September 29, 2017. That was my last physical day in the office. After reviewing my company’s maternity leave policy in its entirety, I had it all figured out. I would work from home for three weeks and use my two weeks of unused sick leave to prepare for my November 3rd due date. In true Ebony fashion, the nursery wasn’t complete and my hospital bag was not packed, but in my mind I had two weeks to get all of that together. That plan ultimately FAILED! I had prepped all of my colleagues on the coverage plan I put in place, and on October 20th, I set my out of office on my work email address. By October 26th, I was in labor. The only thing I’d accomplished in those five short days was getting my hair braided and I put away all of my son’s freshly washed clothes. I actually had to stop at the local Kmart on the way to the hospital, for slippers. I didn’t want my husband to pick them out (because I had SO many options in Kmart lol), so we walked in together in between full blown contractions. 24 hours later, my baby arrived. Karter King Dilworth made his way into the world, via Caesarean section. Loopy and completely OUT OF IT, I took a first look at my baby, smiled, and closed my eyes. In that moment, I knew my life would never be the same again.
These last five months have been nothing short of amazing. Karter and I have come a long way from our first night home, where I just knew I was going to take him back to the hospital lol. We have laughed and cried together, binge watched multiple shows and most importantly, learned each other. I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that I am returning to work. I’ve found joy in watching Paw Patrol and Sponge Bob Squarepants from 9-5. Now it’s back to client meetings and developing strategies.
I am super grateful that my company has such a gracious maternity leave policy. My team was very supportive my entire pregnancy. They also contributed to the 40lbs I gained during that time. Donuts, pizza, cake, we always found a reason to “celebrate” and indulge in junk food. My baby and pregnancy quickly became the team’s baby. Although it may sound like it’s something so minor, when your body is going through so many changes and you’re experiencing so many emotions, it really matters to have that support not only at home, but in the workplace as well. They also gave me space to really enjoy my leave and not concern myself with any work matters. That’s usually hard for me to do, because my mind is always on work. But with my new job as a mom, I shifted that energy into loving all on this little boy.
One thing that makes me feel good about my return to work, is that Karter will be home with daddy for a few weeks, have a brief stint with daycare and then he will get to spend the summer at home with Daddy and Grandma, who are both teachers and have the summers off #jealous. Now if you asked me how I felt about this a few months ago, I would’ve told you that I was nervous. The first month or two, my husband thought Karter hated him. I explained to him that he had to give it some time and that Karter didn’t hate him, he just loves mommy’s boobs, as they are the supplier of his liquid gold. Fast forward to today, and KD (Karter’s nickname) loves spending time with his daddy. They will seriously sit there and watch basketball all day long. My husband also had to learn Karter, his wants and what his different cries meant (at first he thought every cry meant the baby was hungry, and would frantically search for a bottle). I love their bond, and I pray that it remains tight. It also makes it easier for mommy to escape for her “me time!”
As the day is quickly approaching in a few hours, I’ll be glad I no longer have to answer the question “How are you feeling about going back to work?” I never have a straightforward answer to that question any way. I’m sad to leave my baby, we’ve literally hung out all day, every day for the last five months. I’m happy to get back to working, grinding and talking to ADULTS. I’m nervous to see how I’m going to manage being a working wife and mom. I’m a bag full of mixed and uncertain emotions. But one emotion that I am 100% sure of is that I feel blessed. I’m blessed to have a super supportive husband always cheering me on. I’m blessed to have an AMAZING support system of family and friends. I’m blessed to work for a great company that provides great benefits. Most importantly, I am blessed to be the mother of a handsome and healthy baby boy. Every time I look into his eyes, my heart fills with so much joy. He is my greatest accomplishment. My life is much different now, than it was a few years ago. But the moment I realized my life would never be the same, was the moment I discovered a new purpose to live my life on purpose!