This is the story of Anita, the mother of a three year old, in her own narrative.
*Any similarities to other mothers is, but natural.
After three years of leaving a long term job to have my son, I looked up the origin of the corporate phrase, ‘returning mother.’ The internet did not recognize the term and prompted my humor – Was the description coined to mean coming back from a seemingly ‘point of no return?’
Conceiving, carrying and giving birth to a child has been referred to by my spiritual guide as a rebirth for the mother. At many stages in the journey does one feel overwhelmed, lost in touch with reality and at a point where the undo button does not exist. Again – ‘point of no return?’
Undoubtedly, parenthood has its pleasures and is accepted in many cultures as the only way one can complete the cycle of life. You are born, you study, you work, you marry, you raise kids, you age and you die. Mommydom is highly romanticized by modern mothers including celebrities while being considered a divine blessing by others. I am pleased if one experiences these feelings of enrichment and completeness in their lives, through giving life.
To a late mom like me, the delay thanks to working enthusiastically to build my career, motherhood has been a whirlwind of change. No change in my employment tenure or life itself so far, has been this monumental and made me feel so unprepared and vulnerable.
The conception of a late mom is automatically referred to by the gynecologist/ obstetrician as a ‘precious child,’ but aren’t all babies precious? The precious one will need all your time, energy and strength – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, to make it into the big wide world. The baby is a precious gem that changes you forever.
As a new mother, you might feel that your body is walking around doing all the baby chores without your ‘being’ in the body. Yes, you won’t look, feel and be appreciated for
Being beautiful in your 24/7 pajama attire or
Being suitably remunerative as you might land up not bringing money home.
You could feel practically worthless and it’s worse if you fall into post-partum depression. Fortunately, I did not have PPD though I lingered on the border for a while.
Your calendar scheduling, project management, execution and just about everything that made your life revolve on track successfully doesn’t work now! There is no distinction between day and night, no time for your spouse or the things you used to do together and you are continually drained out on all levels, feeling hollow and pulling you down further!
Our mothers might have had it easier when they had large families and more hands to help with the baby. Now it’s usually you, me and ours.
The baby seems to know this and will be demanding and clingy and more often than not, overactive due to the various medications prescribed during pregnancy. On the positive side, children today are born with the ninth sense (again my spiritual guide’s words) hence their speed in grasping most topics with a certain ease.
And when you think you can go back to work (maybe you found that perfect nanny or your parents in law stepped in to help,) you feel even more not-upto-it and helpless. Husbands are foxed! Here is the job you want to go back to and things look set at home then why all the tears and anxiety?
In the old days, new moms were given a restful schedule at home for a year. Traditional medicine always entails the need for warmth, rest, nutritious food, lesser infection and all this is achieved by the mom and new born staying at home. That’s not a choice or privilege now and most moms are eager to go back to secure their financial independence and thrive at work.
The shining ray of light is that many businesses have tried to understand this ‘point of no return’ and now implement effective returning mother programs. They address challenges and support the new mom on various levels through training, learning on-the-job, coaching, work from home options and help her reconnect to the career she has chosen to come back to. While such initiatives are still evolving, isn’t it a commendable way to instill confidence and help her get started again, while giving some leeway for managing work and motherhood?
To me, a mom who handles both professional commitments and a newborn is a superwoman beyond all standards, more so if she is not affluent enough to have nannies and tons of help at home.
The returning mother is a beautiful experience in itself, and what you return to and when,
is your choice.
In 2015, at a historic United Nations Summit, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The new and unique goals call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
The Women Financial Advisers Network (WFAN)
that empowers women to lead a ‘rich and balanced’ life integrates atleast 6 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into it’s very fabric.
Goal #3 around good health and well-being promotes itself in empowering women to lead a healthy, happy, meaningful and balanced life, with financial health being included as a must-have component. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.
Goal #5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls is clearly a WFAN mission too. It will record a huge shift by educating and supporting Women Financial Advisers in a field that is 90% dominated by men.
Goal #8 to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all, is critical for India where 60% of young women drop out of the workforce within 5 years of work and an overall 24% of women drop out across all age groups. WFAN aims to reduce our workforce gender gap and tap into the women talent pool to promote sustainable economic growth for the individual and the geography.
Goal #9 to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation will express itself in WFAN’s innovative new ways of delivering financial planning and advice on an hourly basis. The holistic and affordable approach aims at reaching out to the common man, thus enabling millions of Indians to lead a ‘rich and balanced’ life.
Goal #10 to reduce inequality within and among countries again ties up to goals 5 and 8 to promote inclusion, equality and make women confident of being able to successfully handle finances – not only their own but also their customer’s portfolios.
Goal #17 to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development is enshrined in the collaboration of WFAN with relevant partners and organizations which build and nurture communities, in order to reach out to more people.
To know more about The Women Financial Advisers Network, please visit our website www.wfan.in
The Mother’s dilemma
My child says, “Look at Tanya’s mom. She is at home to welcome Tanya back from school and play with her. Why can’t you stay at home and spend more time with me?”
My child says, “Look at Vidit’s mom. She earns and buys new toys for him every time, from different countries! Why don’t you go to work mama?”
Well, my child; I do work. I really do. Not only do I work hard, spending time with you is the best thing I do.
Cover Photo by Raju GPK on Unsplash
Read more about what businesses, governments, and people are doing to achieve the U.N Sustainable Development Goals https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/