If I could afford to stay at home with my children, I would. I like my job, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't work full-time if I didn't have to. Instead I would focus my energy on running my house, taking care of my family, focusing on raising responsible and empathetic humans, and writing part-time. That's not possible, though, because without my salary we couldn't afford to buy groceries or own a home, let alone any extracurricular activities. But working outside of the house is tough, and every working mom wants pregnant women to know just how tough it can be.
When my daughter was born, the company I worked for offered just six weeks of maternity leave. My position was remote, though, so when my maternity leave ended I didn't technically have to leave my baby. I mean, I still had to work and hire a sitter, but I was physically close to my baby. I could pump in peace and spend my breaks holding her or rocking her to sleep. In other words, my work schedule was all very flexible. Eventually, however and when my daughter was 14 months, I switched jobs and had to send her to daycare. It was tough. Working full-time with a toddler was difficult, to be sure, but in many ways manageable.
When I was halfway through my pregnancy with my son, my contract for the position I held ended and I decided there was little use of trying to find another position since I was shortly due. (I also figured no one would hire a woman who was five months pregnant.) Shortly after I had my son, I started looking for work because we could not afford to live comfortably on one salary. It took over a year to find something stable. I cried the night before my first day back at work, out of both sadness and fear. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to effectively juggle two kids and all other household responsibilities with a full-time job. It's slightly easier with one kid who goes to daycare. It's completely different with two kids, one of whom has homework, field trips, and activities.
Juggling a full-time career and a family is tough and that is just one of the things a mother who works outside of the house wants pregnant women to know. I'm not trying to scare you, or to make you feel as helpless as I felt on more than on occasion. But maybe if you know these feelings are real and mutual, you'll be able to handle them more in stride than I did.