The day after my two-week postpartum check-up I went back to work. This was an especially difficult thing to accept because I’m an advocate for health. For maternal health, to be precise. And yet there I was in a sleep-deprived daze, still bleeding from the birth while I sat on a conference call focused on achieving better health outcomes for moms.
Colleagues would email me weeks or even months later to ask when my maternity leave was up, and I’d confess hesitantly, I never went on it.
In part because my work is grant-funded I’m a consultant, not an employee. There are a lot of
benefits, er—upsides to contract work, like being based at home and having some flexibility around working hours. When it came to my own personal maternal health, there were no policies in place to protect or support me.