Maternity is defined as “the period during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth.”
Motherhood is the state of being a mother.
Returning to work after my son was born in 2010 was a bit of a traumatic experience that I haven't shared much about. Right before I went on leave, I met my future boss, a woman of amazing talent and success and shared with her the pride and closeness we had as a team. She didn't have kids but I also didn't think much of what that would mean for me. But when I came to work 3 months after my son's birth, my role had been split, my direct reports moved, and my self esteem very much bruised. I thought I had traded job success for motherhood.
The story in my head was that I wasn't enough anymore. I had built a dream team, launched a global program and grew a baby and somehow it just wasn't enough. It was absolutely my first bout of feeling a rock bottom. It was also the experience that ignited my own path of worthiness, advocating for the feminine, and exposing and supporting dignified employment for mothers.
We have a unique role as women in the work force: To use our feminine intuition and our natural awareness to create an art form of experiences for ourself and each other. To pull on a tendril of weakness that is fraying apart the bridge of growth and reveal a more sound foundation for other women walk across. To reveal the viability of the work environment for life giving energy.
What is a dignified maternity policy vs motherhood advocacy?
A Dignified Maternity Policy is:
- Paid maternity leave.
- A private, sterile, lactation room at room temperature that is not an IT storage closet (and certainly not a restroom).
- A clean, dedicated beverage fridge to keep the milk safe until mom returns home.
- A buddy system of coverage while mom uses the lactation room. 3x a day minimum.
- A wellness package with postpartum doula support
Dignified Motherhood Advocacy is:
- A value for the Mother archetype in yourself and in others.
- Celebrating the Mother archetype by nurturing new ideas, creation and flow.
- Self governance by supporting the balance of time, power and authority within the mother herself.
- A buddy system of coverage for unforeseen childcare and elder care needs.
- Respecting the off-time of employees which includes no personal unpaid phone calls after hours or establish a flat rate for calls and texts after work hours.
How can I effect change for both?
Be the north node.
- Mother's Policy: When interviewing for a job, ask about their mother's policy especially if you have already had children or don't plan on having children. Awareness is always the first step to change.
- Lactation Rooms / Pods: Share resources for improvement. Many distribution centers (like Amazon) do not have convenient space for a lactation room , which is why companies like Mamava created lactation pods.
- Lactation desks: If there is a wave of new moms on the horizon, and the company is also in a growth mode requiring flexibility with office spaces, companies like Nestl offer rental modular desks for all mom's lactation needs.
- Benefits Packages and Perks: Encourage your employer to position itself as pro-motherhood with a employee benefits package from Dolala that include a postpartum doula and welcome gift set that is prepared and sent in lieu of flowers (which is just another think for mom to take care).
Dignified motherhood is necessary for the health of people, our babies and our cultural wellness. We are transitioning away from settling as women and mothers and growing into taking up more space as nurturers and caregivers.
Remember, there is an inner mother in all of us, but not all of us learned how to treat her with the magnificence deserved. Channel her, let her expand and witness her make herself a beautiful home.