'I'm taking zero maternity leave. Before you judge, know this.'

I was scrolling Instagram this week and watched as co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Sunroom Michelle Battersby uploaded a series of stories talking about opinions and judgments on whether she was or wasn't taking parental leave. She discussed when she would start maternity leave, how long for and how her younger self wished more people she related to shared online that you could have both — work and a baby. I'd been feeling the exact same.

Throughout my pregnancy, I'd been met with continuous questions on when I was stopping, how long for, why I wasn't slowing down and, while I am sure these questions were all coming from a good place, I found it incredibly hard to comprehend what people expected me to say. I felt overwhelmed at the fact I didn't really have an answer, and if I did… was it right? 

It has been four weeks since having Leo and even now, the comments continue. At times, it has been difficult to block out the judgment on how I shouldn't be working. 

The night before I had Leo, I worked until 2am. I'm not saying anyone should do that, I chose to finish off a brand proposal for a potential new client for my business and, yes, after I felt guilty. And even now sharing that, I know people will judge me.

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Video via Mamamia.

As a business owner, I had my first "baby" five years ago. When asked "Who will run the business when you stop?" or "When are you stopping?" the answer in reality was I wasn't planning to. The only time I had taken any time off in five years was to go to Europe last year and even then, I was somewhat available, especially to my team. 

Hive, the business I had grown for the past five years and worked on day and night, is the very business that has given me the freedom, the personal growth and the stability that I now have. 

The business also probably had something to do with how stressed I was and meant that my husband and I had multiple miscarriages which meant it took longer than expected to fall pregnant. Now, thankfully we have little Leo — a healthy incredible little man. 

In the past four weeks since Leo's arrival, I have held client meetings between feeds, dashed to the office, had family stay during Easter, moved house, and, as I write this, we are travelling north to celebrate my 35th birthday. Throw two businesses in the mix (my husband also runs his own business) it's been nothing short of organised chaos. 

Image: Supplied.


Though that might sound like I am put together there have been continuous breakdowns, moments of self-doubt and worry that everything might fall apart. 

I have chosen to check in with my team daily to see how I can assist them. I have an incredibly supportive husband who allows me the space to do both, be a business owner and publicist as well as a mum. I'm incredibly lucky and grateful as without my husband, my team, or friends and family I couldn't do it all.

When I saw Michelle Battersby's post I took to social media to share that you too can have it all — whatever that might be… maternity leave, going back to work, etc.

Image: Supplied.


 The DMs soon came flooding in:

"I actually LOVE seeing you working with bub and juggling it all. Its made me even consider I could do it — its so refreshing."

"Seeing you on your journey has inspired me, and reminded me not to worry about the what ifs and the judgement, you've given me hope I can do it."

"You know I couldn't agree more! You wouldn't be 'you' without your work."

"Actually the opposite of judging you made me think wow if I wanted a family I could do both and that it is ok to want both!"

"I could write a book on this. I honestly can't manage another comment about when I might take time off or slow down when we have spent many years creating a business that supports life."

Image: Madi Cumming. 


I even had people messaging me to apologise for their opinions and while that wasn't my intention, it definitely showcased that so many of us are feeling the same. Behind closed doors we are all wondering if we are doing it right, over-committing, not doing enough and simply worried about being judged. 

I'm grateful that by sharing I have recognised how many people feel the same, how it really does take a village (as cliche as that is). 

It's time we openly support and encourage choices, whatever the choice. I hope more people can see you can have it all — whatever that is to you.

Feature Image: Madi Cumming.

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