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What to expect when you’re expecting… at work

There’s nothing that can really 100% prepare you when expecting a baby. This is also very true when you are a working ‘expecting’ mother. 

Recently at AustCorp we have had the pleasure of watching our teammate, Lis go through the amazing stages that pregnancy can bring. We sat down to chat with her and to get some advice for other professional expecting mothers who may be in a similar situation or planning for a baby in the future.

Many women set expectations for themselves and devise plans to: give birth, nurse, and return to work. Did you have a hard time deciding what your plan was going to be?

Not really, in the Netherlands you take off 4 months including your leave before giving birth and here in Australia it’s pretty normal to take off at least 12 months. I’m quite career driven but I also would like to spend some decent time with our little girl and I have decided that 6 months will be a good time for me.  When required my fiancée can take off some time as well after that.  

I probably found it hard to decide when to go on mat leave but I’ve learnt to just go with the flow, if I feel good I can work a bit longer up to 3 weeks before the due date, but I’m just going to listen to my body so I will see week by week. 

You’re in a demanding role & environment where stress can’t always be avoided. Have you had to make many changes at work to deal with these scenarios?

Yes I had to… Especially closer to the end of the 2ndtrimester and the 3rdtrimester I’m in now. I’m quite tired after a busy day of working and even though I’m always available for my clients and candidates, I have just decided to try to not open my laptop at night and really try to relax whilst I still can.  During day to day activities I focus on what has priority and what is important and that way I can prioritise and pass tasks on to the team.

Has dealing with the many appointments/scans etc. been hard to incorporate into your daily schedule?

It hasn’t been to bad and AustCorp has been so supportive! Majority of my appointments are really close to the office and if I book them in advance I can get in before or after work.  It’s all booked in advance so I can plan my day around the medical appointments. 

Doing the 9-5 thing can obviously be hard (even when you’re not expecting!), how have you managed to keep up your energy in the workplace?

During the whole pregnancy I managed to keep up my energy by eating really nutritious food – it makes such a big difference.  Plus being active, I went to 3 bodypump classes up to 28 weeks! I’ve changed my gym routine now but being able to switch off for an hour during the day (if it’s gym or a walk during lunch) definitely helps and gives me energy for the rest of the day!

We’ve heard it all before, pregnant ladies have some weird cravings. Are there any weird cravings that you have had and that your team have noticed?

I made homemade acai bowls every morning and brought them into work.  I absolutely love them and it helped so much with not feeling nauseous. 

Finally, do you have any advice for expecting professional mothers that can prepare them for what’s to come?

Probably what I’ve learnt most is to prioritise, you will be more tired and it’s important to focus on what needs to be done now and what has the highest priority. Most importantly, listen to your body… I’ve had a few days where I just needed to lay down and work from home, if that makes you feel better and if that will give you energy for the rest of the week, then just do it!  Being able to openly talk about that here within Austcorp is great and everyone has been so supportive throughout the journey! Not long now…

by Lisanne Jonkman