What seems like a lifetime ago, Mamamia’s Lady Startups Instagram featured a photo of me working on my laptop from my hospital room, mere hours after giving birth to my first baby.
That baby is now three years old, and there is an 18-month-old following along behind him.
Watch: Samantha Longmore's story. Post continues below.
At the time my photograph was featured, I received many messages from women who saw it, telling me that I was a 'superwoman', that I was strong, powerful or brave, and that ‘YES! We can have it all!’.
But the thing is, I wasn’t working from my hospital room because I was driven or committed, or even wanted to ‘have it all’. (I am and I do, but that wasn’t why I was working.)
I was working because I run a small business. I am the sum total of the 'we' that I write in emails to my clients, and my baby was due at the end of the financial year, and the end of financial year was an immovable deadline for my client.
So, there I was, typing away only hours after a (very traumatic) birth, and I got the job done. My client was none-the-wiser.
Behind the scenes, I was wrecked. 24 hours after the birth, my husband took our newborn to a breastfeeding class in hospital ('the only single dad in the class!') so that I could put the ‘do not disturb’ sign on my hospital room door and have a handover teleconference with my client.
I’ll admit, I did smile at the comments my client made - they told me my report was exceptional - and I looked around me and thought to myself, 'well, if I can do that then I really can do anything.'
It felt good. Then, literally seconds after hanging up the phone, a doctor burst through the door (the ‘do not disturb’ sign doesn’t apply to the doctors) and I realised how badly that call could have gone.
In the weeks following, I realised how difficult it was to work while bouncing a baby in his bounce chair with my foot, underneath my desk.