I was laid off during my maternity leave—this is what I learned

Toss in a global pandemic, first-time motherhood and you have a cocktail for a lost identity.

I was laid off during my maternity leave—this is what I learned

I lost my job.

It's the first time I have ever been laid off and when I heard the words "we are letting you go," my body froze. Somehow, a layoff implies a degree of blindness but this felt more personal, more emotional than my postpartum mind could process. We hung up the phone and I sat at my kitchen counter silently. My body didn't move for several minutes, almost physically rejecting the brief words it just heard.

I was 75% of the way through my maternity leave and the thought of not returning to work was beyond comprehension. As my body and mind started to reconnect, I wondered, "Could this be a good thing?"


Losing a job is never an easy experience, toss in a global pandemic, first-time motherhood and you have a cocktail for a lost identity.

Am I a working mother, something I always assumed I would be?

Am I a stay-at-home mom, a role postpartum has taught me I may not be able to handle?

Or am I something in-between, such as an unemployed working mom, trying to find an employer who understands I don't have childcare during a global pandemic?

These were all questions racing through my head that were not easy answers.

As I started to process the reality of being laid off, I straddled between denial and anger for several days. I had been at my company for six years and seen it grow from a 30-person start-up to a 300-person global brand. It felt like home or at least, my work home. As the company had grown up over the years, so had I. Yet no change was as profound as becoming a mother and I was beyond excited to return to a familiar place as a better version of myself. It was hard to grapple that a place that had been my professional home for so long was not allowing me the opportunity to return.

It was important that I didn't wallow in these feelings. I told myself that the past was the past and out of my control. Instead, I promised to practice gratitude and quickly found a memory that grounded me.

The day I was let go was the one-year anniversary of when I started the fertility treatment that got us pregnant. Conceiving was not easy for my husband and me. If I had to choose, I would easily pick 2020 and being laid off with our son rather than 2019 and going through IVF. Infertility has nothing on losing a job—a thought that has kept things in perspective, especially when the world is going through so much.

As the days went on, I felt fine and even upbeat. I would think to myself "what an amazing time to dream, be creative, there is so much opportunity for disruption and change right now." Yet, slowly my sleep started getting worse. At night, my son would wake up and while he would go back to sleep, my mind would race. I would wonder back to the day that it happened, think ahead five years and worry I didn't cherish this time with my son enough. My desire to keep things in perspective was prohibiting me from properly grieving. My mind desperately needed to process the emotions that come with experiencing a loss.

So, I did what any logical person would do.

I played Taylor Swift's, I Forgot You Existed, every night for a week (or maybe longer) while bathing my son and afterward, would hold him and dance around our family room singing.

I wrote down my emotions and asked my husband to read them and talk through it with me.

I let myself cry more than I want to admit.

I did my best to not judge what I was feeling and only share my emotions with my most inner circle.

Eventually, my mind calmed down and I started processing the next step. Updating my resume was a big confidence boost, reaching out to my network and asking about jobs reassured me that if I wanted a place in the working world, I could find one. When my son wakes up in the middle of the night, I remind myself there is nothing more important than being his mom. I know that while this virus has impacted me, there are so many bigger challenges happening in the world. My identity is still evolving, but I'm having more fun now applying to roles and imagining what life may look like down the road for our family.

To answer my question: Yes, being laid off will be a good thing, but not for the reasons I initially thought.

It is an opportunity to be more intentional about how I connect my new mom self and old professional self together. An opportunity to decide how I want to reinvent myself, what to shed and what to build upon. There is still a lot to figure out about how this will happen, but I am choosing to make it a positive transition. I'm excited about what is next, both as a mother watching my son grow every day and as a woman discerning my vocation as a whole person.

In This Article

    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

    Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

    Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

    Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

    Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

    Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

    Keep reading Show less

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play