I was working as a project manager for a major telecommunications firm during the time I was pregnant with my daughter and during the time of her birth. After my daughter’s birth, I took time off as I was experiencing debilitating postpartum depression.
Oddly enough, I did not experience any pushback in the workplace associated with seeing the OBGyn every month when I was pregnant. There was no stigma to deal with – everybody can relate to being pregnant, right? So taking a few hours off once a month to go to the doctor was no big deal. In fact, I had support from my project management peers as well as from my program manager.
However, after the birth of my daughter, I experienced crippling postpartum depression. This was not so readily accepted by my management at the telecomm agency. There seemed to be suspicion as to whether I was ill or not and what kind of work I was capable of doing. During this time I took short-term disability to deal with the postpartum depression. I did not believe at the time that the project management work I had been doing in the telecomm space made sense for me going forward. It was just too stressful. As it happened during the time I was on short-term disability leave, the principal of a local environmental and planning agency approached me to offer me a job in environmental project/program management. I thought at that time that work in the environmental sector would be less stressful than work in telecommunications project management.
So I accepted the environmental job while I was out on disability and began that work when my daughter was not quite a year old. That job was very rewarding in some respects. In some respects the postpartum depression was still an issue. What came to pass is that my boss developed lung cancer and within a year or so had retired and shortly after had passed. There was very little room for exploring this employment opportunity long-term. So once again I was preparing for a sea change in my career.