute decal on the wall, I bought some cute, gender-neutral baby clothes, I hand-sewed a mobile for above the crib, and we were given two great baby showers by our families and our new co-workers.

I prepared for maternity leave at work by closing out all my open projects, handing off ongoing work to a coworker who would be covering for me and making sure all my paperwork was in to HR to cover my leave time. I made sure to take several weeks to do the handover so my co-worker could ask me any questions and get clarification on calculations in spreadsheets before I went on leave.

Our baby arrived in the middle of summer and we couldn’t be more overjoyed. We didn’t find out the sex until birth, and it was a moment I’ll never forget hearing my husband shout, “It’s a boy!” as soon as the baby was born. The first few days I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I was constantly crying. I felt like my heart suddenly grew 10 sizes like the Grinch’s does at the end of the story. It was the best feeling in the world and I was so proud to be this precious baby’s mom.

My next post will be about my maternity leave and deciding to return to work.

How did you prepare for maternity leave at work?

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