Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Stress buster: have a little faith in your people, in yourself

My husband and I took a childbirth class this weekend at the local hospital where I expect to deliver. Maybe it’s my A-type personality, or perhaps it’s arrogance (I will own that possibility), but I don’t see why I shouldn’t work until my due date (or the week of my due date), especially if I’m tying up loose ends and can work from the comfort and flexibility of home.

Granted, this is the first baby for me, so ok, I don’t know how it’s going to play out. But why should I assume the worst instead of assume the best? It’s not the way I live my life, certainly not the way I run my Division, and it’s not the way I want to lead my family.

Will it be uncomfortable? Sure, but what the heck am I going to do otherwise? Sit at home and stare at the walls? Read until I’m bored? Do house chores? Cook? Just… blog? (ha)

I can tell you that I’d much rather interact with my excellent colleagues and staff and clients, be churning out strategies and leading tactical implementation of huge commercialization plans!  I’d rather be measuring our successes, identifying improvement possibilities and putting things in motion. It’s exciting! It’s engaging! It’s stimulating!

It’s stressful!

Yes, it can be stressful. But I’ve always had a high tolerance for stress and uncertainty. It’s what’s gotten me to where I am in my career, and will I believe help me keep my sanity as a parent. But in the last weeks of pregnancy – indeed in these last months of pregnancy – I’ve had to let go of my of that stress and trust my colleagues to carry the torch for a bit while I go over here and push out a small basketball from my belly, feed and change the little thing, and generally spend a few months figuring out how to find things like balance and equilibrium and sleep.

Perhaps stress comes from lack of control. But what is that lack of control but a lack of trust in your colleagues, your clients, or yourself? Stress comes from uncertainty, sure, but can it be actively managed with preparedness and faith?

The “danger” I hear about working so close to the due date is the stress and whether it has a negative impact on the baby. But what if the maternity plan is in place, and everyone knows what they’re supposed to do? Is there really anything else to do but continue to be supportive to colleagues and junior staff, and gently but forcefully tell them I’m not going to tell them what to do, but that they should tell me what they think they should do? Then… leave to have a baby and have a little faith?

Interestingly, I suppose this approach probably goes for both the Board Room and the nursery room, the Executive role and the parenting role. Have a little faith!

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On the road while pregnant

At the Executive level, you can be on the road … a lot. My life as a consultant has taken me all over the country, and when I look back over the past 12 years on consultant travel, I have to admit that I’ve loved it. Sure, travel has its inconveniences and annoyances, but there’s nothing like setting foot in a town or city you’ve never been to before and checking it out and developing an opinion on it. There’s nothing like having a successful trip, accomplishing what you set out to do. And of course, there’s nothing like coming home, taking that first whiff of familiarity when getting out of your home airport.

But as a pregnant Executive, travel inconveniences and annoyances can suddenly escalate to serious discomforts, especially at 32 weeks.

  • Eating on the road is already generally unhealthy, and while pregnant, the food options are even more limited. And when those pregnancy cravings kick in (milkshaaaaaaake!), it’s harder and harder to stay focused for the sake of the baby.
  • The baby’s constant rolling and kicking and jabbing can be distracting at the least, very uncomfortable at most. It would be awesome if the baby settled down during important meetings, but when the stakes are high and my adrenaline is running, the baby notices and starts rollicking like crazy in response. D’oh!
  • Adjusting to time changes can be rough on its own. But add on bad heartburn and joint pain and constantly getting up for bathroom breaks in the middle of the night, and there’s no getting enough sleep to be fully effective.
  • So much about being on the road is multi-tasking even more that you would in the office since you are “robbed” of standard work time when driving on being on a plane. Go Go Go! It can be hard to remember that I can’t move as quickly or be as spry as I used to be! Carrying an extra 20 pounds gained in a matter of months will slow a person down.

But you know what? I still knock it out of the park. Because I have to. It’s my job, it’s my career, it’s my family’s livelihood.

This was my last business trip for a while. The last stretch on the plane on the way home, I was practically climbing the cabin walls, even if the baby thought it was party time in my belly. But I like the idea that the baby is already pretty well traveled before birth 🙂 And I like that I haven’t had to compromise being effective at work while focusing on taking care of myself and this little one. I’ve battled through it, and now I’m in the home stretch of this pregnancy!